MILLBURN, NJ - COVID-19 has necessitated mass social distancing orders, keeping people confined to their homes in order to slow the spread of the spread of the virus as much as possible. Consequently, the country’s busiest cities have emptied out, becoming effective ghost towns. This includes the so-called “city that never sleeps,” New York City.

Millburn High School freshman, Peter Ren, spent a day in New York City documenting this new normal. Ren filmed New York’s most famous areas, including Wall Street, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, and subway stations.

Ren was inspired by news reports he heard about New York City, explaining “I wanted to inform everyone how dangerous the COVID-19 virus is and how it is capable of shutting down such a large and famous city such as NYC.”

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The lack of people and noise was eerie, proving just how much COVID-19 has impacted the world. Staying at home makes it easy to forget how the virus has effectively paused life. Ren’s documentary brings reality back into perspective.

More than shots of empty New York streets, this documentary also features a makeshift hospital created outside Mt. Sinai Hospital to deal with the influx of patients, which led into Ren’s argument that we all must do our part to flatten the curve.

“I wanted to make this documentary so that everyone will continue social distancing and obey the rules that our government wants us to follow which will hopefully save many lives and mitigate the burden on the hospitals,” Ren said.

Ren urges viewers to follow social distancing guidelines and to do their part to come through this pandemic stronger than ever. While the future may seem bleak, it is imperative that people come together, now more than ever.

He said, “this pandemic will not end unless we all play our part.”

Watch Ren’s full documentary at: