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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 this week. The City’s beaches are now officially open to the public, with lifeguards on duty daily from 10 a.m. to 6 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 14 million visitors last summer, New York City’s beaches provide New Yorkers and visitors a spectacular natural setting for 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 York City beaches are open and safe for swimming,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden. “New Yorkers should be sure to enjoy the water only when lifeguards are on-duty, and to avoid diving in any place that it is not specifically permitted.”
At Brooklyn’s Coney Island, Beach Associates will lead beach-goers in fitness programs including beach aerobics, volleyball clinics, yoga classes and walking sessions. Upcoming events include the Amateur Beach Volleyball Tournament from July 12-13, the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tournament from July 18-20 and the Sand Sculpture Competition, July 26. The boardwalk will be brightly decorated with trash cans painted with seascapes and carnival themes from the “Boardwalk Barrels of Fun” contest. At the conclusion of the season on Labor Day, Parks will restore the Boardwalk between West 12th and West 15th streets, using alternatives to tropical hardwoods, thanks to about $5 million from Mayor Bloomberg.
At the Bronx’s Orchard Beach, this season’s highlights include a new Saturday morning Fitness Program, “O.B.Fit!,” starting June 7 and featuring Yoga for Seniors, Total Body Workout, and Fit Camp. In addition, two children’s performances will take place at the lawn south of Pelican Playground at Orchard Beach at 11 a.m., July 18 and 25. Sunday afternoon concerts will give all beach visitors a chance to hear live music from all around the globe.
Queens beach-goers can expect to see a lot of improvements at the Rockaways. Borough President Helen Marshall funded $650,000 to add accessibility ramps at Beach 102nd Street and Beach 24th Street. Council Member Joseph Addabbo allocated $500,000 to improve the boardwalk. Also, as part of the mayor’s PlaNYC, more than $30 million is secured for work on improving park space, adding a permanent performance spot and multi-use playing fields between Far Rockaway’s Beach Ninth and Beach 32nd streets.
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 116th Street, at Coney Island at Stillwell Avenue and at Brighton Second Street, at Orchard Beach, and at Midland Beach at Jefferson Avenue and Father Cappodano Boulevard. Additional mats will be installed by July at Beach 17th Street at Rockaway Beach and at Manhattan Beach.
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. Water quality test results will be posted online at www.nyc.gov/health/beach 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.
For more on beach happenings this summer, visit www.nyc.gov/parks or call 311.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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