Part of our weekly series with The Nib
on inequity in the time of pandemic.

Sherry, Bayport, New York
Interviewed May 28 and June 4, 2020

Sherry, leaning against the counter in her large kitchen. Everything is very clean and well-organized—just as you would expect for someone who shows off homes for a living. [see reference video] Her dog looks up at her expectantly. Note: Sherry currently lives alone with her dog (Reference photos in folder) Narration: Sherry Jenks is a real estate broker who works on Long Island, including the Hamptons, an upscale beach resort community. Sherry: When I answer the phone, someone says, how are you? I say, I'm well and extremely grateful. That's the way I'm built. Now more than ever.
Sherry looking down at a framed photo in her hands. Narration: Sherry owns investment properties in the Hamptons but has been living by herself in Bayport during the pandemic. Her two adult children live on their own. Sherry: Sheltering in place on my own and having my children be separate from me, that was very hard on me. I find the lack of physical touch really difficult.
Sherry walking up to a large house [that’s just an example], holding up her phone, starting a walkthrough via Facetime. She’s wearing sunglasses, a flowy shirt, and a summery straw hat. She is wearing a mask and gloves. Sherry [narration]: As a human and a realtor, home has taken on so much more of an intense meaning than it ever has before. Sherry: You ready to start the walkthrough?
Sherry walking around the pool outside the large house, holding up her phone. She’s doing a walkthrough via Facetime. She is wearing a mask and gloves. Sherry [narration]: People are definitely interested in having a spacious property because they don't know if they will be going into public places. This year, the pool was paramount to most tenants. Sherry [speaking]: Here you can see the backyard…
The same house, drawn in miniature, with a pricetag attached to it. It’s rent is priced at $60,000/month. There’s also a drawing and listing for a much smaller property at $1,900 a week. Sherry: The short-term rental market has been extremely busy this year. Because of the pandemic, you had many more New Yorkers looking for something nearby. So those same people who may have in the past gone to Europe, or traveled to other places or taken a cruise, and because they felt that those options were no longer viable there was even more demand to stay local.
A client couple [see reference photo] wearing masks and packing their car outside an NYC building with a doorman with belongings as a Black Lives Matter protest marches by in the street. Sherry: People who were looking to leave the city because of health concerns are also now looking to leave the city because of fear regarding protests.
The same car driving along the quiet, spacious streets of Southampton, past an old-timey sign that says “Welcome to Southampton.” Sherry: And, you know, they're just uncomfortable in the city right now.
Back to Sherry, leaning against the railing of a roof deck. Behind her are stunning sunset colors lighting up a beach. Sherry: What everyone shares is the desire to shelter in place in a safe haven where they can feel joyful despite what's happening. Whether your home is a simple mobile home or something high end, what matters is the feeling that that home gives you.

Interview by Trey Bundy, illustrated by Thi Bui, script by Sarah Mirk and Amanda Pike.

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Trey Bundy is a former reporter for Reveal, covering youth. After beginning his career at the San Francisco Chronicle, he joined The Bay Citizen, where he covered child welfare, juvenile justice, education and crime. His work also has appeared in The New York Times, SF Weekly, The Huffington Post, the PBS NewsHour, Planet magazine and other news outlets. He has won three awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2009, he won the national Hearst Journalism Award for article of the year. Bundy has a bachelor's degree in journalism from San Francisco State University. He is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.

Thi Bui was born in Vietnam and came to the United States in 1978 as part of the "boat people" wave of refugees fleeing Southeast Asia at the end of the Vietnam War. Her debut graphic memoir, The Best We Could Do (Abrams ComicArts, 2017) has been selected for an American Book Award, a Common Book for UCLA and other colleges and universities, an all-city read by Seattle and San Francisco public libraries, a National Book Critics Circle finalist in autobiography, and an Eisner Award finalist in reality-based comics. It made over thirty best of 2017 book lists, including Bill Gates' top five picks. She illustrated the picture book, A Different Pond, written by the poet Bao Phi (Capstone, 2017), for which she won a Caldecott Honor. With her son, Hien, she co-illustrated the children’s book, Chicken of the Sea (McSweeney’s, 2019), written by Pulitzer winner Viet Thanh Nguyen and his son, Ellison. Her short comics can be found online at Reveal News, The Nib, PEN America, and BOOM California. She is currently researching and drawing a work of graphic nonfiction about immigrant detention and deportation, to be published by One World, Random House.

Sarah Mirk (she/her) was a digital engagement producer for Reveal. Since 2017, she has worked as an editor at The Nib, an online daily comics publication focused on political cartoons, graphic journalism, essays and memoirs about current affairs. She works with artists to create nonfiction comics on a variety of complex topics, from personal narratives about queer identities to examinations of overlooked history. Before that, Mirk was the online editor of national feminist media outlet Bitch, a podcast host and a local news reporter. She is also the author of several books, including “Year of Zines,” a collection of 100 handmade zines, and “Guantanamo Voices,” a collection of illustrated oral histories of the world’s most infamous prison.

Amanda Pike (she/her) is the director of the TV and documentary department and executive producer of films and series at Reveal. Under her leadership, The Center for Investigative Reporting garnered its first Academy Award nomination and four national Emmys, among other accolades. She was the executive producer of the inaugural year of the Glassbreaker Films initiative, supporting women in documentary filmmaking and investigative journalism. She has spent the past two decades reporting and producing documentaries for PBS, CBS, ABC, National Geographic, A&E, Lifetime and The Learning Channel, among others. Subjects have ranged from militia members in Utah to young entrepreneurs in Egypt and genocide perpetrators in Cambodia. Pike also has dabbled in fiction filmmaking, producing the short film “On the Assassination of the President,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. She is a graduate of Princeton University and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. She is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.