NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Saturday is the summer solstice, and on the longest day of sunlight, New York City is looking a bit different than summers past as coronavirus precautions remain in place.

The healing powers of fresh air and sunshine radiating across the region were felt by everyone from sunbathers in the middle of a West Side Manhattan playing field to Long Island’s Eisenhower Park with conditions to help anyone shake off the cabin fever from fall.

New season, new attitude.

“Summer of hope and summer of change,” West Side resident Randy Witherspoon said.

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Not melting away, though, are COVID concerns, with New York City Parks Department workers handing out free face coverings on the famed Coney Island Boardwalk.

Despite rides that don’t move and stores still closed, families showed up in waves.

“I’m taking the grandkids out for a couple hours over here,” Coney Island resident Donna Kaczynski said.

The Kaczynski family says any other summer, there would be long road trips.

“I want to go more to Virginia Beach, more beaches, but I’m just gonna stay in New York City,” Karolyn Kaczynski told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.


Some New Yorkers told CBS2 they’re going to make these summer months all about friends, family, fitness and faith that things are getting better.

“Can we have a good summer? Is it possible?” Carlin asked Astoria resident Jeremy Gutierrez.

“Absolutely, absolutely, 100%. As long as we just adhere to what the CDC is telling us to do, I think it’s completely possible to do,” he said.

Gutierrez says he misses celebrating victories with high fives and hugs.

In Yonkers, resident Mike Boyle says it’s best to keep his sons, Shea and Finn, away from soon-to-reopen playgrounds.

“We didn’t want to take our chances with it, so just gonna backyard it, bike it, pool it, do the best we can,” he said.

People are glad to be phasing in fun, but some are returning home to realize they have face mask tan lines.


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