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The New York Now: Home Photography Exhibition at MCNY Shows How New Yorkers Make New York City Home

The first installation of the the Museum of the City of New York’s photography triennial New York Now: Home, shows some of the ways our city of immigrants make New York home. This experience is part of the daily lives of millions of New Yorkers.

New York Now: Home Photography Triennial

New York Now: Home at the Museum of the City of New York (Brad Farwell/MCNY)

New York Now: Home, a photography exhibition about how New Yorkers make the city home, at the Museum of the City of New York in “El Barrio” East Harlem, is ongoing. 🇺🇸 🇨🇴 🇲🇽 🇵🇪 🇵🇷

New York is a city of immigrants, but “when you’re here, you’re a New Yorker.” (NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.)

These are the exhibition artists:

The exhibition curators are: Sean Corcoran, Senior Curator of Prints and Photographs at the Museum of the City of New York; and Thea Quiray Tagle, PhD, scholar, writer, and Associate Curator of the Brown Arts Institute and David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University; and the Museum of the City of New York team. #NewYorkNow

The exhibition was inspired by an exhibition of the same name in 2000. [Editor: That’s the year I came to New York. The City has changed completely.]

The Covid-19 pandemic and the lynching of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in 2020 brought into focus social issues including health, racial inequality, and economic inequality. New York’s creative communities are working on being the change. This exhibition is part of that movement.

The great beauty of New York City is that it can process around 8 million different intentions all at once and still function (Metro New York is around 19 million people). There is no place on Earth like this.

Each one of us sees the world through our own personal lens. We tend to be blind to cultures that are not our own. To understand another person, you have to walk in their shoes somehow. This exhibition is a walk in the shoes of many of your fellow New Yorkers.

When you open to “others,” your world begins to expand exponentially. It’s a personal “Big Bang.” There is no better place to have that experience than New York City.

How New New Yorkers Make New York Home

Since the Dutch and English forced away the Lenape First Nations, New York City has been a city of immigrants.

It started when New York’s first immigrant, who we now call Juan Rodríguez, decided that setting up a bodega (store) at the Lenape trading post on Manhatta’s southern tip was better than shipping on to the Netherlands in Europe. He came from what is now Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 1613. 🇩🇴

The Lenape are gone now, though some live in New Jersey and others live in Oklahoma. What was America’s connection with Europe, has become America’s connection with the Caribbean, Latin America, Mother Africa, and Asia.

So many of us are far from home and family. That puts a weight in your heart that is hard to describe. The Brazilians call it “saudade” and will tell you that only a Brazilian can understand. But New Yorkers understand that deep feeling of longing for your loved ones and the familiar life you knew before. In memory, it seems so romantically simpler than the life you have now.

Living in New York City is completely different from anything in your previous experience. Coming to The City is a shock that changes you forever. Walt Whitman, the poet of New York City, spoke of this. It’s like a puberty ritual. It’s the moment when the butterfly emerges from its coccoon to become a New Yorker.

Because we need something to hang on to in the swirl of hurry and change, new New Yorkers surround themselves with small momentos, symbols of our family, faith, and heritage. Those who know, immediately recognize their meaning. Those who don’t know see tchotchke or cheap souvenirs, or don’t see anything at all.

Then we get to work and make new friends. Some of our friends look like us, others are completely different from anyone we met before. But together we create family. And that’s how new New Yorkers make New York home.

For tickets and more information, visit

LATIN art | Museum of the City of New York in “El Barrio” East Harlem

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