Press Releases

Friday, May 26, 2017
No. 51


This Memorial Day weekend marks the completion of the $341 million FEMA-funded reconstruction of the Rockaway Boardwalk. The project to rebuild this important amenity, which was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy, was completed on time and under budget. The boardwalk spans a total of 5.5 miles, from Beach 9th Street to Beach 126th Street. Starting this Saturday, the beach will be open for swimming through Labor Day.

“In New York City, summer isn’t summer without Rockaway Beach,” said Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver. “The beautiful new boardwalk is as strong and resilient as the Rockaway communities it serves – and it offers all New Yorkers more space to enjoy the sun and sand.”

State Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato said “The opening is the moment our town really comes alive every year. This year, we're marking not only the start of beach season, but a boardwalk made whole and a community making itself resilient. I want to thank Parks, the Administration, and all the local leaders for their incredible work to make sure this season is the best we've ever had. Have fun out there, be safe and let's do what we do best: hit the beach!”

The project, a partnership between NYC Parks and NYCEDC, was completed in phases, ensuring the maximum amount of accessible boardwalk at all times. In the summer of 2016, the entire stretch of the boardwalk was open for the first time, utilizing the old boardwalk in the area between Beach 19th Street and Beach 39th Street. Over the fall and winter, that section was reconstructed and brought up to the standard of the rest of the boardwalk.

The new boardwalk, which started construction in April 2014, will set a global standard for resilient shoreline design, while providing the Rockaway community with a beautiful, functional beachfront. The project is being integrated into a multi-layered system of coastal protection that will resist future weather events and account for the long-term effects of climate change. It is constructed with a steel-reinforced concrete deck, fixed to steel pipe support piles that elevate it above the 100-year flood plain. Multiple layers of protection are also being integrated into the boardwalk design, including approximately six miles of planted dunes. A concrete retaining wall is being constructed underneath the boardwalk to keep the beach’s sand in place and prevent it from entering the community. Much of the new boardwalk’s appearance – including its sand-colored decking, brightly colored ramps and designated bike lane – was decided during a series of collaborative design sessions with Rockaway residents.

Completion of the boardwalk coincides with the launch of permanent, year-round NYC Ferry service to the Rockaways earlier this month, better connecting residents to the rest of the city and strengthening the peninsula’s local economy.

As New York City’s largest beach, Rockaway attracts millions of visitors each year. Recently, the destination has become well known for its varied concessions along the boardwalk, which sell food and drinks from around the world, including Peruvian, Bolivian, Caribbean and Central Asian fare. New this year is SuperBurrito, serving up Northern-California style burritos and bowls at the 97th Street snack bar. NYC Parks will also host community events, free Shape Up NYC fitness classes and nature programming in Rockaway all summer long.

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