The allure of the pause

Nine photographers show the slower side of New York City.

April 2, 2022

People are always running. People are always running to work, running to class, running to party. This is New York a continuous rush that drives everyday life. But in the midst of the rush, there are small moments that remind us of the allure of the pause.

A blurred biker rides along the Hudson River Park piers. On the left, a white banner hangs on a rail with the words “#NewYorkTough” in royal blue. Behind both is the Jersey City skyline.
(Staff Photo by Ryan Walker)

The piece was taken last fall on the West Side along the pier, during a time when things were hectic with COVID-19. The world was ending, people didn’t know what was going to happen, and everyone was outdoors enjoying life. The picture is of a biker, and it’s kind of a moment in time showing that even in the midst of all this chaos, there were moments where people were still happy, people could get back to the root of being healthy, being connected to each other, being outdoors. It was a slower way of being in New York because it was very focused on everyone else, and getting outside, getting away from work and enjoying the city that we live in.

By Ryan Walker — Multimedia Editor

An elderly man feeds pigeons in Washington Square Park. He is wearing a black shirt and black pants and he holds a yellow bag.
(Staff Photo by Camila Ceballos)

I took this photo as I was running to class and passing through Washington Square Park. I stopped as I saw a man in deep concentration feeding the most pigeons I’ve ever seen together in my life. Everyone was moving right past the man, ignoring him as they rushed like me to class or perhaps home or work. I loved the way he was unbothered by all of this, concentrated on his actions, with a smile on his face. I had to immediately take my camera out and take a picture.

By Camila Ceballos — Photo Editor

An elevated view of 10th Avenue as taken from the High Line at sunset. At the intersection in the foreground, cars and people zoom by.
(Photo by Joshua Becker)

I took this photo while walking the High Line in Lower Manhattan. I saw this lovely sunset and decided to snap this cityscape, as it embodied calm and serenity within the chaos of rush hour.

By Joshua Becker — Staff Photographer

The Luna Park amusement rides on Coney Island as seen from the beach. On the right, a ferris wheel towers over surrounding buildings.
(Photo by Kiran Komanduri)

I took this photo when I visited the Coney Island beach and boardwalk. Since it was the middle of winter and around 20 degrees outside, the beach was practically deserted. I was really drawn to the vibrant colors of the shops and amusement park and how nice it looked contrasted against the empty beach and bold blue sky. The lighting and the general feel of the empty beach and boardwalk gave me a very nostalgic feeling, and I knew I had to capture it in a photograph.

By Kiran Komanduri — Staff Photographer

The backs of two people sitting together on a park bench in the early evening. Both look toward the East River.
(Photo by Sheridan Smith)

Bella Stanton and her boyfriend watch the sunset in East River Park on Nov. 15, 2021. In light of the recent developments regarding East River Park’s construction, this photograph is intended to document a quiet moment shared by this couple — an ode to calm before the storm.

By Sheridan Smith — Staff Photographer

A woman lies on the barriers of the FDR Four Freedoms Park Conservancy on Roosevelt Island. On the right, a tree branches into the frame while in the back, the city skyline can be seen.
(Photo by Kevin Wu)

Roosevelt Island struck me as an Arcadia, or a “世外桃源,” in comparison to Manhattan. I took this photo last October on a weekend getaway. The lady resting on the bench at the tip of the island is the best counterargument to the nonstop-pulsing city in the background. So I pressed the shutter.

By Kevin Wu — Staff Photographer

On the left, a blonde woman sits at a restaurant booth. On the right, a blurred-out waiter dashes past. Above them, a blackboard with a gold crown hangs on the wall.
(Photo by Manaal Shareh)

I took this photo years ago on my first trip to New York. I often look at this photo and wonder if that couple is still together or if that waiter still works in that restaurant. This past perception I had of New York is so long gone I couldn’t even say what part of town this took place in. I was more of an introvert then, which is why I initially got behind the camera and started taking photos of total strangers.

By Manaal Shareh — Staff Photographer

The back of a woman holding balloons as she walks down the street. The balloons are transparent with golden glitter inside. The woman has short black hair and is wearing a white sweater.
(Staff Photo by Sam Tu)

Balloons have been a famous cliche in street photography. Walking into Pier 25 on a lazy Sunday morning is a passerby holding celebratory balloons. Her hand gesture is left unexplained; the relaxed yet eerie atmosphere encapsulates the calmness in a city that has normalized every eccentricity.

By Sam Tu — Photo Editor

A 35mm film image of Prospect Park. In the center, a brown paved walking path diverges into the frame. On either side, people sit in the grass. On the left-hand side of the picture is a strip of blur.
(Staff Photo by Manasa Gudavalli)

I went on a shoot with another photographer in Prospect Park last spring. I remember it being one of the first few warm days following a rough winter season, so the park was packed with people. Children and their parents, teenagers and 20-somethings, and locals of all ages were all gathered in the same location but were each independently doing their own thing. I found a lot of beauty in how cohesive the environment felt, while still encapsulating the individualistic culture of New York City. This photo is from the first roll of film I’ve ever shot and part of it got damaged in the process, but it captures the chaotic energy of this shoot while being in the surprisingly calming space of Prospect Park on April 24, 2021.

By Manasa Gudavalli — Multimedia Editor

Contact The Multimedia Desk at [email protected]