STATEN ISLAND — After a rainy and cold weekend, beach-goers were finally happy to spend their Memorial Day working on their tan on Staten Island beaches.
Even though Hurricane Sandy pummeled the beaches in Staten Island nearly seven months ago, the city officially opened them on Saturday — and on Monday sun-seekers flocked to South Beach to take in the sand and surf.
"It's a nice, cool breeze," said Janet Matia, 49, who lives in Jersey City and was spending the afternoon in South Beach. "You can't beat this."
Matia, who comes to this beach every weekend during the summer, said she was worried it wouldn't reopen after the storm, but kept watch on the news to see if the city would get it ready in time for the warmer months.
"I was very concerned with this beach," she said. "I plan to come here every chance I get."
While dozens of beach-goers enjoyed the sun in South Beach, over in Cedar Grove Beach only a handful of people had the sand all to themselves.
"It's pretty private," said Marie Gurnick, 58, a school teacher who lives in Huguenot. "It's like a family beach."
Gurnick said she couldn't wait for the city to reopen the beach for the Memorial Day weekend, and was glad to finally have a day out in the sun.
"I love it," she said. "I was ready to run here."
Alla Grebenyuk, 55, who lives in Shore Acres, was happy to finally be able take her two visiting grandchildren, Adam, 2, and Matthew, 5, to South Beach to build sand castles.
"Thank god," she said. "Finally."
Though Grebenyuk said she's happy the beach reopened, she can't wait for the city to open up the rest of the boardwalk, especially the Ocean Breeze Fishing Pier.
"Hopefully it will be open soon," she said.