Move over, Clementine Lee, the Parks Department has a new Public Enemy #1: The older Russian women enjoying a swim at Brighton Beach—and yesterday a few of them were handed $250 tickets for cooling off in the water. A tipster writes in: "I guess there's a sign somewhere on the boardwalk that says swimming is not allowed 6 p.m. to 10 a.m., but I never noticed it. It's hot, it's August, and some people have to work during official swim hours."
Allegedly when the lifeguards went off duty, they simply left, not alerting anyone to get out of the water. (Sigh, lifeguards.) But maybe it was a part of a sting operation, because shortly after, around 6:30 p.m., "some jerks drive up on their mini John Deeres and start yelling. They are wearing green golf shirts with Parks Security on the back ... [they] are not being very communicative, or at all polite. They call in reinforcements—white shirts with Parks Enforcement on the back. They start writing tickets to a bunch of middle aged Russian ladies trying to get a little swim after work. Some of the ladies run home, and the jerks on the John Deeres chase them to the boardwalk."
After demanding I.D. from the women, who were wearing bathing caps and suits, "they make cracks about the potential illegal immigration status that will be uncovered when they take the swimmers to jail. When an onlooker objects and points to the other hundreds of swimmers down the beach the two uniformed guys stalk off."
We have contacted the Parks Department, as well as the outlaw swimmers, and will update with any quotes when we get them.
UPDATE: Philip Abramson from the Parks Department has sent us the following statement.
"New Yorkers may only swim between the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. where lifeguards are on duty and signs are posted throughout our 14 miles of beaches to alert the public. New York State law does not allow “swim at your own risk.” As evident by the six drownings this year that happened after hours, swimmers should never go in the water if there is no lifeguard on duty. In order to protect public safety, the Parks Department works diligently to ensure that swimmers exit the water after hours. In this case, summonses were issued at 6:45 p.m. - 45 minutes after beaches close - and only after swimmers failed to comply with instructions to exit the water. If the constituent believes that our PEP officer used inappropriate language, we encourage her to file a claim with our Parks Advocate office."