NYC Parks News for Coney Island Beach & Boardwalk copyright © 2016 NYC Department of Parks and Recreation NYC Department of Parks & Recreation en-us Tue, 31 May 2016 04:24:58 GMT NYC Parks News 25 25 <![CDATA[Extended Swimming Season Begins At Nyc's Most Popular Beaches]]> pressrelease21339 FY2016 Budget Extends Swimming Season Through September 13 at Rockaway Beach in Queens, Coney Island & Brighton Beaches in Brooklyn, Midland and South Beaches in Staten Island, and Orchard Beach in the Bronx.

For Information on Open Sections, Visit

New Yorkers will enjoy an extended swimming season at NYCs most popular beaches beginning Tuesday, September 8. Stretches of Rockaway Beach in Queens, Coney Island and Brighton Beaches in Brooklyn, Midland and South Beaches in Staten Island, and Orchard Beach in the Bronx will remain open through September 13. The FY16 budget provides $687,000 to fund lifeguards, maintenance workers and other parks staff for the additional week. The final swimming day for NYC beaches has traditionally been Labor Day; this years extension adds a full six beach days to the calendar.

The beaches operating on an extended schedule will open daily from 10 AM to 6 PM. For updates on which sections of the beaches are open, visit

New York Citys shoreline is one of our greatest treasures, and this year we have more time to enjoy it. Led by Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and Parks Committee Chair Mark Levine, the strong demand for this extended schedule is a clear illustration that our resilience and recovery efforts have succeeded in restoring our beaches for all New Yorkers, said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

With 14 miles of the worlds greatest city beaches, New York truly is a beach town and any beach town worth its sand is happy to squeeze just a little more summer out of the calendar. Thanks to the Mayor and the Council, New Yorkers now have more time to swim, play, and unwind, said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver.
New York Citys beaches offer great public space for residents of all five boroughs to enjoy, said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. The City Council is proud to support the extension of beach hours with a $1.65 million dollar investment in the FY 2016 city budget. I encourage New Yorkers to take advantage of the extended beach season and enjoy our beautiful shore lines in the coming week.

"For families who can't afford a vacation in the Hamptons, our beaches offer exceptional recreational opportunities that are free for everyone," said Council Member Mark Levine, Chair of the City Council Parks Committee. "As global warming advances, the month of September will only grow hotter and hotter, which means the demand for our beaches will continue to rise. By extending the season, we're giving thousands of New Yorkers a chance to relax and enjoy the leisure of summer for a little while longer."

This summer marked the continuation of a dramatic upward trend in beach attendance since Hurricane Sandy, with more than 19 million visitors to NYC beaches since Memorial Day, an increase of 1 million visitors over 2014, and 4.2 million over 2013. Attendance rose especially at Rockaway Beach, with year-over-year increases of more than 25%, due in large part to the opening of new sections of strong, resilient boardwalk this year and last. As a result of the de Blasio administrations push, the Rockaway Boardwalk will be continuously complete by Memorial Day 2016, with intact sections of the old boardwalk and new sections linked together. The boardwalk will be entirely completed as new construction by Memorial Day 2017.

<![CDATA[NYC Parks Deploys AT&T Street Charge Units At The Beach]]> pressrelease21325 Solar Powered Charging Stations Allow Beach Goers at Rockaway, South and Midland, Orchard and Coney Island Beaches the Opportunity to Charge Wireless Devices for Free

NYC Parks will be deploying nine solar powered mobile charging stations at four of New York Citys public beaches this summer, bringing AT&Ts Street Charge initiative to a total of 29 charging stations across all five boroughs.

Visitors to Coney Island in Brooklyn; South Beach and Midland Beach in Staten Island; Orchard Beach in the Bronx; and Rockaway Beach in Queens can now literally recharge their batteries while at the beach. The solar powered mobile charging stations work day or night, in the sun or shade. During the day, three monocrystalline solar panels collect the suns energy to charge up powerful internal batteries. This allows each AT&T Street Charge unit to charge up to six phones, tablets or other wireless devices quickly, even if the sun isnt shining.

NYC Parks is proud to team up with AT&T to bring this innovation to our citys public beaches, so that New Yorkers can stay connected even while enjoying the outdoors, said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. Best of all, the solar powered charging stations fit in with NYC Parks mission to make a brighter, greener future for New York City. We are extremely grateful for our continued partnership with AT&T on this initiative.

AT&T Street Charge was inspired by restoration efforts after superstorm Sandy, when AT&T quickly deployed crude mobile charging stations to the hardest hit areas of the city to help people connect, said Marissa Shorenstein, New York State President, AT&T. It was so well received that we partnered with New York City Parks to offer New Yorkers a sustainable way to charge their phones and tablets while enjoying the areas finest beaches and parks.

Due to popular demand from the Queens community, NYC Parks and AT&T worked with The Neighborhood Plaza Partnership to add two more AT&T Street Charge units to Corona Plaza on 104th Street and Roosevelt Avenue.

AT&Ts Street Charge program is one part of a larger effort by AT&T to keep New Yorkers connected. The units are a complement to AT&Ts Wi-Fi in the Parks initiative in which AT&T provides free Wi-Fi to over two dozen of the citys parks across the five boroughs.

For more information or to view a full list of AT&T Street Charge locations in New York City visit, or follow us on Twitter @MobilizeNY and use the hashtag #attstreetcharge.

