Jeremy Cohen grazia
Credit: Supplied.

My hardest New York days probably set in after a week of being stuck alone in my apartment. Just seeing all the negative headlines and uncertainty in our world, and not having anyone to hug or just be around, took a toll on me. It put things into perspective and I realized how important friends and social interaction are to me.

It’s not really my style to just walk up to a stranger and ask them out… but desperate times call for desperate measures. I was feeling lonely and when I saw a cute girl across the street on the other roof, I had to shoot my shot.

I created a NYC rooftop culture series. I photographed the whole thing with a long lens from the windows of my apartment and from my rooftop. The best thing was feeling like I was shining a light on all the positivity and resilience of New Yorkers in this time. The worst thing was that I had a neighbor who felt I was invading everyone’s privacy by photographing the series.

We read all these headlines saying ‘New York is dead’ but we just laugh at it. New Yorkers are some of the most resilient people in the world. If we made it through the epicenter of the pandemic, we can make it through this winter.

During lockdown, I passed the time by…Working on my photo series, making TikToks, cooking, getting lost in VR video games, flirting, FaceTiming my grandparents, learning chess, taking care of plants and getting a (robot) dog.

The energy of this city already feels like it’s rebuilt but… between COVID and the BLM movement, we have a long way to go. Whether it’s making art, protesting, voting, donating, learning, unlearning or being an active member of our own communities, we’ll keep fighting this fight to make a better future for our neighbors, friends, children, and grandchildren.

Follow Jeremy @jermcohen