Check out my photography website notmydayjobphotography.com for photos of New York City during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantine lockdown. The hustle and bustle of large crowds are the trademark of New York, and witnessing the city devoid of people during this historic and frightful period is bizarre. By my walking journeys for two recent Saturdays, residents are adhering to social distancing directives in places generally impassable such as Times Square and Grand Central Station.
Times Square is one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions, with an estimated 50 million visitors annually with 460,000 on its busiest days. Not so recently with the lockdown. A few Saturdays ago, I was able to walk down Broadway in front of the iconic ball drop building (One Times Square) without encountering much traffic. With no Broadway shows and shops open, there was not much going on. There were a few people, maybe to take in the historic lack of people on a normally bustling day. Duffy Square, where the TKTS booth is located, was vacant and caged off with a single security officer patrolling. Check out the contrast between Times Square in the photos below with the color version from 2011.
I walked down Fifth Avenue last Saturday, and it was as deserted as Times Square with all shops closed. I was able to take photos in the middle of the street, something unthinkable in March. I passed by Rockefeller Center, which had a fence in front to keep people away from the plaza and restaurant where the ice skating rink is located in the winter. Sometimes I could not see another person; an eerie calm in a usually jammed location.
I have always wanted to photograph Grand Central Station without people and anticipated that I would need to show up at 3 am in normal times to capture the grand station. Visiting last week on a Saturday mid-morning, there were only about five people in the sweeping concourse at any time. Virtually alone, one can gain a robust appreciation of the spectacular architecture and lines the building presents.
Originally from Kansas, I moved to New York for of the boundless energy the city offers. Settled in, I quickly embraced the tradition of complaining about the city, particularly the frenzied crowds. Going through this tragedy, I will never again whine about the congestion of New York City, and will concentrate my ire on the hapless sports teams.