As New York City’s Rockaways Gentrify, Residents, Surfers and Bathers Squabble over Beach Access

by Owen James Burke

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Photo credit: Chang W. Lee/The New York Times.

The struggle between surfers and shore bathers on Long Island, New York’s south shore is an age-old one, and as New York City’s outer boroughs continue to gentrify and Big Apple surfing gains popularity, tension is rising.

New York City limit surfers are currently confined to two only surfing locales: Beach 90th and Beach 67th  (not counting private-access Breezy Point). But there’s precious space between Beach 60th and Beach 66th that’s not in use, yet.


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Photo credit: Chang W. Lee/The New York Times.

While many residents of the location’s new 1,300-unit (and growing) housing development, Arvene by the Sea, are vying for lifeguarded swimming beaches to go along with their new beachfront condos (fair enough), the New York City parks department cites that the city doesn’t have enough ocean-qualified lifeguards to facilitate a safe swimming area.

Conversely, opening the beach to surfing would create unsafe conditions as some swimmers will also be entering those waters with our without lifeguards present, increasing the likelihood of rendezvouses between razor-sharp fins and flesh.

The dispute will go unresolved for the remainder of this summer, but we can expect heated debate come springtime. Read more at The NYT. –OJB

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