Ten city playgrounds that are still drawing crowds amid the coronavirus outbreak will be shuttered late Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
Hizzoner has resisted calls to close city parks and playgrounds — instead trusting New Yorkers to police their own social distancing — but said Tuesday that his hand has been forced.
“Overwhelmingly, we’re seeing compliance in parks and playgrounds,” he said in a Queens press briefing. “[But] with some real problem spots, too.
“Those are playgrounds that have had crowding multiple times. They will be shut down, they will be locked, there will be signs put up, there will be enforcement.”
The mayor’s press secretary, Freddi Goldstein, identified the sites in a series of tweets: two playgrounds in Staten Island’s Clove Lakes Park; Mauro Playground in Queens; Watson Gleason Playground in the Bronx; the Fort Tryon-Jacob Javits and Raoul Wallenberg playgrounds in Manhattan; and, in Brooklyn, the Middleton and Brighton playgrounds, plus two sites in Fort Greene Park.
De Blasio indicated that he closed the playgrounds reluctantly, left with little choice as people continued to defy social distancing despite his threats of fines and a toll now exceeding 40,000 diagnoses and 900 deaths in the five boroughs.
“My goal again is to try to preserve as many as possible, if people follow the rules,” he said, speaking from the under-construction field hospital at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
“If people will not follow the rules, we’ll continue to shut them down aggressively.”
The city last week yanked basketball hoops from 80 public courts where defiant ballers continued to play.
But in one bit of good news for New Yorkers, de Blasio announced that the suspension of alternate-side parking has been extended two weeks, through April 14.
“Few issues stir the hearts of New Yorkers more,” he said. “I’m sorry it’s because of coronavirus, but at least let me give you a little good news in your day … Leave your cars where they are.”
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