MIDTOWN HELL'S-KITCHEN, NY — This Memorial Day in New York City will look a lot different from years past due to social distancing measures in place to curb the spread of the new coronavirus. City beaches are closed, NYPD officers are being deployed to crack down on large gatherings and everyone outside should be wearing a mask.
With warm weather and partly cloudy skies in the forecast for Memorial Day, many New Yorkers will likely want to spend the holiday outside. Spending time outdoors is a good way to ward off cabin fever, but going outside can also be stressful with the looming threat of the coronavirus.
Hotspots such as Central Park and the Brooklyn Promenade are mobbed with New Yorkers trying to escape the confines of their apartments, making it difficult to maintain a safe social distance. Patch compiled a list of low-key places in Midtown and Hell's Kitchen where it may be easier to enjoy the outdoors this Memorial Day without running into large crowds.
Check some of Patch's suggestions out below:
Midtown Manhattan is better known for towering office buildings than sprawling parks, but that doesn't mean quality green spaces can't be found in the formerly-bustling business district.
Midtown's Paley Park embodies the gold standard when it comes to pocket parks in New York City. Paley, on East 53rd Street between Fifth and Madison avenues, provides ample shade and beautiful biodiversity despite fitting into a tiny sliver of space between Midtown buildings. The best part about the park: A waterfall features that is both eye-catching and soothing.
Cue the eye rolls. New Yorkers love to hate on Times Square, but do they really hate the physical space or just what the tourist hotspot represents? With New York City's tourism industry brought to a standstill and Broadway productions forced to shut down, the "Crossroads of the World" has been all but abandoned.
When it's empty, Times Square's open plazas and wide walkways actually make it a great spot to practice safe social distancing. Visitors won't even be harried by the usual ads, as digital billboards in Times Square are currently being used for a public art installation thanking essential workers.
This plaza near the United Nations is a popular spot for diplomats and dignitaries to relax and take in lunch between meetings and hearings, but the international organization has been closed for months.
DagPlaza stretches a full city block between First and Second avenues near East 47th Street and features plenty of seating and space to stretch the legs. The area is pretty devoid of green space, and city playgrounds are currently closed, so it's one of the best bets if you're looking to spend time outdoors on the eastern side of Midtown.
Much like Times Square, Hudson Yards is another formerly-busy spot that has been largely abandoned since New York City began hunkering down. Bella Abzug Park is not yet complete — developers will be finishing Hudson Yards' public spaces in the second phase of the project — but already features some nice spots to sit and several decorative fountains.
Visitors should also be able to maintain distance in the heart of Hudson Yards, a massive high-end dining and retail complex. Most of the businesses are non-essential and forced to shut down due to New York's stay-at-home order.