Two weeks ago, Matt Levine’s immediate concerns centered on where to find the best happy hour and coolest DJ. Now, he just wants his coronavirus-panicked dad to let him back in the house.
While residents in his hometown of Nanuet, NY, were hunkering down to avoid corona, 21-year-old Matt and his friends from Springfield College in Massachusetts hit up spring break in South Padre Island, Texas — and stayed there against the advice of his father, Peter Levine.
“I spoke with him every day and told him that maybe they should come home,” Peter, 52, and a salesman, told The Post. “I was aggravated. The news here was getting worse and worse. Matt sent me pictures of him and his friends congregating outdoors and listening to live music. It’s the scene you would not want to be in.”
Finally, Peter told Matt and his buddies that they could not stay at the family home after the trip, as they’d planned. “His grandparents live here and there is no need to expose them to god knows what he had been exposed to!” Peter explained.
Four days into spring break, Texas was already becoming a bum trip.
“We were only allowed to go to the beach in small groups and couldn’t have speakers; by then, there was basically no one on the island,” said Matt, a senior majoring in sports management. “The police seemed like they were trying to ruin our good time.”
Last weekend, they packed up and made their plane to New York amid a raft of cancellations. “But the flight got rerouted to Tennessee because of a confirmed corona case at LaGuardia,” said Matt. “The passengers were freaking out and trying to stay away from each other. But we made it home.”
Peter refused to pick them up — “No chance!” he said — leaving the group to find a car service that would drive them to Nanuet.
The way is shut
Once they arrived, Dad met them at the door, and blocked them from coming in.
“I had filled the trunk of Matt’s car with groceries and left him an envelope containing $300 in cash,” Peter said. “All the guys’ keys were on the front seat. They got out of the car [from the airport] near our driveway and I said, ‘Stay right there! Do not go any further!’ The guys were tired and they had a two-and-a-half hour drive ahead of them. I love my son, but they were not sleeping here. I said, ‘If any of you have to pee, we have some bushes.’ Two of them took me up on it.”
As is the case at most American colleges, Springfield has canceled its in-person classes and closed the campus. But Matt — who had planned to move back to Nanuet after the semester — will have to stay with roommates in their off-campus house a while longer.
“Their lease ends in June and none of the parents want them home,” said Peter. “It’s too risky.”