Photo of Central Park North on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Photo © Dana Schulz for 6sqft
Within 24 hours from Sunday morning, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson must come up with a plan to address continued density issues in the city, especially in parks. “It has to be done quickly, and it’s going to have to be dramatic action,” said the Governor in a press conference, following a personal visit to the city on Saturday during which he observed a major lack of social distancing in places like Central Park and the Grand Army Plaza Farmer’s Market.
Up until this point, the Governor has encouraged New Yorkers to get out into their parks for fresh air and exercise. However, on Friday, he put out a set of rules that was more strict about social distancing, saying that only solitary exercise was acceptable (situations where families or couples are together are okay) and in all public situations, people must maintain a distance of six feet. But after he visited many of the city’s most popular public spaces on Saturday, a beautiful day, he saw that too many New Yorkers were not following these rules.
One suggestion the Governor made was to open streets to pedestrians since there is less vehicular traffic. Speaker Johnson had first suggested this Summer Streets-esque idea in an interview with Politico on Friday. “You don’t want people crowded into a park. You may be able to deliver more social distancing if you pick certain streets that could be shut down.” In a follow-up Tweet today, Johnson said, “Let’s identify streets to close for recreation and enough room to walk and exercise.”
The Mayor and City Council Speaker will deliver their plan tomorrow when it then requires approval from the Governor. 6sqft will update this story when more information becomes available.