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Tag: covid-19

Baseball Is Back With Those Questions.

By Rich Mancuso The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

So baseball is back and that’s what you want to hear. The owners put the players in a position to play 60-games after months of back-and-forth proposals. The medical protocols are in place to prevent a spread of COVID-19.  

Face the facts. The owners and commissioner got their deal. The players and union  get their grievance, so baseball will be headed for more disruption after the 2021 season.  Honestly, though, this is a matter of dollars and cents. 

The battle between millionaires and billionaires and why we have no baseball until July 23rd. No baseball July 4th. This deal could have been done weeks ago and it is difficult to understand why we waited so long.   

Regardless, both parties are wrong when it comes to the specifics of dollars and cents in the billionaire industry of MLB.  Fans are the losers. Stadiums will remain empty and that means more revenue lost for the owners and the players. 

No All-Star game or home run derby which generates revenue. Universal designated hitter for both leagues, and three divisions by region. Runner at second base in the event a game goes to extra innings that is more suited for the sandlots. 

Locally, the Yankees and Mets in the same division, oppose each other four or six times and that will draw interest if you are enthused  to see baseball played differently. 

Revenue at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium, accustomed to an average of 47,000 fans during the borough rivalry, will not exist with fans not in the ballparks.

08/15/19 Cleveland Indians vs New York Yankees at yankee stadium bronx ny #17 aaron boone takes #57 chad green out of the game after giving up 5 runs in the 1st inning Neil Miller The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020

The Yankees and Dodgers are favored to reach the World Series, that is, if we are fortunate to get there without a disruption.  Aaron Boone will not manage a 100-win Yankees team and the Mets will finally unveil new manager Luis Rojas.

file photo Luis rojas Neil Miller The New yOrk Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020

And Mets fans will see Yoenis Cespedes back in the lineup as a probable DH. Gerrit Cole and Jacob deGrom, dueling against each other on the mound, is one of those anticipated baseball moments of 2020. 

All possible situations can occur during this 60-game sprint. 

Yes, a global pandemic caused disruption and there could be more cases of COVID-19 in baseball, already seen, which could cause another stoppage of the game. So with the strict medical protocols and no end to the coronavirus, players are ready to report Monday for part 2 of spring training in their home ballparks. 

 It’s July 23 and 24th and Opening Day.. It will be different for the players, personnel, and limited amount of media covering games with no access to players. Yes, the media will be required to wear face protection in the ballparks from initial reports. 

 It will be different for you and me.  As a baseball purist, the format and different rules don’t go over well. But this will be the only game in town if and when the NFL schedule goes off as planned and fans will tune in.

Those medical protocols? Players are concerned and are expecting numerous positive results of COVID-19 as many travel to their destinations from Latin America and cities that are seeing a rise in cases of the Coronavirus.

Temperature checks, distancing, and constant testing will be the norm. Separation and different routines are not the norm for players that are creatures of habit. The baseball played won’t be normal. There is no answer as to how MLB will deal with an increase in positive COVID tests.  

If a team is informed to relocate, because an infection rate says it is not safe, what are the procedures and where do they go from there? These are answers that will be played out when this truncated and unusual season begins.

This is unprecedented territory. Baseball is not being played in a bubble like boxing has successfully done in Las Vegas with Top Rank and  ESPN the past three weeks.

And there is a possibility that numerous players will sit this out with fear and caution. Simply, they don’t want to be put in a position of being placed in isolation and away from their families, more complicated if that arises on the road.

Either way, high profiled players and those not in that bracket have mixed views about getting back on the field.  According to the agreement, those who opt out  will not get service time and pay. There are exceptions with circumstances and different players.

 NYextra.com reached out to some players. As expected there were mixed signals. As much as baseball players are that fraternity, they are concerned about their safety. Creatures of habit, as they are, the signals were not positive about isolation from each other in the clubhouse, on the road,

Anything from the travel, to leaving the ballpark 90-minutes after the last pitch was thrown is a concern.  They are scrambling to find places to reside and how to commute to the ballpark with social distancing.  

