NY: When the city sleeps
Project info

I see an actual city, but in the future, empty. Where people do not fight for space on the street, either from fear or cold. The car engines do not work anymore. Banks and corporations are no longer important, they do not move billions of dollars. Department stores do not receive tourists in search of the dream consumed by capitalism. Even in the big station, trains stop and doors closes.

"When the city sleeps" was photographed in New York during the winter of 2013-2014. But it could be in another time, in a state of newly apocalypse, where there is no life on the streets, just absence.

The idea of the work came to me on the plane, coming to town in December 2013. As street photographer I know and love New York during the day; chaos, noise, pollution and cultural diversity, is the kinds of stuff that every street aficionado is looking for.

But how is the city at night? How many people venture out in the early hours roaming the city streets in thermal sensations below zero? How is Time Square, 5th Avenue, Madison, Grand Central and other places of high demographic concentration?

My desire to investigate the city nights met at the aesthetic "Nighthawks" by Edward Hopper in the search for angles, lights and mystery of the picture. Walk the absent streets of New York has become a habit and a constant adventure for me on that winter, almost like therapy.

I even threatened sometimes by men who dared fight the cold and the empty city, but I did not got scared, instead I respect them for being reckless like me. Nothing stopped me to show a city that few people see. With this work I invite you to take a walk in the bitter cold of the night, when the city sleeps.

- Vitor Sá