City Masks in Central Park Run Out in Less Than an Hour After Line Stretches At Least Half a Mile

The line to get a mask.

The city gave out masks inside Central Park on Saturday at Tavern on the Green, which is around 67th Street. Demand was so high that the masks — 2,000 packages holding five masks each — were gone in about 45 minutes, according to our tipster Lese.

David, who took the photo above, said that the line was at least half a mile, with people staying at least six feet away from each other.

There will be two more mask giveaways in the neighborhood over the next two days:

Sunday, 10 a.m. until noon: At the top of the ramp at West 100th Street and Central Park West.

Monday, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.: Morningside Park at Morningside Avenue and West 114th Street.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 33 comments | permalink
    1. Paul says:

      Let’s get this straight:
      People who have masks were waiting on a half mile long line for …


    2. Ethan says:

      I was there before 9 am for the 10 am start and there was already a line of people.

      3 observations: 1) lines seem longer than the old days due to the the “6 foot rule;” 2) the 6 foot rule is not observed with any consistency (in Central Park at least); and 3) the masks are fine, but purely “functional” – if you seek anything that takes fashion into consideration, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

    3. Chris says:

      Masks are less than a dollar each- free if you make your own. Did that many people feel it was worth it to go all that way and on top of that wait at least an hour?

      • JT says:

        Yes, they did. The article shows they did.

      • Tim says:

        Some people can’t say no to “free”. It’s the same people who’d show up for free tap water or dirt in a box. Whatever makes them happy I guess.

    4. UWSmom says:

      Wouldn’t it be safer and more efficient to mail a pack or 2 to every household.

      • Danielle Remp says:

        I see problems with mailing them. First, in my observation, 90% of those in public already have a face covering; there’s no need to send out 8.4 million. Second, in my opinion, the 10% or so who still don’t wear one will never do so.
        As an anecdote, recently, in the early morning, I was walking on WEA. Coming toward us, was a young man carrying bags full of empty cans, and coughing quite openly. It’s my guess that this man would have no address where he could receive a mask and, possibly, he had already been given one: Once we got passed him, we saw a seemingly crisp surgical mask discarded on the sidewalk. It dawned on me that it was possibly his — possibly, given to him by a brave passerby. How do you keep a mask on when you can’t stay “home” and need to blow your nose, and cough and sneeze?

        • Debra says:

          I do wish the city could perhaps give some out strategically throughout the city, perhaps in front of supermarkets. Because before the pandemic, surgically masks were only $15 for 100 of them. Now they are sky high on Amazon, and you wait a month to get them. Drugstores are charging $2 a piece, which is expensive if wearing them every day. I wish there was something the city could do to bring the cost down to pre-pandemic prices now that everyone needs a month’s supply of them to wear every day!

          • mkmuws says:

            That would imply people are out everyday, which is unacceptable behavior at this point. All this masc mania keeps masking the fact that social distancing is the number one rule.

    5. PeetOeuf says:

      How hard would it be to mail masks to all city residents. Just like a voter registration (and if concerned about waste ask residents to register for masks first)….This badly run nonsense boggles my mind. It’s a shambles. Furthermore the masks should be medical of some form. Someone can be rewarded for their manufacture.

    6. Andrew says:

      Wouldn’t it be safer for all if the masks were distributed by mail on request?

    7. sam says:

      for those who are interested and have the requisite tools, I’ve been hand-sewing masks for myself using stuff from around my house (some old scarves, extra pillowcase inserts that I had never used for linings). I used these instructions:

      and the results were pretty good for my first two tries (I’ve made a few more in the meantime.


    8. My2Cents says:

      I noticed the photo above provided by the OP did not show the front of the package. In case for those who are curious about the shape, material and color of these reusable masks to determine if it is worth a trip to pick them up, here is what I found…

      These masks are made of white Hane t-shirt / underwear type of material cut in a shape of a rectangle box surrounded by similar material white trim for the ear loops. There is absolutely no elasticity in the material and the loops are cut way too long. In my opinion, it does not support an average woman’s face so it would not work for a kid. Since this mask is so loose over the face, it falls easily below the nose as you talk through it. Without any left and right folds stutched on the mask, it also leaves too much gaps.

      These masks are NOT one size fits all. Without some form of personal customization, they are essentially useless for most.

      It’s a nice gesture offered free by the government, but these masks are hastily done and are not for everyone.

      • Pam says:

        It says right on the wrapper that they are 100% cotton. Also, I had no problem with the mask slipping off my nose.

    9. AC says:

      I was running in Central Park Sat morning around 9:30 AM. I saw the line and thought people were on line for free cheese or something along those lines.

      In all reality, if you want to use Masks, you really need to wear the entire gear. And that includes gloves and an eye shield.

    10. Glenn Richter says:

      By the time I arrived at 100th Street & CPW on Sunday at 9:55 am, 5 minutes before the official distribution time, the line for masks stretched up the West Drive of the park to 103rd Street. I estimated some 400 people were ahead of me, and the line behind me grew swiftly. When the distribution began, the line moved smoothly; one packet of five cloth masks per person or family unit. The mask fits well, and I’m very grateful.

