PHOTOS: ‘Washington Alone’ documents DC sites during the pandemic

April 30, 2020

Courtesy Kevin Brennan

Those who live in the D.C. area would normally avoid the monuments on a sunny day during tourist season. But with stay-at-home orders and social distancing in place due to the coronavirus, one D.C. man took the opportunity to capture the iconic sites of the nation’s capital, which have taken on a quiet and eerie beauty.

Before the stay-at-home orders, lobbyist and consultant Kevin Brennan, would bike to work from his Northwest home to his office at Bluebird Strategies in downtown D.C. The commute was 20 miles round trip.

See more of Brennan’s photos on his website Washington Alone.

The last time he was in the office was March 12.

“Once I settled into this new work-from-home experience, I realized that I was going to go crazy if I didn’t continue to exercise in some form,” Brennan said.

It was around the first day in quarantine that he decided to get up really early before people were out on the trail and try to recreate his bike commute in the morning.

“That way I’d get that exercise out of the way,” he said.

He started with his usual route from the Capital Crescent Trail, then Georgetown, the White House. Then he mixed it up and went to the U.S. Capitol and the Supreme Court. He even ventured to Virginia, where he encountered some closures and police at Arlington National Cemetery stopped him.

During his early morning rides, he took selfies to send to his friends, showing the empty streets and vacant sites once teeming with people.

“It feels like I have the city all to myself,” Brennan said.

Despite the strangeness of seeing an empty city, Brennan said it’s very peaceful, serene and restorative.

“You realize very quickly that there’s a reason for that, and the reason is obviously very depressing as far as you know — the pandemic and how this has affected so many people,” Brennan said.

Brennan said that he hopes something like the pandemic that forces the country to stay at home and leaves all these places so empty never happens again.

“But it’s been very special for me to have an opportunity to take advantage of that solitude and quiet to enjoy this and then take these photographs to document these scenes.”

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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