When I left Mumbai for New York six months ago, the East Coast greeted me like an American dream. Tourists poured in by the bucket load, lapping up the cosmopolitan’s art and cultural offerings. Locals hustled, shuttling between subways and yellow cabs to keep their day’s routine in check. I traversed the tracks somewhere between the two—taking photography lessons in my university and digitally cataloguing the rush that unfolded in the neon-signage streets. I had found it easy to make sense of my new home. For in it I had found traces of the city I had left behind.
All that changed earlier this month as the coronavirus pandemic quickly spilled beyond borders and brought the world to its knees. I waited with bated breath as cases continued to spike in New York. On March 7, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency and in the days to follow, museums and broadways shuttered, gatherings of large clusters were restricted and universities too moved online. Once a destination with 65 million visitors, New York is now uncannily reminiscent of a Hollywood home-invasion sci-fi with nearly uninhabited streets. The state now has more than 8,300 confirmed cases—more than 40 per cent of the nationwide total of over 19,000 tallied by CNN.
Armed with a face mask, sanitiser and my camera, I stepped out on March 13-15 to find pieces of the city amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
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is a photography student currently based out of New York City. He is an avid traveller with a great love for roaring engines and beautiful landscapes. He likes taking long road trips across broad country roads.
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