Empty LA: Scenes from a city under quarantine

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Tourist areas of Los Angeles were empty over the weekend, including this vacant plaza in Chinatown. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.

Los Angeles is a city that pulses with energy; countless cars stream down our freeways, bike lanes bustle with scooters and cyclists, and crowds congregate in our public spaces. But this weekend, the city fell silent. As coronavirus fears and social distancing spread, Los Angeles became a ghost town, an eerie world without people where neighborhoods looked more like vacant movie sets than communities. 

Longtime Los Angeles photojournalist Ted Soqui traversed the city, capturing scenes of solitude in our typically frenetic town.  


Grand Central Market Place with empty seating. Tourists and locals are avoiding the market due to coronavirus fears. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.

Grand Central Market Place with empty seating. Tourists and locals are avoiding the market due to coronavirus fears. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.

Downtown Los Angeles. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.

Customers continue stockpiling bulk supplies and food from Costco in Los Feliz. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.

Shoppers swarm a Costco in Los Feliz. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.

Inside the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. Some international travel was halted by the Trump administration due to coronavirus fears. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.

Inside the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. Some international travel was halted by the Trump administration due to coronavirus concerns. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.

Tourist areas of Los Angeles were empty over the weekend, including this vacant plaza in Chinatown. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.

Urban Lights at LACMA — one of Los Angeles’s top selfie spots — was devoid of visitors. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.

The entrance to The Grove shopping center is empty of guests during a time of increased social distancing. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.

Empty tables and chairs at an LA farmers market. Tourists are not visiting the popular market due to a travel ban and coronavirus fears. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.

The main area of The Beverly Center shopping center is empty of guests due to coronavirus fears. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.
Some stores still opened their doors at the Beverly Center shopping center, but few customers came. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.

Discarded face masks at Los Angeles International Airport. Some international travel was halted by the Trump administration due to coronavirus fears. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.

The L.A.Live courtyard is empty of people due to coronavirus fears. A couple weeks ago, the courtyard was completely full of people mourning the loss of basketball star Kobe Bryant. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.

Grand Central Market Place with empty seating. Tourist and locals are avoiding the market due to coronavirus fears. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.

Shoppers and growers still came out to the Larchmont Village farmers market. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.

A sign reminding shoppers to exercise social distancing at Larchmont Village farmers market. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.

A safety sign instructing people to not touch fruit unless they buy it -- at Larchmont Village farmer market. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.

Strawberries for sale at Larchmont Village farmers market. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.

Activists take over vacant homes owned by CalTrans in El Sereno to house homeless families and help them avoid coronavirus. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.

“Self quarantine in process” sign. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.