<![CDATA[Citywide Beach Attendance Grows By More Than 22%]]> dailyplant23220 Even with an unusually cool summer, an estimated 18,109,077 people visited NYC Parks beaches and 1,570,342 visited City outdoor pools this summer. Beach visitorship is up by more than 22% from last year (14,826,605), while pool attendance has remained steady. Beaches in every borough saw an influx of visitors, including:

90% more people visiting the Bronxs Orchard Beach (for a total of 1,751,145 visitors)
13% more people visiting Brooklyn beaches (including 11,453,890 visitors at Coney Island)
25% more people visiting Queens Rockaway Beach (4,166,455 total)
140% more people (almost 2 times as many) visiting Staten Island beaches (466,132 total)

NYC Parks in the summer have something to offer everyone some flock to the oceanfront for the waves, sand and sun, while others go poolside to hone their swimming skills," said Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. The growing number of visitors at our beaches is proof of NYC Parks' continued commitment to maintaining and improving our facilities. I would like to thank all of the Parks employees who were responsible for this successful season, especially our lifeguards. Lifeguarding is not an easy job, but thanks to their hard work and alertness, every person who swam at our lifeguarded beaches and pools swam safely.

The fact that millions of New Yorkers and out-of-towners were able to enjoy New York Citys public beaches and pools during operating hours this summer without any drownings or other tragic incidents is a tribute to the training, vigilance, dedication and hard work of the 1,535 young men and women and their supervisors who patrolled these facilities, said District Council 37 Local 508 lifeguard union President Peter Stein. They truly deserve our gratitude and praise.

At the Citywide Swim Team Championship at Hamilton Fish Pool on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, swimmers from 36 NYC Parks pools all over the city competed in events including butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle as well as a freestyle relay. The team representing Brooklyn pools took first place in the meet, followed by Queens in second place, Manhattan in third, Staten Island in fourth and the Bronx in fifth.

Lap Swimmers got their day in the sun on August 27, at the 32nd annual Lap Swim Awards. This year the top male and female distance swimmers to receive awards were Gary Weeks and Anna Jardine, who logged 132 miles and 115.8 miles (respectively) throughout the season. A total of 10,455 people signed up for the Early Bird and Night Owl lap swim program this season. Swimmers who logged a total of at least 25 miles comparable to one lap around the island of Manhattan received Parks "25 Mile t-shirt.

NYC Parks operates and maintains 14 miles of beaches and 55 outdoor pools, open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Parks also operates 12 indoor pools that are open year-round. Membership to recreation centers with these indoor pools is free for anyone under age 18, $25 per year for young adults (18-24) and seniors (62+), and $150 per year for everyone else

NYC Parks also runs free Learn to Swim classes offered year-round at pools in all five boroughs. More than 1,000 adults, 18,000 children and nearly 7,000 tots participated this summer alone. For more information on the ongoing program at indoor pools and recreation center membership, or to find an indoor pool and recreation center near you, visit


"A poem is never finished, only abandoned."

Paul Valery
(1871 - 1945)

<![CDATA[NYC Parks Kicks Off Summer Beach Season In New York City]]> pressrelease21201

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, announces that the Citys public beaches will open for the season this Saturday, May 24, and remain open through Labor Day Weekend. Lifeguards will be on duty daily, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and swimming is strictly prohibited at all other times.

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 Park Beach on Staten Island. Cedar Grove Beach and Wolfe's Pond Park Beach will remain closed until further notice due to on-going construction work to repair Sandy-related damage. All City beaches are free and open to the public.

Visiting a public beach to beat the summer heat is an iconic part of life in New York City, said Commissioner Silver. Today our beaches are not just a haven for swimming, sunning and recreation, they are also a symbol of our city's strength and resilience after Hurricane Sandy. I'd like to encourage everyone to come out to the waterfront, enjoy the outdoors, and have a safe and healthy summer."

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.

Orchard Beach hosts educational, cultural, and recreational programming all summer long. The NYC Parks Urban Park Rangers lead free canoeing excursions, camping trips, historical tours, and more; the summer concert series at Orchard Beach features free musical performances from artists of a variety of genres; the popular summer basketball program Hoops In the Sun will return to Orchard Beach starting in June; and we are excited to welcome Jennifer Lopez to Orchard Beach on June 4, when she will perform her first-ever concert in her home borough.

The redesigned Steeplechase Pier will be making its summer debut at Coney Island this year. The pier, which was badly damaged in Hurricane Sandy, maintains its former cross-shaped design, and features expanded seating, a more resilient design, a wheelchair accessible raised viewing area, and fish baiting stations. Steeplechase Pier officially opened to the public in October 2013.

Thanks to repairs completed this winter, Rockaway Beach will have almost 3
miles of boardwalk available this summer, with a 2 mile continuous stretch running from Beach 60th Street to Beach 9th Street. Beachgoers will be able to enjoy the same lobster rolls, burgers and arepas that Rockaway has become famous for, and try new vendors offering Central Asian food, barbecue and fresh fruit ice pops.

South Beach in Staten Island was one of the many beaches severely damaged during Hurricane Sandy. Since then, Parks repaired the FDR Boardwalk (with more repairs coming this summer), completed the Midland Beach "Splaza" that now serves as an impressive entryway to the beach, and began building the "Fantasy Shore," a children's amusement park which opens this summer! Parks has also implemented numerous protective measures along the coastline including 26,000 feet of protective berms, dune grass, and a stone revetment wall at Wolfe's Pond Park.

To help spread awareness of NYC Parks diverse beaches, we have created an interactive online quiz that asks users, What Beach Are You? The feature is inspired by a popular trend in taking and sharing online quizzes. Users answer a few multiple-choice questions to be paired with one of our beaches, and are encouraged to share their results through social media. NYC Parks first interactive quiz, titled What Park Are You?, was launched on April 23 and was taken more than 5,000 times. You may find out "What Beach Are You?" by visiting

The Health Department has launched a new texting service where people can get real-time opening, closing and water quality information for the eight public beaches in New York City. People can simply text BEACH to 877-877 to find out if one or all of the Citys public beaches are safe for swimming. With over 15 miles of beaches accessible to New Yorkers, this new texting service will help ensure that everyones trip to the beach is a safe and healthy one.

