Seven years after Hurricane Sandy, Sandpiper Playground reopens symbolizing the Rockaway recovery

DSC_0013 Sandpipper Pldg RC 10 4 19
Photo Courtesy of Malcolm Pinckney/NYC Parks

When Hurricane Sandy crashed into the Rockaway Peninsula in 2012 it destroyed whole communities, businesses and the beloved boardwalk.

Seven years later, the recovery continues with the reopening of the Sandpiper playground on Shorefront Parkway between Beach 106th and Beach 107th streets nestled along the rebuilt boardwalk.

“Little by little the Rockaway community is becoming whole again, seven years after being devastated by Sandy, and the restoration of Sandpiper Playground is another step in that direction,” state Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr said. “The nearly $7 million project has made Sandpiper Playground an even better community destination with all new play area.”

The $6.9 reconstruction project made the playground more resilient to coastal flooding and it includes ADA-accessible play equipment with safety surfacing, new plantings and fencing, a spray shower and a restored Wave Shelter, one of the four bus shelters that graced Shorefront Parkway as park and ride sites for the 1939 World’s Fair.

“I’m very happy to see the opening of the newly rebuilt Sandpiper Playground,” Councilman Eric Ulrich said. “Of the many public areas that were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, Sandpiper Playground has a special place in the hearts of my constituents as many of them played there when they were kids, and then took their own kids to play there, too. Now future generations will be able to enjoy the space and the many improved amenities it offers.”

In addition to the updated active amenities, there are opportunities for passive recreation with new seating areas along the parkway. Pedestrian paths have also been replaced to provide easier access to the boardwalk.

“It has been a long road to recovery, so days like today are a true symbol of recovery,” Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato said. “The playground was cherished by so many prior to Sandy and now with this investment, will be enjoyed for years to come. Many thanks to the NYC Parks Department for their continued efforts in beautifying the parks throughout the city, but especially here in Rockaway.”

The full renovation was funded with $2.6 million from Mayor Bill de Blasio, $1.2 million from Ulrich, $1.4 million from the federal Emergency Management Agency and $2 million from Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

“The reopening of Sandpiper Playground is another great milestone in the rebuilding and growth of the Rockaways following the devastation of Hurricane Sandy,” Katz said. “This reconstructed community space, with its weather-resistant and accessible play equipment, its sea creature design elements and its opportunities for passive recreation, is a boon to the Rockaways and will be enjoyed by the growing families in this area for years to come.”