When Brooklynites start to go stir crazy and unable to spend another second in their homes, some head over to Green-Wood Cemetery, a (usually) serene 478-acre green space just south of Prospect Park. At first, management at Green-Wood Cemetery embraced the uptick in visitors it saw during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, opening additional entrances to accommodate them.
But it seems some people have been treating the space more like a public park than an active cemetery, driving Green-Wood President Richard Moylan to issue a “stern warning” Friday.
“The conduct of a small percentage of our visitors has created an unacceptable situation,” Moylan said in an email sent out to newsletter subscribers. “If things don’t change, we may be left with no choice but to close our gates as many other cemeteries have done.”
According to Moylan, people have been riding bikes, letting their kids climb trees, and taking their dogs for a walk—all of which are against the rules. Some visitors have even stolen the flowers from people’s graves. All of this is happening as cemetery staff are working harder than ever to keep up with the deaths wrought by the coronavirus.
“None of these actions is appropriate or permitted,” Moylan wrote.
With the weather getting warmer this weekend, Moylan predicts large crowds and is enlisting volunteers to act as so-called Green-Wood Ambassadors to make sure visitors stay in line.
People on Twitter are already taking it upon themselves to scold those who might “ruin this for the rest of us” by misbehaving.
But worries about the effects of warm weather are not limited to Green-Wood Cemetery.
“The warmer weather tells us we’re going to have a new challenge,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference Friday.
His plan to open up 40 miles of streets in May began Saturday morning with seven miles of open streets, mainly near parks, available for New Yorkers to roam. Open streets will eventually increase by up to 100 miles over the course of the pandemic, intended to help provide people with more space to be outside while continuing to social distance.
“This is going to help people to have some more space,” de Blasio said. “But also with vigilant eyes to make sure there’s no gatherings, there are no attempts by people to create sports or group activities.”
The NYPD said 1,000 officers will be tasked to monitor social distancing today, some on foot while others patrolling by bike.
On Twitter last night, the Mayor pleaded, "PLEASE practice social distancing and stay safe."
(And please wear a mask.)