NYC Parks will once again host free Learn to Swim lessons this summer for tots, children and adults, at public pools throughout the five boroughs. For additional information on the Learn to Swim program, as well as a list of all beach happenings this summer, please visit or call 311.

<![CDATA[Parks Kicks Off Summer Beach Season in New York City]]> pressrelease20920 2016-05-31T00:24:58-04:00 <![CDATA[Parks Kicks Off Summer Beach Season in New York City]]> pressrelease20833 2016-05-31T00:24:58-04:00 <![CDATA[An 85th Birthday Gift for the Coney Island Boardwalk]]> dailyplant21061 2016-05-31T00:24:58-04:00 <![CDATA[Which Way to the Beach?]]> dailyplant20942 2016-05-31T00:24:58-04:00 <![CDATA[Parks Kicks Off Summer Beach Season in New York City]]> pressrelease20321 2016-05-31T00:24:58-04:00 <![CDATA[Lifeguards Going Beyond The Call]]> dailyplant20157 On July 4, Lifeguards Andrey Polundnev and Nora Maloney were manning the Bay 18 tower on Coney Island when they were approached by a man who told them to call 911. The man then placed a gun under his chin and shot himself. Lifeguard Maloney blew the emergency whistle to alert other lifeguards to respond to her location. She then removed the gun from the victims hand and used her t-shirt to stop bleeding. Lieutenant Lifeguard Lantiqua Sime arrived shortly after, and organized several lifeguards to alternate CPR and rescue breathing procedures.

PS1 Lisa McBayne and SAPSW Clarence Williams IV were at nearby Nautilus Playground when they heard the whistle go off. They immediately jumped in a Beach Gator and responded to the scene. They met with lifeguards and helped them transport the victim to the boardwalk.

While awaiting assistance from NYPD and EMS, a team of lifeguards alternated performing rescue breathing and CPR on the victim. EMS eventually
transported the victim to Coney Island Hospital, where, despite the efforts of our crew, he was pronounced dead.

At last weeks Employee of the Month breakfast, we honored each of these individuals for heroism under extraordinary circumstances and for going Beyond the Call of duty. They are: Lifeguard Staff Nora Maloney, Andrey Poludnev, Lantiqua Sime, Mario Zoga, Daniel Tomkin, Jack Kolotov, Richard Griffith, Pawel Blodowski, Ricardo Sewell, Andriy Kapys, Ronald Vernon, and Robert Garcia, and M&O staff PS1 Lisa McBayne, and SAPSW Clarence Williams IV.

Joseph Mauro is the Public Programs Employee of the Month for June.
Joseph is a Recreation Supervisor and has been with Parks since May 14, 1999. Joseph started his career at Parks as a seasonal Playground Associate and worked his way up to his current position in February of 2006. As Queens sports coordinator, Joseph is responsible for all city and boroughwide sport and fitness programs in Queens. He recently took on the additional responsibility of monitoring the Recreation portion of the Storehouse. Joseph recently coordinated the Shape Up New York fitness program funded by State Senator Serphin Maltese. He acted as a liaison with the Senators office, and was responsible for attaining and overseeing a budget of $30,000. The program will take place at Juniper Valley Park and Lost Battalion Hall. In addition to his every day responsibilities, Joseph is a certified CPR/RTE instructor, and is working to certify all Queens Recreation staff in both areas. Joseph was nominated by Kelly Gillen, Deputy Chief of Recreation and Renee LaJeunesse, Chief of Citywide Recreation.

Written by Kamil Krawczyk


So little time and so little to do.

Oscar Levant
(1906 1972)

<![CDATA[Are You Whistle Worthy? Parks & Recreation And NYC & Company Launch Summer Lifeguard Recruitment Campaign]]> pressrelease19859 The Citys Marketing and Tourism Organization Joins Parks in Giving Program New Look, Expanded Reach

New York, NY (February 21, 2007) - Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and CEO of NYC & Company George Fertitta today joined Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz to kick off the Citys revamped 2007 lifeguard recruitment campaign: "Whistle Worthy." Each year, Parks recruits and trains more than 1,000 summer lifeguards for New York Citys 53 outdoor pools and 14 miles of beaches, including the world-famous Coney Island. This year, NYC & Company will work directly with the Parks & Recreation Department to grow the programs scope and raise participation numbers.

"The best way to beat a hot summer in New York City is with a cool lifeguard job," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "Water safety depends on great lifeguards, and while its cold out now, summer will be here before we know it. Municipal lifeguard jobs now pay at least $11.72 an hour to start for a 48-hour week, and I strongly encourage anyone interested in working as a lifeguard this summer to take the first step and take a free swim qualifying test. New York Citys lifeguards are whistle worthy, and you may be, too!"

NYC & Company recently merged with NYC Marketing and NYC Big Events to form the world's leading municipal tourism, marketing, and events organization charged with meeting Mayor Michael R. Bloombergs goal of attracting 50 million visitors annually by the year 2015. With that goal in mind, NYC & Company has designed an advertising campaign that reaches out to international lifeguard candidates as well as those in the New York City area.

"Parks has done a wonderful job with recruitment over the years. It is because of their hard work that NYC & Company can now help turn Whistle Worthy into a campaign that resonates outside New York City as well," said George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Company. "Were going to involve more countries, which will bring in more recruitsand also more visitors. The message will be clear: You can come here in the summer, go swimming at our beaches, and experience the City in a whole new way."

The marketing campaign will feature "Whistle Worthy" media, including the signs already in place today on New York City buses and bus shelters. NYC & Company will leverage the Citys international presence to communicate that lifeguarding in NYC is a wonderful way to spend your summer vacation. The Citys tourism and marketing organization also sees it as an opportunity to publicize the fact that New York City has 14 miles of beaches.

