Is Memorial Day the First Social Distancing Long Weekend in U.S. History?


Images via Javier Romero for The Americano

By Javier Romero

May 25, 2020

Social distancing is practiced by some and ignored by others in a warm Memorial Day Weekend in New York City. Here’s how the epicenter — still — of Coronavirus looks like.

New York City — Social distancing is being practiced by some but ignored by others in a warm Memorial Day Weekend in New York City. While COVID-19 cases are still in surge and approaching 100,000 over the weekend, photographer Javier Romero ventured the streets to capture how New Yorkers are coping with phase one of reopening.

While some governors have been rushing the process with the economy as a priority, the CDC still recommends reopening is done in stages. Here’s what they advise.

Governor Cuomo said on his daily press briefing on Sunday that New York was “decidedly in the reopening phase,” and some non-essential businesses will be allowed to resume activities.

RELATED: States Are Using Bad Data to Justify Reopening. That’s Wildly Dangerous.

A Day in the Life of Post-Quarantined New Yorkers

Text and photos by Javier Romero.

The need for people to reconnect and socialize was palpable in Manhattan and Brooklyn. People are sunbathing, exercising, walking their dogs, and even picnicking in and around parks and streets.

Some, decided to venture outside without protective gear, such as face masks. While others, opted for practicing social distancing outdoors. How to find a balance and reconnect and enjoy this weather while staying safe? This is what I saw.

I started my route in the Lower East Side. Only a few blocks away from where I live, I could see how a popular Mexican bar and restaurant had reopened and people were gathered the way they used to pre-coronavirus.

While some preferred to bike without a face mask on, this couple kept their distance — and their masks on — while hanging out right in front of their car, in the East Village.

The Tompkins Square Park, also in the East Village, has been a staple for generations. People gather — rain or shine — all year round, to listen to music, watch the Puerto Rican drummers playing plena on Sundays, watch movies on the lawn during the Summer, and take their dogs to the dog. Today was no exception, despite social distancing recommendations.

Trader Joe’s lines are so New York! Today was no exception at their location in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

The usually crowded Williamsburg Bridge showed two sides of the story: on Manhattan’s end, some cyclists ventured biking over the steepest bridge wearing face masks.

On the other end — in Brooklyn — some women and children were seen enjoying the nice weather without any protective gear on.

Some people seemed more relaxed than others. This man chose to take a nap under the sun at Pier 35 in the East River Park area.

Broome Street, also in the Lower East Side, gave me the chills. Listening to musicians performing in the streets is one of the greatest gifts a city like New York gives its residents every day. While these band members tried to follow the six-feet distancing rule, wearing a mask was not an option for their trumpet player.

The newly renovated Domino Park in Williamsburg seemed to have been ready for the crowd the long weekend — and nice weather — was about to bring back. Here, people tried to stay within their closed circles while gathered among friends.



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