The weather is now really warming up and “lockdown fatigue” is sending Downtowners streaming to the parks and waterfront. People are also increasingly hanging around outside local bars with their takeout beers and drinks.
Over the weekend and last week, people clustered in small groups — mostly without face masks — on the lawns in Tompkins Square Park and the Christopher St. Pier, in Hudson River Park.
Last Friday evening, on the corner outside Niagara bar, at Seventh St. and Avenue A, a socially non-distancing crowd was gathered, while, nearby on St. Mark’s Place, others watched a Santana-style electric guitarist jamming on the sidewalk in front of East Village Social.
Wednesday night outside East Village Social, the East Village All-Stars — featuring Satchmo-style Smidge on trumpet — were playing on the pavement and drawing a small crowd.
Farther down on the Lower East Side at Pier 35, many people have not been wearing masks while crowding close together — even though an entire several-blocks-long walkway along the East River is open just around the corner.
The group Friends of Pier 35 tweeted out their alarm over the situation, calling on the city to send “social ambassadors” to the pier and hand out face masks.
After videos of some rough arrests recently went viral, Mayor de Blasio has now said police will no longer enforce for not social distancing or not wearing a mask. However, he said, police will still disperse large crowds.
In just a month from now, summer begins.
This is nothing new. Large groups of young people have been gathering at the Tin Shop on East 9th Street and Avenue B for weeks. Hard to drink or smoke with a mask, but never social distancing. I have to skirt around them every afternoon to walk around the perimeter of Tompkins Square Park. On many neighborhood websites, people have been complaining about the lack of responsibility and total disregard of guidelines since the the norms took effect. As for the East River Park, it’s about 50-50 masks. Hard to find a spot on a bench or patch of grass to social distance to avoid these maskless wonders. By the way, just heard on the radio that Italy is experiencing an uptick in corona virus cases due to the opening. And in South Korea, the uptick has been linked to dance clubs.
I read the Mayor’s news conference transcripts – where he thanks reporters for telling him about problems. Rather than just taking photographs, why doesn’t The Village Sun then call 311 (or send the photo using https://portal.311.nyc.gov/article/?kanumber=KA-03299) and report on how long the response time is and what happens?
The news media are essential workers, but that doesn’t include the right to help the enemy. You’re not an embedded wartime reporter giving away troop movements. You’re passively allowing this virus to continue to spread. If you see something, SAY SOMETHING.