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National Building Museum presents an online exhibition of life in New York during COVID-19

The New Normal

National Building Museum presents an online exhibition of life in New York during COVID-19

A new virtual exhibition, Documenting Crossroads: The New Normal, held by the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., presents images that photographer Camilo José Vergara captured on the streets of New York City in the past few months of life in the city’s streets during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 71 photographs include portraits of essential workers, vendors selling personal protective equipment, casual interactions shaped by new social distancing standards, and more.

Two essays also accompany the show, one by Vergara and another by Elihu Rubin, associate professor of architecture, urbanism, and American studies at Yale University. Vergara’s essay describes the photographer’s process navigating street life during the pandemic, and Rubin’s essay reflects on the norms of public life in 2020, a year marked by both social isolation and mass protests.

The exhibition is a companion to Documenting Crossroads: The Coronavirus in Poor, Minority Communities, another virtual exhibition of Vergara’s photos held by the museum.

The National Building Museum has had a rough year—the institution cut 42 positions in May and laid off eight percent of its staff in February, after its executive editor of 17 years announced his retirement—along with many other museums that have struggled to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

Documenting Crossroads: The New Normal will be available indefinitely online.