NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New Yorkers should know soon exactly what Phase 4 reopening will look like in the city. More low-risk indoor and outdoor attractions are already opening their doors.
One of them, The High Line, a public park on an elevated rail line on Manhattan’s West Side, had sat empty, like almost all other public attractions, shut down since mid-March, but it reopened on Thursday.
Now, many residents and tourists are eager to get back out there for the nature, art, and design, CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reported Thursday.
Nancy Greenbaum was one of the first people to walk The High Line.
“So excited for any indication of returning to normal city life. When I first received the email about this opening I immediately responded,” Greenbaum said.
The park’s reopening felt especially good to one couple who celebrated a special occasion there.
“We live right off The High Line, not far away. We actually got married on The High Line a couple of years ago,” Dr. Rich Scardino said.
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As with all things these days, new protocols are in place.
You have to book a free-timed entry reservation, that way the Department of Parks and Recreation can keep capacity limited.
In addition, all visitors have to enter at the Gansevoort Street entrance and foot traffic will only flow in one direction, northbound.
The park also has new social distancing footprints in place to make sure people don’t get too close together.
“Just to put it in perspective, last year we had 8 million visitors, and on a busy day we could have 50,000 people. Now, we’re going to limited to just a few thousand,” said Robert Hammond, the executive director of The High Line.
“I would enjoy The High Line, given an opportunity to go up and have a look again. I would do it. I know that it requires a reservation,” local resident Allan Massano added.
Still, some said they are not ready for crowds or even small groups yet.
“I wouldn’t willingly put myself in a situation where there’s tons of people around,” one person said.
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The High Line is just one of many low-risk outdoor and indoor attractions ready for Phase 4 reopening. Governors Island opened Wednesday with a timed-entry system and limited capacity. The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island have announced partial reopening plans starting Monday.
Venues like museums, aquariums, and zoos are also readying, with restrictions.
“Also, the New York Botanical Garden, obviously a huge cultural institution, sprawling green space, is finally reopening its outdoor areas to the public on July 28. I think people are very excited about these major institutions opening, but also admittedly, understandably a little bit cautious,” said Will Gleason, editor of Time Out New York.
The MET has said it won’t reopen its door on Fifth Avenue until Aug. 29, and with only 25% capacity.
Even with the changes and limitations, most people Duddridge talked to are just glad there will be more things to do to get out of their homes.
The High Line does have limited hours now — 12 p.m.-8 p.m. daily.