I woke up Sunday morning from my apartment in Manhattan to a flood of text messages from friends and family.
The night before, New York City had erupted in protests, following the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police.
Normally, I take long walks, runs or bike rides around New York on the weekends — to clear my mind and break from working. Even during the coronavirus pandemic. And that looked a lot different this Sunday morning. It even sounded different. It was eerily quiet, albeit the sirens here and there. It seemed as if even the birds were chirping less than normal.
Sidewalks across the SoHo neighborhood, Union Square and Fifth Avenue were covered in broken glass. Multiple police cars had been burnt to nothing but ashes. Stores, including a Duane Reade, Urban Outfitters and Swatch, were looted. Banks were ravaged. An Equinox gym had been broken in to. Graffiti covered retailers' logos up and down some of the glitziest shopping districts, which normally would be hosting a hotbed of tourist activity this time of year.
The New York Police Department has since said it arrested almost 350 people Saturday evening, following protests across parts of Harlem, Brooklyn and Staten Island. NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a press conference held Sunday that more than 30 officers suffered minor injuries due to clashes with demonstrators.
Here are some photos I took around New York City on the morning of Sunday, May 31.
Multiple cop cars were damaged near the New York University campus, around Washington Square Park.
The windows of banks all across the city, including this TD Bank near Union Square, were smashed.
A Duane Reade drug store had been looted.
Graffiti was spread over the entrance to the Victoria's Secret flagship on Fifth Avenue.
This Zara store on Fifth Avenue had been vandalized as well.
There was hardly anything left of this mini cop car sitting on Broadway, outside of Bloomingdale's.
Another van had been set on fire the night before.
This Journeys shoe store on Broadway had been looted. A police officer was inside surveying the damage when I passed by.
This sign, with George Floyd's name along with others', was laying in the window of Journeys.
More stores in the SoHo neighborhood, including the handbag shop Matt & Nat on Lafayette St, were damaged.
A sign in the window read "I Can't Breathe."
A man was boarding up the window of a gelato shop after the glass was busted.