Short Fuse Podcast #52: On Pause — Three Months that Changed New York

By Elizabeth Howard



Episode Summary

In their book On Pause: Three Months That Changed New York, photographer Charlie Bennet and writer Helena Gustavsson combine epic images of New York City’s most famous landmarks — devoid of people — with thematic essays as well as in-depth interviews with New Yorkers. They chronicle a unique period in the life of a metropolis that never sleeps. During the COVID shut down, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared that New York was “on pause.” The city’s deserted avenues, bridges, and train stations became global symbols for what the pandemic was doing to people’s lives.

Episode Notes

Charlie Bennet is a Swedish-born photographer based in New York City. He specializes in still life and lifestyle photography and has worked with editorial and advertising clients such as The New York Times, Nike, and Wallpaper. Bennet has published five books prior to On Pause and has exhibited his work both in the United States and Europe.

Helena Gustavsson is a Swedish journalist based in New York. She reports mainly for Swedish media on politics, social issues, and arts and culture. She has covered two presidential elections and profiled a number of U.S.-based authors, including Salman Rushdie, Siri Hustvedt, and Colson Whitehead. Gustavsson has written several pieces on how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted America and has also interviewed “Sweden’s Dr. Fauci,” Anders Tegnell. Gustavsson lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Elizabeth Howard is the host and the producer of the Short Fuse Podcast. For her, there are no barriers between her life, work, art, and writing. She seeks collaboration, flexibility, spontaneity and responsiveness in the projects she designs and completes. As the host of the Short Fuse podcast she draws individuals into lively and provocative conversations around the arts: dance, theater, literature, music, and film.

Alex Waters is a media producer and editor for the Short Fuse Podcast, a music producer, and Berklee College of Music student. He has written and produced music and edited for podcasts such as The Faith and Chai Podcast and Con Confianza. He produces his own, as well as writes music and records for independent artists such as The Living. Alex lives in Brooklyn. You can reach him with inquiries by emailing

The Short Fuse Podcast is produced by the Arts Fuse. Email:

The Arts Fuse was established in June, 2007 as a curated, independent online arts magazine dedicated to publishing in-depth criticism, along with high quality previews, interviews, and commentaries. The publication’s over 60 freelance critics (many of them with decades of experience) cover dance, film, food, literature, music, television, theater, video games, and visual arts.

A sampling of Charlie Bennet’s photos, courtesy of Helena Gustavsson, from the book On Pause: Three Months That Changed New York.

5th Avenue, NYC


10th Avenue, NYC


Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, NYC.


Bloomingdales, NYC


Bryant Park, NYC


Grand Central Terminal, NYC.

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