And, to some, the game of baseball is not meant to be played with no fans in the ballpark. But, they will adjust because they have no other alternative to play. They will leave the economics to another day as their game is headed to a major collision with owners.

“ I was hesitant,” said a player with veteran status. “I talked this over with the family and slept on it. Not enthused but will go with the plan and hope for the best.”

Another said, “Just hope for the best and go with the plan. Hope for the best and we will get through this. Going to be weird for everyone and different.. No doubt we have no time with a sprint to go on a losing streak and have no time to get back in the race for the postseason.”

A few said, a MLB shutdown was preferred  until a proper vaccine for COVID-19 was in place, then again, who knows the duration as to when the medical community will have that.   And they would have sacrificed sitting at home and going with that route of safety and let it play out.

So here we are. Baseball is back and lots of questions that will have answers in the month ahead to that new Opening Day. Not the way the game should be played, and not the norm reporting a game at the ballpark.

In the end, safety is first and foremost. Players and owners are aware of the changes and protocols. But fans got their game. The next few months will be a sprint and not a marathon. 

But what happens next year? If this coronavirus is not under control 2021 is in jeopardy and here we go again. 

Comment: Ring786@aol.com  Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

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PGA Tour Hoping COVID-19 outbreak doesn’t get worse, by George Willis, TheNewYorkExtra/theNYExtra.com

Welcome to the new normal on the PGA Tour.  Hopefully.

Five players withdrew from the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn., on Wednesday amid concerns about the spread of COVID-19.   Cameron Champ was the only player to test positive, but caddies Ricky Elliott and Ken Convoy also tested positive.  Elliott carries the bag for Brooks Koepka, who withdrew, while Convoy is the caddie for Graeme McDowell, who also withdrew, as per the health and safety protocols established by the tour.

Chase Koepka, the brother of Brooks Koepka, had qualified for the tournament at TPC River Highlands, but also withdrew out of an abundance of caution.  Webb Simpson, the winner of last week’s RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, also withdrew out of an abundance of caution.

credit twitter

The five withdrawals and three positive tests come after golfer Nick Watney tested positive for COVID-19 before the second round at Hilton Head last week.  While five withdrawals in a single day seems like a big number, it’s manageable for the PGA Tour.

“We knew it would be impossible to eliminate all risk as evidenced by the three positive tests this week,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a virtual interview from Cromwell, adding, “We all need to learn to live with this virus, both as individuals, as family members and certainly within our business.”

There was no thought of canceling the tournament, which is the right move.  The 2020 Travelers Championship is part of the four tourney restart of the PGA Tour where fans aren’t allowed and putting on a professional golf tournament in the midst of a pandemic is unprecedented.  There were bound to be positive tests and the PGA Tour can only hope the situation doesn’t get much worse.

Monahan said the Tour has administered 2,757 in market tournament tests, including the Korn Ferry Tour, with seven positive tests.  Any positive test is a concern, but it’s also part of the learning process of how to contest professional sports in this uncertain climate.

“I’m concerned,” Monahan said, “but I’m also confident in the program and protocols we’ve put in place and our ability to be able to sustain the PGA Tour and give our players opportunities on both of these tours over the course of the year, so long as we continue to be as diligent as we intend to be.”

A Travelers purse of $7.4 million will be at stake when the first round begins Thursday.  Players are tested every other day, which means there could be more positive tests coming during the week.  The hope is that it doesn’t get to the point where the PGA Tour considers shutting down the season again.

“The thing that’s most important is just everybody needs to do their part,” said Justin Thomas, a 12-time winner on the PGA Tour.  “It’s a big-picture thing, and you need to do not only what’s best for you but most importantly what’s best for the Tour because one mistake that someone makes could end up ruining other guys or potentially suspend the Tour again.”

Monahan hopes it won’t get to that point.  “We’re confident with the plan we have and we are very hopeful that we are not going to be in that position,” he said.

