It started out as a trip of lifetime and ended with a 24-hour stay In The Big Apple, but you won’t hear me complaining one bit because I’m telling this story from the comfort and safety of my home. The original goal was to get to a remote place in Russia along with two of my best friends, Felipe Silva and Will Thompson, as we had a dream job with an unnamed car company (this job will be rescheduled in the future, so we’re going to leave the name out).
The trip had been in the works for months and our excitement level had been through the roof up until the news of the Coronavirus spreading rapidly across the globe. We still boarded the plane at SFO hoping for the best and made it to New York City on an almost empty plane. Once there, the ticket agent discovered a minor issue with our Russian Visas and needing to reschedule our flight for the following day to enter the country on March 13th, which was date of entry on the Visa. It was no big deal as our Campaign Leader got our flights rescheduled in no time and put us up in a super nice suite in a hotel right near Grand Central Station.
This would be my very first time to New York City, so to me it was extremely exhilarating to be in The City that Never Sleeps where I had seen so many iconic photos from. I had texted another other good friend who is from the Bay Area and currently lives in NYC, Andy To, at the airport telling him the story and he told me swing by his apartment on the westside later that night.
We checked into the hotel and had a delicious dinner in the restaurant downstairs before heading back to the suite to see President Trump announcing the current international travel ban. This presented a problem of how we would get back into the US after spending a week in Russia, so we found out pretty quick that the rest of the trip was cancelled.
At that point to me, it was all about making the best of trip. I texted Andy and told him I’d grab an Uber and be right over as Felipe and Will were both understandably tired from the red eye flight. Joycelynn, Andy’s fiancé, greeted me at their door with Andy not far behind. We exchanged hugs and chatted some before Andy and I headed to his roof to chill out and shoot the breeze. (Check out the flashing sirens in the last two shots in the set below)
Will and I woke up the next morning for sunrise and made the short walk to the famous Tudor City walking overpass. We grabbed some shots and headed back to meet Felipe for breakfast at the hotel to then pack up. Our flight would be for 3:35 pm that same day and Uber was scheduled to pick us up at 1 pm.
Then we hit the streets to explore and I scoped a few subjects as we were hoofing it around. You could tell that foot traffic was lighter than normal for a Thursday morning, but there was still plenty to see visually with interesting architecture, people and street scenes only a photographer could appreciate.
We thought St. Patrick’s Cathedral would be a good place to see during the day and it is truly beautiful both inside and out, with so much attention to detail. We snapped some photos of the Atlas Statue across the street and then made our way to Times Square only a handful of blocks away.
It was time to make a move to somewhere else and naturally we took the subway, which was very light on passengers. The train cars were a lot cleaner than the BART trains here in the Bay Area, that’s for sure, even though their system has so many more lines. Luckily, Will knew his way around so I could focus on the photos.
Time was of the premium and we knew it wasn’t worth the risk of missing our flight back to the West Coast. We hit The Oculus and the Fulton Center because of the amazing architecture that each exhibit. Seeing places like that in person is even more inspiring because of seeing them on social media In the past - knowing I finally made it after all these years. Even with that said, New York City might be the most amazing place on earth for a photographer like myself and I can’t to go back, hopefully someday soon.