Prospect Park Crowds Draw Ire Over Coronavirus Closure Chatter

Matt Troutman

This article originally appeared on the Prospect Heights-Crown Heights Patch

PROSPECT HEIGHTS, BROOKLYN — Crowding up in Prospect Park during the coronavirus outbreak is arrogant, insensitive and a mistake. And that's just what Gov. Andrew Cuomo had to say about it.

Twitter users have trained their ire on Prospect Park goers who don't practice social distancing since the governor told the city to come up with a plan on park density.

The criticism comes amid a statewide "stay-at-home" order and other restrictive measures limiting contact between New Yorkers to slow the coronavirus' spread. Cuomo over the weekend saw crowds at city parks and used a photo of Prospect Park's farmers market emblazoned a red "MISTAKE" to make his point.

"It's insensitive, it's arrogant, it's self-destructive, it's disrespectful to other people and it has to stop and it has to stop now," he said. "This is not a joke and I am not kidding."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday used Prospect Park as an example of what he called a problem with crowds in New York City's parks during the coronavirus outbreak. (Screenshot by Maya Kaufman)

It appears the city heard his warning.

To keep up to date with coronavirus developments around Prospect Park, sign up for Patch's news alerts and newsletter.

Mayor Bill de Blasio told park goers to stay 6 feet from people who aren't in their families in parks and shut down organized sports and barbecues. City employees also hung signs up on park fences about the rules. And police officers have been piping social distancing warnings over loudspeakers.

"Please help us keep you safe," the warnings stated.

But the crowds at Prospect Park and other parks may have started the ball rolling on more sweeping measures.

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams on Wednesday called for the city to close parks. And Brooklyn Council Member Justin Brannan on Thursday tweeted that wrote parks in his district covering Bay Ridge and other southwest Brooklyn neighborhoods were mobbed.

People aren't taking the situation seriously and the city should close parks, he wrote.

"I'd rather my constituents be pissed at me and alive!!!!!" he wrote on Twitter.

Coronavirus In NYC: What's Happened And What You Need To Know