Travelers doing ‘everything’ to avoid COVID-19 spread on PGA Tour

barclays golf/tuesdays pratice round pro am tournament of barclays classic at westchester country club/ phil mickelson hot from the 8th hole today Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020

All eyes will be on the 2020 Travelers Championship this week in Cromwell, Conn., and it won’t just be about the golf.  After Nick Watney became the first player to test positive for COVID-19 at the RBC Heritage last week at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, the PGA Tour is holding its collective breath waiting to see if it’s an isolated case or the start of something more serious.

The world best golfers began arriving at TPC River Highlands on Monday for the annual event that is the first on the PGA Tour to be played on schedule since the pandemic began.  No fans will be in attendance and the list of volunteers, which normally numbers 4,000 has been whittled to about 300.  Everyone on the grounds will be tested during the week by either the PGA Tour or a separate testing program being implemented by tournament organizers.

“All players, caddies and tour officials will be tested in the Tour program,” tournament director Nathan Grube told TheNYExtra.com “But given the environment and what’s happening in New England we talked to Travelers and made an agreement that we are going to test everybody on property.  We have a different program going the same time the Tour has their program going.  We’ve been working with all of the volunteers, vendors, television teams, police security, firemen, and manufacture reps, anybody on property.”

Testing everyone at the event has been a “logistical challenge,” trying to coordinate schedules and procedures.  “We just want to make sure that after the tournament is over when we look back, we can say, we did everything we possibly could to be as safe as possible,” Grube said.

The Travelers Championship with a purse of $7,400,000 is regarded as one of the most fan-friendly tournaments on the PGA Tour and a popular stop for touring players, normally coming off a rugged U.S. Open.   While COVID-19 caused the cancellation or postponement of several tournaments including this year’s U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y, the Travelers was tabbed as one of the first four events once the Tour returned to action.

The Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial came off without incident two weeks ago, but Watney, 39, tested positive before Friday’s second round at Hilton Head after being negative from an initial test taken on Tuesday.

Despite being symptomatic on Friday, Watney, a five-time PGA Tour, was allowed to remain at the golf course and continue his preparation while awaiting test results.  The 11 people he came into contact with during the week were all tested Friday and were negative.  Watney is now in self-isolation in South Carolina for at least 10 days.  

A positive test was scary, but not unexpected, and Grube said information gathered at Colonial and Harbour Town will be invaluable this week.

“All the tournament directors are having weekly calls and sometimes daily calls,” Grube said.  “People were sending us pictures every day.  ‘This is what we did at player registration. This is what we did at caddie registration.  This is how we sent out water to the groups.’  It was such a good flow of information.”

Being part of the restart has helped the Travelers attract a strong field. The top five players in the world ranking are competing:  Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson.   Bubba Watson will be looking for his fourth win in Cromwell, while two-time champion Phil Mickelson and 2017 champion Jordan Spieth are also in the field along with 15 of the top 20 players in the world rankings.

“We’re happy we’re part of bringing sport back and part of bringing golf back,” Grube said.  “Our fans are part of what makes this place so special and so unique.  They’ll definitely be missed.  But I think they understand.”

With an estimated 200,000 in attendance over the course of the week, the 2019 tournament raised an estimated $2.1 million for the various charities the tournament supports.  With no Pro-Am and no corporate tents to generate added income payouts to charitable funds figured to be scarce this year.  But the majority of the sponsors have agreed to make their fees donations instead of rolling it over into next year.  “We’re going to be able to give a significant number to charities,” Grube said.  “It’s been a very, very different year with how much is going on.”

Local Long Island News, The Bellmore car show lives despite covid-19, by Neil Miller The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

Every Friday nite from 6pm thru 10 pm ,spring to fall, the town of Bellmore,NY on the South Shore of Nassau County, hosts a car show. The show draws motorheads from all over the island, and it takes place in the LIRR parking lot between Bellmore Ave and Bedford Ave. Event goers this Friday observed social distancing and wore masks, so it’s a save place to bring your family! Here’S a few photos from last night.

