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Photo Exhibit at the JCC Celebrates City's Diversity Through Its Children

By Emily Frost | November 21, 2012 10:48am

UPPER WEST SIDE — A new photo exhibit at the JCC is documenting New York City's diversity, one child at a time.

Photographer Danny Goldfield's exhibit, "NYChildren," is the culmination of an idea that took over almost a decade of his life: to photograph children living in all five boroughs of New York City who hail from from every single country on earth. The ambitious project has led to 169 portraits to date, out of the United Nation's declared list of all the countries on the globe.

"[Danny Goldfield's] photos are incredibly joyous. They're snippets of childhood," described Megan Whitman, director of the Laurie M. Tisch Gallery at the Jewish Community Center on Amsterdam Ave. at 76th Street.

The exhibit, which opened at the gallery on Nov. 17th, runs through Jan. 3. 

This is the 14th time his collection of portraits has gone on display, he said.

"In the beginning, the idea was to get out of my house and meet my neighbors... getting out of my little circle," said Goldfield. 

Goldfield said he favors a grassroots method of meeting people — reaching out to community leaders and getting referred to friends of friends. 

He then spends a whole day with the child and his or her family. "It's like I join the family for a day," he said. 

Goldfield said he hopes the exhibit becomes interactive, with people seeing the posted list of remaining countries, which include Saudi Arabia, Monaco, Samoa, and Palau, among others, and want to help and start thinking about who they know and their neighbors. 

"I'm honored to have [the exhibit] at the JCC," said Goldfield, who said he felt a special connection with families from Jewish countries. 

Goldfield will be present at the official opening on Nov. 27 from 5 to 7 p.m. and will lead a group of children through the exhibit on Nov. 26. 

To encourage engagement, the JCC will be offering free bread samples on Fridays from countries represented in the exhibit. 

"Kids are drawn to photos of other children," said Whitman, who added that the exhibit "fosters the sense that we're all in this together...and the multicultural nature of our city." The inclusive nature of the work matches the JCC's goals as well, she said.

While still on the quest to find children from the remaining countries of the world — including Mauritania, Palau and the United Arab Emirates — Goldfield said he'd soon be embarking on another equally ambitious project for which he's seeking support.

His plan is to find a man and a woman in each state across the U.S. who are over 100.

"I want to explore how mood affects longevity," he said. His goal is also to raise awareness about ways to help older people. He said centenarians are the fastest growing demographic in the U.S.

He plans to find the subjects for his next project with a ride across country on a Harley Davidson motorcycle with a sidecar. Anyone over 70 gets to ride in the sidecar for free, he said.

"No matter what age, people are looking for adventure," said Goldfield.