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Yasmina Zoghbi


Man in green camouflage jacket and blue denim jeans walking on sidewalk

March 8th 2020 - it was the spring of my 3rd year of plastic surgery residency; after just having taken our yearly exam, I was on the way back to NY from a relaxing trip in Miami when suddenly, everything quickly changed. Travel restrictions were imposed by the hospitals. Elective surgeries got canceled. By the following week, I was on the subway alone on my way to work, I walked home along empty streets, yellow cabs were parked on the sidelines, Friday nights in New York vanished, tourist attractions were desolate. You could hear birds in the streets.  Unlike in the past when their chirps were drowned by cab horns, now the interruption was ambulance sirens.  The city that never sleeps, the city as I once knew it ceased to exist - it was reminiscent of a post-war metropolis.  Only this time, the frontline soldiers were essential workers, and the enemy was not visible to any of us.  Even though the city felt empty, the hospitals that I was deployed to were exceeding capacity.  I recall witnessing scenes that I had only previously seen in movies depicting mass-casualty events.  The emotional strain was inconceivable, not only for the patients and their families but also for the providers responsible for them.  I never imagined that I would be triaging patients in conjunction with US soldiers.  This surreal reality hit home on many occasions.  On the other hand, the display of gratitude and general acts of kindness by the public gave me the hope and will to persevere day after day.  Simple things like hearing the pots clang at 7pm or the installation of a multi-colored “Thank You” statue outside our hospital went a far way to re-center our efforts every day. Once the COVID onslaught plateaued, the city still wasn’t back to its normal self.  With hundreds of thousands of residents fleeing, there was a new and almost eerie quietness everywhere. The entire world felt like it was on pause. In retrospect, it seems that this solitude was necessary so that we could all have time to reflect and focus on the long-standing injustices faced by people of color in this country.  Before long, empty streets across New York City, the United States and the globe were soon filled with residents from all ethnicities, raising their voices to bring awareness and demand change so that society can begin to finally acknowledge that Black Lives really do Matter.  Despite the sometimes skewed portrayal in the media, I only witnessed peaceful protestors; marching across the bridges, congregating in Times Square, and running 5ks in Brooklyn.  All in all, 2020 was a sentinel year, and I hoped to capture what I could for posterity.

Size:3024px x 4032px
Camera Used:Apple - iPhone 11 Pro
Shoot Date:April 14, 2020 8:46 AM
Posted Date:February 3, 2021 5:28 PM