Frank Martucci stands by his 58 Olds know as the “Bugmobile” Neil Miller The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020
Frank Martucci’s 58 Oldsmobile on display at The Bellmore Car Show 06/19/2020 Neil Miller The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020
Rich Amato sits in his 42 Willys US Army Jeep at The Bellmore Car Show 06/19/2020 Neil Miller The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020

This Boxing Gym Has A Leader Who Continues His Goals

Under that one roof we all at peace. it’s a chain. A strong chain.  

Eric Kelly said those words. He is not a political leader or an activist. This is a 39 year-old in the boxing industry who believes in the community and all for youth.

So as the nation tries to heal from the unfortunate and tragic death of George Floyd, and with an ongoing pandemic from COVID-19, Kelly is hard at work at reopening his boxing gym in the South Bronx.

He is witnessing the hardships of those in pain from his windows in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, That area of New York City has been a scene of protests and uprisings.  In the meantime, Kelly is monitoring the latest to reopen a boxing gym that has moved to a new location.

Before the pandemic “South Box” was a thriving boxing gym in a busy district off 134th Street and Bruckner Boulevard. The kids had an outlet after school and on weekends 

He had to move locations and start all over. The past three years his gym space was rented, but the building will be torn down as the South Bronx continues to make a transition to big business and residential housing. 

Kelly is aware of changes in health protocols when the go ahead comes to resume his successful training and educational ground for aspiring fighters, at a new location off 138th Street and Lincoln Avenue. 

 “We can’t let anyone in certain times,” he said about social distancing  laws. “We got to do safety first, six or eight people at a time.”

When this former amatuer champion started a sole initiative, he opened the doors early and closed late. He hopes that will continue and also continue his good relationship with the local police precinct in the community in bridging that gap with youth and the NYPD.

Of course, as Kelly says, boxing can continue to help bridge that gap with the community and NYPD.  Learning and discipline is a part of the sport and that applies more to the few and far between boxing gyms that remain.

“Boxing teaches you discipline and professionalism,” he says. “It gives you structure.  Great workout teaches you a skill, more importantly it’s a structure and discipline being able to listen.  We are able to be taught.”  

Not too long ago, an era of the 80’s and 90’s, Kelly learned the craft when boxing gyms were a hot bed in the city. His trainer, George Washington, known for his structure of discipline, guided his path.

He became a four-time national champion in various weight classes and credits boxing that earned him a degree from Northern Michigan University.  

Regardless, the outcome of this pandemic will come soon.  Kelly has a plan to retain as many members as he can.Provide any youngster that seeks boxing the opportunity to train for free.  He has done that in the past at the old location.

 A program “Pizza Box” will continue for nearby kids in the community. 

“The fact, we been good to our members, staff, and trainers,” he says. “ You can’ hold a good thing back. We’re not going to sink, Good quality will preserve.” 

His gym has seen two NYC Golden Gloves finalists and one that earned a gold medal. Numerous metro tournament champions and pro fighters who depended on that city boxing gym are regulars. 

 Peter Dobson, junior welterweight from the Bronx is one. Travis Peterkin, Gledwin Ortiz, and Christina Cruz, a  2020 Olympic qualifier is another.

“In New York City, boxing gyms turned its back on the youth, “ Kelly says. 

He has a point. PAL programs, funded by the city, were without a budget. The independent owners had difficulty making ends meet and the minimal number of grants caused them to close.

And there is a concern, now, that the pandemic will cause more gyms to shut their doors for good because of changes. Many are not able to stay afloat after gyms in the city were mandated to close in mid March.

But SouthBox continues the plan to reopen at a new location. Eric Kelly says It will be bigger and better and have it no other way. He will continue to stress discipline and keep that peace in his community.

“We are in the last cycle,” he says. 

Comment: Ring786@aol.com Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

Sailing on Uncharted Waters

Decision making in the Age of Corona Virus. An Editorial by Neil Miller, Publisher, The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com, Editing by Toni Hoyos

What to do? And who to believe? That’s the dilemma everyone is faced with from “The News Media” concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s one view, and an opposite view. And then there’s a 3rd view that says both are wrong!

