Coney Island

A walk down the Riegelmann Boardwalk in the age of the coronavirus

June 2, 2020 Raanan Geberer

A walk on Sunday down the famed Riegelmann Boardwalk, starting at Brighton Beach and ending at the Coney Island amusement areas, revealed that most people are following the rules put in pace to slow the coronavirus spread, with some exceptions.

The Boardwalk was shared by bikers, walkers and those who were just enjoying the passing scene. The neighborhood’s diversity showed in the number of languages being spoken: English, Russian, Spanish, Arabic and more. About half the people wore masks, the other didn’t.

The Boardwalk gets its name from past Brooklyn Borough President Edward Riegelmann, who initiated its construction in 1922.

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Deno’s Wonder Wheel and the rest of Wonder Wheel Park were idle on Sunday.

Even though you hear a lot about young people being the ones who don’t wear masks, there were no hard-and-fast trends on Sunday — there were even some couples in which one member was wearing a mask and the other wasn’t. One thing that was different from most years was the presence of green-uniformed Parks Enforcement police at the entrance to the beach. “You can go on the beach, but you can’t go in the water. That’s the deal,” one said.

Indeed, dune buggies driven by other Parks Enforcement police drove closer to the shoreline, making sure this was the case. There were a few NYPD police, too, but they didn’t seem to be doing much except watching the scene.

Crowds weren’t heavy, but walkers, bench-sitters and cyclists could all be seen on
the Brighton Beach section of the Boardwalk.

On the beach itself, red flags were planted so that groups of people would stay 6 feet apart from each other. Within these limits, beach-goers, mainly young, relaxed on blankets, walked around, played volleyball or soccer. Few, if any, people on the beach wore masks.

One thing that hasn’t changed despite the coronavirus pandemic — the crowds of people lining up at boardwalk snack bars. These places were always “grab-and-go” — few of them have much seating capacity anyway. At Nathan’s, the line was so long that this reporter finally left and headed back to the subway, ending an enjoyable day at the seashore.

These young women and others enjoyed the beach, but weren’t allowed to go into
the water.

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