There have recently been some beach access openings amid the bird sanctuary that stems between Beach 38th Street and Beach 57th Street. As many may know, Beach 38th Street has always been open to swimming but hasn’t been staffed with a lifeguard for years. This is a major issue, NYC Parks! The new and current beach access points are at Beach 49th Street with a mobimat placed from the actual entry point up to the shore, to assist those with disabilities. Another access point is at Beach 51 1/2 Street, which also has a mobimat, Beach 55th Street is open but without a mobi, and Beach 56th Place is open with mobimats in place. This is great and I’m appreciative of what NYC Parks has done so far.
My concern is the only one access point within the Edgemere community that NYC Parks opened is Beach 49th Street. I know that I may sound selfish in saying this but in all actuality, it’s not being selfish. Edgemere has ALWAYS been the forgotten community on the peninsula, and no one really seemed to care until as of late. ECCA stands for its community, ECCA stands for what is just. If some communities on the peninsula and around the world can share the beach with shorebirds during nesting season, then why can’t we?
Over the many years, we haven’t received any fairness in this community. Just know that our fight isn’t over. As my follow up to NYC Parks with my concerns, a reply came from Eric Peterson, NYC Parks Rockaway Administrator, stating his team will open access at Beach 44th and Beach 47th Streets, but the Army Corps of Engineers will begin groin construction starting at Beach 39th Street.
On September 5, I walked the shore to view the beach access and clean-up. I met a lovely young lady who works for NYC Parks and her job is to notify beachgoers of the ongoing construction and escalate any issues if any violations were witnessed. While I welcome her presence, I also would like for everyone to come out and experience the beach alongside the shorebirds and follow the rules posted and verbalized. You may experience tall grass and unknown vegetation, just like I did, but NYC Parks stated they will continue to work on cleaning the beach and we are here to make sure they do and continue to beat the drums in requesting a lifeguard next year.
In closing, I would like to thank Councilmember Selvena Brooks-Powers for championing for us, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams for encouraging us and connecting us to great resources and overall support from Congressman Gregory Meeks, Assemblymember Khaleel Anderson, Assemblymember Stacy Pheffer Amato, Senator James Sanders, Jr. and all of those who stood by us and signed our petition, we are forever grateful. I would also like to add this: how many of you noticed that street signage is missing along the boardwalk? This is a major issue, NYC DOT! As I, and many others, have stood at Beach 38th Street and the boardwalk, you’ll find missing signage east and west of Beach 38th St. Just think, if something were to happen to you or someone else and you happen to call 911, what location would you give them if the street signage is missing? Stay tuned, this is just the beginning. You can still assist us in our plight for beach access by signing our petition https://www.change.org/Birds-Over-People