Pricey Beach Bathrooms Won't Be Installed for Summer

By Katie Honan on May 27, 2014 6:23am 

 The multimillion dollar shacks were originally ordered for the 2013 beach season.
The multimillion dollar shacks were originally ordered for the 2013 beach season.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

ARVERNE — Sunbathers at a section of Rockaway Beach will have to use portable toilets this summer while two multimillion dollar bathrooms remain behind a locked fence and guarded by 24-hour security  until the end of the year, DNAinfo has learned.

A spokesman for the Parks Department said the units, which were brought to an empty lot last July, will be installed at Beach 67th street once the long-delayed boardwalk construction begins in late 2014.

"Synchronizing construction in this area will minimize noise and disruption," the spokesman said.

Instead of using the fancy bathrooms, which the city said are storm-proof, beachgoers at the Arverne beach — which is down the street from a bustling shopping center and is popular with surfers — will use portable toilets.

The Parks Department told DNAinfo New York in December that the structures, which have been under watch by security guards since they were delivered, would be installed by the end of the winter.

The spokesman didn't give a reason for the additional delay.

There are two other uninstalled facilities in Brighton Beach that also have security, but it's unclear when they will be installed.

The controversial bathrooms were ordered last spring without community approval in order to get city beaches up and running for summer 2013 — originally costing $105 million for 35 of the structures.

The contract has since increased to $115 million, according to the city comptroller's office.

It's not clear how much the security costs on the shacks, which one resident last year called "the ultimate waste of watching garbage that nobody wants."

A Freedom of Information Law request by DNAinfo New York asking for the amount of money being paid to the guards was denied by the Department of Design and Construction, which oversaw the original contract.

"Please be advised that the agency is currently reviewing the contractor’s payment requisition submissions and has not yet accepted a total price for the services mentioned in your FOIL request," the agency wrote.

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