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Constantinides Wants Extra Park Officers To Enforce Social Distancing Around Astoria Park

Fitness station at the new track (NYC Parks)

March 27, 2020, By Michael Dorgan

Council Member Costa Constantinides has called on the Parks Department to provide additional Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) officers around Astoria Park this weekend to enforce social distancing guidelines.

Constantinides has asked for the extra supervision to disperse crowds in order to help stem the spread of COVID-19 after large crowds of people were seen congregating in the area last weekend.

The Astoria lawmaker has also asked the DOT to assess whether Shore Boulevard — which runs along the western side of Astoria Park — can be closed off to create extra space for pedestrians to social distance correctly.

The state has ordered people to stay indoors as much as possible to curb the spread of COVID-19. If people need to go outside for essential activities or exercise, they are advised to do so alone and stay at least six feet apart from others.

“We saw far too many clusters of people at the Astoria Park running track last weekend when we should be exercising a safe distance from one another,” Constantinides said.

“As we head into another weekend, we need Parks to ensure too many people aren’t using our exercise facilities at once,” he said.

The city parks and playgrounds will continue to remain open — as long as people adhere to social distancing rules and avoid group sports, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.

It follows Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement earlier in the week that the NYPD and PEP officers would increase enforcement on social distancing in public spaces.

The city has banned group activities like barbeques and basketball, as well as organized sports in its parks. The mayor has also ordered the removal of basketball rims from some 80 city parks over coronavirus concerns.

The city is urging the public to observe social distancing requirements and not to congregate.

Mayor de Blasio said that he plans to keep all city parks open as long as people are following the social distancing guidelines. He said that he will reassess the situation Saturday to see whether people are complying and whether they should remain open.

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David D

In reference to the Whitey Ford Park in Astoria 26th Avenue between 1st Street and 2nd Street right across the street from the new 20-story building closing the ball field which is hardly ever use no Bassam dead hasn’t been one there in the last 35 years or more but people do walk the dogs since the new building open in 2018 I believe they must be at least 50 dog owners that used to park for the dogs and now they closed off the ball field and did bring in more people closer together because of closing the ball field don’t make sense maybe somebody could look into that and see if they could do something a little bit better for the new residence and the old ones all dogs need outside activities to not being able to take them where they were being take for the last couple years is anxiety for them and for us please help us by reopening the field it has not been any kind of big Gathering people


The worst offenders are the park “workers”. They congregate in their house all day then all walk out together in groups. Just hanging out.


I’m sure we can assume that the next step will be to equip these park officers with submachine guns to enforce social distancing.


I think they are going to stop people who have sub-brains from spitting around, exposing others to virus. It is so sad that the society needs enforcement even for a basic preventive method..


No wonder so many are getting sick! They think rules don’t apply to them! No one takes it seriously. For Christ sake they are setting up freezer trucks in the city bc of all those that are dying! That is heartbreaking! Stay home!

Astoria Park for People and Dogs on Leash

Officers ,please also ensure that ALL dogs are on leash. Twice this past week a pitbull and German Shepherd were off leash. This is unacceptable, even more so now when the open parks are the only place for people to go. We should not have to fear a dog mauling at the park.


They should also make sure people don’t litter and look both ways before crossing the street.


They should be renovating Astoria public parks bathroom instead of investing into officers that are going to be on their phones all day


I do not blame people for wanting to go out or what is happening. There is a lot of mixed messages coming from media and leaders. On one hand you have media and leaders telling you to stay home and then the same people are telling you to go for a walk or run and get some vitamin d from the sunshine and beautiful day in NYC while practicing social distancing. Well if you have lets say roommates and meeting your significant others for a walk or family that live with you obviously people are not going to practice social distancing with people they are interacting with daily. So then media jumps on those images, criticizes common people (who do not live in big homes and have backyards) and starts telling the police to enforce distancing and leaders open streets and free buses.


You SHOULD be practicing social distancing with anyone outside your home.

If you do not live with the person (say parents or grandchildren) do not interact with them.

It does not make any sense to have children go to a grocery store then go inside the house of elderly parents. You leave groceries on the steps if you want them to live.


I Went for some air and ended up leaving. So much interaction amongst people. I witnessed a football game, a soccer game, kids soccer practice, everyone hovering over each other and sharing the workout equipment, kids touching everything while parents lounged, and the track was super crowded. I ended up leaving.


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