Bay Ridge

Shore Road Promenade is Bay Ridge’s open-air refuge during the coronavirus pandemic

April 2, 2020 Lore Croghan
Bay Ridge residents exercising on Shore Road Promenade get an eyeful of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge before sunset. Photo: Lore Croghan/Brooklyn Eagle

After long days spent indoors to help stop the spread of the killer coronavirus, Bay Ridge residents head to a waterside pathway beside the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge for fresh air and exercise.

Shore Road Promenade is a go-to spot before sunset, even on the gloomiest evenings.

Take a look at these photos from Tuesday, March 31, showing families out for walks, along with joggers and cyclists. There wasn’t an ounce of sun in that sunset, and the waters of New York Harbor were the color of lead.

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The weather’s moody atmospherics seemed fitting for the last day of March — the end of a dire month that plunged New York City into the depths of the novel coronavirus pandemic. As of Wednesday, 83,712 people statewide have tested positive for COVID-19 and 1,941 people have died from it.

A jogger gets some fresh air on Shore Road Promenade. Photo: Lore Croghan/Brooklyn Eagle
A jogger gets some fresh air on Shore Road Promenade. Photo: Lore Croghan/Brooklyn Eagle

Some of Tuesday evening’s promenade visitors descended onto the inviting pathway by means of an overpass above the Belt Parkway that ends with a long staircase.

On the wide-open promenade, it was easy for visitors to obey New York’s social-distancing rule and stay at least six feet apart from each other.

Walkers on Shore Road Promenade head towards the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge. Photo: Lore Croghan/Brooklyn Eagle
Walkers on Shore Road Promenade head toward the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge. Photo: Lore Croghan/Brooklyn Eagle

As Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced, fines ranging from $250 to $500 will be levied on people who don’t heed NYPD and Parks Enforcement Patrol officers’ warnings to obey this mandate.

Shore Road Promenade is 4.5 miles long and extends up to the 69th Street Pier, which is what everybody in Bay Ridge calls the American Veterans Memorial Pier.

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In the other direction, the promenade runs past Fort Hamilton and Bath Beach, all the way to Bensonhurst Park.

The Belt Parkway’s southbound lanes are nearly empty at rush hour. Photo: Lore Croghan/Brooklyn Eagle
The Belt Parkway’s southbound lanes are nearly empty at rush hour. Photo: Lore Croghan/Brooklyn Eagle

It was rush hour, but the southbound lanes of the Belt Parkway, which would normally be filled with cars from Downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan, were conspicuously empty.

That made perfect sense, since the closure of nonessential businesses has cut way down on the number of commuters.

A ship passes beneath the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge. Photo: Lore Croghan/Brooklyn Eagle
A ship passes beneath the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge. Photo: Lore Croghan/Brooklyn Eagle

In the gathering twilight, ships sailed beneath the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.

The venerable span, which opened in 1964, has towers that are each 70 stories tall.

A fitness buff does pushups with the help of a bench. Photo: Lore Croghan/Brooklyn Eagle
A fitness buff does push-ups with the help of a bench. Photo: Lore Croghan/Brooklyn Eagle

Its name was spelled Verrazano-Narrows with one “Z” until 2018, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that changed the spelling to match the surname of explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano.

On the other side of the Belt Parkway, folks were also taking solitary strolls in Shore Road Park. The concrete surface of a recently constructed ramp gleamed in the twilight.

This ramp allows people with disabilities to descend a steep hill in Shore Road Park, which is on the other side of the Belt Parkway from the promenade. Photo: Lore Croghan/Brooklyn Eagle
This ramp allows people with disabilities to descend a steep hill in Shore Road Park, which is on the other side of the Belt Parkway from the promenade. Photo: Lore Croghan/Brooklyn Eagle

The zig-zagging ramp’s entrance is on Shore Road across from the intersection of 97th Street. The ramp it replaced partly collapsed in 2016.

The ramp reconstruction was beset with delays, the Brooklyn Eagle reported in 2017.

The new ramp is gently inclined and thus complies with the Americans With Disabilities Act so people in wheelchairs or with limited mobility can descend the park’s steep hill safely.

A walker heads through Shore Road Park at dusk. Photo: Lore Croghan/Brooklyn Eagle
A walker passes through Shore Road Park at dusk. Photo: Lore Croghan/Brooklyn Eagle

From the top of the ramp, there’s an excellent view of the iconic bridge.

Follow reporter Lore Croghan on Twitter.


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