City reopens prime stretch of Rockaway Beach in time for Fourth of July weekend

Parts of Rockaway Beach reopen for 4th of July
The city reopened 12 blocks of Rockaway Beach just in time for the long Fourth of July weekend. (Photo by Bill Parry)

The city reopened a popular stretch of Rockaway Beach Friday just in time for the long Fourth of July weekend.

NYC Parks and the United States Army Corps of Engineers announced that a coastal resiliency construction project has been completed between Beach 95th Street to Beach 106th Street, so 12 blocks of beach that were previously closed to swimming have been reopened weeks ahead of schedule.

Parts of Rockaway Beach reopen for 4th of July
A lifeguard shortage continues, so swimming will be allowed where there is adequate lifeguard coverage. (Photo by Bill Parry)

“We have remained committed to reopening as much of the beach as quickly as possible, and we are thrilled to be able to open up 12 additional blocks of beach available for full use — six weeks earlier than expected,” NYC Parks Commissioner Susan Donoghue said. “The Amy Corps is doing tremendous work for the peninsula and we commend them for their expedient work and great partnership on the project. As always, we urge all New Yorkers: only swim in designated areas during lifeguard hours.”

Due to the ongoing lifeguard shortage, operations will be adjusted daily based on lifeguard headcounts. Safety remains a top priority and beaches will only be open to swimming where the city has adequate lifeguard coverage to keep swimmers safe. Beachgoers looking for updated project information and ongoing service changes can visit the NYC Parks dedicated webpage.

Parts of Rockaway Beach reopen for 4th of July
Photo by Bill Parry

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers resilience work, to slow erosion, is ongoing from Beach 109th Street to Beach 117th Street and will move from Beach 117th Street to Beach 121st Street and Beach 136th Street to Beach 149th Street through September, as previously announced.

“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District, is pleased to have been able to complete this vital portion of our coastal storm risk reduction project ahead of schedule, which is a substantial benefit to all stakeholders and reaffirms USACE’s commitment to getting the job done while continuing to make safety our top priority,” said Col. Matthew Luzzatto, commander, New York District. “I want to thank all of our partners at the federal, state and local levels for their tremendous support, as we continue to work tirelessly at our mission to provide additional flood risk reduction measures for the residents of Rockaway.”

Parts of Rockaway Beach reopen for 4th of July
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finished groin construction projects ahead of schedule. (Courtesy of mayor’s office)

The USAC has been implementing a $336 million infrastructure project consisting of 14 new and extended stone groins, jetty-like structures extending out into the ocean intended to trap sand and reduce beach erosion and help maintain a critical buffer between the Atlantic Ocean and beachfront communities, and a reinforced dune system designed to block storm surges.

“I was very happy to learn that the groin W2 project was finished ahead of schedule and that the construction area was demobilized allowing for beaches 94-106 to be open for both water and sand recreation,” Councilwoman Joann Ariola said. “Although great news, we were concerned because of the insufficient amount of lifeguards staffing the current open beaches. However, I am pleased the mayor moved forward with our plan to allow first responders to take the lifeguard test and help fill the void we have this season.”