Behind the Scenes of New York Magazine's Star-Studded Cover


| LAST UPDATE 12/11/2022

By Sydney Holder
New York Magazine Cover
Alexander Spatari via Getty Images

It's already challenging to arrange a photo shoot with one famous person, so imagine getting together 72 celebrities for one photoshoot. Well, that's exactly what elite photographer Pelle Cass did for this year's New York Magazine's "Reasons to Love New York" cover. And it was one for the books...

Cass, known for his multi-exposure composed images, took the reigns on one of the most highly anticipated magazine covers of the year, and he did not let us down. Pelle's vision was to gather 72 New Yorkers who truly represent the bustling city, especially after the "return to spontaneity after years of pandemic-driven loss." So, Jody Quonm, New York's photo director, and her team reached out to a massive list of New Yorkers they thought would be perfect for the cover, and in return, ended up with 72 actors, models, entertainers, politicians, and more. So how in the world was this possible?

New York Magazine Cover Em Rata
 Robert Kamau/GC Images via Getty Images
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Cass had a vision, and the vision just came to life. He called for all the participants to "wear color" and meet on the corner of Little West 12th and Washington Street while he positioned himself to stand above the crowd on the famous High Line. Beginning early in the morning, participants arrived checking in at Hector's Cafe before being told where to position themselves on the billion-dollar intersection. Spike Lee walked first and ran off to the airport. Paul Rudd came in with a big smile on his face as he mock-hailed a cab, Chuck Schumer politely shook hands with everyone, Julia Fox arrived in a typical outrageous Julia Fox two-piece outfit, and Em Rata brought her dog and was her glamourous self. Even Tariq the Corn Kid was in attendance.

As the shadows began to overtake the scene, Cass finished up his magic and took his final shots before taking his talents to the editing room. The mastermind photographer carefully combed through 10,912 images in order to produce the iconic New York Magazine cover we have been oh so blessed with, and it took him just 12 (hectic) hours to complete. So not only have we been given 72 reasons why we love New York, we're reminded once again that New York will never be dead, and is, in fact, the city that never sleeps.

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