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Memorial Day Weekend Beaches: What's Open After Sandy

 Over six months after Hurricane Sandy destroyed many beach front communities in New York City, crews work to get the beaches ready in time for the usual Memorial Day weekend opening.
New York City Beach Opening 2013
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NEW YORK CITY — The unofficial start of summer usually means the opening of beaches — though the carnage wreaked by Hurricane Sandy has thrown the city some major hurdles.

Here is a breakdown of what's open — and what work still needs to be done.


Coney Island: The boardwalk is already bustling.

The beach will reopen for swimming Saturday and all local amenities — including the New York Aquarium, which had been shuttered since the storm hit — will be back in business, according to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

Displaced sand was shoveled from the boardwalk back onto the beach to help with storm erosion and all the street ends have been cleared of stockpiled sand.

The boardwalk is open between West 22nd Street and West 24th Street, according to the Parks Department, while some work is still being done on the southern section of the boardwalk from West 24th Street to West 27th. 

Some lifeguard stations and public bathrooms were demolished after sustaining serious damage during the storm, but they have been replaced by modular buildings.

Those wanting to fish in the ocean may have to wait a little bit longer, with reconstruction to the Steeplechase Pier scheduled for completion by July 4.

Luna Park reopened in March after being submerged in 5 feet of water. The park will be open seven days a week for the summer starting May 25.

Brighton Beach: Just down the boardwalk from Coney Island, Brighton Beach is also starting to get back to summer life. The Eastern European cafes are full of patrons and people are sunbathing on the boardwalk.

Modular lifeguard stations and bathrooms will also be in place in Brighton for Memorial Day weekend.

There are not expected to be any major disruptions along the boardwalk.


Rockaway Beach: The boardwalk looks the most ravaged out of the city beaches, with a seemingly endless row of concrete supports facing the ocean.

Some of the damaged areas have been repaired, with still-intact pieces of the boardwalk put back in place between Beach 80th and 84th streets and Beach 32nd and 39th streets, according to the Department of Parks and Recreation.

The city also built boardwalk islands, shorter sections of boardwalk with amenities like food and restrooms. They will be ready by Memorial Day weekend, a Department of Parks and Recreation spokesman said. 

The islands will be located at Beach 86th, 97th, 106th and 116th streets.

The Rockaway Beach Club concession stands — including Rockaway Taco, Lobster Joint and Comodore East — will also be back for a third straight year.

Like the Brooklyn beaches, modular bathrooms and lifeguard stations will be brought in where the public facilities are still being repaired.

Fort Tilden: Those looking to venture out to the more secluded Fort Tilden are out of luck. The beach will remain closed because of safety concerns due to hurricane damage, the National Park Service said on its website.

Staten Island

South, Midland, Cedar Grove and Wolfe's Pond beaches are set to open Memorial Day weekend, according to the Department of Parks and Recreation.

South Beach's The Vanderbilt event space and eatery and the South Fin Grill, both at 300 Father Capodanno Boulevard, are already open. Food trucks will also park along Father Capp, serving South and Midland beaches.

As with other city beaches, modular units will replace public bathrooms and lifeguard stations damaged during Sandy.

Here is a breakdown of amenities per beach:

South Beach: The boardwalk between the ramp just north of the snack bar concession and just south of the comfort stations adjacent to the Vanderbilt/South Fin is open. All parking lots and bocce courts will also be open.

The Ocean Breeze fishing pier and boardwalk in front of it will remain closed this weekend.

Midland Beach: The promenade will be open and barbecuing will be allowed, but there will be limited parking at the beach because of ongoing construction.

Dunes ranging from 3 to 13 feet have been created at the South Beach and Cedar Grove sections to protect against future storms. All the dunes will have openings to allow beach access.

Cedar Grove Beach: The beach is expected to open with modular comfort and lifeguard stations.

Wolfe's Pond: Portions of the beach will be open with limited parking available. The barbecuing area will still be closed, but a modified picnic area will be available.

Long Island

Jones Beach: Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in April that all Long Island State Parks and beaches were expected to open by Memorial Day weekend.

The Jones Beach boardwalk will be open by the weekend after being replaced with Brazilian hardwood, which is supposed to better withstand oceanfront exposure, the New York State Department of Parks and Recreation said.

Some parts of the boardwalk will use temporary railings while materials continue to come in, according to the governor's office.

Repairs will still be going on at the Field 10 fishing piers and Boat Basin, and temporary trailers will be set up where lifeguard buildings are still under repair.

Jones Beach Theater is also set to be back in action this summer. Fleetwood Mac is scheduled to play June 22, Phish July 12 and Depeche Mode on Sept. 8.

Long Beach: The beach will be open for swimming this weekend, but the boardwalk will remain closed as a reported $44 million reconstruction project is undertaken.

A food truck market will take the place of the boardwalk eateries, bringing local food to beachgoers. The trucks will be located in the municipal parking lots at the end of Riverside Boulevard and Shore Road Tuesday through Sunday, and at Kennedy Plaza on Mondays. They will operate from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Memorial Day Weekend through Sept. 2.

Robert Moses: The beach suffered extensive damage during Sandy, with the south side of the park's traffic circle collapsing into the Atlantic Ocean.

Repairs to damaged fences throughout the park have been completed and 500,000 cubic tons of sand replenished erosion at Fields 4 and 5, the State Department of Park and Recreation said. Three lifeguard shacks were also set to be replaced before Memorial Day weekend.

Both the parking facilities and boardwalk, which was repaired using Brazilian hardwood, will open by the weekend.

Additional reporting by Nicholas Rizzi