The Look Book Goes to the Roosevelt Avenue Subway Station

In Jackson Heights, where ridership on the 7 and E lines is slowly picking up.

Donnell George. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Donnell George. Photo: Kyle Dorosz

Donnell George (pictured above), Unemployed DJ, Upper East Side.

Where are you going?
The Upper East Side, to my friend’s house, where I’m staying. I’m just off a flight from Miami. My story is insane, bro.

What happened?
After the pandemic hit, I was laid off from my job at the Standard. I was broke and ended up in Florida — I had to go stay at my childhood home with my mother. My mom, my family — they don’t really accept homosexuality. And I moved to New York in the first place to be gay, to explore myself. So going home — I had to put everything that New York brought out of me back into a box. Those months were dark, and they were raw. But then the moon and the sun and the planets aligned: Unemployment kicked in. My friend sent me $100. I booked a flight back to New York.

How does it feel to be back?
Girl, listen. I’m just so happy.

Maxian Richardson, Flight attendant, East New York, Brooklyn. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Alicia Abad, Housekeeper, Kew Gardens, Queens. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Fior Hidalgo, Phlebotomist, Fordham Heights, the Bronx. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Bennett Singletary, Pilot, Tampa, Florida. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Joe Gioia, Unemployed, Sunnyside, Queens. Photo: Kyle Dorosz

Have you been taking the subway regularly?
This is my first time since February. I’m going for a job interview — to survey for an engineering company. I’m not exactly a spring chicken, but I have a lot of experience. I got the virus back in March. Doctors said I had some of the worst lungs they’d seen, so I’m a little terrified to take the train. But I need work.

Phanu Phothirook, Restaurant manager, Jackson Heights, Queens.  Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Josiah Lokey, Freelance artist, Jamaica, Queens. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Nita Lo, Design assistant, East Elmhurst, Queens. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Gerard Maghella, Army Ranger, Elmhurst, Queens. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Austin Duncan, Artist and photographer, Fort Greene, Brooklyn/ Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Nicole Thompson, Hairstylist, Elmhurst, Queens. Photo: Kyle Dorosz

Where are you off to?
Work. My first week back at work. I do hair. People are coming in so hairy, and I’m just so happy to be out of the house. At first, not working seven days a week was nice. But then — Netflix, Netflix, Netflix, YouTube, TikTok. Okay, I have to get out.

Kandace Bands, Freelance fashion assistant, East Harlem. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Raul Rojas, Electronic medical specialist, East Elmhurst, Queens. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Christa Dietrich, Bartender, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Sindy Hsu, Data analyst, Jackson Heights, Queens. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Maria Zuniga, Home health aide, Staten Island. Photo: Kyle Dorosz

Did you sit down on the train?
I did, which was a miracle. The trains, I’ll admit, seem a bit cleaner, but I’ve lived in New York for 47 years, so I know it’s not going to stay like that, unfortunately.

Leo Sanchez, Unemployed, Elmhurst, Queens. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Gil Uriarte, Unemployed, East Elmhurst, Queens. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Jonathan Lewin, construction worker Photo: Kyle Dorosz

*This article appears in the July 6, 2020, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

The Look Book Goes to the Roosevelt Avenue Subway Station