Rockaway Beach QueensRockaway Beach

On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York City’s beaches will open on July 1, after previously announcing that the city’s public beaches would be closed for the season. “The rumors are true: NYC beaches will open for swimming on July 1,” de Blasio tweeted. “Let’s keep playing it safe: social distance & face coverings, even at the beach!” Lifeguards will be on duty at the beaches that allow swimming, and city playgrounds have already opened starting Monday. In anticipation of New York’s shortened yet open beach season, here is our guide to New York City’s nine public beaches!

1. Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach in Brooklyn is situated right next to Coney Island on Brooklyn’s south shore. The beach and boardwalk are locally in the neighborhood of Brighton Beach, known colloquially as “Little Odessa” due to its high Russian-speaking population. The area was originally farmland before its development in the 1860s, especially after the creation of the Brighton Beach resort named after the English resort town of Brighton. In the largest building move of the 19th century, the resort was pulled away from the water after a decade of beach erosion. The beachfront area also included the Brighton Beach Music Hall, where John Philip Sousa was a composer in residence. The beach was home to the short-lived Brighton Pike, a boardwalk with live entertainment and a roller coaster. The area became increasingly Jewish as thousands of Holocaust survivors moved to apartments by the beach, and by the 1970s, Soviet immigration grew significantly.

Today, the beach is home to a large boardwalk on which several Russian eateries like Tatiana set up tables, as well as small playgrounds. As many apartments are located right by the boardwalk, the beach features a mix of young and old, and languages like Russian, Uzbek, and Kyrgyz are commonly heard while walking. Brighton Beach is also within walking distance to Coney Island sites like Luna Park and the New York Aquarium.

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