New York City’s beaches are still one of its great underutilized resources. It’s a vast land of recreational opportunity that really only serves a sliver of the population a fraction of the year.
Access to the beaches has been historically limited by public transportation, but with the launch of New York City Ferry that’s about to change. The first route takes riders to Rockaway and there’s talk of a future landing in Coney Island.
Even so, there’s still such a short window when the beaches are usable for anyone without a surfboard.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, lifeguards are on duty and beachgoers pack the shoreline. But summer weather often extends past Labor Day, and we’ve already had a few 90 degree days in New York City.
It makes the most sense to open the beaches starting May 1 on the weekends and extend the season until the end of September, also open on the weekends.
From a practicality standpoint, many of the city’s lifeguards are high school or college students, so having them work the weekdays could be a bit difficult. But a lot of them would happily start receiving that summer paycheck a little earlier with some weekend work.
We’d be putting kids to work and giving them solid employment for a few extra weekends a year, and hopefully bringing more people down to the beach to support local businesses that have such a short window of operation.
Many of the concessions operate into the first week of October, having the beaches open with lifeguards on the weekend would be a huge boon to those businesses.
If the manpower is there to ensure the beaches are safe, it’s a win-win for all involved.