28 painfully repetitive photos of New Yorkers' commutes show why many probably aren't missing them right now

Peter FunchA New York commute, photographed on June 7 and July 11, 2012.
  • The coronavirus outbreak in the US has hit New York City the hardest, forcing millions of people to work from home and avoid their typical commutes.
  • But photos detailing the repetitive nature of the city’s rush hour show why many New Yorkers probably aren’t missing them right now.
  • Intrigued by the idea of repetition, photographer Peter Funch photographed the same Manhattan corner during the morning commute for 10 years.
  • His book, “42nd and Vanderbilt,” is a collection of his work from the series.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

On a typical day in New York City, about 700,000 people pass through Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal on their way to work.

But the coronavirus pandemic has turned the once-bustling transit hub into a ghost town.

New York has been hit hardest by the outbreak in the US, prompting the city to shutter all nonessential businesses and urge residents to stay inside their homes as much as possible.

While the outbreak has left the streets of the “city that never sleeps” eerily quiet and empty, these painfully repetitive photos reveal why New Yorkers might not be missing their daily commutes.

In 2007, the photographer Peter Funch began staking out a corner of Grand Central Station, at 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue, to document those commuters. Funch would snap photos from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., and he would often photograph the same subject twice – sometimes days apart, other times years.

Fascinated by these small moments of human behaviour, Funch created a series that explores the seemingly mundane. His unknowing subjects are captured smoking, listening and singing along to music, watching people, and making eye contact with other commuters.

“All these moments are telling small stories about us,” he told Business Insider in 2017.

His book, “42nd and Vanderbilt,” places his subjects side by side. The two photos, taken at different moments, show the similarities in the day-to-day and explore the idea of repetition and ritual. Funch said the photos captured “that trance we are in when going from A to B.”


July 3, 2012, at 09:09:07 a.m.


July 17, 2012, at 09:09:43 a.m.


June 7, 2012, at 08:30:58 a.m.


June 11, 2012, at 08:23:24 a.m.


June 27, 2007, at 09:08:50 a.m.


June 16, 2016, at 09:26:45 a.m.


June 11, 2012, at 09:16:42 a.m.


June 27, 2012, at 09:09:27 a.m.


June 27, 2012, at 09:16:42 a.m.


July 10, 2012, at 09:21:20 a.m.


June 7, 2012, at 08:41:58 a.m.


July 11, 2012, at 08:41:03 a.m.


May 21, 2007, at 09:16:42 a.m.


May 22, 2007, at 09:07:53 a.m.


June 8, 2012, at 08:25:58 a.m.


June 27, 2012, at 08:33:09 a.m.


June 22, 2012, at 08:53:02 a.m.


June 27, 2012, at 09:00:23 a.m.


July 11, 2012, at 09:06:05 a.m.


July 12, 2012, at 09:14:22 a.m.


June 7, 2012, at 08:48:46 a.m.


June 8, 2012, at 08:57:45 a.m.


July 3, 2012, at 09:09:27 a.m.


July 12, 2012, at 09:02:55 a.m.


June 27, 2012, at 09:07:28 a.m.


July 17, 2012, at 09:17:44 a.m.


June 15, 2012, at 08:54:33 a.m.


June 22, 2012, at 08:52:49 a.m.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.