Don’t celebrate, just keep them open
May 22, 2019 | 2442 views | 0 0 comments | 299 299 recommendations | email to a friend | print
During a press conference last Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio proudly announced that the city wouldn’t unexpectedly close a main stretch of Rockaway’s beaches days before Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer and the official start of the peninsula’s prime tourist season.

Most Rockaway residents still resent how last year the city suddenly announced that the shores from Beach 91st to Beach 103rd Streets would be closed indefinitely due to erosion.

What was infuriating was that the city made its decision well in advance, but waited until the last minute to announce it.

Not only did it hurt local beach-oriented businesses, many of which are only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but those located between those streets saw no foot traffic. A rainy Saturday harms a beach business; a closed beach is a death sentence.

And as the city tried to hold its usual beach opening ceremony last year, Rockaway residents showed their grit and held a full funeral procession complete with bagpipes. It was fitting.

But this year, the mayor announced that fast-tracked sand delivery would allow the beaches to reopen on time.

He essentially applauded himself for not hurting local small businesses.

There is still more work that needs to be done. Beaches past the Beach 91st-103rd stretch are suffering from serious erosion, and the city needs to listen to its beachfront residents, not move them across the road behind barricades and refusing press questions, which was the case with de Blasio’s celebratory conference.

Whether it’s Rockaway or Coney Island, keep the beaches a year-round priority. Allow businesses that rely on beach traffic to remain open, and when the season is over work on fixing the erosion.

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