How a Photographer for the Downtown Alliance Spends His Sundays

Josh Katz, a photographer and content material creator, has simply began his second huge venture of the pandemic.

The first, a e book to be launched in October, chronicles what he discovered throughout the lockdown final spring when he climbed to the roof of his constructing in Bushwick, Brooklyn. There, on his and different interconnected roofs, he found pigeon keepers, couples on dates and folks break-dancing. Others have been strolling their canine, singing karaoke, beating rugs, taking part in the cello and flying kites. “I immediately realized, ‘This is the scene,’” mentioned Mr. Katz, who plans to donate all of his private proceeds from his images e book to the nonprofit Doctors Without Borders.

Now he has turned his digital camera towards Lower Manhattan as the “explorer in chief” of the Downtown Alliance, a enterprise enchancment group.

The newly established three-month gig, which comes with a stipend and a suite in a downtown resort, was supposed to start final summer time and promote tourism. Instead, Covid-19 hit, the residency was postponed for a 12 months and its focus shifted to documenting the neighborhood’s emergence from the pandemic.

Mr. Katz has been assembly with native enterprise house owners who survived the 12 months (12 p.c of retail companies in the neighborhood closed in 2020) and visiting downtown establishments like the National Museum of the American Indian. “It feels like I’ve been given the keys to the city,” he mentioned. He has additionally been given the keys (or slightly, the passwords) to the alliance’s Instagram and TikTok accounts, the place he publishes tales and reels about his wanderings.

Mr. Katz, 25, bought his begin as a content material creator at age 9, posting skateboarding movies on YouTube. Originally from Northern Virginia, he graduated from New York University in 2018 and made the metropolis his dwelling. When he finishes his residence at the Mint House at 70 Pine, a transformed Art Deco workplace constructing, he plans to return to Bushwick.

CHUG AND SIT I stand up round eight and chug a glass of water. Because Sunday is such a vigorous day I wish to be out, working round. The completely different days of the week don’t imply something to me. Even earlier than the pandemic it was like that; it’s the lifetime of a freelancer. Except on Sunday morning I take a little additional time to stabilize earlier than my telephone. I learn for a half-hour, meditate, do some writing, simply test in. I’ll be in the front room on the sofa or a comfortable chair.

NEW YORK CLASSICS When I interviewed for this job I requested for e book suggestions. I’ve learn via “Sleeping With the Mayor”; “City for Sale”; “Bright Lights, Big City”; “Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York”; and, after all, “The Power Broker.” I really like city planning and New York historical past books. As a road photographer, it helps with understanding how folks strategy the metropolis.

“I love urban planning and New York history books. As a street photographer, it helps with understanding how people approach the city.”Credit…Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet for The New York Times

STONEHENGE ON THE HUDSON Here, you may’t assist however search for. The gentle is sort of all the time oblique, besides at midday, but it surely’s bouncing off the partitions and home windows and creating fascinating patterns and little gentle baths on the road. I simply really feel like I’m in a metropolis from the second I stroll out the door.

“We’ll try and schedule two to three shoots a day,” Mr. Katz mentioned. “The little bits of time between meetings and shoots are when I’ll poke around.”Credit…Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet for The New York Times

OBSERVATION, WITH EGGS I by no means miss breakfast. I’ll go to a native hang-out, like George’s, which is near Battery Park City and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. It’s been round since 1950. There’s a lot life in a diner on a Sunday morning. In a spot like that there’s eavesdropping to be achieved. I really like consuming alone. I’m observing. I strive to not contact the telephone when consuming, I’m making an attempt to be current. If I’m with somebody, we’ll get eggs and pancakes and cut up each.

At George’s diner, which has been round since 1950. “I love eating alone,” he mentioned. Credit…Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet for The New York Times

THE AGENDA We’ll attempt to schedule two to a few shoots a day. I’ve a listing of companies I wish to take a look at; there’s a fireplace hose of content material concepts. The different day I went into each I Love New York store down right here. This week I’m going to the delis. The little bits of time between conferences and shoots are once I’ll poke round.

CITY DISCOVERIES There was a dude with a big cigar joy-riding backwards and forwards on the Staten Island Ferry. He carries round disposable shot glasses and bourbon and poured us pictures to share. People like which can be so thrilling to me.

Between scheduled picture shoots, he explores downtown and finds attention-grabbing folks to focus on.Credit…Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet for The New York Times

DOWNTOWN CHARACTERS I’ve been shadowing a few of the alliance employees, like a member of the employees who does sanitation. His title is Blue. He normally runs the Billy Goat, a huge road vacuum machine he pushes like a garden mower. They clear up final night time’s mess and see every thing earlier than the remainder of us do. I shadowed a bus driver — they’ve their very own bus line. It’s a little ecosystem down right here.

Mr. Katz in Battery Park, a vigorous scene on weekend mornings.Credit…Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet for The New York Times

POPULATING I’m certain Lower Manhattan is just not as full because it as soon as was, however there’s a lunch rush hour now and contours to get into locations. On weekend mornings at the Battery, the lawns are full of individuals taking part in soccer, folks doing silent discos with their headphones on. I choose to try this in personal.

Mr. Katz roams New York assembly folks. “It feels like I’ve been given the keys to the city,” he mentioned.Credit…Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet for The New York Times

THE VIEW FROM ABOVE I had the alternative to go to the statement deck at 70 Pine. It price 40 cents in 1939 however hasn’t been open in years. One World Observatory is a little dearer, however they make it into a hell of an expertise.

NOODLES AND MILK TEA A Uyghur restaurant opened on Water Street throughout the pandemic. There’s a wood counter and window into the kitchen so you may watch a girl in the again folding noodles. I’m vegetarian and typically it isn’t nice ordering Chinese delicacies, however they unnoticed the meat in a couple dishes for me and it was nonetheless insane.

EDITS Ideally, I’ll keep out till after sundown. I may come again and go bowling. But extra realistically it’s hours and hours of enhancing. I may take 1,000 pictures in a day; storage is affordable and I’m capturing digitally. I err on the facet of saving.

“I could take 1,000 photos in a day.” Credit…Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet for The New York Times

THE ONLY WAY I learn earlier than I’m going to mattress. Right now I’m studying a Diane Arbus biography — it’s the one by Patricia Bosworth. She was considered one of the innovators. The e book is all textual content. Reading myself to sleep — that’s the solely technique to do it.

Sunday routine readers can observe Josh Katz on Instagram at @joshkatz.