Complete coverage of the Chicago NATO Summit

Chicagoans Flee Downtown for NATO

Downtown regulars choose to stay away

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    NEWSLETTERS

    As the protestors moved in, the residents and workers moved out. (Published Saturday, May 19, 2012)

    As the protestors move in, the residents and workers moved out.

    The city's downtown core resembled a ghost town Friday as many people took advantage of optional work days.

    "It was an easy ride in, the quickest travel time ever," commuter Graham Gerst said. "The train was empty and I got a great seat."

    Some residents who live downtown aren't sticking around to see what happens.

    "I live in the city but I'm heading to the suburbs for the weekend, just until the craziness is over," Kevin Berliner said.

    Trying to get a good seat in a restaurant wasn't a problem either. There were plenty of empty seats at Primebar on Wacker Drive.

    "On a day like today, Friday afternoon lunch, usually you would need a reservation three to four days in advance. This is a really, really slow day for us," GM Allan Zinkann said.

    Not even the annual Crosstown Classic could convince people to head into the city. The Wrigley Field match up between the Cubs and Sox failed to sell out, and tickets were going for face value on the street -- a rarity.