Social distancing in practice as Orchard Beach reopens to the public

Orchard Beach midday on Wednesday, July 1.
Photo by Alex Mitchell

Beachgoers at the Bronx Riviera have set a proper example of social distancing as the waters of the Long Island Sound have reopened to the public today.

There’s well over six to ten feet between just about each chair and towel set up on the shore while NYC Parks Department employees are offering masks to those who are without — though many have come prepared on this first day back in the city’s waters.

While Orchard Beach remains more on the empty side at the moment, likely due to an incoming storm system, there are some brave enough to plunge into the sound as many others simply soaked up some sun while it’s lasting.

One senior couple, Dimitri and Valentini Golvin of Co-op City, left plenty of room between themselves and fellow beach dwellers during the sunnier part of the afternoon today.

A couple from Co-op City out at Orchard Beach today.Photo by Alex Mitchell

They came out to enjoy the first chance to plunge into the city’s public water, Dimitri said.

“It’s a nice day, not really hot,” he said.

Usually, the Golvins have been staying home throughout the pandemic they said, but simply wanted to get out and enjoy a nice day safely.

“You have to go out,” Dimitri said about every day tasks, “It’s better than California,” he added, mentioning other states that have kept beaches closed through the weeks that COVID-19 has spread throughout the country.

Paths at Orchard Beach remained mostly clear during the early afternoon while a few lawn chairs and picnickers were seen on grass opposite to the beach.

One eager young man was practicing his layups on the park’s basketball courts, despite its hoop having been removed by the Parks Department some time ago.

One snack bar was operational at Orchard Beach while another was being stocked earlier today — some ate their food at nearby tables while others walked along the crescent-shaped boardwalk.

People queue for refreshments at the Orchard Beach snack bar.Photo by Alex Mitchell

Overall, Orchard Beach was relatively still upon its reopening. Both Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio would be delighted to see the amounts of social distancing that a vast majority of beach dwellers displayed earlier today.

A quiet, socially distant Orchard Beach on Wednesday, July 1.Photo by Alex Mitchell

More from Around NYC