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Stir-Crazy New Yorkers Discovered an Idyllic Spot. Will They Trample It?

In another wooded part of Forest Park, a half-dozen small groups walked around Strack Pond, a glacier-carved depression known as a kettle pond.

“There’s nothing else to do,” said Jonathan Zhirzhan, 27, a carpenter from the adjacent Woodhaven section of Queens, who was walking with Juan Cisne, 29, a UPS driver.

The two men said they had been ranging far from their usual haunts, finding “new parks” — new to them, they meant — to relax and socialize in.

Javier Alvarez, 43, a teacher, and his wife, Melissa Marra-Alvarez, 40, a curator, were birding. They watched a pair of red-winged blackbirds peck at the knees of the heron, presumably, they explained, because it waded too close to their nest.

Up the hill, Tommy Kender, 72, collected trash in a plastic bag as a freelance volunteer, something he said he had done every day for years. But Yomeri Batista, 33, and her 5-year-old son, Jacob, had ventured to these woods for the first time. They were planting trees with a local pageant winner, Nalicia Ramdyal, 27, who wore her victory sash as they worked on a project she organized as New York’s candidate for Miss Earth USA.

Rosie, the toddler, was half-hidden in rushes, poking in the mud with a stick.

“She’ll go fishing for whales. She’ll say hi to the baby turtles,” her father, Mr. Maing, said.

“Especially right now with the lockdown and Black Lives Matter, it seems important as a New Yorker to stay in New York,” he said. “The only thing missing was exposure to really healthy natural environments, and here it is.”

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