What can we learn from the oldest among us? On the cover of New York’s May 25–June 7, 2020, issue, the magazine celebrates 31 long lives, with Mark Harris on how the elderly have never been more powerful — nor more vulnerable; Rebecca Traister on the resilience of one woman who survived the Holocaust; Bliss Broyard on the centenarian Last Bohemian of Greenwich Village, and more; and words of wisdom from Dolores Huerta, poet Susan Howe, saxophonist Sonny Rollins, dancer Gus Solomons Jr., Nobel laureate David Baltimore, a presidential matchmaker, nuns in the Bronx, and a tiny Italian grandma.
This is an issue that explores our fragile gerontocracy. “It is a portrait of a country whose politics are dominated by its oldest citizens, who themselves are dying by the thousands from a virus that attacks their age group with vicious precision,” says New York editor-in-chief David Haskell.
Gracing the cover is Marga Griesbach, a 92-year-old Holocaust survivor who, this past February, left her home in Washington State to take a cruise around the world. Marga was photographed by Christopher Anderson through Zoom while she was at home in Washington and he in Paris. “Christopher Anderson’s elegant and soulful portrait beautifully personified the essence of the issue as we set out to engage in conversation with the elderly at this unique moment of the pandemic,” says New York photography director Jody Quon of the cover image. Elsewhere in the issue, New York’s subjects were photographed through a mix of Zoom and socially distant in-person shoots.