Fotografie di Federica Carlet
Lʼultimo servizio lʼho scattato il 6 Marzo, e già una settimana prima avevo iniziato ad evitare posti affollati e mezzi pubblici.
Il lockdown a NY è arrivato il 20 Marzo, il mio e quello di altri italiani che vivono qui è iniziato prima, avendo seguito da vicino le notizie che arrivavano ogni giorno dal nostro paese: la nostra amata Italia.
In questi ultimi due mesi sono rimasta in casa il piùʼ possibile, qui a NY non cʼè mai stato un decreto che impedisse alla gente di muoversi, ma più che altro dei consigli che in molti hanno seguito, tantʼeʼ che mai avrei pensato di vedere NYC cosi vuota e silenziosa, priva del suo tesoro più grande: le persone.
Le volte che sono uscita lʼho fatto in compagnia della mia macchina fotografica e ho cercato di immortalare tutto ciò che catturava la mia attenzione, sempre con le dovute precauzioni.
Ho sentito poi il bisogno di dare voce a quelle immagini attraverso il racconto di alcune persone che, come me, vivono a NY. Ho contattato queste persone al telefono o tramite e-mail, e ho chiesto loro di condividere un pensiero o di raccontare di come la pandemia avesse influito sulle loro vite.
Il progetto ha fuso cosi due sentieri, due corsie separate che però guardavano nella stessa direzione; Ho voluto intrecciare il mio sguardo con queste testimonianze, credo che chiunque possa ritrovarsi in molte di queste testimonianze. Questo momento storico ci ha uniti tutti, indipendentemente dalla nostra posizione geografica. Credo che chiunque si possa ritrovare in questi racconti, indipendentemente dal paese in cui viviamo, il paradosso di questo momento storico è che ci ha isolati ma in qualche modo uniti più che mai…
I stay secret, it stays unseen. You sense it. On naked streets you observe it. Heavy, invisible, bulky.
Look around, and it’s not there. But you see it, you observe it in people’s movements, people’s deeds, people’s talks, in theirs awakening. Immune, protected, but somehow not sane anymore.
Living in an era of consumerism and environmental chaos, I suppose something needed to happen to let the universe breath and force people to think more about our consumption and our treatment of the earth. I really hope after this pandemic we all become much kinder to others and more careful with nature and its creatures. Iʼm trying to stay positive and creative in my daily routine by meditating, doing yoga, painting, reading, studying films. Iʼve been talking to my Italian family every day on Skype and WhatsApp. Thanks to social media and the internet we are able to stay close to people we love and even have meals together. I FaceTime with my 92-year-old grandma—she lives in a very small town near Rome with her oldest daughter. Iʼve decided to keep her busy by organizing cooking lessons every week. So far, she has taught me how to make eggplant parmigiana, handmade gnocchi, Roman artichokes and, this week, pizza. She is having so much fun and also gets upset if I donʼt do things the way she likes them. There is a positive side to this tragedy, being able to spend time in silence and connect to yourself. Learning and listening is the only way to survive and live free in serenity.
I was the one that got him sick, wasn’t I?! The Monday after Gov. Cuomo declared New York in a state of Emergency due to Coronavirus, my company was still mandating that we work from the office. My body aches began halfway through the day while still at work. Once home, I checked my temperature which was normal, took a hot shower and plopped my achy body into bed. I slept for 22 hours, waking up intermittently to a physical pain that hurt my body to the core, like an attack on my limbs and organs. My boyfriend came to care for me during those first days of sickness. Five days after being exposed to me, he began to feel fatigue, and two days later his fever spiked. I was still home recovering so we had little communication, but I know he was bed ridden. He tested positive for Covid-19. His fever lasted 12 days total and about half-way through his illness he developed severe ice pick headaches, which lasted several days. During that initial week apart, I felt helpless and my thoughts went to the worst as the virus began attacking his brain. Thankfully, with some sleep and strong pain medications, the headaches went away. We followed the mandated 14-day self-quarantine, but it was a psychological struggle to stay positive throughout that time. After 22 long days we finally saw each other again, in person. He lost a lot of weight but he was on the mend, and we felt blessed to come out of this pandemic with our health and with each other. There are so many stories out there of struggle, loneliness, and sadness with the passing of loved ones. Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone during this time.
During these last weeks, now more than ever I have I come to appreciate my home – New York. I never doubted the greatness of this city and state but there is something unbelievably special about NY and NYers in a time of crisis. A place made of some of the hardest working, compassionate, kind and caring people I know. And it makes me proud to be a New Yorker. I know we will get through this difficult time and we will be better and stronger for it.
I have lived many chapters in New York. 15 years worth to be exact. Throughout my time in this town, I have felt its pain and seen its shadows – lived both its grit and its beauty. Like so many, I am now faced with a side of New York I have never seen before. In our masked faces on the streets, our shallow breaths and our hopeful cries – NY has finally bared us its soul. An encounter which I will never forget and something I will carry with me wherever this next chapter will lead.
Most of all Iʼm starting to realize many of the things that Iʼve come to take for granted about New York over the years. This used to be one of the few cities in the world, where you could do anything you wanted at any hour. That changed almost overnight.