Gallery: When a workday afternoon looks like early Sunday in ghostly downtown Detroit

March 17, 2020, 5:54 PM by  Alan Stamm

Woodward Avenue is empty in the middle of a weekday afternoon. Seven more haunting scenes are below.
Photos: Michael Lucido)

It's almost like some kind of unfestive new holiday that lasts indefinitely, one where we can't worship together, clink group toasts or gather around a large table. There are no hymnals, special recipes or traditional rituals.

There's just FaceTime, Skype, Zoom and Google Hangouts, plus extra time for reading, streaming, baking and solo exercise -- which may start to feel stale before the crocuses bloom. 

Settle in for CoronaNormal, an uncharted voyage we share together, but apart.

"We watch the world unfold from our living rooms on laptops, and tablets, and phones," columnist Lindsay Crouse writes Tuesday at The New York Times. Those of us who are lucky enough to be able to stay home simply wait here, as instructed, to find out what happens next. . . . But the biggest void is connection."

Isolation is eerily real in downtown Detroit, where near-empty streets look ready for a dystopian drama or a throwback film set in the city four decades ago.

Deadline Detroit photographer Michael Lucido focused Tuesday on the stillness around Campus Martius and a business district stripped of workweek activity. No vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists or scooter riders got in his way, sadly.

Impromptu paper signs -- some stylish, some slapdash -- hang on the locked doors of restaurants forced to shut a day earlier for the safety of workers, patrons and everyone they come in contact with in the time of COVID-19. The one at Bird & Bee, a locally owned boutique on Griswold Street, says: "Thank you for understanding and stay healthy!" Avalon Bakery's notice mentions "this difficult time." Calexico restaurant proclaims: "Together we will previal."

That's the spirit of Detroit and these are scenes from its temporarily stripped streets downtown.

Photos by Michael Lucido

Riderless bikes and scooters add to the where-is-everyone vibe.
Greektown also is deserted. "Is dowwtown safe," outsiders still sometimes ask. Here's a sad answer.
A solitary construction worker has Griswold Street to himself at the Penobscot Building.
No traffic congestion where Lafayette Boulevard meets Michigan Avenue and Griswold Street.
Idle scooters stand as symbols of life in the time of Coronavirus.
Main thoroughfare or bowling alley?
Greektown sleeps . . . and for how long?
All the amazing art at the DIA, but no one there to see it.


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Photo Of The Day 

Potd_img_5271_561 Peaceful protest in front of the Manoogian Mansion in downtown Detroit last night

By: Michael Lucido