To further help recruitment in the City, Parks has placed eight, 14-foot-tall, full-size lifeguard chairs in selected parks across the five boroughs, including: Joyce Kilmer Park in the Bronx; Columbus Park and Coney Island (at the Stillwell Avenue subway station) in Brooklyn; Union Square Park and Mitchel Square (168th street between Broadway and St. Nicholas Avenue) in Manhattan; Hoffman Park and Corporal Ruoff Square (near the Rockaway Boulevard subway station) in Queens. A lifeguard chair will also be unveiled in the upcoming weeks at St. George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island.

Lifeguard beach chairs were manned by "whistle worthy" helpers from Parks and Metro who promoted lifeguard recruitment throughout the day. This is the second year in a row Parks has partnered with Metro, a free daily newspaper in New York City, which has provided generous advertising support.

"In Brooklyn, where not everyone goes to the Hamptons and residents like me are proud to summer in Brooklyn, keeping our beaches open as a way to cool off is essential," said Borough President Marty Markowitz. "And with the 10 million annual visitors to Coney Island and Brighton Beach helping make Brooklyn one of the worlds hottest tourist destinations, we rely on lifeguards even more to keep our beaches safe, fun, and relaxing."

The process to become a New York City lifeguard is simple. First, candidates are encouraged to take a free qualifying test. Parks has been hosting qualifying tests since November, and will continue to do so through Mid-April. As part of the qualifying test, successful candidates will:

    1. Be able to swim 50 yards in 35 seconds or less with proper form.
    2. Have at least 20/30 vision in one eye and 20/40 in the other - without corrective lenses. Glasses and contact lenses are not permitted during the eye exam.
    3. Be at least 16 years of age by the start of employment.

Qualifying tests are held twice a day, Monday through Friday, at 4:30pm and 6:30pm at the Parks Lifeguard School at 533 West 59th Street. No appointment is necessary.

Candidates who pass the test may enroll in Parks free Municipal Lifeguard Training Program, which is the only certification accepted for employment as a New York City Lifeguard. The training program consists of 40 hours of instruction in swimming and rescue techniques, first aid, and CPR, and includes a final swim test and a written exam. Candidates who begin working as a lifeguard, will be paid for their time spent in training. First-year lifeguards will earn at least $11.72 an hour and work 48 hours (6 days) a week. If you become a lifeguard, you will be guaranteed a job for the summer at one of the Citys seven beaches or 53 outdoor pools.

Last summer, more than 22.2 million visitors flocked to New York Citys beaches and pools. This summer, beaches are scheduled to open on May 26, and pools are scheduled to open June 29; both will remain open through Labor Day. For more information on the Citys beaches and pools or how to become a lifeguard, call 311 or visit our web site at

To learn more about NYC & Company, click here.

<![CDATA[Parks Kicks Off Summer Beach Season In New York City]]> dailyplant19862 Last week, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, local elected officials, and New Yorkers at four ceremonial beach openings throughout New York City to announce the official start of beach season.

The Citys beaches opened on Saturday, May 27, 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; Brighton Beach, Coney Island, and Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn; Rockaway Beach in Queens; and Midland Beach, South Beach, and Wolfes Pond Beach in Staten Island. All City beaches are free to the public.

"New York Citys beaches are in great shape, and we look forward to a fun and safe summer," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "We remind beach-goers to observe all beach rules and regulations, carefully monitor children at all times, and especially to never go in the water when there is not a lifeguard on duty."

The kickoff festivities began on Wednesday, May 24 at South Beach in Staten Island with Mayor Bloomberg and Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro in attendance. On Thursday, May 25, Coney Island in Brooklyn was celebrated with Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz in attendance. Friday, May 26 was a beach opening doubleheader. The day began at Rockaway Beach in Queens with Council Member Joseph Addabbo, State Senator Malcolm Smith and State Assembly Member Audrey Pheffer in attendance, and concluded at Orchard Beach in the Bronx with Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion in attendance.

Over the past four years, Parks & Recreation has spent $40 million on improvements to New York Citys beaches, and there is an additional $28 million worth of ongoing improvements. In the Bronx, a new lifeguard station is being completed to accompany the recently renovated main pavilion at Orchard Beach. South Beach on Staten Island is home to a new gazebo, shade pavilion and restored bathhouse, while Midland Beach boasts a new pier extending from the boardwalk into the Lower Bay of the New York Harbor. At Rockaway Beach in Queens, the City opened a new ocean-side skate park and playground in 2005, along with the City's first surfing beach. In Brooklyn, Parks is installing 95 historic boardwalk lights and will be welcoming professional volleyball to Coney Island for the first time this summer. Parks is also in process of lighting the famous Parachute Jump thanks to $1 million allocated by Borough President Markowitz.


The Daily Plant is pleased to announce the appointment of Jill Weber as Administrator of the Rockaways.

Jill began her Parks career 26 years ago, serving as an environmental analyst, horticultural intern, Riverside Park horticulturist, Old Nursery supervisor, and Bronx PRM where she managed landscape operations, volunteer programs and a variety of districts.

In November, 1993, Jill was hired as Director of the PACT program, Parks first venture into welfare to work. She has been at the helm of our welfare initiatives ever since. Jill has served as Chief of POP since 2003, servicing about 2,800 former welfare recipients and presiding over the largest transitional employment program in the United States.

We wish her well in her new position.


"How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!"

Maya Angelou

(1928 - )

<![CDATA[Parks Kicks Off Summer Beach Season In New York City]]> pressrelease19782 This week, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, citywide elected officials, and New Yorkers at four ceremonial beach openings throughout New York City to announce the official start of beach season. The Citys beaches will open to the public this Saturday, May 27, 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; Brighton Beach, Coney Island, and Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn; Rockaway Beach in Queens; and Midland Beach, South Beach, and Wolfes Pond Beach in Staten Island. All City beaches are free to the public.

"New York Citys beaches are in great shape, and we look forward to a fun and safe summer," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "We remind beach-goers to observe all beach rules and regulations, carefully monitor children at all times, and especially to never go in the water when there is not a lifeguard on duty."

