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Normally, Anish Kapoor’s famous sculpture Cloud Gate, aka “The Bean,” is one of Chicago’s biggest draws. But coronavirus has seen it closed to visitors.
Normally, Anish Kapoor’s famous sculpture Cloud Gate, aka “The Bean,” is one of Chicago’s biggest draws. But coronavirus has seen it closed to visitors.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times

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PHOTOS: Coronavirus leaves normally bustling downtown Chicago a ghost town

Surveying downtown Chicago, Sun-Times photographer Ashlee Rezin Garcia found surreal scenes. And no one can say just now how long things will remain like this.

It’s an eerie quiet.

The Loop is usually a-buzz with people, cars, commerce, life.

But now the coronavirus pandemic is keeping millions of us in our homes.

The number of people on a downtown Chicago sidewalk on Madison Street near State Street during a normally bustling weekday morning commute this past week: zero.

The number of pigeons: one.

Stores on the Magnificent Mile sit dark. The past few mornings saw a few shoppers along North Michigan Avenue, many in face masks. But instead of Macy’s bags or designer goods, they carried Walgreens bags filled with Lysol and toilet paper.

Surveying downtown Chicago, Sun-Times photographer Ashlee Rezin Garcia found surreal scenes. And no one can say just now how long things will remain like this.

A man wearing a face mask walks through a nearly empty Daley Plaza shortly after 8 a.m. on a foggy weekday morning.
A man wearing a face mask walks through a nearly empty Daley Plaza shortly after 8 a.m. on a foggy weekday morning.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times
There’s almost no traffic and few pedestrians on LaSalle Street near Madison Street in the Loop shortly before noon on Wednesday.
There’s almost no traffic and few pedestrians on LaSalle Street near Madison Street in the Loop shortly before noon on Wednesday.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times
Welcome to a near-barren Loop sidewalk on State Street at Madison Street during a weekday lunch hour post-pandemic shutdowns.
Welcome to a near-barren Loop sidewalk on State Street at Madison Street during a weekday lunch hour post-pandemic shutdowns.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times
Number of people on a downtown Chicago sidewalk on Madison Street near State Street during a normally bustling weekday morning commute early in the pandemic: zero. Number of pigeons: one.
Number of people on a downtown Chicago sidewalk on Madison Street near State Street during a normally bustling weekday morning commute: zero. Number of pigeons: one.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times
A woman has the crosswalk to herself at Washington and Clark streets outside City Hall at noon on a weekday thanks to coronavirus.
A woman has the crosswalk to herself at Washington and Clark streets outside City Hall at noon on a weekday thanks to coronavirus.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times
Columbia Sportswear, Uniqlo, H&M and Verizon on North Michigan Avenue all sit closed around noon Thursday.
Columbia Sportswear, Uniqlo, H&M and Verizon on North Michigan Avenue all sit closed around noon Thursday.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times
The sidewalk on North Wabash Avenue at Washington Street was so empty on a weekday morning that there was plenty of room to sit down without fear of getting in the way of pedestrians.
The sidewalk on North Wabash Avenue at Washington Street was so empty on a weekday morning that there was plenty of room to sit down without fear of getting in the way of pedestrians.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times
A lone pedestrian walks past the closed Neiman Marcus store at 737 N. Michigan Ave.
A lone pedestrian walks past the closed Neiman Marcus store at 737 N. Michigan Ave.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times
Federal Plaza sits empty on a usually busy weekday morning.
Federal Plaza sits empty on a usually busy weekday morning.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times
A man wearing a face mask has the sidewalk nearly to himself on a usually packed Michigan Avenue near Madison Street shortly after 8 a.m. Thursday.
A man wearing a face mask has the sidewalk nearly to himself on a usually packed Michigan Avenue near Madison Street shortly after 8 a.m. Thursday.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times
A message board outside the Lyric Opera of Chicago, which has canceled performances of Wagner’s “Ring” cycle, urges people to “stay healthy” and promises, “We’ll be back.”
A message board outside the Lyric Opera of Chicago, which has canceled performances of Wagner’s “Ring” cycle, urges people to “stay healthy” and promises, “We’ll be back.”
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times
Amid fears of the coronavirus pandemic, a man has a CTA bus stop all to himself on Madison Street near State Street in the Loop shortly after 8 a.m. during a foggy morning commute on Thursday, March 19, 2020.
A man has a CTA bus stop all to himself on Madison Street near State Street in the Loop shortly after 8 a.m. during a foggy morning commute on Thursday.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times

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