Where are the days of Walter Cronkite, Huntley/Brinkley and Harry Reasoner? Some are too young to remember these giants of TV journalism of the post Golden Age of Television, but these announcers/writers brought believability to their craft every night, they were trusted and respected by their viewers.

Now we are faced with “The New Age” of not only news media, but an explosion of personal communication via Facebook, U tube and other social media sources, that lets everyone have a place at the table.

What a wonderful world we live in, where you can instantly share photos, videos, live events, and personal views! As we know, sadly, ever since the inception over 30 yrs ago of compuserve prodigy and other services, the negative and potentially evil side of these great tools exist.

Today, this resource is even more important as everyone is saturated with a unending stream of information leading to mental and emotional overload. Polls, graphs, press conferences etc. pass by our lives each and every day overloading us with content. And then, there is the real problem being fed to us, mass information, disinformation, conspiracy theories and every variation in between. Some of it is reliable some not.

We are faced with anti-vaxxers, scam cures, the the possible over reaching actions of local and Federal spokes people. And perhaps, most sinister, are those, inside and outside our nation, that would sow discord amongst us with wrong and scary details.

What to do? We are faced with facts, depending how you look at it that are either responsible or detrimental to our county. Specifically, we are going to have to deal with the great desire to reopen our society in regards to work and play. Dealing with the fringe elements of either side of the political spectrum is what has to be avoided, and common sense needs to prevail.

All over the nation, businesses are closed and need to reopen. All over the nation, people need to return to their lives, regarding schools, restaurants, music and sports venues. Once again using common sense precautions.

We can expect another wave this winter, and by then we need to have in place, not a cure, but a method to contain the deadly effects of the virus. Until then we need to move as a people, to find a quicker, but still a proper way to a more open way of life. We CANNOT bang the drums to regain our lost freedoms without the right way of proceeding, but we also CANNOT sacrifice any more time, money and emotion staying in the same place. Protect the sick, the elderly and those at risk, and let us return to the life we love.

Pandemic Notebook: Social Distancing And Restaurants

It all depends on numbers. All of the COVID-19 reports of declines in hospital admissions, unfortunate deaths, and testing are all a matter of listening and understanding what they are informing on a daily basis.

But face the facts here. The Coronavirus and this pandemic are far from over. We are not out of the woods here or there. We are in a crisis of epic proportions with an economy that has declined to almost depression numbers. 

A President in the White House says, we will recover and be stronger. In the meantime, you and I, victims of this ugly pandemic are finding ways to make ends meet. 

And with a majority of states, if not all, slowly opening to some normalcy by Friday, we must keep in mind that health and safety are still a priority. To  prevent a further spread of the virus, as all reports do indicate, the guidelines for safety should still be obeyed. 

Because a second wave is bound to occur, again from reports of the medical professionals, we must not let down our guard and continue to be  on the side of caution.

Sports is no exception. And they can talk all they want about opening the stadiums and venues, and with no fans in attendance, but safety is still an issue for the players and personnel,  That matter is a main issue for Major League Baseball. 

Players and owners are reviewing the protocols as to how baseball can resume and gain some revenue that has been lost with their billion dollar industry.

So we are as a society with the Memorial Day weekend only days away looking at being conscious of safety? Take a look and examine how social distancing and wearing proper face protection is not a part of the norm for many.

My friends and neighbors are in denial about a pandemic that still exists. They are watching the reports and see a public around the country that are ignoring guidelines.

And with New York City, epicenter of this virus, and still in that shutdown, many are ignoring the guidelines.  Nearby suburbanites are also under the impression that the country needs to open. They, too, also ignore the guidelines with social distancing and not wearing face protection .

Up in Putnam County this past weekend, a vicinity where many city dwellers have relocated, near the town of Mahopac, the boats were on the water. There was minimal social distancing and those walking in town were a few without face protection.

No different in the Bronx. Social distancing and no protective masks to cover the nose and mouth areas that are contributing factors to this pandemic when it comes to the spread of COVID-19.

The New York City website, NYC.gov, has a daily and updated listing by zip code of areas and numbers of those tested and infected with the virus. 