Over the past four years, Parks & Recreation has spent $40 million on improvements to New York Citys beaches, and there is an additional $28 million worth of ongoing improvements. In the Bronx, a new lifeguard station is being completed to accompany the recently renovated main pavilion at Orchard Beach. South Beach on Staten Island is home to a new gazebo, shade pavilion and restored bathhouse, while Midland Beach boasts a new pier extending from the boardwalk into the Lower Bay of the New York Harbor. At Rockaway Beach in Queens, the City opened a new ocean-side skate park and playground in 2005, along with the City's first surfing beach. In Brooklyn, Parks is installing 95 historic boardwalk lights and will be welcoming professional volleyball to Coney Island for the first time this summer. Parks is also in process of lighting the famous Parachute Jump thanks to $1 million allocated by Borough President Markowitz.

- 30 -

<![CDATA[Say Goodbye To Dwindling Days Of Winter At City Ice Rinks]]> pressrelease19757 Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe today reminded New Yorkers that the final day to ice skate at a rink in New York Citys parks is Sunday, April 2, 2006.

"The Citys ice rinks provide a safe, seasonal place to enjoy the ice, and we are delighted to have had such a successful skating season," said Commissioner Benepe. "Although hanging up those skates for the season is bitter-sweet, it gives New Yorkers all the more reason to look forward to those cold winter months that come around without fail each year."

With this seasons grand opening of The Pond in Bryant Park, New York City parks are now home to a total of seven ice skating rinks. Others include Kate Wollman Rink in Prospect Park, Abe Stark Rink at Coney Island, Worlds Fair Ice Skating Rink in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the Staten Island War Memorial Ice Skating Rink in Clove Lakes Park, and Lasker Rink and Wollman Rink in Central Park. All ice rinks will officially close on April 2, with the exception of Prospect Parks Wollman Rink, which will close on March 12, and Bryant Parks the Pond, which has been closed since January 16.

Parks & Recreation commends skaters citywide for practicing safety on the ice all season long. Each year, Parks encourages New Yorkers to stay away from the ice on the lakes and ponds unless the agency announces that it is safe to do so in designated areas, as water that may appear frozen is not often safe enough to skate on.


<![CDATA[NEW YORKERS SPIKE UP THE WEEKEND AT SNAPPLE’S CITYWIDE BEACH VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT]]> dailyplant19156 Despite gloomy skies, intermittent rain and the looming threat of a major tropical storm, volleyball players from across New York came out to compete in Snapple’s Citywide Beach Volleyball Tournament last weekend at beaches and parks throughout the city. Now in its eighth year, the five-borough tournament culminated on Sunday at Coney Island Beach, where 100 finalists competed for $3,000 in cash prizes. In the end, Manhattan captured the Men’s title while the Women’s went to a pair from Staten Island.

Borough preliminaries were held Saturday at Orchard Beach, Coney Island, Far Rockaway, South Beach, Riverside Park and Central Park. Prospective players came out at 9 a.m. to kick off two days of non-stop beach volleyball action. The rain held off for much of the day, and all boroughs were able to complete the preliminary rounds. Winning teams moved on to Sunday’s citywide finals at Coney Island.

Fears of Tropical Storm Charlie getting in the way of play proved overblown, and on Sunday at around 12 p.m., after a morning of intermittent rain, the citywide finals at Coney Island got underway. The best of the boroughs took to the soggy sand to compete in five divisions, including open, intermediate, novice, coed fours, and junior coed fours—it was five hours of non-stop volleyball action just steps from the bustling Coney Island boardwalk. Players played and onlookers mingled and at the end of the day there was prize money to be awarded.

"This year’s citywide beach volleyball championship was a huge success with a brand new junior division and widely successful Learn to Play clinic," said Dave Kovall of Parks & Recreation’s Marketing and Special Events division, which helped coordinate the two-day tournament. "Thanks to the support of our sponsors and the hard work of Parks & Recreation employees, we were once again able to hold this great annual event."

Topping off some impressive volleyball were plenty of giveaways provided by the event’s sponsors. Snapple was on hand with free water and iced tea, while Smuckers satisfied hungry onlookers with "Crustable" peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Along with the cash prizes, tournament winners received free sneakers provided by Nike. Additional event sponsors included the New York Post, Viacom and WKTU.

This year’s tournament featured a Learn to Play clinic where around 30 participants learned basic volleyball skills. The clinic was designed to give New Yorkers of all ages the basics of the game of volleyball. Lead by a professional volleyball instructor, participants young and old learned how to spike and block on the court. And best of all, an appearance was made by Cyclones mascot Sandy the Seagull.

Written by Ashe Reardon


"Every man is a volume if you know how to read him."

William Ellery Channing

<![CDATA[FESTIVE, FUN, & FREE: THINGS TO DO THIS WEEKEND IN NEW YORK CITY’S PARKS]]> dailyplant19153 With Summer flaunting her most seductive charms, it’s time to get out and enjoy our parks more than ever. With that in mind, Parks & Recreation’s Special Events division has graciously put together a list of some of this weekend’s most attractive offerings. For more information, visit the Parks & Recreation website at, call 311, or if you reside outside of the city, dial 212-NEW-YORK.

Saturday, August 14 is National Marina Day. Hammonds Cove Marina, at Harding and Pennyfield Avenues, will celebrate the event from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with games, rides, music, and delectable food. The Coast Guard will teach water safety, and chiropractors and masseuses will relieve your accumulated stresses of the week next to the beautiful waterfront.

On August 14, 21, and 28, Brooklyn’s Wingate Park, at the intersection of Brooklyn Avenue and Rutland Road, will host Youth Day. From 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., there will be a poetry slam, Double Dutch contest, organized basketball games, a talent show, and food. The Departments of Education and Youth Services will also be there to provide information relating to youth issues.

