Canes Covering Coronavirus, New York

Saturday Afternoon in the Park: A feeling of normalcy, even if it’s brief

Essie Duke
Brooklyn, New York
3 p.m. Monday, April 25


Saturday Afternoon in the Park: A feeling of normalcy, even if it’s brief

Upon entering Marine Park on my daily walk on Saturday, I saw a scene that seemed bizarre to me at first: families playing ball, owners chasing their dogs on the fields, kids racing on their bikes.

Since being under “stay-at-home” orders, I’ve tried to go on a 7-mile walk every day. I walk a few miles to Marine Park, do a loop, then turn around to go home.

On most days – which have been rainy, lately — I barely run into or see anyone in the park.  That Saturday, however, was teeming with people, elderly and young alike. Kids were giggling, strangers chatted while their dogs sniffed each other, and an elderly couple strolled along a path, holding hands.

Everything seemed so normal, except for people being 6 feet apart and wearing face masks. In a sort of dystopian way, I found it to be beautiful. I thought to myself: “Is this what life will be like, coming out of this pandemic?”

After the worst is over in this city, perhaps parents will allow their kids to play in the park, except they’d be limited to throwing a ball back and forth, the objective of the game being to stay 6 feet apart. Or maybe dog owners will be more likely to “walk” their dogs using a leash attached to a flying drone, like I’ve seen on the news.

It’s hard to tell how much we will return to “normal life” once the pandemic is over. In the meantime, I look forward to more warm, sunny days, leisurely strolls and brief social interaction, like I experienced in the park that day. It would be significantly less awkward without wearing the masks, though.


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May 4, 2020

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