Today I will show you what New York City looks like during the coronavirus pandemic.
I flew to New York City on February 2, 2020. I came in for important castings and for meetings with my agency and clients. There was news about the spread of the Coronavirus in China and then its spread in Europe (particularly the devastation in Italy) and I realised more and more that it will eventually reach New York.
In the beginning I listened to the news all day long and I was very worried about being infected. I got even more worried when the number of infections in New York City began to skyrocket and eventually topped as a „hot spot” for coronavirus infections. As recommended, I self quarantined myself in my apartment and did not leave for 45 days. During quarantine, I only went outside 5 times in order to buy food while wearing a face mask and gloves. Since then, as recommended by local policy, I have gone outside for walks a few times a week. Of course I made sure to maintain social distancing and wear a face cover.
See what New York City looks like during the quarantine!
I am taking you today to the places in New York City that are usually full of people, but are now almost empty.
In New York City everyone is allowed to go outside but are required to maintain social distancing (about 6 feet from the other person) and wear a face covering.
One of my favorite places – Times Square. I really like coming here because there are always so many people here! It is here where you feel how New York City is teeming with life. This place always gave me a lot of energy! Now that it’s totally empty, I realize that how I always envision New York City. When I was there a few days ago I felt sad and I didn’t want to be there any longer. The only thing that makes me happy are the beautiful spring flowers.
Normally there are a lot of taxis on this street! There were always traffic jams and taxis honking their horns! You would always try to avoid this place because of the crowds. Now, all I see is empty streets, stores and sidewalks …
All stores are closed because of Covid – 19. Some stores have not even changed the sign on the door to inform customers that the store will be closed longer than expected…
Shopping during COVID 19
I will never forget the first week they announced that the number of people infected with coronavirus New York City is rising quickly and officials were worried there were sufficient hospital beds and ventilators. The atmosphere was very tense! Everyone was panicked and rushed to the supermarkets to stock up on basic supplies. Nobody knew what would happen, what awaited us … Everyone wanted to be prepared for the worst and very soon the supermarket shelfs for many supplies very left empty. I remember the day I went shopping at Whole Foods Market on 14th Street. The check out line was so long and I stood there for almost an hour! See how the grocery shelves looked at the very beginning …
This is one photo from the pasta department but it was the same for all the basic supplies. I was so overwhelmed that I just wanted to finish quickly and leave the store to get back home.
Initially the check out lines at the grocery stores were extremely long and later changes were made so that only a certain number of people could enter the store at a time. The rest had to wait outside for their turn.
After entering the store, you had to sanitize your hands with antibacterial fluid. There was no exception, even if you had rubber gloves on.
It was also very difficult to find toilet paper in stores …
Stores were quickly sold out on antibacterial gel, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, antibacterial wipes or wet cloths to clean hands and countertops!
There were also lines in stores that you were not allowed to cross while waiting in line to check out. You had to always maintain distance from other customers.
The streets were totally empty, and if someone else was walking in your direction, both would then walk away so that they were not passing each other closely. It felt very strange.
Here is the view from my window. There is practically no living soul. I must add that every morning during quarantine I had the impression that I am not in New York City because it was so quiet outside.
Grand Central Station
One day I went for a walk passed Grand Central Station and decided to take a look inside.
On the way to Grand Central I passed many streets that were eerily empty.
When I went inside, I was shocked at how empty and quiet this huge station is. Usually is full of people rushing to make it to their trains on time. There was nobody… except two people.
This silence was terrifying, a place that is usually so full of energy and activity was totally lifeless.
The ticket counters were closed since the trains that usually run through the station were cancelled. The information about closing dates had not been renewed.
Only the subway in NYC was still running (with 90% less riders). For the first time in history it was closed for 5 hours at night in order for the trains to be disinfected.
Soho is a perfect example of how retail stores have been closed. Many popular brands like Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren and Coach closed their stores and boarded up the store front windows in order to prevent possible burglaries. Only supermarkets and pharmacies were open for customers and some restaurants for take-out or deliveries.
Soho is right in the center of New York City and is a very popular shopping destination for fashion stores and boutiques. There are always many fashionable people walking around and tourists snapping pictures, and now its strangely empty. I feel heart broken when I see such an empty city – the life of New York City literally died.
The streets of the West Village are very similar to Soho. I would even say that its actually quieter than any place else in New York City. Its a very residential neighborhood and most families stayed at home. All playgrounds were closed and some of the parks. A very popular place to stroll among nature, the High Line was shut down with no further notice.
Everyone is extremely worried about the current situation. You can see more and more that people are wearing protective gear and worrying about their safety.
Some may have gone a little too far! 😉
The ride from anywhere in Manhattan to Central Park does not take too long these days. There are no traffic jams because the streets are empty.
On the way to the Central Park, I saw that literally everything is closed.
Restaurants, stores, offices, churches, cinemas were all closed with signs notifying customers that they will be shut down until further notice… Some restaurants have remained open but only for take out and delivery (e.g. Seamless, Uber Eats, etc).
I have to admit that the people of New York are complying with the new requirements. Everyone maintains the right distance and has a mask on.
If you want to read more about how I spent the day in Central Park click here.
We are all going through a very difficult time right now. Each of us experiences it in a different way. I miss the noise that gave life to NYC very much – taxis, buses, road works and people on the streets. I used to be annoyed by these noises and now its what I miss most. Probably because I just want to feel that everything will be returning to normal.
There is no perfect antidote for how to remain calm and not panic during these difficult times. We are all different from one another. The only thing we can do now is be positive, believe that soon everything will return to normal. It can’t go on forever.
I am very grateful to all the doctors, healthcare professional and essential workers that go to work each day risking their lives in order to save us. Great applause for them for everything they have done and do for us so far.