4 NYC Beachgoers Stuck by Needles in Sand

The Parks Department says it conducts daily beach cleanings, but strict budgets only allow for so much sand maintenance

Four people walking or playing on New York City beaches have suffered puncture wounds from needles in the sand in the last three weeks, park officials said.

In the most recent incident, a lifeguard on duty at Rockaway Beach stepped on a needle at Beach 139th Street Tuesday afternoon, officials said.

The other three people were wounded over the last three weeks on Staten Island. On July 16, a 63-year-old woman stepped on a hypodermic needle on Cedar Grove Beach, cutting her foot. On July 14, a 37-year-old man was stuck in the hand by a needle while he was on the sand at South Beach, near Father Capodanno Boulevard and Sand Lane. And on July 4, a 40-year-old man was stuck by a needle at South Beach.

All three beachgoers were taken to Staten Island University Hospital North.

"You don't know where these needles come from," said Crystal Matis of Elm Park, who was at the beach Wednesday with her young daughter. "It's very scary."

The Parks Department promised last month to clean up a stretch of Rockaway Beach after NBC 4 New York discovered medical waste, including syringes, littering the sand.

The department said Wednesday it conducts daily beach cleanings.

NYC Parks advocate Geoffrey Croft, who first reported on the syringe danger in the city, criticized that response.

"The administration needs to figure this out because that's a lot of stabbings within a couple weeks," said Croft.

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