Rockaway’s popular beaches will reopen after being closed due to erosion

The city is planning to reopen a popular portion of Rockaway Beach that had been shuttered last month due to erosion concerns.

The Parks Department said it will reopen Beach 96th to Beach 98th street to swimming starting on June 30 on a trial basis.

Officials said the decision was made after discussions with lifeguards.

“They have to be comfortable that they can keep people safe,” said Parks Department spokeswoman Crystal Howard. “Everyone believes this is feasible.”

Beach lovers, local residents and business owners were furious when the city announced before Memorial Day that it had deemed Beach 91 to Beach 102 unsafe.

Several rallies protested the closures, saying Rockaway needs more permanent fixtures, such as jetties, to battle ongoing erosion and to protect homes on the peninsula.

The stretch is one of the busiest sections of the beach due to its proximity to food concessions and free parking.

Parks Department officials said they are trying to be responsive to the public.

“We know how much New Yorkers love the Rockaways, and found a way to make more of the beach available for summer fun,” said Howard.

The city is also giving businesses at the 97th Street concession a 50 percent rent break for the summer and agreed to allow them to start live music earlier at 1 p.m.

In addition, a temporary skate ramp, misting/cooling stations and children’s sand play area is being added to the areas around the concession.

City Councilman Barry Grodenchik, who chairs the Parks Committee, is holding a hearing on Monday on beach closings and erosion issues. Parks Department officials are scheduled to testify.

“I’m delighted they found a way to ameliorate some of the concerns of the community,” said Grodenchik. “I look forward to getting more information.”