Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk

Parks Kicks Off Summer Beach Season In New York City

Friday, May 22, 2009
No. 44

This week, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined elected officials and New Yorkers at ceremonial beach openings throughout New York City to announce the official start of beach season. The City’s beaches will open to the public this Saturday, May 23, 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, and Wolfe’s Pond Beach in Staten Island. All City beaches are free to the public.

“With more than 14 miles of sand and water and nearly 10 million visitors last summer, New York City’s beaches provide New Yorkers and visitors a spectacular natural setting for free fun in the sun,” said Commissioner Benepe. “This summer, as always, we remind beach-goers to observe all beach rules and regulations, and most important, to swim only where and when a lifeguard is on duty. Have fun at the beach!”

“New Yorkers can now have fun, get exercise swimming, and enjoy our City beaches,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, New York City Health Commissioner. The Health Department also wants New Yorkers to have a safe and healthy summer on city beaches. For more information, visit

At the Bronx’s Orchard Beach, this season’s highlights include the O.B.Fit! Saturday morning fitness program at Section 9 featuring a variety of workouts for all levels, from June 13 through August 22. Families can enjoy the 2nd Annual Stories in the Shade storytelling in partnership with the New York Public Library, will take place under tents at Section 4 of the beach and under the gazebo at the Playground for All Children in the Pelham South section of the park, on Thursdays from 11am to noon, from July 9 through August 13. The 10th Annual Hoops in the Sun basketball tournament returns to the courts at Section 5 of the beach, on Saturdays and Sundays from 11a.m. – 6p.m., beginning June 13 through August 23.

At Brooklyn’s Coney Island, we cut the ribbon on reconstructed boardwalk sections between Stillwell Avenue and West 12th Street, and along the Steeplechase Pier. Additional work will commence in the fall. Upcoming events include the return of Friday Night Fireworks on June 19, the Mermaid Parade on June 20, and the annual sand sculpting competition on July 25. Coney Island will also host, for the first time, the Ringling Bros. Circus, who will set up near the boardwalk on West 21st Street.

The Rockaways in Queens have a lot to offer this summer from the annual sandcastle contest on July 26 and the Rockaway Beachside Festival on August 1 to multiple movie nights and canoeing. Visitors can also enjoy music, surfing contests and skateboard demos at Rockstock and Barrels on June 13, and can get fit at the beach with Rockaway’s Wake Up and Stretch Programs, Boogie Woogie Weight Loss and Dancing under the Stars, all on select days in June, July and August. Rockaway Beach is also piloting a glass and plastic recycling program on the boardwalk, from B. 86th to 97th Streets.

The City is also experimenting with more sustainable materials to repair the boardwalks at Coney Island and Rockaway Beach. We are using materials that do not come from tropical rainforests. Hardwood is being phased out as a structural support and much of the wood decking is being replaced with synthetic lumber and concrete colored to look like wood.

In keeping with Parks’ commitment to make the sand and surf accessible to all New Yorkers, Parks has also installed mobi-mats on the sand to provide beach access to elderly and disabled individuals. The beach mats are located at Rockaway Beach at 17th Street, 116th Street, and 131st Street, at Coney Island at Stillwell Avenue and at Brighton 2nd Street, at Orchard Beach, at Midland Beach at Jefferson Avenue and Father Cappodano Boulevard, and at Manhattan Beach. An additional mat will be installed at Rockaway Beach, for a total of nine mats. For a list of all mobi-mat locations, visit

The Health Department performs regular testing of the City’s beach water and inspects beaches to ensure compliance with local, state and federal regulations that affect recreational swimming safety and issue advisories. A new testing system is being implemented that, had it been used in 2008, would have reduced advisories by 34% (from 101 to 66). Water quality test results will be posted online at and updated regularly throughout the summer. The Health Department will issue beach advisories and closures as necessary. This information will also be available online or by calling 311.

Sign up some of the FREE aquatics programs or summer activities offered this year by logging on BeFitNYC, the Parks Department search engine for all your fitness opportunities at, or call 311.

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

Directions to Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk

Was this information helpful?