Numbers do tell the story here. Despite what is heard, there is a minimal decline in cases though the hospital admissions are on a decline. Though, regardless of what numbers are saying, people are not abiding by the guidelines.

So as a general rule, journalists and citizen in good standing, it is noticed here that the general public wants to see their lives return to normal and many are in denial. They are not helping the situation and increasing the probability of the Coronavirus spread by ignoring the safety guidelines.

My friends this is not over. Despite what you hear about the declining number of cases and deaths, we are still in a pandemic and a health crisis that will not conclude if guidelines are ignored. 

 This writer wears a mask in public, on the sidewalk, in a car, at a store, and continues that social distancing  There is no need to be ignorant. No need to spread the virus to others as one ignores the guidelines. 

We have learned that this Coronavirus is a secret enemy. It has no friends even for the healthy one that claims to be virus free. 

There is no need to congregate in numbers, and if that cabin fever is at a pitch do go out and be safe. Follow the guidelines and stop the ignorance.

We learn from following and covering sports to observe guidelines and it’s all done for a reason to keep things in control.

We must follow those guidelines as this global pandemic is far from over. Be safe. Wear the gloves, masks, and most of all continue to practice that rule of social distancing. 

RESTAURANTS FOR SOME HAD A MODEL: There are many establishments in the food and restaurant industry thay may not recover from the closures and financial losses of this pandemic with or without the assistance from government programs.

Many continued to remain open with takeout and deliveries to make ends meet.  Though, with openings coming slowly, and not with normalcy, that conscious part of the public still has safety concerns and also eating out is not in their economic means.

Those establishments with gates over their property may never see another customer and that is unfortunate. 

A local diner in the Bronx, one that is always full to capacity, is limited to deliveries and very few of the essential staff remain on a limited payroll.

“I don’t see how we can continue to be a fixture in the community anytime soon and we do care about our regular customers,” said the owner of this establishment who requested not to be named.

Though deliveries from the menu have been consistent they don’t envision any sense of normalcy for a long time.

“It will take me years to recover from this and I can see us closing the doors for good and very soon,” one of the owners said.

Yes, the local diner and restaurant, the one out of the neighborhood are a part of the norm and could be different for those that remain open. Social distancing and wearing that face protection will be the new norm when sitting down for a drink or dinner.

Though, some had a model in place for an eventual pandemic or crisis, and others have learned to stay open with take out and deliveries on a day-by-day basis.

“You had to learn on the fly,” said Vito Russo co-owner of Gilligan’s Clam Bar & Grill up in Pomona, New York. 

He said it’s a learning process. The establishment employed a staff of 40 and that has been reduced by half. Russo, like many that have remained open for takeouts and delivery, does hope to reopen soon with a reduction in seating and following the social distancing guidelines 

He has followed the necessary guidelines and continues to do a significant take out business, though the financial losses are no different from the others. 

“You had to follow market trends and as things started to disappear on the shelf  you  had to prepare with what was on longer available,” Russo said.

Time will tell where this goes. But, as the number of restaurant owners said, don’t expect a normal dining experience in New York when visiting establishments that are planning to reopen.

Remember all: Stay safe and follow the guidelines. We are all in this together.


Comment: Ring786@aol.com  Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

JONES BEACH BIKEWAY at Cedar Creek Park by Toni Hoyos, The New York Extra, theNYextra.com

The Jones Beach bikeway less commonly know as the Ellen Farrant Memorial Bikeway is a well paved path that can be accessed from Cedar Creek Park off of Merrick Road in Seaford. It parallels the Wantagh Parkway and to the east are waterways, marshes and beautiful scenery. A little past Zach’s Bay it runs into the Ocean Parkway Coastal Greenway. It is the premiere South Shore multi use trail on Long Island. Favored by walkers, joggers, rollerbladers and bicyclists alike. An ideal outdoor place felt to be “safe” for those activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Battisti family, from left to right ,daughter, Valentina, mom, Antonella, dad, Dr.Renato Battisti and son, Pietro from Westbury N.Y. enjoy the afternoon on the Jones Beach bike path getting some “immune” enhancing exercise. Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020
Chris Di Santo, left, with his friend , by the famous bronze statue of a cyclist, wearing a mask says, Its his first time here but he ” feels safe as long as he wears a mask” Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020
Richard Argentina with daughter Taylor, and friends Daniela Battisiti and Olivia Brill ran 10 miles of the path today. Neil Miller/The New York extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020

