A Status Update on City Beaches

Displaced sand was a major issue along the city's 14 miles of beaches post Sandy, causing some areas, like Fort Tilden, to close for the summer. Photo: Sunny Cyr

Displaced sand was a major issue along the city’s 14 miles of beaches post Sandy, causing some areas, like Fort Tilden, to close for the summer. Photo: Sunny Cyr

Wondering where to unfurl your beach blanket for the holiday weekend? In some form or another, nearly all the city’s beaches have been restored from the Sandy wreckage in time to open on schedule for Memorial Weekend.

Coney Island [open]

Plans for the annual Mermaid Parade are still up in the air, but Coney Island‘s beaches will open for  swimming on May 25. Cleanup work is complete according to the city’s parks and recreation department, which shoveled displaced sand from the boardwalk and street ends back onto the beaches where it belongs.

Fishermen will have to find somewhere else to cast their poles for now, as Steeplechase Pier is expected to remain closed for repairs until July 4. The boardwalk between W. 22nd and W. 24th streets is hazard free and open to the public, while the southern section, from W. 24th to W. 27th streets is currently being prepped for public access. Solar-powered, prefab buildings will replace life-guard posts and bathrooms demolished by the storm.

Rockaways [open]

Despite suffering some of the most harrowing effects of Superstorm Sandy, the Rockaways are on the mend–the fact that Rockaway beaches will open for swimming on schedule on May 25 is a testament to the tenacity of a peninsula that even the Ramones paid punk-rock respects to. Sand displacement was a major issue in the Rockaways–150,000 cubic yards of sifted sand has been returned to the beaches. Boardwalk “islands” at Beach 86th, 97th, 106th and 116th streets will give beachgoers access to bathrooms and concession stands in areas where the boardwalk was destroyed, while other areas, less severely damaged, are already open or will open soon between Beach 80th and 84th streets, as well as Beach 32nd and 39th streets.

The Rockaway Beach Club weathered the storm well enough to once again supply us with summer shandy, Sunday discos and bites from some of our favorite beachside food stands starting on Saturday. Just off the boardwalk on 95th St., Connolly’s Bar will also reopen Memorial Weekend, starting Saturday at noon for anyone who is already jonesing for a frozen pina colada. And, the Rockabus is back, taking beachgoers from two pickup spots in Brooklyn and one Manhattan to Rockaway Beach and to Jacob Riis Park.

Extensive erosion of its sand dunes is a major factor in Fort Tilden's staying closed this summer. Photo: Sunny Cyr

Extensive erosion of its sand dunes is a major factor in Fort Tilden’s staying closed this summer. Photo: Sunny Cyr

Fort Tilden [closed], Jacob Riis Park [open]

Fort Tilden did not fare as well as some of the city’s other beaches. The destruction of all of its sand dunes is one of the major reasons that it will remain closed this summer. Gateway National Recreation Area is overseeing the city’s coastal  cleanup efforts, including in Jamaica Bay, where volunteers are shoveling sand, planting dune grass and prepping for fence replacements. Gateway is accepting volunteer applications, and Keith White, Gateway’s volunteer coordinator for Sandy Hook and Jacob Riis Park, says anyone interested in helping out can find updates on its Facebook page. Jacob Riis is open, and you can take the Rockabus or the New York Beach Ferry there.

Sandy Hook [open]

Sandy Hook’s beaches opened May 1, and lifeguards will be on duty beginning this Saturday, May 25. Be prepared to use porta potties, as the public bathrooms aren’t accessible–neither are the food concession stands, so pack a picnic. There’s a $15 parking fee if you drive, or you can cruise on over to New Jersey on the Seastreak Ferry instead.

Long Beach [open]

Long Beach will open for swimming along with the rest of the city’s beaches on May 25, but the same cannot be said for its 2.2 miles of boardwalk, which were destroyed during the storm. Temporary fencing will allow for beach access while the boardwalk is being rebuilt, an estimated $44 million undertaking, and a food truck market will open on May 23 to help feed the masses for the summer.

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