New Yorkers are observing Memorial Day, cautiously.
Memorial Day weekend serves as a peek into what the city will look like in the coming months, a taste of summer that keeps New Yorkers looking forward.
But this year, in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, people on Monday were questioning how to gather during a crisis: Some watched car processions instead of traditional parades, while others prepared to head to the park or the beach, despite the cool weather.
In Yonkers, just north of the city, military and emergency vehicles were part of a Motorcade Memorial Day Parade. An online flyer encouraged onlookers to “wear a mask and practice social distancing.” On Long Island, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran hosted a car parade to the Veterans Memorial at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow. Residents were encouraged not to line the streets, but instead to watch a Facebook livestream and “salute” veterans remotely.
Beachgoers in New York City were still unable to take a dip in the water on Monday, though many shorelines in the suburbs were open for swimming. Still, the cloudy skies and public safety measures — most beaches in the New York region were operating at half-capacity and limiting their use to locals — dampened the urge to pack the sand.
But, many people were simply staying home, unlike in years past, when they gathered on stoops and in public parks to barbecue and toast the arrival of the warmer season.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said last week that he was considering opening beaches this summer, should the pandemic continue to ebb. The lifeguards’ union said its workers were preparing to return to their posts as early as June.
Still, several members of the New York City Council urged the mayor to open the beaches for swimming.
“Access to city beaches isn’t just a summer fun issue,” Corey Johnson, the Council speaker, said in a statement on Saturday. “It is an equity issue and a public health issue. All New Yorkers, not just those wealthy enough to travel out of the city, deserve access to the beach this summer.”
The Council set forth several recommendations for a beach reopening, including: flags in the sand to indicate where beachgoers can sit while social distancing; walking lanes; limited entry; increased transportation options; and personal protective equipment and testing for lifeguards.
The outlook for the patient assigned to Capt. Eric Dungan on May 1 was bleak: George Crouch, 96, seemed to have given up on life.
His wife had died of Covid-19, and Mr. Crouch was also battling the illness in the hospital. Since his wife’s death in late April, he was refusing medical care and would not eat.
Captain Dungan, a trained social worker in the U.S. Army Reserves, had been deployed from Indiana to New York City to help hospitals during the coronavirus crisis. Many of his patients had already died of the illness, and given Mr. Crouch’s age, condition and temperament, Captain Dungan braced for the worst.
A nurse stopped him on his way to visit Mr. Crouch for the first time. Did Captain Dungan know, the nurse asked, that Mr. Crouch was a veteran of World War II?
“I always see World War II vets as national treasures,” Captain Dungan said. “He did not disappoint.”
The soldiers’ disparate paths had collided at that hospital bedside.
Mr. Crouch was decades out of the Army; Captain Dungan, 46, had only just signed up for the reserves, driven to enlist after the death of his own father, a veteran.
Bonded by their time in the service, the two men connected. Through their friendship, Mr. Crouch found something to live for, his family believes.
“Captain Eric Dungan had immense impact on him. And on us, we really love him,” said Kai Adwoa-Thomas, Mr. Crouch’s daughter.
The M.T.A. is bolstering railroad service as two more regions prepare to open.
With the Mid-Hudson and Long Island regions poised to start reopening this week, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced new public transit safety measures on Sunday in an effort to ensure public health as those areas emerge from lockdown.
Long Island Rail Road trains will add more cars to create more space for travelers, who will be required to wear face masks while riding, the governor said.
“They’re going to add more cars to the trains so people can space out and socially distance when Long Island opens,” Mr. Cuomo said Sunday during his daily briefing at Jones Beach on Long Island.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is running some 700 trains along the Long Island Rail Road under its coronavirus-era reduced service plan. In anticipation of a gradual reopening of Nassau and Suffolk counties, the M.T.A. is planning to add up to 105 train cars to its current capacity, an increase of roughly 15 percent, said an agency spokeswoman, Abbey Collins.
It will also store extra train cars in 15 yards across the system, in case additional cars need to be quickly deployed.
The M.T.A. is expected to announce capacity enhancements for Metro-North Railroad riders this week, too, Ms. Collins said. The Metro-North Railroad serves much of the Mid-Hudson region, which is set to begin reopening on Tuesday.
Days after President Trump demanded that the nation’s places of worship reopen “right away,” Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey said the state would like to do so “sooner rather than later” but cautioned that he did not know when they could be safely opened.
“We want to make sure we do it right, responsibly, and that we don’t kill anybody by doing it too fast,” Mr. Murphy said Sunday during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
As of Sunday, houses of worship in more than half of the states could legally open, but many had decided to remain shut for now. Many that are considering opening for in-person worship soon have been mapping out new seating arrangements or foot traffic flow.
Mr. Murphy, who said he had been in contact with President Trump on Friday — the day the president commented on reopening houses of worship — said on CNN that “bad factors,” including lack of ventilation and close seating arrangements in houses of worship needed to be considered in determining when they could open.
“I think we’ll get there, but I can’t tell you when,” Mr. Murphy said.
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Sandra E. Garcia, Michael Gold, Dana Rubinstein, Andrea Salcedo and Ali Watkins contributed reporting.