Walking through an empty Chicago – a photojournal

Right now, COVID cases are exploding across the country. The percentage of people who are testing positive is skyrocketing in many states.

California has rolled back its reopening. Health systems in Texas and Arizona are preparing for the morgues to run out of capacity.

And, teachers are writing wills as school looms ever nearer. Things seem exceptionally bleak just now.

When things were at their worst here in Chicago — and the city was essentially on lockdown — I would take long walks around downtown, which I’ve called home for almost 30 years.

I love living downtown. I love the energy, the people, the feeling of things happening.

All of that had disappeared, almost overnight.

But it did allow me to take some pictures of our breathtaking city, free of the visual clutter of crowds and traffic. And this brought a little bit of cheer in an otherwise dark time.

The spirit of the city and the solidarity I felt while being “alone together” gave me hope, and in a strange way, brought comfort in my isolation.

Here are some of the images I captured on my socially-distanced solo walks. I hope they lift your spirits a little today.

When was the last time you saw no one at all in the reflection of Cloud Gate (more famously, “The Bean”)? On a bright summer day? Never.
No boats on the river? No kayakers? No cars crossing the bridges? Unheard of.


The proud lions in front of the Art Institute of Chicago.


The sign in front of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, shuttered until January. This picture was taken during the protests over the killing of George Floyd.


All of the bridges standing at attention across the Chicago River. For context, the bridges are up to prevent Black Lives Matters protesters from congregating downtown.


The marquee of the Chicago Theatre.

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