Photo Flash: NYC Parks Kicks Off Summer Beach Season
NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, announces that the City's public beaches will open for the season this Saturday, May 24, and remain open through Labor Day Weekend. Lifeguards will be on duty daily, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and swimming is strictly prohibited at all other times. Scroll down for photos!
City beaches span a total of 14 miles and include Orchard Beach in the Bronx; Coney Island and Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn; Rockaway Beach in Queens; and Midland Beach, South Beach, Cedar Grove Beach, and Wolfe's Pond Park Beach on Staten Island. Cedar Grove Beach and Wolfe's Pond Park Beach will remain closed until further notice due to on-going construction work to repair Sandy-related damage. All City beaches are free and open to the public.
"Visiting a public beach to beat the summer heat is an iconic part of life in New York City," said Commissioner Silver. "Today our beaches are not just a haven for swimming, sunning and recreation, they are also a symbol of our city's strength and resilience after Hurricane Sandy. I'd like to encourage everyone to come out to the waterfront, enjoy the outdoors, and have a safe and healthy summer."
Swimmers are reminded to observe the following beach safety tips.
- Swim only when lifeguards are present: Lifeguards are there for your protection. Follow their directions and all rules.
- Swim with a friend: Drowning often involves single swimmers. A friend can signal for help if a problem develops.
- Swim sober: Alcohol impairs swimming ability and is a major factor in drowning.
- Supervise children: Watch children closely even when lifeguards are present.
- Never chew gum or eat while swimming.
Orchard Beach hosts educational, cultural, and recreational programming all summer long. The NYC Parks Urban Park Rangers lead free canoeing excursions, camping trips, historical tours, and more; the summer concert series at Orchard Beach features free musical performances from artists of a variety of genres; the popular summer basketball program Hoops In the Sun will return to Orchard Beach starting in June; and we are excited to welcome Jennifer Lopez to Orchard Beach on June 4, when she will perform her first-ever concert in her home borough.
The redesigned Steeplechase Pier will be making its summer debut at Coney Island this year. The pier, which was badly damaged in Hurricane Sandy, maintains its former cross-shaped design, and features expanded seating, a more resilient design, a wheelchair accessible raised viewing area, and fish baiting stations. Steeplechase Pier officially opened to the public in October 2013.
Thanks to repairs completed this winter, Rockaway Beach will have almost 3 ½ miles of boardwalk available this summer, with a 2 ½ mile continuous stretch running from Beach 60th Street to Beach 9th Street. Beachgoers will be able to enjoy the same lobster rolls, burgers and arepas that Rockaway has become famous for, and try new vendors offering Central Asian food, barbecue and fresh fruit ice pops.
South Beach in Staten Island was one of the many beaches severely damaged during Hurricane Sandy. Since then, Parks repaired the FDR Boardwalk (with more repairs coming this summer), completed the Midland Beach "Splaza" that now serves as an impressive entryway to the beach, and began building the "Fantasy Shore," a children's amusement park which opens this summer! Parks has also implemented numerous protective measures along the coastline including 26,000 feet of protective berms, dune grass, and a stone revetment wall at Wolfe's Pond Park.
To help spread awareness of NYC Parks' diverse beaches, we have created an interactive online quiz that asks users, "What Beach Are You?" The feature is inspired by a popular trend in taking and sharing online quizzes. Users answer a few multiple-choice questions to be paired with one of our beaches, and are encouraged to share their results through social media. NYC Parks' first interactive quiz, titled "What Park Are You?," was launched on April 23 and was taken more than 5,000 times. You may find out "What Beach Are You?" by visiting nyc.gov/parks.
The Health Department has launched a new texting service where people can get real-time opening, closing and water quality information for the eight public beaches in New York City. People can simply text BEACH to 877-877 to find out if one or all of the City's public beaches are safe for swimming. With over 15 miles of beaches accessible to New Yorkers, this new texting service will help ensure that everyone's trip to the beach is a safe and healthy one.
NYC Parks will once again host free Learn to Swim lessons this summer for tots, children and adults, at public pools throughout the five boroughs. For additional information on the Learn to Swim program, as well as a list of all beach happenings this summer, visit www.nyc.gov/parks or call 311.