The mayor specifically mentioned Piers 45 and 46 at Hudson River Park in Manhattan and Domino Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He said if the “experiment” works, it may be implemented elsewhere, as well.
“We know we had some parks last weekend that were more crowded than they should have been, and we know it wasn’t just some stray individuals. It was really the physical reality of the parks. So we want to do something different,” he said during his coronavirus briefing.
Uniformed NYPD officers will be at the entrance points from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. They will be in position before crowds build and will keep people moving. They’ll also hand out face coverings.
“We think that limiting access at the beginning makes sense, helps us to stop problems before they begin, helps us to educate people from the beginning. There has to be limited time and turnover,” the mayor said.
De Blasio the message to New Yorkers is get some exercise and fresh air, then get back inside.
“I think to say to people, ‘We’re going to start putting these limits on the space in some parks that need it, that are particularly challenged by their layout,’ is another way to say to people, ‘Just get what you need and go back,'” he said. “This is a way to strike the balance.”
The new restrictions on outdoor time are drawing mixed reactions from West Village residents.
“I do think it is a good idea that cops are here to separate people when they are too close,” Frans Bloem told CBS2’s Tara Jakeway.
“I think we all know how to follow the rules and I just don’t think that’s fair. I don’t know how you’re going to do that,” Janice McFadden added.
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When asked to address the racial breakdown of social distancing enforcement, the mayor said, “We do not accept disparity, period.”
Data obtained exclusively by CBS2 show stops are down dramatically during the pandemic. From March 16 to May 5, police made 1,053 stops, compared to 2,335 in 2019.
When it came to social distancing enforcement, the NYPD recorded about 1 million contacts, which lead to 368 summonses and 120 arrests, CBS2’s political reporter Marcia Kramer reported Thursday.
Breaking down the arrests by race, nearly 68% were black, 24% were Hispanic, and nearly 7% were white.
“I don’t for a moment misunderstand folks who raise alarms and concerns or project forward concerns, but I think, hey, start with these sheer facts that we’re talking about very few people have been arrested and very few people have been summonsed,” de Blasio said Friday. “There’s been a huge amount of restraint by the NYPD. That’s just factually obvious from the numbers, and we intend to keep it that way — only using summonses and arrests when needed. But we will use them when needed.”
He said he “couldn’t disagree more” with people who say police should have a lesser role in enforcement.
“There is no way in hell we’re going to be able to keep people safe if we don’t use the strongest, best public safety organization in the country,” he said.