An exciting and historical event taking place for the first time in Manhattan, KompaStage2004, a Haitian-American free music festival, will be held in Battery Park on August 15, 2004 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. "KompaStage Music Fest" celebrates Haiti’s 200th anniversary as a sovereign nation. Battery Park is located at Battery Place and State and Whitehall Streets.

Celebrate the cultural diversity of Queens at Outdoor Cinema 2004 in Socrates Sculpture Park, at Vernon Boulevard, Broadway, and 31st Road. This annual festival of international film, music, dance, and food presented by Socrates Sculpture Park in collaboration with the American Museum of the Moving Image, holds free screenings every Wednesday until September 1 at 7 p.m. Created six years ago by Socrates Sculpture Park in cooperation with Partnerships for Parks, each evening in the six-part series focuses on a different country or culture. Local performing arts groups showcase the talents of their members, and area restaurants present regional foods.

Staten Island
On August 21 and 22, from noon to 9 p.m., Midland Beach, stretching from Fort Wadsworth to Miller Field, will host the Back to the Beach Celebration. This annual event celebrates the renovation of Midland Beach by offering two days of food, fun, and entertainment to the public. While artists craft creations in the sand, landlubbers can cruise the Midland Beach Promenade for deals on jewelry, T-shirts, and pocketbooks. Kids can bounce in blow-up castles, fly high on carnival rides, and satisfy their hunger with sausage and peppers, calzones, and funnel cake.

Parks & Recreation is proud to present the 8th annual Citywide Beach Volleyball Tournament. Borough preliminaries begin this Saturday in parks and beaches throughout the five boroughs. Saturday’s top teams will compete for the citywide title and $3,000 in cash prizes on Sunday, August 15 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Coney Island Beach. Sponsored by Snapple, this rain-or-shine event is free and open to everyone—like all the Best Stuff in NYC.

Compiled by Citywide Special Events


"Everything is for the eye these days - TV, Life,
Look, the movies. Nothing is just for the mind.
The next generation will have eyeballs
as big as cantaloupes and no brain at all."

Fred Allen

<![CDATA[SCREAMING IS BELIEVING]]> dailyplant19152 One warm summer night not too long ago, some friends lured me down to Coney Island to one of Parks & Recreation’s newer properties, Keyspan Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones. For five dollars I got a seat in the bleachers, and although that put me much closer to the Parachute Jump than home plate, I enjoyed the roar of the Brooklyn crowd just as much as the game itself.

After the home team victory, we proceeded out of the ballpark, down the boardwalk, through the crowd gawking at the Friday night fireworks, and over to West 10th Street, to take a ride on the Cyclone. Two in my party were New York transplants, one from Pennsylvania and one from Arizona, and the other was a Manhattan native. I, of course, am a dyed-in-the-wool, third generation Brooklyn native. Naturally, they all assumed that I knew the joys and pains of the Cyclone.

All at once I came to grips with the reality that the word "know" has quite a broad meaning. Indeed, I knew the history of this most famous of amusement park rides. I had read the historical sign years before, which detailed the 85-foot drop and the 60-mile-per-hour top speed. I even knew, that unlike all the other landmark structures in New York, which cannot be altered in any way without the approval of the Landmark Commission, the Cyclone remains the special exception. Every day a worker walks the entire 3,000-foot-long track, tightening bolts along the way and hammering in boards that seem a little loose. On the one hand it’s comforting to know the work is done, but on the other, it’s frightening to know it’s necessary.

Ultimately, my book knowledge did little to put me at ease, and it did nothing to change the fact that, to my great embarrassment, this would be my first time riding the Cyclone. My balloon of Brooklyn boasting quickly deflated, as my three friends each demonstrated that they had been around the track a time or two before. Sensing my inexperience, they asked in wonder how a 25-year-old Brooklyn native could keep innocent so long. However sad, the fact of the matter was, although I had come close before, I had never taken the plunge.

So there I waited, on line under the great towering mass of steel, and I listened to the two trains barreling over the wooden tracks. Just then I noticed that, unlike modern rollercoasters, whose steel tubing and massive concrete stanchions keep giant, twisting, looping tracks from budging even the slightest fraction of an inch, the Cyclone’s simple girders seemed to sway quite a bit. In spite of my apprehension, I rationalized: well, people have been riding this thing for 77 years, and they all survived. But then, with splendidly bad timing, the other man in my party pointed out a painted sign with facts about the ride. What it said was not new to us, but what it omitted had harrowing implications. With a raised brow and a cynical sneer, my friend pronounced: "The sign at the Wonder Wheel says ‘no one ever died’." …. so now they tell me.

I thought of turning back, like the cowardly lion on his way down the hallway to see the wizard, but clearly the sign had been intentionallyhung at a spot so advanced in the corralled line that only the most terrified reader could manage escape. I had passed the point of no return. We twisted through the line, and the track came into view. Evidently, my fear showed, and so my experienced friends offered this tip: "You’re going to be scared. Screaming really helps, especially on the first drop." They also insisted that I ride in the front so my first time would be special.

Locked firmly into position, we ratcheted up the track. I counted the stars in the night sky, while the lights of the amusement park grew distant. Along with the U.S. and Cyclone flags, the Parks & Recreation flag flies at the top of the tower, a reminder that this American classic stands on parkland. All too soon, we passed the flags and took the first drop. Awed beyond reason, I gasped involuntarily: unable to make a sound. Only after hitting the first turn did my higher brain functions return. I said to myself, "Now it’s time to scream."

Written by John Mattera


"In America, anybody can be president. That’s one of the risks you take."

