Tag Archives: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Rockaway beaches back on track in time for July 4 holiday


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

SALVATORE LICATA

Finding a beach with a lifeguard in Rockaway should be a breeze for beachgoers — finally.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has finished its sand replenishment from Beach 60 to Beach 149 and the beaches will resume normal operation, according to Zachary Feder, a Parks Department spokesman.

The replenishment finished in time for the July 4 holiday, the busiest time on the Rockaway beachfront.

The Parks Department said it expected to have its peak complement of lifeguards on duty for the holiday weekend.

Many beachgoers were upset last weekend when they were told over 30 beaches were closed due to sand replenishment and were not given any advanced notice. But the Parks Department did say on its website there would be rolling closures, happening daily, until the project was finished.

“There were some closures while the Army Corps was working,” Feder said.

Now with the replenishment finally over, the beaches of Rockaway, which make up about half of the Parks Department beach property throughout the city, should have access similar to that of Coney Island and Orchard Beach.

However, 30 blocks of Rockaway beaches are still closed because of the nesting season of the piping plover, a federally protected bird species.

 

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Dozens of Rockaway beaches closed for swimming due to lack of lifeguards, Sandy damages


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Salvatore Licata

SALVATORE LICATA

Just because a beach is open doesn’t mean people are allowed to swim there.

As of Thursday, only 29 of the more than 100 beaches in the Rockaways are open to swimming because of damage caused by Superstorm Sandy coupled with a dearth of lifeguards, the Parks Department said.

Many of the others have “normal access,” which, according to the Parks Department, means people are allowed to walk in the sand.

“Swimming is only permitted where there are lifeguards, which is never the entire seven mile beach,” said Zachary Feder, a Parks Department spokesman. “But walking is permitted along the entire length.”

Superstorm Sandy caused major damage to the beaches along Rockaway, which now has the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers working to repair many of them. They are using large pipes to pump sand from the ocean floor on to certain beaches which makes those specific locations closed to swimming.

“More beaches will open as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completes their sand replenishment and grading work,” Feder said. “We cannot allow swimming where the Corps is working. As the Corps finishes a section, that area will reopen for swimming.”

Feder also said another reason why many beaches are still closed to swimming is because the number of lifeguards has not reached its full potential for the year yet. He said lifeguard staffing does not reach its peak until July 4, which is when the volume of beachgoers is at its highest and the lifeguards, many of whom are students, are able to work for the summer.

But locals were upset that swimming was off-limits for most of the shoreline.

“Beaches being closed to swimming not only impacts our recreational life but it cripples the businesses that thrive on people going to beaches,” said Phillip McManus, a Rockaway resident and avid beachgoer, “We need a government that will listen to the people and need our beaches open for swimming now.”

Here is a list of the Rockaway beaches that are open to swimming as of June 19, as stated on the Parks Department website:

Beaches 9, 13, 15, 17, 18
Beaches  29-30
Beaches 115-119
Beaches 120-129
Beaches 131-137

 

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Op-Ed: Comprehensive initiatives to make New York City’s waterfront stronger


| oped@queenscourier.com

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is from Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s weekly radio address

New York City’s waterfront is an incredible resource that contributes to the great quality of life we New Yorkers enjoy. It’s also a backyard for millions of families and our first line of defense against future storms and flooding. We’re hard at work strengthening those defenses – including in the Rockaways and nearby Jamaica Bay, where last week we made major progress on several initiatives that will make the area more resilient than ever, as well as benefit our entire city for decades to come.

The first is our work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete an all-out sand replenishment effort in the Rockaways. It will help fulfill one of the pledges we outlined in “A Stronger, More Resilient New York,” our comprehensive plan to protect our city from the effects of climate change. In the next couple of months, the Army Corps will bring about 3.5 million- cubic-yards of sand to Rockaway Beach, and last week I visited the beach with Parks Commissioner Veronica White to inspect our progress. A first phase of about 600,000-cubic- yards of sand is being pumped now from Beach 89th to Beach 149th Streets.

