Photo via Dan DeLuca on Flickr
In a last-minute move, the city closed a half-mile of Rockaway beach just days before beaches opened for the season on Memorial Day weekend, angering residents and general New Yorkers alike. The 11-block stretch between Beach 91st and Beach 102nd Street is considered the hub of the beach thanks to its proximity to concessions and free parking. The city made the decision due to safety issues from erosion, saying that it might be a years-long process to get it up reopened. However, amNY reports today that Parks Department officials announced that they will reopen the beach on a trial basis on June 30th after deciding with lifeguards that it is, in fact, safe for swimming.
Rockaway Beach boardwalk via Flickr
The decision to close the beach came after a 2017 city study that analyzed the impacts of erosion along the Rockaway shoreline. It found that the dunes were wider than they have been in the last 100 years following a 2014 post-Sandy beach replenishment by the Army Corps of Engineers. But this year’s surge of winter storms heavily eroded the beach, ultimately leading the city to close it.
As amNY explains, “Several rallies protested the closures, saying Rockaway needs more permanent fixtures, such as jetties, to battle ongoing erosion and to protect homes on the peninsula.” Parks Department spokeswoman Crystal Howard said in response, “We know how much New Yorkers love the Rockaways, and found a way to make more of the beach available for summer fun.”
To that end, Parks is also giving those businesses at the 97th Street concession stand 50 percent off their summer rent and allowing them to start their live music earlier at 1pm. They’re also adding a temporary skate ramp, children’s sand play area, and misting stations around the concessions area.
This evening, City Councilman and chair of the Parks Committee Barry Grodenchik will hold a hearing on the beach closures and erosion issues.
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Tags : Rockaway Beach
Neighborhoods : rockaway