Palm Beach County Coronavirus updates:
Northeastern snowbirds are usually long gone by now. Many,
however, are sticking around because they feel safer in
Rather than fly or drive north in April or early May as is their custom, South Florida snowbirds have made their journey later this year - or not at all.
Myrna and David Ginsberg say they are always on their bikes since the Corona virus pandemic in Boynton Beach.
New York City, of course, is the U.S. epicenter of the virus.
McDonnell likes the rental house and his frequent bicycle rides and walks. Still, “It’s been emotional ups and downs. I do miss the excitement of New York City, the energy up there.”
He hopes to fly home around mid-June. Paying rent in Manhattan and West Palm Beach simultaneously adds up, he noted.
“I can’t continue to do this” indefinitely, McDonnel said. “It’s costing me money. Every time it’s another extension, it’s like ka-ching, ka-ching.”
‘Jersey’s still pretty well locked up’
Jeff Madanick and his wife live seven months a year in a condo at the Yacht and Racquet Club of Boca Raton, and the remaining months near the New Jersey coast. That state is second only to New York in the number of reported coronavirus cases. The couple are approaching two decades of snowbird life. They typically head north to the Garden State right after Mother’s Day, but not this year.
“There’s more to do down here,” said Madanick, who at 73, is retired but does stand-up comedy. “Jersey’s still pretty well locked up. There’s no comedy work for me up there in Jersey right now.” He’s hoping to return by next month.
Other New Jersey snowbirds also continue to roost in Palm Beach County well past the date they typically head north.
Dave Ginsberg, 73, has been spending summers at the Jersey shore since he was a kid.
But this summer, it looks like he will be “hunkering down” in his single-family home in Valencia Cove, a retirement community west of Boynton Beach.
“It is just a lot safer than being in a high-rise condo in the Atlantic City area,” he said. “I’m going to miss it dreadfully but unless things significantly change, I’ll be spending my first summer in South Florida.”
His condo is in a high rise in Ventnor, an Atlantic City suburb. The idea of sharing a building with 100 other families troubles him. One of the big reasons for snowbirds like Ginsberg and his wife, Myrna, to go up north is to visit family. But he noted that he may not be able to do much of that anyway for fear of spreading or catching the virus.
Ginsberg, a retired physician, said much of the Atlantic City area has not opened up. Then there is the issue of getting there. He is reluctant to stay in a motel. And he does not want to drive straight through.
Feeling safer in Florida
Stan Goodman, like Ginsberg, is also leaning toward spending the summer in South Florida. He has a single-family home at Valencia Isles, another west of Boynton Beach retirement community. His summer residence is in a high-rise condo in Atlantic City. Goodman expected to be there by now but canceled his flight plans and a car transport service after the coronavirus showed no signs of abating.
“If I had a single-family home in New Jersey, it might be different,” he said. “I just feel like I am in a better place in Florida. It is like going from a safe zone into an alternative one.”
Goodman’s condo is only allowing one person in an elevator. He wonders just how long it might take to get out of the building. “The elevator could be stopping on every floor and you could be waiting forever to get on,” he noted.
Goodman has been spending summers at his Atlantic City condo since 1993. Now he said he may experience just how hot a South Florida summer can be.
Rick Ackerman, a financial advisor who lives at Hunters Run Country Club in Boynton Beach, already knows. He has endured three of them. “I told myself last year would be the last,” he said.
But on Tuesday, he canceled plans to lease a condo in Atlantic City for the summer due to the virus. “I waited as long as I could in the hope that things would improve. That wasn’t happening so I am staying put.”
Atlantic City snowbirds are birds of a feather, but don’t all flock together. Linda Lavinsky and her partner, John Skoglund, migrated a couple of weeks ago back to the gambling and salt water taffy haven. They share a single-family home near the famed boardwalk, and said that three-quarters of nearby homes belong to seasonal residents and remain vacant for now. So, they aren’t worried about crowded quarters. And Lavinsky has one child living in New Jersey and another in Manhattan, whom she wants to see.
The septuagenarians left a week later than planned. They didn’t want to risk staying in a motel on the drive back, even if they could find one open. So they packed sandwiches and drinks and drove straight through, stopping only for bathroom breaks. They left Tequesta at 5:15 a.m. and, with light traffic the entire route, arrived in Atlantic City at 11:30 p.m.
For Skoglund, in particular, it was worth it. “I stayed in Florida one summer and I never will again,” he vowed. “I found the humidity was incredibly oppressive. I felt like I had water in my lungs.”
And the weather back in Atlantic City? Cold and windy. Such are the vagaries of snowbird migrations.