G-20, No Zombies & Me

Walking across the Stanwick Street Bridge on the morning of the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh had an eerie feeling to it.

Getting off the “T” I walked through a military security post when two soldiers gave me a stern look, never saying a word and just watched me walk by. Eerie.

Military boats in the river, army helicopters above, all patrolling the city in preparation for a possible terrorist act and I am walking into town thinking “What in the hell am I doing here?”

Alone. I am alone. Walk into town and there is nothing; no life, all empty streets, no sound. It felt like a horror movie. I waited for a zombie to walk around the corner. I waited to see life.

By the time I hit Sixth Street I see life; people on bikes, people on foot and best of all no zombies, at least not yet.

The city had the police forces out in full… well for lack of a better word…force. There they were--thirty cops on one corner and the next street had another thirty police in full riot gear. No zombies, not many citizens and I am hearing the theme to Dark Vader in my head. This city is locked down and I am out for a photo-walk.

Two hours of walking through downtown and not much was happening yet. The city was peaceful. No protesters? Two weeks of media buildup and no hype. It’s just me and about a thousand cops, no zombies and the happiest bikers Pittsburgh has ever seen. People on two wheels owned the city for the day; barely any traffic and just pedestrians walking the streets.

At this time I was getting ready to call it quits for the day. The only thrill I had seen all day is a couple of people offering me salvation in Jesus Christ. One person explaining to me why Allah is the one true God, I was bored. Stop at a bar for a beer.

Insanely useful photography tip:

Here is a lesson learned that I feel the need to pass on. When having a discussion with police officers on the street choose your words carefully.

Me: “ Excuse me Mr. Police officer what are the chances of a riot breaking out today? “

Police officer: “We’re prepared and if anything happens I expect you to not get in the way.”

Me: “ Don’t worry officer if anything happens I will just sit back and shoot the crowed.”

Police office: “Son, you better choose your words carefully when speaking to me.”

At this time he stands back and places his hand on his gun and a second officers shifts his position to stand behind me.

“Open the bag son.”

Me: I open my camera bag slowly and let him look inside. “Lesson learned officer, have a nice day.”

I walk away thinking that this could have turned out a lot worse for me.


Chanting, I can hear chanting in the far off distance. This is it… the protest of the G-20 is happening now. A crowd gathers, police congregate….see my photo (HERE).