The City today announced that – for the first time since Superstorm Sandy — the full Rockaway Boardwalk will be open in time for the July 4th holiday weekend, including the latest section from Beach 117th Street to Beach 126th Street. With this newest section open, New Yorkers will be able to enjoy a continuous connection spanning from Beach 9th Street to Beach 126th Street – approximately 5.5 miles. Regular swimming operations will be in effect starting Saturday, July 2.
“The reopening of the entire Rockaway Boardwalk is a major milestone for the Rockaway community – and for all New Yorkers,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “Because our waterfront parks are our first line of defense against the effects of climate change, we have built back stronger and smarter, setting a new standard for shoreline protection.”
In the Fall of 2016, construction will resume on the final section of boardwalk, from Beach 19th Street to Beach 39th Street. This section is currently open, and intact with repairs made immediately after Sandy. The boardwalk will be entirely completed as new construction by Memorial Day 2017.
The new boardwalk, which started construction in April 2014, will set a global standard for resilient shoreline design, while providing the Rockaway community with a beautiful, functional beachfront. The project is being integrated into a multi-layered system of coastal protection that will resist future weather events and account for the long-term effects of climate change. It is constructed with a steel-reinforced concrete deck, fixed to steel pipe support piles that elevate it above the 100-year flood plain. Multiple layers of protection are also being integrated into the boardwalk design, including approximately six miles of planted dunes. A concrete retaining wall is being constructed underneath the boardwalk to keep the beach’s sand in place and prevent it from entering the community. Much of the new boardwalk’s appearance – including its sand-colored decking, brightly colored ramps and designated bike lane – was decided during a series of collaborative design sessions with Rockaway residents.
As New York City’s largest beach, Rockaway attracts millions of visitors each year. Recently, the destination has become well known for its varied concessions along the boardwalk, which sell food and drinks from around the world, including Peruvian, Bolivian, Caribbean and Central Asian fare. The Lola Starr Souvenir Shop sells Rockaway themed merchandise and renting beach equipment at Beach 32 Street and Beach 60 Street. NYC Parks will also host community events, free Shape Up NYC fitness classes and nature programming in Rockaway all summer long.