Replenishing the sand at Rockaway Beach complements our earlier work there, including building a series of protective walls and installing sand-filled “trap bags” that will serve as the core for a new dune. Together, these measures will not only reverse damage to the beach done by Sandy – they will make the beach stronger than it was before the storm, and more protective for nearby communities.

Rebuilding our beaches is vitally important; but in addition to building back stronger, we’re also continuing the coastal protection work that we began before Sandy struck. That includes our effort to both protect one of our great natural treasures – Jamaica Bay – and create a world-class Science and Resiliency Institute there whose focus will be protecting and preserving urban ecosystems from development and from the effects of climate change.

Last summer, the city and the National Park Service signed a historic cooperative agreement for co-managing Jamaica Bay’s 10,000 acres of federal and city-owned parkland. I joined Interior Secretary Sally Jewel to announce the formal establishment of the new Jamaica Bay – Rockaway Parks Conservancy. The organization will help raise funds for the parkland covered by the agreement, collaborate with the community on programming, and help promote the parkland as a destination. We also announced that a consortium led by the City University of New York, in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation, will head the new Science and Resiliency Institute at Jamaica Bay. The Institute will serve as a coordinating body for the fieldwork taking place around the bay, and provide lab space for researchers and students. We expect the Institute’s work will do a lot to help reduce dangers to our city from future storms, and help other cities around the world confront the challenges of climate change as well.

From restoring our coastline to establishing a new ecology research center, we’re helping to prepare our city for all the climate risks we face, both now and in the future.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Five people killed, including two children, in fiery Queens SUV rollover horror

Five people were killed, including two children, after leaving a Nigerian heritage celebration in Queens early Sunday when their speeding SUV, swerving after blowing through two red lights, slammed into a concrete pillar, rolled over and burst into flames, police and witnesses said. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Con Ed customers could pay for ’08 death blast

Ed customers could be slapped with part of the bill for a horrific 2008 gas explosion that killed a Queens man and left his daughter needing medical care for the rest of her life. The family of Edgar Zaldumbide won a $20 million settlement from Con Ed, according to documents obtained by The Post. Read more: [New York Post] 

Beach replenishment coming to Rockaway

Sand-starved sections of Rockaway Beach, battered by erosion and Hurricane Irene, could be replenished later this year, according to the city Parks Department. The Bloomberg administration made a last-minute $3 million allocation to the agency’s budget to pay for the project. The money will be used to transfer sand dredged from the East Rockaway Inlet by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Queens man dead after ATV crash 

A Queens man is dead after police say he crashed his ATV into a metal pole Saturday night. Investigators said 33-year-old Dave Thomas was riding his ATV on the sidewalk on Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica when he hit the pole. Read more: [NY1] 

Annual Colombian Day Parade held in Jackson Heights 

A sea of red, blue and yellow filled the streets of Jackson Heights Sunday for the annual Colombian Day Parade. More than 75,000 people lined the parade route along Northern Boulevard waving their flags. The sounds of cumbia and salsa filled the air, along with the aroma of traditional Colombian food and treats. Read more: [NY1] 

New sand on Rockaway Peninsula beaches


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder is seeking community input and calling for a public hearing on the projected maintenance dredging in the East Rockaway Inlet. The public hearing would involve key stakeholders, including residents, local businesses and community organizations.

“The potential for new sand on our beaches is welcomed news to our community,” Goldfeder said. “Our beaches got hit badly by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee,” he said. “The damage has left our community in desperate need of help. We should be doing everything possible to restore our beaches, not only for our local families but for the thousands of tourists that come to enjoy the very best beaches in New York City and the local businesses who depend on them.”

The project will potentially be carried out by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is expected to involve the removal of approximately 240,000 cubic yards of sand from the East Rockaway Inlet, Goldfeder said. The removed sand would then be available for placement along the Rockaway Beach shoreline.

The new sand would only be a temporary resolution, Goldfeder said, adding that he was still urging the Army Corps of Engineers to expedite their studies and examine the possibility of installing rock jetties.