June 6, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
Council Member Robert Holden has called on the city to reopen parks and other public spaces as part of Phase 1.
The lawmaker wrote to Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver Thursday demanding that public parks, beaches, tennis courts and golf courses be made available to the public from June 8.
Holden said residents need access to these facilities for their physical and mental well-being following months of lockdown due to COVID-19.
“During these strenuous times, it is critical that NYC Parks help provide these resources, and I believe they can safely reopen with strict enforcement of social distancing and mask-wearing,” Holden wrote.
New York City is set to begin re-opening parts of the economy on Monday, with construction, agriculture, hunting, manufacturing and wholesale trade employees returning to work.
However many city parks and playgrounds will remain closed. Holden said that two parks in his district – Frank Principe Park in Maspeth and Evergreen Park in the Ridgewood and Glendale area – have been shuttered for months.
Holden said there is no state order mandating that entire parks to be closed. Therefore, he said, he wants all city parks and playgrounds re-opened under phase one.
“Areas outside of the playgrounds should also be open and available to park-goers, such as the space around the playground at Public School 68 in Ridgewood,” he wrote.
Holden also wants the city’s beaches to open up with strictly enforced rules. All New York City beaches remain closed for swimming although residents can visit as long as they are socially distanced.
In addition, tennis courts, golf courses, dog runs, and other public areas where social distancing can be applied should be opened up, he said.