New York City public beaches open for swimming on Saturday

The public beaches that are managed by New York City's Parks Department will open to swimming on Saturday, May 29, 2021, officials said. Beach capacity will not be limited this year the way it was last summer during the height of the pandemic. 

Beachgoers do not need to wear masks on the beach or in the water but must cover their faces when using the comfort stations. Also, officials say people should still take "social distancing precautions."

"The summer heat has arrived, and with the return of swimming at our beaches, comes another step in our collective return to normalcy," Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said in a statement. "We want everyone to enjoy our eight public beaches this season, but it must be done safely."

Lifeguards will be on duty at all beaches every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021. The Parks Department said that swimming is "unsafe and strictly prohibited" at all other times. Indeed, officers can and do issue summonses to people swimming after hours when lifeguards aren't on duty.

The safety risk is not overstated; nearly every year, swimmers drown at the city's beaches, especially at Rockaway Beach and Coney Island where dangerous rip currents can be unpredictable.

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The beach in Coney Island in Brooklyn, May 2021. (NYC Parks and Recreation photo)

The Health Department monitors the water quality at the beaches. You can check the reports at the Beach Water Quality portal.

By the way, New York City also has public beaches and waterfront parks managed by either the National Park Service or the New York State Parks Office but some of these sites do not allow swimming.

Service vehicles on Orchard Beach in the Bronx, May 26, 2021. (NYC Parks and Recreation photo)

The city-owned beaches, located in four of the five boroughs, have 14 miles of coastline. Here are some of the highlights as noted by the Parks Department.


"This year, the Orchard Beach Nature Center will be open every day, and Parks will be hosting a series of fun, family-friendly events including movie nights, silent disco, beach volleyball, and a drive-in movie."

Lifeguards and enforcement officers at Orchard Beach in the Bronx, May 25, 2021. (NYC Parks and Recreation photo)


"There is tons to do, including the launch of the new PHOENIX Family Thrill Roller Coaster at Deno's Wonder Wheel and the return of the firework displays every Friday throughout the summer at 9:30 p.m. When visitors are not strolling the boardwalk, soaking in the sun, or wading in the water, they can enjoy new exciting amenities like the brand-new pump track skate park at Steeplechase Plaza."

The Coney Island Boardwalk in Brooklyn, May 2021. (NYC Parks and Recreation photo)

The Coney Island Boardwalk in Brooklyn, May 2021. (NYC Parks and Recreation photo)


"Rockaway Beach is home to the city's only designated surfing areas and its boardwalk has become known for its varied concessions which sell food and drinks from around the world including Peruvian, Bolivian, Caribbean, and Central Asian fare. This year visitors can also indulge in new eateries along the boardwalk, courtesy of new concession operator Rockaway Beach Bazaar, while enjoying free community events, fitness classes and programming hosted by NYC Parks."

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"Visitors who are looking to do more than soak up sun at South and Midland beaches will have access to bike rentals with extended weekend hours. There will be a variety of bikes available for rent, including cruisers, tandem bikes and specialty Surrey bikes that seat up to six people."