Clusterf*ck

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This week, we’re featuring Ashley Gilbertson’s photo essay “Clusterf*ck” on VIIPhoto.com. Read an excerpt below, and view the full story here

The market is our fear laid bare. Wall Street exposes all the anxieties and worries we only tell our loved ones, our most trusted confidants, in the most hushed of tones so the kids don’t hear. The traders on the stock exchange floor, sprinting wildly between stations as the bell rings, screaming, joking, slumped in front of terminals, shouting, swearing, are us.

The streets of New York City were calm to begin with. A few people wearing masks, reports of outbreak clusters, a couple of schools closing, but generally business as usual. And then we fell down a cliff. A city emergency ballooned to a national emergency. Rush hour at Grand Central Terminal slowed, the thick lunchtime crowds in midtown thinned. Soon, arriving commuters disembarked trains and paused as they entered Grand Central, stunned by emptiness, the usual din quieted by stay at home orders. For the first time, the vast, star-covered ceiling seemed appropriate.

My experience with wars in Iraq, or Nigeria, or Afghanistan have almost no parallel to this. There are no idiots with guns, there are no suicide bombings or terror threats. The issue here is irresponsible, entitled New Yorkers ignoring medical advice, gathering together and going about their lives as though nothing’s happening.