October 13, 2020

New York Magazine : New York City in Extended Pause

Alexei Hay’s latest cover for New York magazine, captures the message “MISS U” suspended above a still Manhattan.

In making this cover, New York worked with an Aerial messaging company on a custom banner that would capture a sentiment shared by many New Yorkers right now. For the banner, the editorial team settled on “MISS U” – a message that could be interpreted personally by everyone who saw it, while also reflecting a common sentiment. “Even though there are plenty of people in the city right now, everyone has that feeling of missing someone,” says New York’s photography director Jody Quon. “There are so many people who were part of our daily routines that we miss.”

“Everyone keeps asking if New York is still New York. Everyone doesn’t think about how we have all changed. We’re in this weird suspension.” - Alexei Hay

Coordinating the cover image involved two airplanes, which departed from Long Island and went up and down the Hudson River for about two hours. “It was the most immaculate day,” Hay says. While the banner drifted over the Hudson River, Hay flew in an airplane helmed by a furloughed commercial airline pilot, with both planes in constant contact, coordinating their positions. There were many variables Hay couldn’t control as he shot the cover: he had to shoot through the windows, without access to additional lighting. At times, shooting at altitude made him nauseous. “Even looking at the photos now, the ones that give you a sense of altitude make me sick,” he says.

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