On Astoria’s busy 30th Avenue, many storefronts were shuttered Monday, the first weekday under Gov. Cuomo’s executive order forcing all non-essential businesses to close.
Even some shops deemed “essential” by the state were closed anyway: a Greek eatery and a laundromat, both of which posted signs on their doors urging customers to “stay safe.” At another laundromat on 30th Avenue and 29th Street, a sign advised that no more than 10 people could be inside at any time, and customers could not stay to fold their clothes; it was wash and dry only. A nearby pharmacy was limiting shoppers to five at a time.
At Athens Square Park, on 30th Avenue and 30th Street, the gate to the playground was open but included a Parks Department sign warning visitors to “exercise alone and use social distancing.”
Still, some residents could be seen grouping together: Four people stood under a bus stop shelter to get out of the rain. When the Q18 bus pulled up, a sign at the front door notified riders that they would have to board at the back of the bus — a policy the MTA put in place Monday to better protect its bus operators from infection.
Meanwhile, on 204th Street in the Norwood section of the Bronx, some stores were shuttered: A lunch counter, an optician, a couple realty offices. But the majority of retail establishments were open at midday: tax-preparation offices, a cellphone store, several 99-cent stores, the pet store, a hardware store, a bakery, the butcher, a fish store, all the pharmacies and several restaurants doing take-out (both pick-up and delivery).
In the area around Yankee Stadium, street vendors were still working. Banks operated with few customers. Liquor stores kept selling.
People on the street in Woodhaven seemed avoid each other at all costs: crossing streets, pacing themselves while walking so they never got too close to other pedestrians and pausing before an act like opening a door, that they might pull out a tissue or don gloves.