Rockaway Beach on May 2nd, 2020
This Memorial Day, many New Yorkers who would have been celebrating at the beach will instead be finding alternative ways to enjoy the holiday. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that swimming, sports, and gatherings will not be allowed at New York City beaches, and that people must observe social distancing if they decide to walk on the beach. [Update: Starting July 1st, New York City beaches will be open for swimming again!]
Yet, beaches across Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, and Connecticut will be open this Memorial Day, many with restrictions like reduced capacity by 50% and who can access. “We are one multi state region. What one state does will affect other states,” Governor Cuomo said. “One state doesn’t open beaches, another state does open beaches, you will see people flood to that state.”
Mayor de Blasio’s reasons for closing the beach hinge on his belief that New Yorkers will crowd public transportation, like subways and buses. He said, “Based on our local conditions, we are the epicenter nationally, the most populace, the most dense. To get to the beaches people must take subways and buses and we don’t want crowding. There is an obvious set of reasons.” However, it is possible that beaches will open to the public later this summer once the city meets the seven criteria to begin reopening.
With New York City beaches for the most part remaining closed for Memorial Day, the beaches of the surrounding area may not be a safe bet either for New York City residents. Officials fear that many of the city’s eight million residents will flock to Long Island beaches, and subsequently many have restricted access to only certain demographics. Here is our guide to the open, closed, and restricted beaches in New York City, Nassau County, Suffolk County, New Jersey, Westchester, and Connecticut for this Memorial Day:
New York City
National Park Service beaches, like Jacob Riis shown above, will be open but city beaches are closed.
The city’s public beaches are closed for the season until further notice. The following New York City beaches are currently closed:
- Orchard Beach, Bronx
- Rockaway Beach, Queens
- Coney Island Beach, Brooklyn
- Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn
- Cedar Grove, Staten Island
- Midland Beach, Staten Island
- South Beach, Staten Island
- Wolfe’s Pond Beach, Staten Island
“No swimming, no sports, no gathering, no parties. Just common sense,” de Blasio said. “Observe social distancing. If you walk on the beach, do it for a limited period of time, get back home like everyone else.”
However, beaches run by the National Park Service, which includes Jacob Riis Park and Fort Tilden Beach in Queens, are currently open, but picnic areas are closed and only “limited recreational access” is allowed since no lifeguards are on duty. Beaches like Coney Island and Orchard are allowing visitors to walk on the beach and the boardwalk, but visitors must observe social distancing rules. Face masks must be worn by beachgoers and workers if social distancing is not possible.