NEW YORK - Empty transit hubs, a desolate Times Square, words of support on marquees, and folks asking for help: these were familiar scenes in April, when New York was the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.
"It is starting to feel like March and April are really history now, everything has evolved in this short time, so we are looking back on a moment during the pandemic,” said Margi Hofer, the vice president and museum director of the New-York Historical Society, which is hosting a special free exhibition.
It will not be on view inside its 112-year-old building on Central Park West, which closed to the public on March 13 due to the pandemic.
Instead, it’ll display the exhibit outdoors in its rear courtyard on West 76th Street, the first full scale exhibition to be installed in the outdoor space.
It's called “Hope Wanted, New York City Under Quarantine,” the work of Writer Kevin Powell and Photojournalist Kay Hickman, who traveled the five boroughs on April 8 and 9 to put it together.
"They snapped about 1,600 images and talked to many, many people, captured interviews, to get a sense of what the experience was like,” said Hofer, who noted that visitors can use their cell phones to hear the stories of a dozen of the subjects of the photos. There are 50 photos in all.
A timed-ticketing system will be used to allow for social distancing inside the courtyard.
"We meter the flow through the exhibitions so that everyone can stay six feet apart,” said Hofer. “We require face masks, and we have hand sanitizer available, but we are really committed to having a safe experience for everyone.”
Over the months, the New-York Historical Society has been collecting items that will help tell the story of the coronavirus pandemic to future generations. They also want visitors’ stories to add to that collection, so a booth has been set up where anyone can dial a number and take five minutes to tell their personal tale of the pandemic.
The museum is hopeful it will be able to open the doors of its landmark building to the public on September 11, pending approval from state and city officials. For now, the history is presented outdoors.
To get tickets head to NYHistory.org.
All Photo compliments of the New York-Historical Society, captured by Photographer Kay Hickman