Saturday, May 28, New York City's beaches have opened to the public, with lifeguards on daily duty from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., through Labor Day weekend.

7 of New York City beaches span 14 miles with amusement parks, sports, hiking trails, all available for free to the public.

These include Orchard Beach in the Bronx; Coney Island and Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn; Rockaway Beach in Queens; and Midland Beach, South Beach, Wolfe's Pond Beach, and Cedar Grove on Staten Island.

With more than 14 miles of sand and water and nearly 19 million visitors last summer - almost three times as many as the previous year - New York City's beaches provide New Yorkers and visitors a spectacular natural setting for free fun in the sun, said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe.

Regarding the increase of lifeguards, Benepe said, public safety is a very important concern of ours. We expect to have as many lifeguards as we had last year, and last year was a record number. We start out with about 500 lifeguards this weekend and gradually ramp up to when the pools open. We'll have about 1,300 lifeguards across the city.

New York beaches will be healthier and cleaner, now that beaches are smoke-free for the first time, with no more risk for secondhand smoke.

 

1. Orchard Beach, the Bronx

    Orchard Beach in the Bronx celebrated its 75th anniversary this Friday.

    Orchard Beach Shoreline Protection Project, which cost $13 million, has been completed, placing approximately 268,000 cubic yards of new sand on the beach to further protect it against tides, winds, waves and storms.

    Along with the new sand, Orchard Beach has playgrounds, ballfields, and hiking trails through Pelham Bay Park. Mermaid Parade on June 18 and the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4 take place at Orchard Beach.

    Where: In the Bronx, in Pelham Bay Park at Park Dr. and Orchard Beach Rd.

    2. Coney Island & Brighton Beach, Brooklyn

    Coney Island & Brighton Beach are welcoming a new attraction to join the Cyclone Rollercoaster, Deno's Wonder Wheel, and Luna Park. Named Scream Zone, the new amusement park just opened this spring.

    Beginning July 11, there will be free films on the beach on Monday nights, and a free fireworks display on Friday nights.

    Where: In Brooklyn, on Surf Ave. from Corbin Pl. to W 37th St.

     

    3. Rockaway Beach, Queens

      New snack bars will serve tacos, po'boys, arepas, enchiladas, Italian ices and more at Beach 86th, B. 97th and B. 106th Streets. Many popular restaurateurs such as Rockaway Taco, Caracas Arepa Bar of the East Village and La Newyorkina's ice cream of the Lower East Side are joining the stands.

      Rockaway has the only legal surfing points in the city.

      Beach tennis courts, volleyball courts, a skate park and seven playgrounds form a family-friendly environment.

      The Sunset Concert Series opens on June 11 with free musical performances with various genres.

      Where: In Queens, from 126th Street to Beach 149th Street.

       

      4, South Beach & Midland Beach, Staten Island

        South Beach & Midland Beach feature various recreations, allowing the visitors to walk, bike, job, or chill out along the Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk. You can also enjoy fishing at the Ocean Breeze Fishing Pier.

        Both beaches feature free fireworks and concerts throughout the summer, and you can enjoy these from waterfront restaurants and cafes.

        Where: In Staten Island, on Father Capadanno Blvd. from Sand Lane to Greeley Ave.

         

        5. Water Taxi Beach, Governors Island and Manhattan

          Two Water Taxi Beaches are within reach of the city, with great views of the Manhattan skyline.

          A new boardwalk and game area are seen at the south Street Seaport beach.

          If you are headed to the beach for an evening concert, the ferry fare is usually included in the price of an event.

           

          New Yorkers can sign up for free programs or learn about other summer activities on BeFitNYC at www.nyc.gov/parks/befitnyc.