With Memorial Day weekend kicking off the unofficial start of summer, New Yorkers can seek fun in the sun at the city’s 14 miles of beaches and 30,000 acres of public parks, pools, and playgrounds.
But construction at some of the city’s open spaces and shorelines will close off some areas where residents typically beat the heat.
Here’s a breakdown of what’s affected this summer as you make plans outdoors.
The city’s beaches open for swimming on Memorial Day weekend. Parks officials say people should only swim in areas when lifeguards are on duty, which is typically from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week starting this Saturday through Sept. 10.
Be warned that parts of the Rockaway beaches are undergoing sporadic, rolling closures due to the Army Corps of Engineers' work to restore storm-damaged and eroded sections of the peninsula's coastline.
The work will shutter 10- to 15-block sections of the beachfront between Beach 116th and Beach 149th streets. The construction will shift throughout that area all summer, closing off areas on a rolling basis. Parks officials did not provide an exact timeline as to when each section will be closed, and said they would notify local elected officials and community organizations as the construction work progresses.
The entirety of the Rockaway Beach boardwalk and concessions will remain open throughout the summer, despite the construction.
The Corps' work, which kicked off in 2020 and is scheduled to wrap up in 2026, is part of its $336 million project to repair sections of the beach that were damaged by erosion and flooding from severe storms. The Corps is also installing 14 new jetties that protrude out into the ocean and trap sand to ease erosion. It's also repairing five jetties that are already in place.
The city’s 48 outdoor pools will open on June 29 — but staffing shortages could affect access to swimming.
The parks department has struggled to recruit lifeguards since the pandemic started, and Commissioner Sue Donoghue said she hopes to have at least 900 lifeguards by the time pool season starts next month. During a City Council hearing on May 22, Donohue said the department had fewer than 500 lifeguards in training or seeking recertification.
For the first time since the pandemic, the parks department is offering a limited number of free swim lessons for kids at outdoor pools. City-run summer camps will be granted swim permits at six outdoor pools.
The lifeguard staffing shortage is limiting operating hours and special programming, according to parks officials. Private summer camps will not be granted swim permits for city pools because of the lifeguard shortfall.
A number of city-owned pools, both indoor and outdoor, will also be closed for the next few months.
The Olympic-sized Astoria Pool will be closed all summer for renovations, though the spray showers next to the pool will be usable on hot days during the season.
Other closed outdoor pools include the Edenwald pool in the Bronx, as well as Central Park’s Lasker pool and the Tony Dapolito and Tompkins Square pools in Manhattan.
The indoor pool at Tony Dapolito is also closed this summer for renovations, along with three of the city’s 12 indoor pools: St. Mary’s Recreation Center in the Bronx, Brownsville Recreation Center in Brooklyn, and Hansborough Recreation Center in Manhattan.
Fountains and playgrounds
For those who don’t want to go for a swim, playground sprinklers and splash pads are typically turned on once temperatures hit 80 degrees, according to the parks department.
The arch and fountain at Grand Army Plaza won’t have their waterworks on this summer as the city completes a restoration project that will fence off the area for the whole season.
Central Park’s Chess and Checkers House in the Children’s District will reopen in June with renovated public restrooms.
Other Park Closures
The city has several other major park closures that will last through the summer.
About half of East River Park in Manhattan remains closed because of the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project. The area of the park south of Stanton Street is currently closed, though the northern half above Stanton remains open.
The running track and field at the Red Hook Recreation Center is currently closed for restoration, while several ball and soccer fields are closed as the parks department installs synthetic turf as part of a $18.2 million remediation of contaminated soil in the fields.
The West 79th Street Boat Basin marina in Manhattan is closed until at least 2025 for a major overhaul. In Queens, Pier 1 at the World's Fair Marina in Flushing Bay is shuttered for renovations. The kayak and canoe launch at the West Harlem Piers are also closed for renovations.
The parks department publishes updates online about construction-related closures to open spaces, and officials said New Yorkers can find more information about where to cool off through an interactive map published by the city.