Police Will Limit Crowds at Sheep Meadow, Mayor Says


Sheep Meadow on a recent weekend day.

The weather is expected to be beautiful this weekend and that’s good and bad news in the age of the coronavirus. The city wants to give people room to move around, but make sure they’re not congregating in groups that could result in new infections.

Mayor de Blasio said at a press conference on Friday that police will be limiting access to park hotspots, including Sheep Meadow — the wide pasture in Central Park near 67th Street. How exactly that will work isn’t clear. We’ve reached out to the Parks Department for clarity.

Be safe out there! Sunscreen, masks and six-feet!

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 21 comments | permalink
    1. Susan Karp says:

      I was in the park on Wednesday and had two interactions with raccoons, one very large one in the Halett Nature Conservancy and then on the path along the Pond. In the latter instance, it walked right up to a woman sitting on a bench and she began feeding it while her husband took photos. I reported it to 311 and am waiting for a call back from the Parks. Dept., but the instances of these animals in Central Park is getting out of hand and, sooner or later, someone is going to be bitten. I don’t know why they aren’t removed from a park meant for people, not wild animals.

      • Carla Magdalis says:

        Sorry but raccoons are part of the natural habitat of places like Central Park.

      • B.B. says:

        You’re joking right? Or maybe aren’t a native inhabitant of NYC much less UWS. Can assure you those raccoons (or their ancestors) most certainly are/were.

        Raccoons were in New York city and state before Europeans arrived, and have learned to adapt ever since.

        They were in many areas of city once rural and still are especially parks like CP, Fort Tyron, etc…

        https://www1.nyc.gov/site/wildlifenyc/animals/raccoons.page

        https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/14/nyregion/raccoons-in-central-park-draw-crowds-and-warnings-to-stay-away.html

        Problem isn’t raccoons or wildlife in Central or any other NYC park, but humans.

        Besides large amounts of trash in or near CP people for reasons of their own feel need to feed these animals. More and easily found food means higher reproduction rates. Worse baby raccoons learn from their parents where/how to get food. So they become “introduced” to humans early on when they shouldn’t at all.

        You are never going to rid CP of raccoons no more than you are of rats. There is plenty of food in CP for the former to eat that falls under their natural diet. Left to her own devices Mother Nature would strike a balance between avaialble food and numbers of coons.

      • NotImpressed says:

        I was in Central Park yesterday and found myself surrounded by grass. An outrage!
        As I tried to escape I scraped my arm on a tree. Who put trees there?!?!
        I’m going to call 311 to report this wayward vegetation.

        • John says:

          I agree I think we need to bull doze the whole park and fill the area with solar panels and windmills. Call the project getting rid of the Green for the Green New Deal to move society into the future.

    2. Baaaary says:

      Sheep’s Meadow is an expansive area. People who have been there the past few weekends have been largely respectful of distancing. Leave it to this idiot mayor to believe if you limit space, people will just stay home. They won’t, they’ll just congregate more densely in other park areas and pose a greater danger to each other there. What a failure of leadership at our local level.

      • Sherman says:

        I’m no fan of DeBlasio but I agree with him on Sheep’s Meadow.

        I was in CP with my family last Sunday and Sheep’s Meadow was packed. Yeah, many people were wearing masks but many weren’t and many people weren’t adhering to social distancing etiquette. It did not look very safe.

        I told my wife I’m surprised there weren’t any police disbursing people.

        • Parker says:

          I agree with Sherman. I walked past Sheep’s Meadow last week and had similar concerns. There are only a couple of entrances to the meadow, so that complicates social distancing and the movement of people as well.

          This seems like a reasonable compromise.

        • Lenore says:

          Disbursing people to whom? Sorry, couldn’t resist.

      • TravelgalNYC says:

        I just got back from Central Park and Sheep’s Meadow was packed. There was a cop car there but nothing being monitored. It’s such a huge space I don’t know how the cops can keep an eye on the whole meadow. Half the people in the park aren’t wearing masks (mostly young people, 20’s and 30’s.) It’s really disheartening to see. Is it THAT difficult to wear a small piece of fabric so you don’t infect your community??

    3. Pasqual says:

      I never thought NYC would become a fascist state, but here we are.

    4. B.B. says:

      Will be out in country otherwise would love to see how this goes. My guess is tempers will flare and there will be one or more heated events.

      People wait all winter for warmer weather to arrive in NYC. There is only but so much people can stand of being cooped up in their apartments.

      Central Park is the backyard so to speak for residents of UES, UWS, CPS, CPN and areas adjacent. It is one reason people put up with often cramped living quarters and other inconveniences that would cause others to flee towards suburbs.

    5. Louise says:

      I look down on the sheep meadow and am appalled at the amount of people congregating and with no masks on so many,,, My husband and I are afraid to leave our apartment. Curious as to how distancing and wearing masks will be inforced???l

    6. Skye says:

      Looks like everyone will be picnicking in The Great Lawn tomorrow!

    7. Billie Yong says:

      This is a joke. I was in the sheep’s meadow Friday afternoon, and there were numerous groups of 7-15 people, al shirtless,no mask, hugging and kissing each other, all sweaty!

      • Tim says:

        I agree. More and more people here seem to be congregating outside, with and without masks. And in NYC the number of cases and hospitalizations due to covid19 continue to fall. Hmmmm

        • your_neighbor says:

          Hmmmm is correct Tim, many people have lost their minds.
          All studies point to the fact that if you are not overweight,have no major pre-existing heart/respiratory conditions, do not live in a nursing home you have an extremely small risk from this virus.
          18-44 year old NYers were died at a 0.02% rate. 45-64 year old NYers deaths were at a 0.17% rate.

          I’m pretty sure that more than 0.02% of 18-44 year olds and more than 0.17% of 45-64 year olds are much more effected by lack of food and a dismal look at digging out of debt due the shutdown of the economy than by the virus.

          Just wash your hands, try your best to stay 6 feet apart and you’ll be OK. Your likelihood of getting the virus from walking past someone are pretty much nil.

          Of course if you are in an at risk group or just panicking in fear you should look out for yourself to limit contact and do your best to stay out of situations where you will run into groups. If that means staying out of Central Park on a sunny weekend afternoon so be it.

          https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/covid/covid-19-data.page