    11. gregg says:

      people would do anything for free stuff, sigh

    12. JL says:

      Yes, getting on these lines might not be safe for a $5 item to limit your own exhalation.

      Please keep the pressure on the politicians for WIDESPREAD testing/tracking. This is the ONLY solution, for a walking city with 15000 fatalities.

      We still don’t know what Is “safe” indoors and out, % of infected/spreaders who NEVER become symptomatic, degrees of immunity for those who have recovered.

      HELLO Cuomo and BdB, let’s not have NYC be the example again for the second wave as increasing numbers are getting back out, for whatever reason !?!?

      • HelenD says:

        There are so many conflicting articles and I’m about ready to give up. I wore a mask and gloves to go to the corner market and was quite happy to see everyone in there doing the same. I took a walk over to the park as there was no one sitting on the benches. First time out in a long time. I counted 31 people pass me coming out of the park, parents with kids on bikes, dog walkers, runners, people just talking on their phone, etc. Not ONE of them was wearing a mask. 🙁

        • JL says:

          The link I posted above in #12 is for an outdoor testing booth where the tester(1) is protected. CBS Sunday morning had a short piece on it yesterday. There are other links online, Google Israel launch Covid19 testing booths.

          Re: Mask wearers in parks. Without tracking, we have no idea who got what from where? So viruses are still out there. It doesn’t care how safe we feel. So we are left to determine what our own tolerance level is for any given activity. Which doesn’t work so well in a crowded diverse city with leadership that’s been playing catch-up from the get-go.

          For anyone who is biking, running, walking for any period of time even at moderate exertion levels with exhalations which will moisten whatever fabric rendering them useless to filter any air. So are the parks safe where Distancing gets tricky when you throw in speed of movement AND windspeed/direction. We don’t know? We don’t know about viral loads and how it affects different individuals.

          What I’m hearing is there some will get sick even with a slow startup. The difference is now we know what the healthcare system can handle (excluding human toll) in numbers. At the same time hoping limiting large gatherings with close contacts will give us the safety margins to save the economy.

          • HelenD says:

            Thank you for all the info. It would be nice if we had testing sites like this on the UWS. I’m not in a neighborhood that’s being tested but I’m sure it would alleviate some of the stress on seniors it was available everywhere, and if we didn’t have to stand on line for hours to get it.

        • Please_Leave says:

          you know that is not true. why make things up

        • Boris says:

          For the umpteeth time, people who are able to social distance – outside OR inside – do not contribute any increased measure of safety to the rest of the population by wearing a mask. It is also highly unlikely that an infected person would transmit it to someone simply by walking past them. What’s important is sustained or close proximity to a carrier for aerosol droplets to have an effect.

    13. mkmuws says:

      Again seems to be lost on the masses that number one, stay home; number two social distance, etc mask is not even at the top of the list. Emphasizing masks disproportionately means more people coming out who shouldn’t be and less social distancing. Hard to watch for those who have truly been following the rules all along.

    14. cj berk says:

      Pitiful-just-pitiful. It’s true- you can’t do anything nice in NYC. C’mon folks these are only 99cents each….free is not a big score by any standards. Are these the same people lined up around the block for Trader Jo? Mindless especially since they are already wearing masks. Please stay home.

    15. mkmuws says:

      Not to mention what the mask is made of (and of course furthermore how well it fits) is paramount. A lot of these coverings are useless, and just give you a social pass for accomplishing nothing. People want to believe masks are the quick fix. Sorry, there just isn’t one. If you haven’t been feeling serious sacrifice in your groceries or outings, you haven’t been following the rules.

    16. Carolina Jules says:

      Masks don’t last very long… so it is good to have a spare before your old one looks beat up and we are in fir the long haul.

    17. Rachel says:

      On Saturday mask at prospect park entrance run out in 30 mins

    18. 68th st mom says:

      Wow folks, this is pain, but really not that hard! Remember, for distanced 6 feet and more outdoor activities, risk is lowest and it is healthy for all of us to be out at least a little. And if you can find a quiet spot for a walk or short rest in the sun or breeze away from people you don’t need a mask or face covering.

      You should have a mask or even bandana, wear it in the street to avoid unexpected closer interactions (but really if you are moving and not talking to being talked near, not high risk, a bandana is modest but helpful safety.)

      It is indoors that is higher risk: even lobbies, grocery stores, elevators, where lack of moving air and sunshine, and lack of control exist. (Who can know who was in an elevator just before you talking animatedly on their phone?.) If you are at all at risk, use the best mask you can find for those situations. Homemade ones are fine. Even paper towel or coffee filters plus sheeting or tee shirt materials – a few woven layers, fitted well – will protect you and those near you. Etsy sells them, you can make them, some stores have them – everyone can have a few on hand. Most of us do not have to protect like nurses or patient transport workers who have to operate in a whole higher level of contagion threat indoors for hours and hours. But what we do outside of home, even if for short periods just takes a little thought. It’s not a big ask. So worth it! . No whining! Thank the helpers, and bless you if you can be one!