on the cover

On the Cover of New York Magazine: New York City, 4 Weeks In

Photo: Photograph by Alexei Hay

In New York’s April 13–26, 2020, issue, the magazine looks at how its namesake city is faring four weeks into an unprecedented crisis. With dispatches from Justin Davidson on how New York is a child of disaster, and the generations of New Yorkers who lived with epidemics before us; Benjamin Wallace on one Michelin-starred chef’s struggle to feed his employees and save his restaurants; Lisa Miller on an Elmhurst doctor in the eye of the storm; Molly Fischer on a high school teacher who just wants to keep her kids talking; and Lila Shapiro on the Harlem reverend guiding his sick parishioners through what may be their most trying time yet, the package also features a portfolio from photographer Alexei Hay of New York’s near-empty streets.

As New York was shutting down earlier in March, Hay came to New York’s photography director, Jody Quon, with the idea of capturing the city’s eerie calm and emptiness. “Not that long ago, he had been shooting fashion in the context of the city, but from the upper deck of a double-decker bus, and marveled at the interesting perspective on the city from this elevation,” says Quon. Though the buses weren’t available for the purposes of this shoot, New York’s photo team found a truck with a cherry picker Hay could climb into to capture the same vantage points. He focused his attention on Manhattan, shooting each image during the day in an eight-by-ten format. “What is interesting is that most of these images are not completely void of people,” says Quon. “Most have some figures dotted here and there, and then there is a certain daylight.”

The magazine also includes a conversation with Jimmy Fallon, who’s producing The Tonight Show from his Hamptons compound; a special edition of the Look Book featuring Broadway stars in self-isolation; columns about pandemic politics by Olivia Nuzzi and Eric Levitz; Parker Posey’s guide to getting into needlepoint; and a slew of television characters in quarantine, all written by their original writers. “Every page of this issue is touched by the coronavirus in some way, says New York editor-in-chief David Haskell. “But of course, so is every corner of life in spring 2020.”

On the Cover of New York Magazine: New York City, 4 Weeks In