A small walk through the vacant streets of downtown Denver during a pandemic

posted in: Colorado Life, Photography | 0

On Easter Sunday in Denver during the pandemic when everyone is under “Stay at Home” orders, it was also snowy, cold, and overcast. Overall nasty. I was feeling particularly cooped up and pretty down from the shit weather and general stresses of the pandemic. So I choose to dust off a neglected hobby of mine – photography. (These were taken with my Sony A7RIII w/ 100-400GM and 24-105G lenses by hand)

I broke the stay at home order (but focused on keeping clear social distancing and not actually interacting with anyone or anything) and drove downtown. I parked and then walked a couple miles through the deserted streets of Denver with my camera and snapped a few pics while taking in the silence and eeriness that was a deserted downtown on a cold and lonely day.

Larimer Square was decorated with good spirited banners encouraging Denver to stick it out, and thanking the front line workers who are keeping things moving while we all hide at home. Various people were driving to the square to get take out food from a few of the open businesses.

Union Station is still functioning as a transit hub, and I believe Amtrak is still operating so there were a sparse number of people around there, but still very desolate, and silent.

The 16th street mall was nothing like it normally is. The mall buses are gone, the people are gone, the businesses are boarded up and dark. The chess players are no where to be found, but there was still a pretty mixed population milling around on the mall and the streets around it. I saw a dramatically reduced homeless population/footprint on the mall than normal, but I did still turn the corner and run into a group smoking meth in the doorway of a closed business, so not that far off.

Other businesses near the LoDo/Ballpark areas, and right off of 16th Street mall were boarded up to protect their windows, and some had signs clearly stating they had no money, booze, or beer onsite anymore. Most of these will hopefully remove the wood and reopen, but it was a stark reminder of how the business have cleared out for the duration.

I was thinking that this is unprecedented, and there hopefully wont be many times to see a major city like this completely locked down so I wanted to capture some images of it before we slowly return to a more normal flow of life. I am pondering going at night some day coming up to capture what the city looks like abandoned under the lights, but I am weighting the risks of also being in a largely abandoned city with the only people lurking at that time people you probably don’t want to be hanging out with (especially with thousands of dollars in camera gear slung off you).

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