Press Releases

Friday, May 27, 2011
No. 39

Parks Kicks Off Summer Beach Season In New York City

Parks & Recreation announces that New York City’s beaches will open to the public this Saturday, May 28, with lifeguards on duty daily, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Swimming is strictly prohibited at all other times. Beaches will remain open through Labor Day weekend.

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, Wolfe’s Pond Beach, and Cedar Grove on Staten Island. All City beaches are free to the public.

“With more than 14 miles of sand and water and nearly 19 million visitors last summer – almost three times as many as the previous year - New York City’s beaches provide New Yorkers and visitors a spectacular natural setting for free fun in the sun,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “This summer, as always, we remind beach-goers to observe all beach rules and regulations, and most important, to observe common sense for yourself and your children and swim only where and when a lifeguard is on duty. Have fun at the beach!”

“Swimming is a great way to get exercise while staying cool in the summer,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner. “Now that beaches are smoke-free, New Yorkers can take even greater advantage of our beautiful public beaches without being exposed to secondhand smoke. This summer, our beaches will be safer, healthier and more pleasant than ever for children and adults to enjoy.”

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.

While enjoying yourself at the beach this summer, all New Yorkers are also reminded to dispose of their litter in the many trash receptacles that are provided. Each summer day, Parks picks up about 1,300 cubic yards of litter dropped on the ground or left behind at our beaches, ballfields and picnic areas. New Yorkers are encouraged to “bag it at the beach” by disposing of their litter and helping to keep our city lean, green and clean.

For the first time this year, City beaches are smoke-free! The amended Smoke-Free Air Act bans smoking at City parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas with the goal of eliminating smoke and cigarette litter. This week, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is launching an educational campaign on television, in the subway and in print media, to inform New Yorkers that the ban is now in effect. The campaign highlights how the City’s many parks and beaches are being made healthier and cleaner through the absence of secondhand smoke and cigarette butts.

Orchard Beach is celebrating its 75th anniversary as the Riviera of the Bronx. In 1936, Parks Commissioner Robert Moses transformed a small beach colony on Rodman’s Neck to its present shape -- a 1.1-mile-long crescent of fine white sand. This past winter, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District, completed work on the $13 million Orchard Beach Shoreline Protection Project. The Corps placed approximately 268,000 cubic yards of sand on the beach to further protect it against tides, winds, waves and storms.

Another fun summer is in store at Brooklyn’s Coney Island. The Cyclone Rollercoaster, Deno’s Wonder Wheel, and Luna Park are joined by the newest amusement attraction – Scream Zone. On Monday nights, beginning July 11, there will be free films on the beach, presented by the Coney Island Development Corp. and NYC & Co. On Friday nights, beginning June 17, there will be a free fireworks display. Two new sections of the boardwalk reconstruction – the northern half of Ocean Parkway to Brighton 1st Street, and the northern half of West 37th Street to West 33rd Street – will soon be completed.

At Rockaway Beach in Queens, subject to the successful completion of contract negotiations and other required review and approvals, Rockaway Beach Club, LLC, will serve up tacos, po’ boys, arepas, enchiladas, Italian ices and more at the snack bars located at Beach 86th, B. 97th and B. 106th Streets. This group is comprised of many popular restaurateurs including Rockaway Taco, Caracas Arepa Bar of the East Village and La Newyorkina’s ice cream of the Lower East Side. A variety of pushcarts will also be available. Beach visitors will also find a mile of new boardwalk opening up this June at between B. 23rd and 27th streets, B. 44th and 60th Streets, and B. 75th and 81st Streets.

On Staten Island, New Yorkers can now enjoy public access and swimming at Cedar Grove, which joins South Beach, Midland Beach and Wolfe’s Pond Beach as free swimming destinations in the borough.

New Yorkers can sign up for free aquatics programs or learn about other summer activities by logging onto BeFitNYC, the search engine for all fitness and recreation opportunities at

The Health Department regularly tests the city’s beach water and inspects beaches to check for compliance with local, state and federal water safety standards. Beach advisories, closures and water quality test results are posted and regularly updated at You can also get this information by calling 311 and by signing up with Notify NYC at Those who have signed up to Notify NYC will receive up to date information via Twitter, RSS, E-Mail and SMS.

For additional information on all beach happenings this summer, please visit or call 311.

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