The Look Book Goes to Ninth Avenue and West 34th Street

At the normally bustling intersection, it was just a trickle of well-masked essential workers.

Photo: Martin Schoeller
Photo: Martin Schoeller

(Above): Tiffany Collins, security guard, lives in Staten Island.

What’s it like in the building?
Eerie. Empty. You’d think it would feel slow, but time only goes slow if you can’t keep busy.

How do you keep busy?
I have a computer at work, and I’m trying to build an online store for my handmade body harnesses. I’m a pole dancer, so I make things that appeal to that crowd.

How long have you been dancing?
Five years. When I’m at work as a security guard, I’m Tiffany. When I’m dancing, I’m Jewel. I can’t really dance right now, though. Some girls have been on Instagram. But the piece I need to set up my home pole is going to take weeks to get here, now that shipping is all messed up.

Yashaddai Owens, craftsman, lives in Harlem. Photo: Martin Schoeller
Dave Robinson, nurse, lives in Texas. Photo: Martin Schoeller
Andrew Sobczyk, construction worker, lives in Harlem. Photo: Martin Schoeller

Have many of your co-workers been sick?
People tend to be quiet if they’ve had it. It has a stigma. If you’ve had it, and the person you’re working with knows that, they’ll say they want to work with someone else. I was sick. I think I had it. But I never came in sick. It’s the same as drinking and driving in my book.

Arquimedes Acevedo, postal worker, lives in New Jersey. Photo: Martin Schoeller
Anil Patel, construction inspector, lives in Alburtis, Pennsylvania. Photo: Martin Schoeller
Bridget Stapleton, childrenswear designer, lives in Hell’s Kitchen. Photo: Martin Schoeller
Deandre Morrison, DoorDash delivery driver, lives in Jamaica, Queens. Photo: Martin Schoeller

Who are you quarantining with?
My mom and sisters. Anxiety in the house is through the roof. They’re used to getting their hair done, their nails done, and now that they can’t, it’s just … I’m the one who’s relaxed.

Emir Fkonare, unemployed, lives in midtown Manhattan. Photo: Martin Schoeller
Freddie Caranay, inspector, lives in East Elmhurst, Queens. Photo: Martin Schoeller
James Fortune, security guard, lives in New Jersey. Photo: Martin Schoeller

Where’d you get that mask?
I have diabetes so I knew I needed something serious. And early on, I knew just where to get it: this 24-hour hardware store on 29th Street. It has everything — beach toys, hydraulic butterfly valves. It’s called — well, it has a funny name. The Nuthouse.

Omar Taha, retired restaurant worker, lives in Corona, Queens. Photo: Martin Schoeller
Elijah Charbonier, construction worker, lives in Fordham, the Bronx. Photo: Martin Schoeller
Gregory Toussaint, DoorDash delivery driver, lives in Jamaica, Queens. Photo: Martin Schoeller
Joaquin Eira, construction worker, lives in Nassau, Long Island. Photo: Martin Schoeller
Raya Williams, filmmaker, lives in Westhampton Beach. Photo: Martin Schoeller
Anthony Germana, electrician, lives in Staten Island. Photo: Martin Schoeller

What job are you working on?
The Moynihan train-hall renovation. They set up soap and paper towels. They hired cleaners for the construction shanties. I do hope those practices stay.

Maria Espinoza, restaurant worker, lives in Ozone Park, Queens. Photo: Martin Schoeller
Ramiro Vega, restaurant worker, lives in South Bronx. Photo: Martin Schoeller

*A version of this article appears in the May 11, 2020, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

The Look Book Goes to Ninth Avenue and West 34th Street