CONEY ISLAND, Brooklyn (PIX11) — All eight of New York City’s free public beaches will be open for swimming starting Saturday for Memorial Day weekend. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation held a ribbon-cutting event at Coney Island this week to officially welcome back visitors.
“We at the parks department are committed to making sure that all of our beaches are clean, safe and attractive destinations for all New Yorkers,” said Susan Donoghue, commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
Many were out taking advantage of the beautiful weather on the boardwalk and beach, but Marty Maher, who serves as Brooklyn Borough Parks Commissioner, said preparations every summer don’t happen overnight. They work on the beaches 365 days a year.
“We paint the benches if they need it or remove graffiti,” Maher said. “We are replacing the 1.3 million boards on the boardwalk all the time. We clean the bathrooms. We give everything a coat of paint. There’s a lot of work that goes into making sure everything is looking good and inviting.”
Visitors like Jeff Holmes are noticing. “The beach looks wonderful,” Holmes said. “Everything is clean, the food is good, people are nice. We’re enjoying it.”
Removing trash is also a big part of the prep. “People use the boardwalk year-round, but we don’t have as many litter receptacles out on the beach or the boardwalk,” Maher added. “We start to put them out as it approaches Memorial Day, so we have to start collecting that too. You’d be surprised at the amount of litter people generate.”
After being closed all winter, stores are also open and ready for business. Reneisa Kria works at Coney Cones, an ice cream shop on the boardwalk, and she is ready for the busy summer ahead.
“I’m ready for the crowd and the long lines for the people waiting for ice cream because it gets really busy on the weekends,” Kria said.
Officials are reminding beachgoers that swimming is only allowed from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. when lifeguards are on duty.