NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - Your favorite spot in the sand at Rockaway Beach in Queens could be off-limits this summer. The New York City Parks Department announced that an 11-block stretch—between Beach 91st Street and Beach 102nd Street—will be shut down. During high tide, the water hits the toe of the dunes and not enough beach is available.
"We were optimistic that we would be able to open the areas that we did last summer," Queens Park Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski said. "Unfortunately, in March and April we had those really severe storms and much more erosion expected."
The Parks Department has partnered with the Army Corps of Engineers to repair the erosion. The two agencies worked together after Superstorm Sandy, bringing in 3.5 million cubic yards of sand to restore the beach.
But the current plan to bring in jetties and more sand has yet to be finalized, even though the community has been asking for it for more than a year, according to Jonathan Gaska, the district manager of Community Board 14.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz is hopeful for a temporary fix.
"We have been asking the city for over a year now to put sand down so that we can make sure the beaches did not have to be temporarily closed," Katz said. "But also, the Army Corps of Engineers should be moving faster."
More than 5.1 million people came to this beach last summer so there are concerns about overcrowding. The Parks Department said that 4.5 miles of beach will be open to enjoy with proper signage to direct patrons.
But the business owners who rely on the busy summer season and the residents who live here to enjoy the beach hope it is fixed soon.
The Army Corps of Engineers is expected to have its final report issued by November. The Parks Department would like to see work start not long after that with the hope of reopening the stretch of beach for summer 2019.