Now as the weather warms people want to be outside enjoying, looking for ways to participate in fun/healthy activities while practicing social distancing. The sun was shining, it was a little breezy, a lovely, comfortable day for a bike ride, skate or a run and the people were out there taking advantage of the opportunity! Many were masked, family groups usually not, certainly sufficient space to feel “safe”.

The Ocean Parkway Coastal Greenway past Tobay Beach is currently under construction to expand to Captree State Park. There will be new bike parking areas at Gilgo Beach, Cedar Beach Marina and Captree. Also many new plantings along the way, and several shaded rest stops. It is expected to be completed by summer 2021.

So grab your rollerblades, sneakers or bike, throw on a mask and have some responsible distancing exercise and fun! Stay well and be safe.

Pandemic Notebook: Face Masks And Dental Emergency

The numbers are indicating there is a decline of the bad news we have been accustomed to hearing the last eight weeks during this pandemic. That  optimism has seen more take to the streets and parks. Sunday, Mother’s Day, the weather made it ideal to go out and stretch.

It was also free giveaway of facial protection in New York City Parks This is the necessity, facial protection, as called for by the health authorities, and like a good giveaway at the ballparks, a hot item as one of those hard to get.

In conjunction with the office of Mayor deBlasio, and city council leaders, rangers at parks situated areas with  lines of distance for the public to receive a packet of five facial masks per person. 

They were not the surgical masks that are needed more for those heroes of first responders, nurses,  doctors. and essential workers. They are a perfect fit and sufficient to help and keep the coronavirus from spreading through contact with others.

So here we were in the Bronx, Pelham Bay Park, noted as the largest open space in the five boroughs with a wide landscape that extends to nearby Orchard Beach.  Plenty of residents that live nearby and from other areas took a walk around the mile track.

They sat on the grass with chairs or got some needed exercise. The football was thrown as some high school players that would be in spring practice sessions took advantage of the good weather.

More important, and so essential, social distancing was practiced. And facial protection was in place.

Mid afternoon and it was a brief walk and the line of  coordinated cones indicated this was the new norm of social distancing. Rangers were stationed at tables and the distribution went without a hitch.

“We distributed many in the first hour,” said one of the park officials.When I asked for another one, this for a neighbor, he said, “Sorry, one per person.”

No problem here. We walked the track a few times and wore the comfortable protection that is sufficient for the face and nose areas.  We stopped and took in some of the needed sun that felt good and everything seemed to be normal.

But this was not normal. Distancing as you walk and talk is not something we in New York are accustomed to doing, and yes, there were some who ignored the guidelines and did their thing as if a pandemic did not exist. 

A space used for exercise and stretching was blocked for use. Nearby, a fitness guru was conducting a private session and using distance the best he could. 

The nearby and dirt ballfields, that would see pickup games, they were not in use on this day. Instead, on the sidelines, one or two would throw the ball back and forth.  

Yes, on a day when baseball would have been played at Yankee Stadium, this was a day to get out and enjoy with social distancing and wearing that proper face protection. 

DENTAL PROCEDURE IN A PANDEMIC:  Many have inquired about seeing a doctor for annual checkups or procedures that have been put on hold due to the pandemic. 

Dental work has also been restricted with the exception of emergency care.  

So, last week this columnist had that emergency with severe tooth pain and the probability of teeth extractions.  Who to call, where to go? The private dentist was not available and cancelled all office visits and emergencies.

The good people at Montefiore Dental clinic, affiliated with the reputed hospital, are one of the private facilities that are open and available for emergency visits at a few locations and nearby in the Bronx.

First step:Make the phone call and hope to get the proper reply. Appointments were available from 8am-1pm. A few questions and late Friday morning it was a go.

