Southern Brooklyn

How South Brooklynites are coping with social distancing during coronavirus outbreak

March 17, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
South Brooklynites try to make most of Coronavirus outbreak while social distancing
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SOUTHERN BROOKLYN — With the coronavirus outbreak closing down schools, restaurants, movie theaters and forcing social distancing, local residents are trying their best to avoid feeling the blues and make the most during dangerous and uncertain circumstances.

Bay Ridge resident and Community Board 10 member Brian Kaszuba, who works at NY Law School with his wife Molly, has a one-year-old son and discussed what his family is doing to try to keep themselves occupied.

Photo by Brian Kaszuba
Jack, Brian and Molly Kaszuba

“My wife and I are still technically working from home, so we take turns on the laptop while the other plays with Jack,” he said. “We do make a point to take a daily trip to John Paul Jones Park, where Jack likes to walk around, check out the gazebo, and monument. We have decided to stay away from playgrounds but this gives us a chance to get some fresh air and move our legs in a relatively open area.”

Kaszuba also allows Jack to take in some television time, watching classics such as “Sesame Street” and “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.”

“Jack also loves a good dance party to our Spotify playlists,” he added. “Finally, (my wife) Molly is loving the chance to spend more time in the kitchen, coming off with some great home cooked meals for all of us.”

He also has been supporting local businesses that remain open.

“I will also say that we have had to make trips to Foodtown, Rite Aid, and Anthony’s Butcher on several occasions and are very thankful to the workers for staying open,” he said. “We are very cognizant and mostly concerned that we have enough milk, food, and supplies for Jack.”

Another Bay Ridge resident Donna Byrnes has been trying to keep upbeat despite her and family having to cancel their trip to San Diego in April, costing them $1,200.

“(My husband) Don and my grandson Bryan went for a Shamrock shake curbside delivery of course,” she said. “ We’re keeping busy in the house playing board games. I finally have time and am putting together a scrapbook of my grandson’s life to date.

Photo courtesy of Donna Byrnes
Bryan Byrnes

With school currently closed, she also said that her grandson is busy at work organizing his baseball card collection.

“I’m watching Mass on TV because I cannot attend my parish church, St. Anselm,” she added.”I’m sad because Lent/Easter is my favorite time.

Her daughter Jennifer is a public school teacher and will be homeschooling Bryan.

Photo courtesy of Donna Byrnes
Bryan Byrnes

“My aunt passed and I could not hug my cousins for fear COVID19,” she said. Thankfully we had a Mass for her.

Dyker Heights native and real estate broker Anthony Marino is keeping busy while with his three-year-old child.

“Having to stay and work from home with your child takes on a whole new set of responsibilities,” he said. “My wife is a NYDOE Administrator and will have to go in to work for a few more days. She’s pregnant, so there’s concern there.

Photo by Anthony Marino
Anthony Marino’s wife Angela Panetta and daughter Zoe Marino

“As a real estate agent, I can work from home but it’s important I keep my three-year-old Zoe engaged, entertained and learning. Taking cues from my wife, we’ve tried to create special times of day, role playing with blocks, arts and crafts, ABCs, numbers and of course relaxing and watching some tv together. It’s about not getting caught up in that last one that is most important. We know we are making sacrifices to help everyone and though it’s hard, it’s nice to be making these family memories together, despite the circumstances.”

They’ve also tried to structure the day to make up for the loss of her pre-school.

Bensonhurst resident and author Patrick Hickey Jr. is a big time video game fanatic and the hobby is helping him through social distancing.

Photo courtesy of Patrick Hickey Jr.
Patrick Hickey Jr. and his daugther Josie

“The threat of the coronavirus doesn’t mean you can’t have fun,” he said. “With tens of thousands of online games, books, films and music, now you have an excuse to surround yourself with art, culture and fun. I personally have been diving into some older games that I missed on the original Nintendo and Atari 2600 and am working on two books. I’m also making an attempt to read more and share my love of gaming with my three-year-old daughter, who hasn’t exactly been a fan of staying inside more.”

Red Hook resident Nancy DeJesus has taken to learning things that she never had time for while working.

“I’ve made the decision to try and turn this time of uncertainty and fear into an opportunity for learning,” she said. “I’ve researched free classes online, returned to my Italian language lessons, and am even teaching myself embroidery.

Sunset Park resident and Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) employee Naila Rosario is encouraging locals to use BPL’s virtual story time.

The service is a virtual programming via Facebook Live broadcasts from our branches, which include story time with books, songs, and tips for a child to learn various skills.

“During this time of uncertainty, I’m very happy that BPL is offering the service,” she said.

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