What to Know
- An 11-block stretch of Rockaway Beach will be closed this summer so that a protective dune there can be rebuilt
- The half-mile section between Beach 91st and 102nd will be off-limits to swimmers, but the rest of the 4.5 miles will remain open
- Business owners are worried about losing money, but residents say that safety worries and erosion concerns trump a swim in the ocean
Hopes of hitting the surf on a stretch of Rockaway Beach are about to hit a roadblock this summer.
A half-mile section of Rockaway Beach, running between Beach 91st Street and 102nd, will be off limits to swimmers for the entire summer, the city Parks Department says.
Parks officials said the move is necessary because of a lack of sand, and a protective dune built there after Hurricane Sandy needs to be shored up after it was battered by multiple nor'easters this past winter.
"We've been evaluating the beach, and unfortunately the amounts of erosion that we have limit the amount of available beach that we can safely operate for the public," said Queens Park Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski.
Many businesses on the stretch depend on beachgoers for revenue.
"We could be losing tens of thousands of dollars weekly," said Bungalow Bar and Restaurant owner Katy Grey. "All those people that might potentially be in this area might look to go to other places. If not Rockaway Beach, the Jersey Shore, to Coney Island."
The city points out the closed section is just a half-mile, compared to the four-and-a-half miles that will be open for the upcoming season. The full boardwalk and surfing area from Beach 88th Street to Beach 91st Street will also remain open.
"It is a popular spot, but I think in terms of everyone being safe and having a good summer, it's the best thing to do," said Antoinette Kusnyer of Rockaway Beach.