New book shows mesmerizing lockdown photos of an empty NYC

'New York Stilled Life' captures a surreal city at the height of the pandemic.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan
Senior National News Editor
The ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center
Photograph: Gregory J. PetersonThe ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center

It's hard to believe that, in just a month, it will have been two years since that infamous day in March, when state-wide lockdown measures were imposed. With businesses closed and citizens cooped up in their apartments, the city had never felt so still.

That is the exact mood that New York Stilled Life, a new photography book by Gregory Peterson, captures. 

Peterson, a native New Yorker and corporate lawyer by profession, took an evening stroll in mid-March and, upon coming face-to-face with an empty Lincoln Center, he took it upon himself to visit the city's top cultural destinations on his bike and snap photos of each one of them—completely devoid of people.

The result is an almost eerie book, a reminder of the sadness and heartbreak that we've all been through but, in a way, also a hopeful message: the worst is, hopefully, behind us. 

In total, Peterson snapped over 400 photographs across more than 200 locations. Below, a selection of them, and here is a link to New York Stilled Life, now available for sale.

Bethesda Fountain Plaza from west staircase, Central Park
Photograph: Gregory J. PetersonBethesda Fountain Plaza from west staircase, Central Park
Columbus Monument
Photograph: Gregory J. PetersonColumbus Monument
Foley Square
Photograph: Gregory J. PetersonFoley Square
Grand Central Terminal and 42nd Street
Photograph: Gregory J. PetersonGrand Central Terminal and 42nd Street
Guggenheim Museum
Photograph: Gregory J. PetersonGuggenheim Museum
One Liberty Plaza
Photograph: Gregory J. PetersonOne Liberty Plaza
Saint John the Divine
Photograph: Gregory J. PetersonSaint John the Divine
United Nations
Photograph: Gregory J. PetersonUnited Nations
Winter Garden, Brookfield Place
Photograph: Gregory J. PetersonWinter Garden, Brookfield Place
Lincoln Center
Photograph: Gregory J. PetersonLincoln Center

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