There are no yellow cabs now in Manhattan.
The streets are empty with only a few scurrying individuals collecting their groceries, faces all but hidden behind masks. Except the eyes. Darting, accusatory and nervous.
There are no tourists wearing their backpacks, looking lost and filling the horse drawn carriages for an expensive saunter around Central Park. The enterprising men and occasionally women who dance, juggle, sing and leap over each other to make a few bucks from anyone who’ll watch are all gone. … Except one solitary man, who sits just a few yards from Times Square. He has no shoes but wears long, dark shorts and a faded cap, and in his hands he holds an old battered pair of drumsticks. In front of him are a variety of pots, tins and the occasional glass jar. Every single day he is there. He sits and beats out some sounds with a strangely beautiful rhythm. But today he lacks his energy; he is wilting. He has no audience and the street is empty.
In Central Park, parents sharply order their children to walk in single file behind them and curtly step off the path to let others pass. Scarves are quickly lifted to cover strained-looking faces.
There is a solitary helicopter hovering above the edge of the park. There are very few police on the streets, but there is order. Silent queues stretch around the block from the grocery store.
With empty avenues and streets, the true numbers of the homeless are glaringly apparent. Lying on the subway gratings where the warm air blows, in filthy doorways and on the sun-warmed benches around Columbus Circle … anywhere offering some shelter. But without a tourist in sight and few people passing, their opportunities for donations of money, food or cigarettes are limited.
For a few hours each morning in Central Park, dogs are allowed off their leads. They bounce and bound, oblivious to the troubles of the world, simply enjoying their daily freedom, chasing the pigeons and squirrels. It is their same routine every single day without a single care or worry to curtail their fun. Bliss.
Ps What’s it like with you? Is it the same or different? Where are you?