COVID-19: The neighborhood as seen on two wheels

High school junior Arjun Govind took to the streets last month on a CitiBike to film the empty city, and produced this moving video of the neighborhood’s streets and scenes.

Arjun is in the technical theater department at LaGuardia, but his interest in film was developed in middle school at Salk, where he took the Manhattan Youth filmmaking class after school and then their summer program in filmmaking at PS 89. “That’s where my passion for filmmaking really started, by learning the fundamentals in those classes.” (He lives in Gateway and went to PS 150.)

He shot the whole thing with an iPhone 8 held in one hand and the handlebars in the other. He spent a week scouting his shots, then a week filming, shooting six hours of footage that he then had to distill into five minutes. The hospital at the end is Elmhurst in Queens — the epicenter of the virus. He rode a train out there so he could get the full story of the city during the pandemic.

He credited the idea to YouTuber and Battery Park City resident Casey Neistat, who made a similar video during Hurricane Sandy. (I’ve included that one below since it’s worth watching if you care to go back to that last trauma.) But Arjun’s is more artful, with no standup or voiceover. “Once I got home and started putting it together, it already had a unique quality and I knew that was the best way to do it.” The film also made its way to California, and KTVU did a segment on it and his life at home.

For now he’s catching up on homework after that two-week break, taking AP tests online and prepping for finals that start next week. Then, maybe, another film. Working title: “Reopening.”



  1. This is amazing. Great job Arjun.

  2. what a powerful film about a specific part of our city’s history. I was not expecting to get emotional, but did. good job!

  3. Wow, blown away.

  4. This is really beautiful, thanks Arjun for sharing this with us!

  5. Arjun,

    Beautiful work.

  6. Wonderfully put together!

  7. Arjun!

    You’ve done beautiful work here.
    You’ve captured what so many of us feel as we walk the streets of our beloved city.
    Good luck in your future endeavors!

  8. Include his short film in the TriBeCa Film Festival.

  9. Thank you for a thoughtful and beautiful tribute to NY.

  10. Wow…I got very emotional over this.…simply amazing Arjun…bravo!

  11. Very beautiful documentary. Amazing Arjun.

  12. very cool film. good luck to this talented kid

  13. Wonderful. Congratulations Arjun!

  14. Poignant and professional Arjun.
    Thank you.