City limiting access in parts of Central Park, Hudson River Park and others to prevent crowds

People walk in Hudson River Park in Hudson Square in Manhattan on June, 1, 2014.

On Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that there would be limited access to Central Park’s Sheep Meadow, areas of Hudson River Park, Pier 45, Pier 46, and Domino Park in Williamsburg in order to prevent overcrowding and potential spread of the novel coronavirus. 

There will be a “monitoring approach” where NYPD officers and civilian ambassadors will set up parameters and distribute face masks, de Blasio explained. Some of the city’s 2,260 “social distancing ambassadors” will be educating park goers on social distancing rules and also handing out face masks. 

“And if that approach works, we will apply it to any place we need to,” said de Blasio during his daily novel coronavirus press conference. 

“There is more of a bond between police and community and that’s also about protecting people’s safety and we need to protect that,” said de Blasio. More NYPD and social distancing ambassadors will patrol city beaches, particularly Coney Island and Far Rockaway Beach, in the coming days to ensure that New Yorkers are keeping a safe distance from one another and covering their faces. 

All of the city’s police precincts will now have a designated car that will focus on addressing large gatherings. “The bigger the gathering the more that needs to be done by the NYPD to either make sure that that gathering never gets started to begin with or quickly broken up,” said de Blasio.

The goal is to not have officers get to the point of issuing summonses. The disparity between the number of New Yorkers of color that have been issued summonses for breaking social distancing rules compared to white New Yorkers has come under scrutiny. Black and Latino New Yorkers have been issued 80 % of all social distancing summons, according to NYPD data released earlier this month.