Adlai Stevenson

<![CDATA[DON’T GO POSTAL—GO COASTAL!]]> dailyplant19093 New York City is steamy in summer, but Parks & Recreation’s 14 miles of public beaches, situated on the City’s 578-mile coastline, are free, open to all, and just a bus or subway ride away. They can be found in every borough except river-bound Manhattan, and offer every flavor from Coney Island, the quintessential waterfront amusement park, to Orchard Beach, the "Bronx Riviera."

The Arsenal Gallery’s newest exhibit, Going Coastal: The Beaches of New York City, offers viewers a look at the history and development of the City’s beaches. The exhibition features 92 archival and contemporary photographs, vintage postcards, historic renderings, as well as artifacts and memorabilia representing the vital role that beaches play in the life of the city.

Until the 19th century, the Long Island Sound and Atlantic shorelines were pristine, rugged, and hard to get to. But in the 1820’s, the first developments sprang up, beginning a long tug-of-war between private and public control of what was to become an increasingly valued resource. After the Civil War, the pace of development accelerated with the opening of fashionable resorts like the Manhattan Beach and Oriental Hotels at Coney Island. Sections of the wild dunes of the Rockaway peninsula in Queens and Staten Island’s South Shore were also converted for recreation. By century’s end, with the help of improved rail and ferry transportation, a thriving amusement-park culture was serving the city’s skyrocketing population.

By the late 1920’s, the City had established Jacob Riis Park, the Coney Island boardwalk, and a few small waterfront parks in Brooklyn and Queens that catered mainly to day-trippers. But most of the shoreline was claimed and managed by entrepreneurs, whose taste often ran to the tawdry. At Wolfe’s Pond Park on Staten Island, and in portions of the Rockaways and Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx, large and sometimes illegal bungalow communities took root.

When he became Parks Commissioner in 1934, Robert Moses set out to expand and make the beaches more wholesome. He emphasized the need for an orderly, healthful, and safe experience, which required razing the offending bungalows and kicking out poorly-run concessions, plagued by corruption. Before the Parks Department gained full jurisdiction of the beaches in 1938, he commented, "No inland lake, stream or pool can compete with the Ocean and its tributaries which surround the City." Vast improvements followed. In the Bronx, the water between Rodman’s Neck and Hunter Island was filled to create Orchard Beach’s wide crescent. New boardwalks went up at South and Midland Beaches, Coney Island, Rockaway, and Jacob Riis Parks. Public works like the Belt Parkway and the Marine Parkway Bridge improved beach access.

Moses was a victim of his success. Postwar beach attendance soared, and in response the City aggressively acquired coastland, including Manhattan Beach. By the time Moses left office in 1960, public beaches had increased from 1 to 17.96 miles. His successors have faced operational hurdles of almost biblical proportions as they have combated storms, fires, medical waste, and ordinary litter. In 1974, during the fiscal crisis, Riis Park in Queens and Great Kills on Staten Island were transferred along with Jamaica Bay from City to Federal jurisdiction as the Gateway National Recreation Area.

Now the increasingly post-industrial city has turned its attention again to its waterfront, an emphasis that has led to many public and private beach projects. At Orchard Beach, $3.3 million was invested in 1998 to rebuild the monumental bathing pavilions and terraces. At Midland Beach on Staten Island, an enormous capital investment has paid for boardwalk repair, a grand entrance plaza (2002), and a new fishing pier (2003). At Rockaway Beach, the City broke ground in 2004 for a new oceanside skate park, while Coney Island gained new comfort stations, information kiosks, music pavilions, and KeySpan Park (2001), home of the Brooklyn Cyclones. These amenities will help the 12 million visitors to the city’s beaches cool off and enjoy themselves, ensuring that New Yorkers continue to go coastal well into the 21st century.

Most of the images on display are from the New York City Parks & Recreation Photo Archive and Map File Collections. Images are also on loan from the Municipal Archives, and vintage postcards were generously loaned from the Staten Island Institute of Arts & Sciences. The exhibition is curated by Parks & Recreation’s Director of Art & Antiquities Jonathan Kuhn, with assistance from Public Art Coordinator Patricia Hamilton. Additional images or "outtakes" can be found in a virtual gallery presented on Parks & Recreation’s website at


"I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; I lift my eyes and all is born again."

Sylvia Plath
Poet (1932-1963)

<![CDATA[CONEY ISLAND’S LOOKING UP]]> dailyplant18991 Coney Island is once again on the way to becoming a destination for both New Yorkers and visitors from across the country. To kick off the start of beach season citywide, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg joined Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, State Assembly Member Adele Cohen, Council Member Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. and Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe on the boardwalk yesterday for a celebration of what’s new and what’s to come. The Mayor and elected officials unveiled the Wonder Wheel Pavilion, one of four new performance pavilions installed this spring along the Coney Island boardwalk, and also announced plans for the construction of a beachside bike and skate path, increased access paths, and the upcoming installation of 121 old-fashioned lampposts.

"I want to make an official announcement," began Mayor Bloomberg. "After careful consultation with my advisers, I’m hereby calling for 14 straight weekends of perfect summer weather in New York this year." The audience, remembering last summer’s wet weekends, cheered the Mayor’s sunny proposal. The Mayor also announced another year of successful lifeguard recruitment, both at home and abroad. The City has 145 new recruits as well as over 50 international lifeguards this year, and combined with returns from past years, the lifeguard total this year is expected to be as good as last year—and possibly higher.

During the festivities, Commissioner Benepe also introduced the Park Greeters initiative, a pioneer program being piloted at the most popular beaches and parks around the five boroughs. This year, 70 park greeters will offer directions, maps and informational literature to park and beach visitors in an effort to make the City even easier to navigate and enjoy. Benepe also reminded New Yorkers to use common sense at the beaches. "Everyone can keep the City’s beaches clean by picking up after themselves and watching after their children and their neighbor’s children," he said. "New York City has the best lifeguards in the world, but it’s still important to look after your young ones."

