Surfers, swimmers, and sunbathers rejoice, as this weekend Rockaway Beach officially opens its sandy shores to the public for the season. In addition to catching some waves and soaking up some summer sun Rockaway beachgoers will also soon be able to enjoy new beachfront parks. Last week, New York City Parks announced its plans for just over $33 million in upgrades and new amenities for six new projects on the Rockaway Peninsula coming this summer.
The money is split accordingly between the six projects. Three parks are funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); these specific funds are cost savings from the Rockaway Beach boardwalk reconstruction after Hurricane Sandy, which devastated the area in 2012 and destroyed many green spaces in southern Queens.
“Rockaway Beach is one of the city’s premier destinations for sun and fun, and with multiple new park improvement projects opening this summer, Rockaway will be better than ever this year,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue in a press release. “Thanks to advocacy from the community and our elected officials, these new amenities represent a significant upgrade to Rockaway greenspace, and with brand new parkland, a picturesque performance space, playgrounds, and even a labyrinth, there’s truly something for everyone to enjoy in Rockaway.”
Of these upcoming projects, three have already opened: the Beach 59th Street Playground, which has been outfitted with brand new slides, swings, and other play structures; safety materials; and water features; as well as the Beach 94-95th Street Gateway Plaza and Performance Space, which serves as a grand entrance for Rockaway Beach and sets the stage for many kinds of entertainment; and the Shorefront Labyrinth & Seating Area, which has an inlaid labyrinth designed for contemplative use and surrounded by seating.
The next two projects slated to open are the Shorefront Parkway Multi-Purpose Area, containing sand volleyball courts along with means for other recreational activities such as table tennis and adult fitness equipment, and then the Shorefront Beach 98th Street Playground which will have age appropriate equipment for young children to seniors. The last project to open will be Nameoke Park late this summer, which will include a dual seating and performing area, along with shade beneath existing trees and game tables all arranged to encourage social interaction.
The six projects will open throughout the summer, so that they may be used by the public for summer activities and onward.