Will the beaches be ready for summer?
Six months after superstorm Sandy wrecked havoc on the city’s waterfronts, officials insist all beaches will be ready by Memorial Day, but some New Yorkers aren’t sure.
Firefighter Bradach Walsh, a regular surfer out at the Rockaways, said that July 4th “sounds way more realistic… if at all this summer.”
Walsh was speaking specifically of the concession area of the Rockaways, where all that remains of the boardwalk in many places are concrete pillars.
And according to Parks Enforcement Patrol union leader Joe Puleo, Staten Island beaches are a mess: a PEP officer recently ended up with a nail through his foot while on patrol at Midland Beach.
There is so much sharp detritus on the beach that their vehicles are frequently getting flat tires, a Midland Beach PEP officer reported.
The officer expressed doubts that the beaches could be ready in time.
“A lot of people are questioning it,” the officer said. “There’s a lot of construction going on, that’s for sure.”
The Parks Department insisted the beaches will be ready for swimmers on Saturday, May 25, but allowed that things won’t be back to normal right away, warning to expect “multiple service changes at each beach.”
“Some services that may have been in place before the storm are not going to be ready by beach opening because they were so heavily damaged,” Parks Department spokesperson Tara Kiernan said. “Some comfort stations had to be demolished and we’re looking at putting modulars in their place.”
After Hurricane Irene, there was a 93 percent increase in closing and advisory days for New York state beaches, according to reports from the Natural Resources Defense Council.
2011 saw 1,841 closing and advisory days, up from 956 in 2010.
The NRDC report said storm water runoff was the cause of contamination about 88 percent of the time in 2011.
Coney Island’s Luna Park, scheduled to open a week before Easter every year, was up and running this weekend, despite the amusement park needing its entire electrical system replaced.
Rockaway Beach Surf Club continues to fight for recovery
Concerned that donations and outreach have waned as time has passed, the Rockaway Beach Surf Club has partnered with Pop Up Yoga NYC on a monthlong series of non-profit yoga classes — all proceeds have gone to purchasing supplies and tools for beach re-building efforts.
The partnership wraps up with a party at Modca Cafe at 103 N. 3rd Street in Williamsburg on Wednesday. After a 7:30 p.m. yoga class, the afterparty will kick off around 8:30 p.m., and the winners of raffle prizes donated by local vendors will be announced at 9:30 p.m.