B&W Portraits Capture the Beautifully Diverse Lives of Muslims in New York

Muslim in New York - Museum of the City of New York

Robert Gerhardt, “NYPD Traffic Officer at Prayers, Park 51,” Manhattan, New York, 2012.

The Museum of the City of New York joins a growing list of institutions making a statement about the immigration ban via cultural programming. Opening February 18, the exhibition Muslim in New York explores how essential the Muslim community is to New York's culture.

With an estimated 270,000 Muslims calling New York home, the photographers in the exhibition show all facets of Islamic life in the city. “This special installation comes at a time when the place of immigrants from Muslim-majority countries is being scrutinized, and even challenged, on a national level,” museum director Whitney Donhauser explains.

The 34 images by photographers Ed Grazda, Mel Rosenthal, Robert Gerhardt, and Alexander Alland date from 1940 to present day. One iconic image, Robert Gerhardt's photograph of a Muslim police officer in prayer at Park51—a Manhattan Islamic community center often called “Gound Zero mosque”—is a standout. “I was the first photographer allowed to photograph that mosque,” the photographer recalls, “mostly because I was the only one who had ever asked.”

Within the photographs, diverse Muslims' communities are shown beyond stereotypes. They are children playing games, proud mothers, police officers, and graduates. Collectively, they serve as a reminder of how much the Muslim community has enriched New York.

Muslim in New York will be on view at the Museum of the City of New York from February 18, 2017.

Muslim in New York muslim community

Robert Gerhardt, “Young Basketball Player in the Park before Friday Prayers,” Brooklyn, New York, 2011.

Muslims in New York - Museum of the City of New York

Mel Rosenthal, “Iraqi Muslim Girl in English as a Second Language Class,” 1999.

Muslims in New York - Museum of the City of New York

Ed Grazda, “Prayer before Muslim Day Parade, Manhattan, NY” ca 1995

Muslims in New York - Museum of the City of New York

Robert Gerhardt, “Pakistani American Children Playing Cricket in the Park, Brooklyn, NY,” 2011.

Muslims in New York - Museum of the City of New York

Mel Rosenthal, “B & B Electronics Store Owner with children, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn,” 1999.

Muslim in New York - Museum of the City of New York

Alexander Alland, “Turkish American children at table with workbooks,” ca. 1940.

Muslims in New York - Museum of the City of New York

Mel Rosenthal, “The Graduate,” 1999

Muslim in New York - Museum of the City of New York

Mel Rosenthal, “Palestinian woman with American flag,” ca 2001

Muslim in New York - Museum of the City of New York

Ed Grazda, “Afghan Muslims Eid al-Adha Celebration, Flushing Queens, NY,” 1998

Muslims in New York - Museum of the City of New York

Mel Rosenthal, “Debbie Almontaser with photograph of son Yousif,” 2001

Muslims in New York - Museum of the City of New York

Mel Rosenthal, “Filmmakers,” 1999.

Museum of the City of New York: Website | Facebook | Instagram
h/t: [Huffington Post]

All images via the Museum of the City of New York and the photographers.

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.

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