"Coney Island is looking good…it’s smelling good…it’s as Brooklyn as it gets," raved Borough President Markowitz. "The best days of Coney Island aren’t past. They’re today, and every day to come." Borough President Markowitz and Assembly Member Cohen have allocated $1 million and $200,000 respectively to replace the 121 boardwalk lights with historic twin cast iron light poles. The new light poles will allow for colorful hanging banners and mounted baskets for plants, and will complement the 600 World’s Fair benches installed last year.

"As we formally open the beach and boardwalk for the 2004 season, it is a great pleasure to also announce $1 million in funding for the Brighton Beach-Coney Island Bike Pathway and Beach Access Project," said Assembly Member Cohen. "The first phase will connect the Greenways at Ocean Parkway and Coney Island Avenue and provide permanent beach access paths to make it easier for seniors, the disabled, and families with baby strollers to get closer to the water. These improvements will provide year-round pleasure for shorefront residents as well as thousands of summer visitors, and I am delighted to work with Mayor Bloomberg and the Parks Department in funding the work."

Among the improvements already in place are four new performance pavilions. Installed in April, with support from Council Member Recchia, the pavilions will offer musical performances and activities on weekends from Memorial Day through Labor Day. They include the Wonder Wheel Pavilion (donated by the Wonder Wheel Amusement Park), the Dreamland Pavilion (donated by Coney Island Chamber of Commerce), the Astroland Pavilion (donated by Astroland Amusement Park) and the Steeplechase Pavilion (donated by the Friends of the Boardwalk).

"When I first came into office, I promised I would make Coney Island a priority," said Council Member Recchia. "Thanks to the Bloomberg administration, we’ve started a Coney Island Development Corporation, and the beach is on its way to becoming a year-round destination."

The City’s beaches, which span 14 miles, will open this Saturday, and will be open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. City beaches include Orchard Beach in the Bronx; Brighton Beach, Coney Island, and Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn; Rockaway Beach in Queens; and Midland Beach, South Beach, and Wolfe’s Pond Beach in Staten Island. Swimming is prohibited when beaches are closed. The City’s 53 outdoor pools will open on Saturday, June 26, 2004. Both City beaches and pools are free to the public and will be open through Labor Day, Monday, September 6, 2004.

Written by Eric Adolfsen


"So much writing nowadays suffers both from lack of an attitude
and from sheer lack of any material, save what is accumulated
in a purely social life. The world, as a rule, does not live on beaches
and in country clubs."

F. Scott Fitzgerald

<![CDATA[AS THOUGHTS DRIFT TOWARDS WARM WEATHER, PARKS & RECREATION KEEPS ITS EYES ON THE WATER]]> dailyplant18697 As most New Yorkers begin looking forward to spring’s arrival, the City is already preparing for summer by stepping up its lifeguard recruitment efforts around the five boroughs — and beyond. Parks & Recreation is currently offering a free qualifying exam for interested lifeguard candidates, and training courses will run through June with the hope of recruiting and training over 1,100 lifeguards in time for summer.

“We need responsible, motivated, dedicated individuals to help safeguard the 11 million swimmers that take a dip in the Big Apple every summer,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “Being part of the New York City Lifeguard Corps is a fun and rewarding summer job that really makes a difference. You will be working alongside a team of some of the best and most respected lifeguards in the world, and you’ll also learn valuable skills that will help you in any career.”

As part of its efforts, Parks & Recreation has delivered letters and “Lifeguards Wanted” posters to every member of the City Council, State Senate, and State Assembly, and to the borough presidents. Posters decorate the hallways in New York City public schools, and a public service announcement campaign has been launched. Yesterday, Parks & Recreation made a presentation of its plans to Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, who hopes to raise recruitment numbers in his borough. Brooklyn’s Coney Island receives more beach visitors each year than in any other borough (Rockaway Beach in Queens ranks second), and Brooklyn’s 14 outdoor pools have the second highest attendance (after Manhattan, which has 16 outdoor pools).

Foreign recruitment has also begun. The program, started several years ago, brings foreign students in on a J-1 visa, which allows them to work for three months and travel for the fourth. Already, several new lifeguards have signed on to cross the Atlantic, mainly from Poland and Latvia, both of which have great reputations for top-notch lifeguards.

The requirements for the job aren’t easy, but the rewards are great — especially as summer jobs for high school students. Lifeguards must be 16 years old when they begin working, must be able to swim 50 yards in 35 seconds, and must have minimum vision of 20/30 in one eye and 20/40 in the other without corrective lenses. Recruits who successfully complete the course are guaranteed a job and will be paid for time spent in training. The starting salary is $10.08 per hour, and lifeguards are expected to work six days a week, including holidays and weekends (when beach and pool attendance is the highest). Exams are held Monday through Friday from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the 59th Street Recreation Center, located at 533 West 59th Street in Manhattan. Candidates who pass the exam will be able to participate in a free lifeguard training course.

Parks & Recreation manages 53 outdoor pools in all five boroughs and 14 miles of beaches. Beaches are open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and pools are open from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., seven days a week. Last year, Parks & Recreation recruited and trained close to 1,000 lifeguards, and by July 4, 2003, the City was able to open all of its beach areas for swimming. Also, the number of returning lifeguards has increased each of the last two years, with a 75 percent return rate in 2002 and a 81 percent return rate last year.

This season, the beaches open for swimming on Saturday, May 29 and the pools open on Saturday, June 26. New York City beaches include Orchard Beach in the Bronx, Coney Island and Manhattan Beaches in Brooklyn, Rockaway Beach in Queens, and South Beach, Midland Beach, and Wolfe’s Pond in Staten Island. For more information about the becoming a lifeguard, or to learn more about the City’s beaches and pools, please visit or call 311.

Written by Eric Adolfsen


“Friends at hearths are drawn to the one warm air; strangers meet on beaches drawn to the one wet sea.”

Marie Ponsot
“Springing,” 1961