Social distancing was the norm here. Enter the lobby, answer a few questions, and after a temperature check for clearance it was sitting in the waiting room. 

Normally, this would be a long wait and seats occupied one after another, but this is a pandemic and five patients was the limit. Seats with signs saying not available and plenty of space for distancing.

Reception area was also cordoned off for distance between the receptionist and patient.  Present your health card, information, and you stretch the arm to avoid contact.

Wait time? Because of the limited number of patients, organized, that agony of getting an x-ray and  sitting in  the chair was rapid and not expected.  

The entire time, with exception of getting the x-ray and procedure, the face mask was in place. 

After a brief consultation, as expected, the teeth were extracted. Minimal pain and like a fighter, I took the punch. Prescriptions for pain and antibiotics and to the nearby pharmacy on site.

So there is help when needed for a dental emergency.  You need to do the research and all medical insurance is accepted. Those, to my understanding, with limited or no health coverage, will not be denied. 

Point here is we are in a pandemic, though in normal times this procedure may have been more difficult towards waiting time and understanding your medical coverage. 

More so, every person in the medical profession needs to get those accolades from you and me. They have been tested. They deserve the praise. They need to be recognized and  honored for taking care of those in need during this time.

And for yours truly, slowly getting back to recovery. Though, when you look at it, things could be worse as we continue to offer our condolences to those who have passed and pray for those who are battling COVID-19.

Comment: Ring786@aol.com  Twitter@Ring786  Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

MAY’S AWAKENING AMIDST COVID-19 PANDEMIC by Toni Hoyos, The New York Extra, TheNYExtra.com

The first weekend of May has arrived blessing us with lovely weather and bringing with it hope for better times. Hope for a more “normal” existence, hope that the coronavirus will abate and let us live again. The beautiful weather brought the people outside, to the beaches, the parks, around the neighborhoods or anywhere besides their home where they could be out yet still feel safe.

Noontime Saturday May 8, 2020 Jones Beach field 6 closed at about 50% capacity. Town of Babylon Cedar Beach had about 20 cars in the parking lot. A family was set up in the sand with chairs, blankets, food and fun games for the kids, others were close to shore safely apart. Tobay Beach open to Town of Oyster Bay residents only had around 50 cars in their parking lot along with a food truck selling goodies! The bike path that runs besides Wantagh and Ocean parkways had people walking, biking and skating, enough space for everyone, some masked, some not but all looking happy to be out and about.

Sunday at Eisenhower Park, East Meadow, all parking fields were utilized. People were out doing the same, families were biking, picnicking, playing various games and some sporting activities. There was even a larger family group, all were masked and spread apart having fun celebrating someone’s birthday. Many older couples, masked, enjoyed a peaceful walk through the park.

Wow Lowe’s home improvement store in Hicksville was super busy! Customers were purchasing their spring and summer needs, including lawn and yard care, gardening, flowers, plants, vegetables, Barbeques, pavers etc. preparing for summer. The cool thing was Lowe’s abided by the rules, masked employees maintained social distancing on lines both in and out of the store. At one point the line in the parking lot had about 50 customers on it, all wore their masks and were keeping apart from one another. Timing of when to enter was controlled by employees who kept track of the occupancy.

If you took a walk around your neighborhood you could smell the wood burning in fire pits, the aroma of yummy burgers and steaks cooking on the barbeque, you could actually hear sounds of fun, of laughter, of life. There wasn’t that eerie quietness of the past several weeks. The world is eager to awake and smell the roses, but do so in a safe manner. Regardless of the conflicting information concerning COVID-19, the reality is the coronavirus is highly contagious. It can be deadly to those with underlying health issues and to those age 70 and above, of course there are always exceptions to the rules. The scary part, of those who tested positive about half were asymptomatic. This is a new learning experience for all of us and yes, we want to move forward, but we must not let foolishness and selfishness override our own health or the safety of those near and dear to us. The world is hopeful, ready to awaken, to seize the day, but we must do so in a manner which is suitable for the well being and protection of us all.