Greenwich Academy Press

The Student News Site of Greenwich Academy

Greenwich Academy Press

Greenwich Academy Press

The City That Has Fallen Asleep


An eerily empty Times Square (Los Angeles Times)

Jalin Reyes ’21, Staff Writer

I think we can all agree that New York City is an amazing place, right? I have endless memories from living in this city for my entire life, memories that have shaped who I am and what I stand for.   I live about fifteen minutes away from Spanish Harlem, or El Barrio, which reminds me every day of my roots as a Puerto Rican woman. El Barrio showcases Puerto Rican culture within its residents, restaurants, museums, colorful street art, and murals. Anyone who visits this neighborhood will experience what our culture is like in real-time, real-life experience. 

Central Park has also played an integral part in my childhood. I’m not sure I can count how many times I have gotten lost here, but I can guess it’s probably at least once for every year I’ve been alive. In Central Park, there’s this place known as the Belvedere Castle. It is absolutely gorgeous, featuring panoramic sights from the viewing deck, which make it more than worth the time spent scaling the tower. 

 Last summer, my friends and I would go to a Pret A Manger nearly every day to grab icy strawberry banana smoothies and sit on the great lawn, staring at the skyscrapers while playing music and laughing at one another. When we were bored later those nights, we would grab a few warm cookies from Insomnia Cookies, a contrast to the cool night air. 

Recently things in this amazing city have changed. About a week ago, my mother shared pictures of how deserted the city looked with me. Everything was closed down, cops stationed on every corner making sure that people respect social distance rules and not a single person outside. While I realize how hard NYC was hit by the Coronavirus pandemic, everything happened so fast that I couldn’t process it. Later, I drove through the city with my parents to examine the city streets for myself.  What I saw was devastating. There were no bikers or pedestrians rushing to get from place to place. There was no traffic and parking was actually easy to find for once, and this time I wasn’t happy about it. 

One image that will reside with me forever is that of an empty Times Square. I felt as if the lights weren’t as bright as they used to be, and we were able to drive through Times Square without stopping every few seconds in traffic. Driving home from the city, I realized that us New Yorkers need to give the city a lot more appreciation and care during this time.

Many people complain about the crowded city streets and public transportation, but how many of us are now stuck home missing the once vibrant life of New York City? I truly miss going to the city and exploring new places as much as anyone else, but we need to recognize that the city needs a quiet moment to breathe and heal. It is crucial that we all work to respect the social distance and stay-at-home orders in place at the moment. We need to help essential workers by wearing our masks and gloves, and only going outside if it is absolutely necessary. I am positive that this bleak time is only momentary, and that we will all be together again soon.

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The City That Has Fallen Asleep