The ongoing work to replenish and repair Rockaway Beach is leaving large portions of the nation’s largest urban beach closed, and residents on the peninsula are frustrated.
The Army Corps of Engineers is undergoing a massive reconstruction project for the entire beach, which was badly eroded — and almost entirely washed away in some spots — by Hurricane Sandy. As part of the project, which began last August, a massive pipe has been laid from a dredger offshore, which is taking sand from the entrance to Reynolds Channel between Far Rockaway and Atlantic Beach and placing it on the beach. The project was slated to be finished this month, but will likely go through the rest of the summer. The result is parts of the beach are being closed down for the work.
“As the Corps moves along the beach, they move their pipes and the heavy equipment needed to complete their work,” said Zachary Feder, a spokesman for the Parks Department. “As they complete a section of the beach, the sand needs to be graded to allow pedestrian access and sand ramps need to be built over any remaining pipes. We cannot safely allow swimming where the Corps is working, where they are moving equipment or where access has not yet been created.”
Currently the only section of the beach closed entirely is in Arverne between Beach 64th and 73rd streets, where the Army Corps is working. Swimming is prohibited along large portions of the beach including between Beach 84th and 97th streets — one of the busiest spots — as well as Beach 19th to 29th, 30th to 58th, 59th to 84th streets and Beach 108th to 115th streets. Those beaches can be used for nonswimming recreation, like sunbathing and volleyball. Updated beach access can be found at nyc.gov/parks.
The Army Corps wanted to have the work done by Memorial Day, but the harsh winter weather and other logistical issues caused the construction to go on beyond that deadline.