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Rainbows add color to south Merrick's streets, homes


When the temperature neared 70 degrees  Friday afternoon, many south Merrick residents took to the streets to walk, run, bike and bask in the much-needed sun. 
As this reporter walked a mile-and-a-half loop from Clubhouse Road to Beach Drive and back, she often noticed something colorful out of the corner of her eye: rainbows  — either etched in chalk on driveways and sidewalks or decorating her neighbors' windows and front doors. 
The rainbows are a part of a concept that sprung up on Facebook in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic on Long Island. The group, "Rainbows over Nassau and Suffolk Counties," encourages people to color, paint or print out a rainbow and hang it up for all to see, and spread some cheer during an unprecedented time. Families can then walk around their neighborhoods and count all the rainbows they can find. 
The art project has become an outdoor activity, inviting neighbors to get some fresh air while maintaining a safe, social distance. Because many people have been self-isolating at home, and since schools are closed until April 15, fun activities like the rainbow hunt have swirled on social media.
On her walk —  which has now, by consequence, become routine —  this reporter met neighbors  she didn't know before. Their rainbows breathed a sense of joy into the already-sunny day, and their friendly demeanor inspired  hope to creep in and stretch her mouth into a smile.
Bridget Downes contributed to this story.