The streets weren’t vacant, and the sidewalks weren’t deserted. That was my first observation as my brother cranked the music and merged onto the highway, while outside our safe automobile bubble stretched the world under a stay-at-home order.
We were headed into the city, the identity of which should already be pretty clear if you’re from Illinois. I live in Evanston, a suburb whose geography gives unique access to and perspective on the effects of the pandemic. Evanston directly borders Chicago, but sits within easy access to very suburban and even rural areas. Forty-five minutes to an hour both into the city and out to the deep suburbs, with us smack dab in the middle.
That’s how my brother and I ended up making the inbound drive (in just half an hour!), armed with fresh eyes and a camera.
I witnessed a lot of emptiness, but also glimmers of life. From dense construction to empty train stations, from basketball hoops with the rims removed to taped off playgrounds, from neon-clad essential workers to aimless walkers with nowhere to go; peruse through this collection of photos and see what you find in the Midwest’s big stay-at-home city.
Contact Sarah Bloom at snbloom ‘at’ stanford.edu.
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