On Tuesday, Governor Cuomo and his daughter Mariah announced the winner of the “Wear a Mask” public service announcement campaign as a means of uniting New Yorkers through wearing masks. The state received over 600 submissions of 30-second videos, and five finalists were announced last week. The contest was created to encourage people to discover the importance of wearing masks, from protecting the elderly and first responders to supporting small businesses to protecting the diversity and liveliness of the state. After around 186,000 people voted for their favorite, “We Love New York” by Bunny Lake Films (shown above), a duo of Celine Danhier and Aliya Naumoff) was the winner. “You Can Still Smile” by Blue Slate Films, a female-run production company, was the runner-up. Both the winner and runner-up ads will be used for public service announcements.

“We Love New York” is a compilation of footage and phrases by many New Yorkers from different backgrounds. Opening with photos of iconic New York scenes, the video shifts to photographs of families and essential workers getting through the virus together. The video shows taxi drivers, fruit sellers, restaurant owners, and shopkeepers. People from different backgrounds are all represented in their varieties of masks throughout the city, some exiting the subway while others walking in Central Park. The video ends with people celebrating essential workers and keeping spirits up through music and cheer.

“I love New York, we love New York. We’ve been stuck inside our homes while our everyday heroes have been working overtime,” the winning video says. “For New York to open, and stay open, we all need to do our part and show that we care. Look man, I wear a mask to protect you, you wear a mask to protect me. Let’s all wear masks to stop the spread of coronavirus and save lives. When we show up in our masks, we show up for each other. Show your love for New York because New York loves you.”

The runner-up “You Can Still Smile” is similar to the winner in that it features footage of a variety of New Yorkers in masks. Everyone in the video stares directly into the camera and says who they wear their mask for, ranging from family to essential workers to those who lack healthcare. The ad shows families, couples, and nurses all wearing masks to stop the spread of the virus so that New York can get back to normal.

“I wear a mask for my fellow New Yorkers; my mom who is a healthcare worker; nurses and doctors; for my father; for the marginalized communities who don’t have access to adequate health care; for my children; my community; essential workers; transit workers; the immunocompromised. I wear a mask so we can get back to work; go to school; share a meal; see a movie; hug my friends; dance together; go to the theater; see our families; continue to show support; continue to care for each other; save lives; stay strong.”


The winning video, runner-up, and other finalists can be seen above in this article and on the New York State website, including “We Are Compassion. We Are New York” by Skyline99 Studios, “That Guy” by Plastic Tree Productions, and “Do The Right Thing” by Ian Bell.

Next, join us tonight for the book launch of Wild City: A Brief History of NYC in 40 Animals.