For 20-plus years, photojournalist Andrew Theodorakis has covered historical events in New York City — from Super Bowls to natural disasters — but he’s never seen anything quite like this before.
This Tuesday, the former Daily News staffer and current Greater Long Island TV contributor headed to Manhattan to see the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, New York state is the epicenter of the virus, topping 100,000 cases as of Friday morning.
He went the day after the USNS Comfort, a 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship, arrived in the New York harbor.
Theodorakis described the scene of the “City That Never Sleeps” in one word: eerie.
“I didn’t expect it to be that empty,” he told GreaterPortJeff. “It’s weird to walk into Times Square and see no one.”
The Stony Brook native arrived in the city around 6 a.m. His mission was to capture the city’s typically populated areas during rush hour.
The Brooklyn Bridge is a place you can normally find bumper-to-bumper traffic during your commute to the city. That morning, he cruised across the bridge with ease, spotting more birds in the sky than joggers on its walkway.
Other places such as the New York Stock Exchange, Penn Station, and World Trade Center were all ghost towns.
“The city could be empty at night, I’ve seen that working overnights,” he said. “But I’ve never seen Grand Central without anybody at 2 p.m.”
It was especially emotional for the Ward Melville graduate when he stopped by the make-shift 68-bed hospital in Central Park.
“There were many volunteers working really hard,” he said. “It was inspiring in that aspect.”
Theodorakis hopes his project will have a far-reaching impact on the nation.
“I want the people across the country to see what’s going on,” he said.
You can watch the professional filmmaker’s video above.