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As City Gets Early Taste of Summer, Sandy-Damaged Beaches Prepare to Open

NEW YORK CITY — As forecasters predict temperatures reaching 80 Tuesday, New Yorkers are thinking of beaches — and the city is working frantically to make sure they open on time.

Despite many still needing serious repairs after Hurricane Sandy, the city's cooling off spots are expected to open as usual on Memorial Day.

Here's what you can expect to find at some of the area's most popular beaches.

Coney Island

The Coney Island boardwalk was already bustling with locals and tourists during the first warm day of spring Monday. People soaking up the sun lined up at Nathan's boardwalk location, even while its main eatery off Surf Avenue continued to undergo repairs.

"We grew up with Nathan's. This is our home." said Cliff Patella, 61, who enjoyed a dog with his friend Jimmy Crespo, 47.  "It feels great. The sun is out. It's better than being on a city street."

The beach was well groomed without any dunes that may have been created during the hurricane.

But there is still some way to go.

While the boardwalk was open Monday, the Steeplechase Pier was still undergoing repairs. The West 37th Street Ramp and some play equipment on the beach also still remain closed, according to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation website.

Luna Park reopened in March after being submerged in five feet of water. The park will be open seven days a week for the summer starting May 25.

Brighton Beach

Brighton locals ate and drank Monday in the boardwalk's famed Eastern European cafes. Tatiana Café set up outside tables even while workers repaired part of the restaurant's awning.

The beach appeared to be in good shape, though it was still a little rugged in parts with heavy machinery making repairs on a small section of the beach and boardwalk near Brighton 2nd Street.

Damaged lifeguard stations and restrooms at both Coney Island and Brighton Beach will be replaced with modular buildings, the Parks Department said.

Rockaway Beach

Large sections of the Rockaway Beach boardwalk were still completely gone Monday. People tried to make do, sitting on the boardwalk's concrete supports while they watched the waves crash along the beach.

Workers were busy rebuilding sections of the boardwalk, most notably the stretch off the concession building at Beach 97th Street. Other boardwalk islands are being built at 86th, 106th and 116th streets.

All the areas that had restrooms last year will have them this year. The Rockaway Beach Club concessions, which included food from Caracas, Rockaway Taco and Steve's Ice Cream, is set to reopen for a third straight year, according to the Parks Department.

Employees at Rockaway Taco's main space on Beach 98th Street were busy working inside the restaurant on Monday. They said the popular eatery should be open by early May.

Jones Beach

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that all Long Island beaches are expected to open by Memorial Day weekend.

Jones Beach sustained major damage during the storm, destroying much of the boardwalk and flooding buildings along the beach. The boardwalk is being repaired and electricity has been restored to the West End, West Bathhouse and Jones Beach Theater.

Fields 2, 6, 10 and West End 2 are currently open to the public. While there was some beach erosion there is still plenty of distance in most spots between the boardwalk and ocean, giving people plenty of room to stretch out even while repairs are being done behind them.

Jones Beach Theater is also set to be back in action this summer. Fleetwood Mac is set to play June 22, Phish July 13 and Depeche Mode on Sept. 8.

Visit the Parks Department website for an update on all city beaches and what repairs are expected to be made by the summer.