More than 16 million people flocked to city beaches this summer — the highest number in three years, amNewYork has learned.
A series of brutal heat waves may have helped boost numbers as people sought relief amid the city’s 14 miles of sand and surf. About 14.7 million people attended city beaches in 2017, a slight dip from the 15.9 million totals in 2016, according to statistics from the city’s Parks Department. Beach attendance figures are based on estimates by department supervisors.
Coney Island continued to top the list this year with more than 7.4 million visitors, up from 6.6 million. Beaches in Rockaway drew more than 5.5 million visitors, even with a popular stretch closed due to beach erosion. Parks reopened a portion of the closed beach after a public outcry.
In addition to the hordes of beach bums, city efforts to draw more people to its revamped medium-sized pools in underserved areas appears to have paid off as well, especially in Staten Island and Brooklyn. The “Cool Pools” campaign brought new programming and renovations to five Parks Department-run pools that had not received a major face-lift in roughly 40 years.
Officials said attendance at the West Brighton Pool in Staten Island jumped 73.3 percent to 15,896. The Douglass & DeGraw Pool in Brooklyn lured in 37,161 people, up 54.1 percent. The Fisher Pool in Queens and Sheltering Arms Pool in Harlem saw attendance grow by 20.6 and 14.7 percent, respectively. The Mapes Pool in the Bronx hosted 30,241 visitors, up 4 percent over 2017.
New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said the “Cool Pools” pilot was a “resounding success” and said it might expand to more sites next summer.
“By adding new aesthetics and activities on the pool deck, and making the facilities brighter and more welcoming, we provided a resort-style experience for free,” Silver said in a statement to amNewYork. “We even attracted a new crowd of New Yorkers to check out our pools for the very first time.”
Overall attendance at the city’s public pools was 1.7 million, according to the agency.