NYC Parks has been busy, creating new spaces to have fun in the sun in Rockaway. They recently announced six capital project upgrades, totaling a $33.07 million investment overseen by Parks, that have either been recently completed or are moving through the final stages of construction, and are expected to be open this summer. Among them are a labyrinth for contemplative passive recreation, a picturesque performance space, brand new parkland, playground upgrades, and more!
Of the six projects, three were funded by FEMA through cost savings from the Rockaway Beach boardwalk reconstruction after Hurricane Sandy which devastated the region in 2012.
“Our administration is committed to ‘Getting Stuff Done,’ and through this $33 million investment in new Rockaway enhancements, we are again delivering for New Yorkers,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said.
“Rockaway’s resurgence has been well underway for years, and it will continue for yet another summer as these six projects in support of local families come online. From the brand new Nameoke Park to a pair of playgrounds to new Gateway Plaza performance space, these amenities represent a much-needed reversal of the disinvestment the peninsula has experienced over the decades,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. said.
“The Rockaways and our parks are worth investing in,” NYC Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers said. “For too long, public space on the peninsula has not received its fair share of the City’s attention and spending. I thank the Parks Department for their efforts in Rockaway, and I look forward to further investments and improvements in our community’s parks.”
The recently opened projects, and projects expected to be complete this summer, include:
Shorefront Parkway Multi-Purpose Area ($7,775,000 / FEMA428) – opening soon (Shorefront Parkway and Beach 77th Street)
The Shorefront Parkway Multi-Purpose Area added new park infrastructure and recreational amenities along Shorefront Parkway. The park features a pair of sand volleyball courts with stadium seating, configured for men’s and women’s play, a lawn for passive and informal play, table tennis tables, and adult fitness equipment. Stormwater management has been included in the final design and other amenities include improved sidewalks, additional seating, game tables, drinking fountains, bike racks and new landscaping.
Beach 59th Street Playground ($5,000,000) – now open
As part of the reconstructed playground project, brand new play equipment, rubber safety surfacing, and spray showers have been added, and a new shade structure has been installed. The two existing entrances, one on Beach 59th Street and one on Beach 60th Street still remain, and a new ADA ramp has also been built at the Beach 60th Street entrance to make it easier for individuals with impaired mobility and parents with strollers to access the site.
Nameoke Park ($6,260,000) – opening late summer 2023 (32 acres of new parkland, Corner of Nameoke and Augustina Avenues)
This brand-new park located at the corner of Nameoke Ave. and Augustina Ave. is intended to provide a welcoming place for the community to relax and gather under the shade of trees. The park will feature benches and game tables arranged to encourage social interaction, and the seating area can also double as performance/gathering space. A dedicated adult fitness area will be located off the main plaza, and the play area will include two play units, one geared for children aged 2-5, and one for the 5-12 age group. A central spray shower with two types of in-ground sprays will add extra play value to the site during the warmer months, and in the colder months it will serve as a flexible, free-play area. With no other parks within a quarter-mile radius (5-minute walk), as part of the Downtown Far Rockaway rezoning effort, the Far Rockaway community lobbied to have a neighborhood park be part of the planning.
Beach 94-95th St. Gateway Plaza and Performance Space ($3,710,000 / FEMA428) – now open
Beach 94-95th Street Gateway Plaza and Performance Space provides a grand entrance for Rockaway Beach at the foot of Cross Bay Parkway, just off the Cross Bay Bridge. The new stage provides an appropriate venue for theatrical and musical performances, community events, and worship services, and features a large screen for movie screenings. The new flagpole replaces a venerable flagpole that was lost in Superstorm Sandy and will fly flags in memory of Rockaway residents and their loved ones.
Shorefront Labyrinth & Seating Area ($2,419,000 /FEMA428) – now open (Shorefront Parkway between Beach 92nd and 94th Streets)
The brand-new Shorefront Labyrinth & Seating Area features a passive recreational area centered on an inlaid labyrinth for contemplative use. A seating area and newly added landscape surrounds the labyrinth, and other amenities include replaced sidewalks and additional seating, game tables, drinking fountains, and new bike racks.
Shorefront Beach 98th Street Playground ($7,907,088 / FEMA428) – opening early summer 2023
In addition to providing a rich play experience within Beach 98th Street Playground itself, the site’s design considered the adjacent obstacle course to the west, creating a space for age-appropriate activity for users ranging from tots to seniors. Shade structures and umbrellas have been strategically added to the site to maximize shaded seating opportunities. As part of the redesign, tot play was situated near the beach concession island at 97th Street to allow easy access to the bathrooms and other facilities there, and the target user age range for each space trends upward as one travels west down Shore Front Parkway.
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, which struck New York City in October 2012, Rockaway Beach has also become a testament to New York’s resilience, and a model for sustainable rebuilding. NYC Parks beaches open this year for swimming on May 27.