| Photo by Kimon Berlin via Wikimedia Commons
NEW YORK – Welcoming, warm weather and with Memorial Day considered the unofficial start of summer, eight public beaches opened for swimming on Saturday, May 27, and will remain open through Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023. NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue has also announced that lifeguards will be on duty daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Swimming is unsafe and strictly prohibited all other times.
“Our city’s waterfront is a vital part of summer for New Yorkers,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “It’s a place to cool off, kick back, and relax, and we’re committed to making sure that all of our beaches are clean, safe, attractive destinations. There’s so much to do at our beaches, from silent discos in the Bronx to new parkland and playgrounds in the Rockaways, and we’re so excited to welcome back New Yorkers and visitors for another season of fun!”
According to the NYC Parks and Recreation Department or is also called Parks, 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 Beach on Staten Island.
Coney Island’s beaches and boardwalk offer hours of entertainment for a perfect day at the shore! Coney Island offers an ideal respite from the hectic and steamy City. With nearly 3 miles of sandy beaches, Coney Island’s sunny skies and rolling waves make for the perfect summer getaway. If your idea of beach fun involves more than just soaking up the sun, Coney Island also offers plenty of recreation choices, such as beach volleyball and handball, as well as playgrounds and amusement rides. Enjoy the New York Aquarium, take in a Brooklyn Cyclones baseball game, or enjoy boardwalk rides, including the historic Deno’s Wonder Wheel, legendary Cyclone roller coaster, or New York City’s newest coaster, the Phoenix.
Orchard Beach, the Bronx’s only public beach, was proclaimed The Riviera of New York City when it was created in the 1930s. Today, it remains a family-friendly destination for summer fun and will be welcoming visitors for swimming beginning May 27! This year, Parks will host a series of fun, family-friendly events, including movie nights, a silent disco, and a drive-in movie.
Rockaway Beach, one of New York City’s finest beach towns, welcomes visitors to a replenished beach for a summer of coastal fun. It is home to the City’s only designated surfing areas, and its boardwalk has become known for its various concessions, which sell food and drinks from our backyard and around the world, including Venezuelan, Caribbean, Peruvian, wood-fired pizza, raw bar, and lobsters, and more! Parks will be opening $33 million in new amenities during the summer, including the brand new Nameoke Park; a completely renovated Beach 59th Street Playground; a unique, passive Shorefront Labyrinth and Seating area; a picturesque performance space at Beach 95th Street; and more.
Staten Island is home to four of New York City’s public beaches: Cedar Grove Beach, Midland Beach, South Beach, and Wolfe’s Pond Beach. Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk features lovely views of the Verrazzano Bridge, the Fountain of Dolphins, and barbecuing areas, for those looking to do more than soak up the sun on the sand. At South and Midland Beaches, beachgoers can access a variety of bike rentals, including cruisers, tandem bikes, and specialty Surrey bikes that seat up to six people. And, following a successful trial last summer, Wolfe’s Pond Park will continue to provide green energy units that use solar and wind power to provide lighting and USB charging stations.
The Parks said it is excited to continue its free sunscreen program with 56 dispensers at all eight beaches. Through the program, funded by the IMPACT Melanoma Foundation in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan and by Episcopal Health Services in the Rockaways, New Yorkers can protect themselves from long hours in the sun by easily applying the provided SPF 30 sunscreen. The foundation will also provide sun safety information throughout the summer at select locations.
The Episcopal Health Services supports the NYC Parks and Impact Melanoma. Jerry Walsh, the CEO, said the health and wellness of the community is their primary priority. “By making available to those enjoying the board and the beach this summer, we hope to limit exposure to harmful UV rays and ultimately decrease risk of developing melanoma,” said Walsh.
Meanwhile, according to Deb Girard, IMPACT Melanoma Executive Director, IMPACT reached over 3.3 million with Practice Safe Skin, the free community sunscreen program, in 2022. She said the use of sunscreen, along with hats, protective clothing, and sunglasses, is the best bet for limiting the harmful rays of the run. She also noted that almost all skin cancer/melanoma is almost preventable with good sun-protective behavior.
The Health Department is responsible for beach health and safety surveillance and routine water quality monitoring for all beaches in NYC. The agency regularly tests the water quality and monitors wet weather conditions near the City’s beaches to ensure it is safe for swimming. The agency said when water is polluted from excessive rain runoff, sewage, or other pollution, it can pose health risks to swimmers and beachgoers. If necessary, they will post easy-to-read water quality advisory and closure signs at beaches to ensure that all beachgoers know of any health or safety risks. To find out if there are any advisories or closures before heading to the beach, the public can visit nyc.gov/health/beach or call 311.
Before going to the beach, beachgoers can also sign up for “Know Before You Go,” a free text service in English and Spanish that informs New Yorkers if public beaches are open or closed due to water quality issues. New Yorkers can text “BEACH” or “PLAYA” to 55676 to get the status of any of the City’s eight public beaches.
NYC Parks outdoor pools will open on Wednesday, June 29, 2023.
–With Jay Domingo/PDM