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Image / Editorial

These photos of #emptystreets are a poignant reminder that we’re all in this together


by Megan Burns
20th Apr 2020
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With cities around the world sitting eerily empty during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s a reminder of the power of a collective human effort


During this pandemic, it has been easy to get caught up in our own worries, and how our individual lives have been affected. Yes, news reports will give us updates on how other countries are coping, but sometimes a powerful photo is the best way to remember that we are all part of a collective effort to prevent the spread of this virus.

The hashtag #emptystreets is filled with beautifully poignant images of cities around the world, with the difference that they are eerily empty. Devoid of tourists, the few people who live in the centre of these cities suddenly find themselves the only ones there, and are sharing photos of the deserted streets. Recognisable locations and buildings that we have never seen without hoards of people suddenly stand alone, as cities around the world have urged people to stay at home.

While there is a sadness to these photos, they are also hopeful, in demonstrating the unprecedented changes to their lives people across the world are enacting together. They’re also a lovely way to reminisce about the places you’ve travelled to, as well as the places that are on your list to see once this is all over.

Paris

As the second most visited city in the world last year, with over 19 million visitors, it’s usually impossible to see any of Paris’s sights without crowds of people in all your snaps. These photos show that it’s a different story during lockdown, however, as Parisians are not allowed out except to buy food or essentials, visit the doctor or to do certain jobs.

New York

With over 8 million inhabitants and an incredibly high population density, as well as being a popular tourist destination, New York always seems to be bursting at the seams with people. That’s why the images of its empty streets are perhaps some of the most astounding, as its residents shelter in place.

Berlin

One of Germany’s best-known landmarks, it’s usually difficult to get a photograph of this monument without several people in it, despite the huge area in front of it. Although Germany has begun to ease its restrictions, with small shops and schools set to open, it will be a long time before the crowds of tourists return here.

Moscow

This post shows a street in Russia during the pandemic, and also during the FIFA World Cup that Russia hosted in 2018, showing a stark contrast between the crowds then and the deserted scene today.

Dresden

This German city is known for its beautiful Baroque architecture, which is all the more obvious when the streets are emptied of people.

Chicago

America’s third most populous city, the skyscrapers of Chicago somehow look bigger against streets devoid of people and traffic.

Lisbon

A city that has become a booming destination in the last few years, particularly among Irish tourists, its streets are usually packed with people, especially coming into the warmer months. This photo shows the difference the pandemic has caused.

Florence

The narrow streets of Florence are usually very busy, especially in this area around the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, but this picture shows a stark contrast.

Milan

As northern Italy has been severely affected by the coronavirus, the streets of Milan are understandably deserted, with strict restrictions.

Amsterdam

Another tourist favourite, the picturesque streets lining the canals of of Amsterdam are unusually quiet.

Prague

One of Prague’s most recognisable pieces of architecture, the Charles Bridge looks different without the bustling crowds of people walking over it.

Featured image: @lucasvinois

 


Read more: Coronavirus: Minister for Health Simon Harris warns becoming complacent could be ‘fatal’

Read more: ‘I’ve embraced doing (almost) nothing during quarantine – but it hasn’t turned out as I hoped’

Read more: The world’s best online art galleries right now

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