How New York Breaks Your Heart

Bill Hayes. Bloomsbury, $25 (160p) ISBN 978-1-63557-085-4
Photographer Hayes (Insomniac City: New York, Oliver and Me) offers a photographic love letter to New York City and its people that is sparse in text but loaded with images and feeling. Through his evocative photographs of individuals—many of whom are seen alone on park benches or streets, while others hang out with friends, lovers, family members, and coworkers—Hayes succinctly and sensitively traces what he has identified as the stages of falling in love with New York and getting one’s heart broken by it. A man in a suit walking down the street wearing an expression of meditative bliss is accompanied by the caption, “You begin to forget the sorrow that brought you to New York in the first place.” Several pages later, Hayes writes, “And the love you feel for the city becomes the love you have for another man,” next to a snap of his recently deceased husband, Oliver Sacks, on a visit to a botanical garden. With every photo, Hayes captures the casual intimacy of his subjects with their natural habitat to show what’s most heartwarming about the city: the rare, diverse, and vital spirit of the people in it. The book’s cover photograph of a young couple in a park—one with her eyes closed cradled in her lover’s arms—is also the book’s closing image. It is the perfect conclusion to Hayes’s affecting portrait of the city’s vibrant people, and the social and solitary effect of living among them. Color photos. (Feb. )
Reviewed on: 10/16/2017
Release date: 02/13/2018
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