Freeze Frame: A Day in the Life of New Jersey Amid the Pandemic

Photojournalist Thomas E. Franklin captures the quiet, new normal on the streets of the Garden State as residents stay home and life in public wanes
Credit: Thomas E. Franklin
9:47 a.m. Shoppers pass a bag of protective gloves, as they wait in line to get into Trader Joe’s in Paramus Tuesday. The store was limiting customer numbers to adhere to state guidelines.

New Jersey residents woke up on Tuesday to a strange new normal, as state and local governments implemented sweeping restrictions and widespread shutdowns in an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

On Tuesday, state officials announced at least 267 cases in New Jersey, including 89 new positive tests for COVID-1. There have now been three reported deaths in the state from the pandemic.

In Ridgewood, NJ Transit trains ran on schedule. Still, ridership was way down during the morning hours, with only a handful of passengers boarding any of the usually crowded morning trains heading toward New Your City. Some had no passengers boarding at all.

Downtown Teaneck was mostly deserted, with shops closed and traffic on the main thoroughfare of Cedar Lane extra light. On Saturday, the mayor of Teaneck had asked residents to voluntarily self-quarantine as a protective measure against the rapidly spreading coronavirus.

The gates were locked, and warning signs were posted on the fences surrounding the township’s Votee Park playground, advising that it would be closed for the foreseeable future due to the coronavirus.

Parks in nearby Leonia were also closed off. Yellow police tape wrapped around a children’s playground and jungle gym on Station Parkway, warning people to stay away.

And in Palisades Park, the usually bustling Broad Avenue was quiet, as shops posted signs advising customers they would be closed indefinitely. Some eateries were open for take-out, and delivery workers carried bags of groceries and meals. The borough’s municipal building was closed as well.

Over the weekend, the pandemic turned New York’s area airports into crowded logjams; Americans returning from overseas had long wait times for re-entry screenings. Social media was filled with images of chaotic scenes.

At Newark Liberty International Airport yesterday, Terminal C’s upper level, which caters mainly to United premier-class customers, was virtually empty whereas the economy level below was way more crowded. The parking lots too seemed much less crowded than usual.

Passengers were going about their business as normal, aside from the many travelers who were wearing protective masks and gloves.

Credit: Thomas E. Franklin
8:41 a.m. A lone commuter waits as a mostly empty NJ Transit train arrives at Ridgewood train station on Tuesday.

 

Credit: Thomas E. Franklin
9:04 a.m. A runner speeds past the shuttered movie theater in mostly deserted downtown Ridgewood yesterday morning.

 

Credit: Thomas E. Franklin
9:39 a.m. A line of shoppers wraps around the Trader Joe’s in Paramus yesterday morning. The store was limiting the number of customers to no more than 50 in line with state guidance.

 

Credit: Thomas E. Franklin
10:11 a.m. A mostly deserted Cedar Lane in downtown Teaneck Tuesday morning. On Saturday, the mayor of Teaneck asked its 40,000 residents to voluntarily self-quarantine as a protective measure against the rapidly spreading coronavirus.

 

Credit: Thomas E. Franklin
10:45 a.m. A warning sign is posted on the gate to a playground in Teaneck’s Votee Park, advising that it is closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

 

Credit: Thomas E. Franklin
11:09 a.m. Holy Name Medical Center, Teaneck set up a tent at the rear entrance to the hospital to triage patients. The hospital converted the pediatric unit into an isolation ward for coronavirus patients to prevent the virus from spreading.

 

Credit: Thomas E. Franklin
11:36 a.m. Waiting to cross the street in front of the Palisades Park Municipal Building on Tuesday

 

Credit: Thomas E. Franklin
11:42 a.m. Walking along Broad Avenue in Palisades Park to make a food delivery

 

Credit: Thomas E. Franklin
11:45 a.m. A man reads notices taped to the door of the Palisades Park Municipal Building, which has been closed due to the virus outbreak.

 

Credit: Thomas E. Franklin
12:50 p.m. Jesse Tejada, 26, walks to his flight in Terminal C at Newark Liberty International Airport. He was heading home to North Carolina after visiting family in Staten Island.

 

Credit: Thomas E. Franklin
1:16 p.m. It was far less busy than usual at the upper level of Terminal C, Newark Liberty International Airport on Tuesday.

 

Credit: Thomas E. Franklin
1:29 p.m. A group of friends from Lithuania play cards as they wait for their flight home at Terminal B in Newark Liberty International Airport yesterday. They had spent two weeks in the U.S., the last 24 hours waiting to catch a flight.