Central Park Zoo Reopens as NYC Enters Modified Phase 4; Cuomo Threatens Rollback If Compliance Doesn’t Improve

Snow leopard.

By Carol Tannenhauser

“Somethin’ told me it’s all happening at the zoo” …well, maybe not all; the indoor attractions remain closed at the Central Park Zoo, about which Paul Simon sings, but the outdoor ones — including the seals, snow monkeys and leopards, grizzly bears and red pandas — are open to visitors for the first time in four months, although with some new rules and restrictions.

Zoos and botanical gardens are among the “low-risk Arts & Entertainment” venues that reopened in New York City on Monday, as the city arrived — late and limited — at Phase 4 of the state’s reopening plan. The venues are allowed to operate at 33% of their total capacity. Professional sports can also resume (without fans), as can media production, including television, music, and movies — so watch out for blocked streets.

The good news was tempered by a statement from Governor Andrew Cuomo, also on Monday, in which he railed against those who have been breaking mask and social distancing guidelines, mostly young people at bars, like the one that has become notorious in Astoria, Queens. Cuomo called it “just stupid,” and threatened to roll back the reopening of bars and restaurants, if compliance and enforcement don’t improve.

“There are inevitable consequences to our actions,” he said. “You can get sick in your 20s. You can die in your 20s. Even if you live by the theory you’re a superhero, you will go home and you will transfer it to someone else and they will transfer it to someone else. You can kill someone.”

Indoor dining, malls, gyms, movie theaters, and museums remain closed in New York City. We’ll let you know as things change. Meanwhile, enjoy a classic song about the Central Park Zoo.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 22 comments | permalink
    1. NYCBorn says:

      Keep the zoo closed. In fact, close it permanently. No need, antiquated and also pointless in Manhattan. Too small and unfair to the animals. And it stinks to high heaven in the summer time! Speaking of stink, please in all that is holy, DO NOT BRING BACK horse carriages – being in the park since the pandemic began has been absolute joy without all of the horsesh*t on the road. It’s antiquated and for the tourists who ride them, well for one, they are not here, but even when they are, most of them really should be walking and working off the corn dogs they ate at the state fair before lumbering onto the plane to get here.

      • Rob G. says:

        Jeez, Scrooge! Getting one’s fingernails sliced off with razor blades is more joyful than reading your humbug post.

      • Jeff Beger says:

        Calories in a corndog – 460
        Calories in a NYC bagel with cream cheese – 840

      • Allison says:

        They’re working on the conservation of species that are endangered or in danger of becoming endangered. I agree that zoos are lame if they’re too small or just to show off the animals, but the WCS works to, as the name says, on conservation.

        • lynn says:

          Weren’t the grizzly bears brought here after their mothers were killed out west while encroaching on human territory? It’s time to start protecting the animals in their natural habitats and stop pretending that transporting them across the country to a zoo in NYC is ‘saving’ them.

      • Pam says:

        Totally agree with you about the carriage horses. They suffer in this heat and the drivers don’t care. One dies they just get another poor victim.

    2. CE says:

      Speaking of animals, I’d love to know what’s going on with the carriage horses. Seems like this would be a good time to retire them. The Humane Society has a plan of action to do so.

    3. chris says:

      Are you looking to adopt a carriage horse and all the future carriage horses that come from Amish communities etc who use them until they are too old to work farms? What do you think happens to these horses if the owners can’t get money from the carriage trade?

      • Irish says:

        Exactly! and what about horse racing? show jumping, kids riding horses, ponies etc. what about all the humans who do manual work? construction laborers, gardeners, waiters! retire them all?!

        I really hope all these people calling for the horse carriage ban are all vegan, animal lovers

        • Charles says:

          So you can’t have a view about carriage horses unless you’re vegan? What a load of nonsense.

    4. Juan says:

      Great news that the zoo is open. I trust them to run it in a careful and safe way, giving people an option of something to do outside of their homes.

      Great song – didn’t they used to play that in Bronx Zoo commercials, maybe in the early 80s?

    5. Native New Yorker says:

      The commenters comparing the NYC horse carriage industry to horses that live in spacious barns need to do more research on how miserable the lives of the carriage horses are. Look up NYCLASS and educate yourselves before you spew your misinformed self-righteous nonsense.

      • Debbie Slater says:

        Agree (educate yourself at NYCLASS). The carriage horses should be retired to horse sanctuaries outside of NY. They are abused here in the city — whether outside in the heat — standing in the freezing cold — and in those awful stables. They are not properly cared for by veterinarians — and are made to work regardless of their ailments. It is INHUMANE — PLAIN AND SIMPLE. THEY DESERVE BETTER.

    6. Lakesha Brown says:

      This is definitely not how I want to spend the summer. I miss all the great stuff about the city, such as dining out with my friends on Saturday nights, going to the movies and the mall. That’s what being a New Yorker is all about. Hopefully we will get it all back when fall comes. After all, living in the city should be fun, not boring.

      • CityGirl57 says:

        agree! I miss so much about the city life , and on a more intimate note, just hugging my mom or friends …it looks that for the foreseeable future our physical expressions are going to change..

        its a constant struggle to adapt, but we can and must and this is not the worse pandemic in history ,.just happens to be ours.

    7. T says:

      Cuomo is ridiculous. There is no phase 5 so I guess bars, restaurants, concert venues, and other indoor businesses will just close. Hospitals are not overwhelmed. Let businesses open

      • Leon says:

        If people show that they can behave responsibly when these places are open, then maybe they can open. Perhaps the owners of these businesses will realize that it is on them to police their patrons if they want to keep their businesses operating. It might hurt their businesses in the short run, but it will help in the long run. It really isn’t that hard…

        • T says:

          Why do they need to ‘behave’ if hospitals aren’t overwhelmed?

          • Leon says:

            Are you serious? Numbers are down a lot but it is still out there and cases could start going up again very quickly.

            I am sorry that I am ruining your social life and infringing on your rights, but by making small sacrifices, we can all save a lot of lives. You might be young and healthy but you can easily transmit it to others. It really isn’t that complicated. If you aren’t worried, why don’t you invite your elderly grandmother or someone else who is important to you that is high risk to join you in a crowded bar with no one wearing masks?

    8. Mkke says:

      Took my five year old to the zoo on Monday and it was very well run. Maybe 20 total patrons via social distancing so was easy to get around. Yes many indoor exhibits closed but I know we had a fun hour touring around!

    9. Nancy Wight says:

      I want to visit the CP zoo!!