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White circles promote social distancing on Domino Park grass in New York City

The grass of New York’s Domino Park has been painted with white circles to encourage the public to stay safely apart during the pandemic.

Located in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighbourhood, the waterfront park is one of the first in the city to devise a way for implementing social distancing by six feet (1.8 metres) – a procedure recommended to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

The design, which was created on Friday 15 May, comprises a series of white circles applied with chalk paint onto a plot of AstroTurf, or artificial grass. They mark out circles for groups or individuals to sit inside.

Domino Park Circles

Domino Park’s staff came up with the design of the circles, and two employees spent four hours painting them. There are approximately 30 circles arranged symmetrically in rows, and each is eight-feet (2.4-metres) in diameter.

As the public begins to flock to parks in the city and the weather warms, the concept is intended to keep patrons apart from one another. It is also a relatively cheap and quick concept to implement.

“In total, it took a few 99¢ (81p) cans of white chalk paint from the local paint store, two people, and four hours to implement this strategic tactical urbanism,” said Domino Park. “Visitors started using them properly almost immediately.”

Domino Park Circles

The circles are among a number of measures that Domino Park is using to encourage people to safely use the park during the pandemic. Others include signs about social distancing guidelines and wearing masks, while police officers patrol the area and give out facemasks to those not wearing them.

When it is very busy and crowded, the park closes the road that passes through – River Street.

“Domino Park continues to stress the importance of social distancing on its Instagram stories, continues to have park ambassadors be a visible presence and encourage wearing masks and social distancing,” it added.

Domino Park was completed in 2018 by local landscape architecture firm James Corner Field Operations and developer Two Trees Management. It is part of a large-scale scheme to revitalise the property once owned and by Domino Sugar for over a century. The former sugar factory on-site, and which was abandoned for years, is currently being overhauled into a new office and commercial complex.

The park itself measures six acres (2.4 hectares) and includes a children’s playground, interactive water designs, a volleyball court, a taco shop with an outdoor dining area, and several areas to sit with chaise lounges and benches.

Domino Park Circles

A variety of plantings and artefacts like former sugar refining equipment are interspersed throughout, communicating the property’s industrial past.

“The local neighbourhood, which previously had the lowest park-to-person ratio in the city, now has direct access to the Williamsburg waterfront that previously locked the community out for over 150 years,” said the park.

Other designs to encourage social distancing in parks include a picnic blanket by Paul Cocksedge and a fibreglass frame for two people to sit inside by SBGA Blengini Ghirardelli.

Photography is by Marcella Winograd courtesy of Domino Park.

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