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:Waterfront:Recreation:Brooklyn Beaches



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Not for nothing, but if you're a Brooklynite, you live in a city built on and around islands. And those islands have no shortage of excellent, nearby beaches, perfect for the Kings County resident with a yen for surf and sand. Below, you'll find information on the easiest beaches to get to for Brooklynites: the Mother Borough's own beaches; as well as equally popular beaches in Staten Island, Queens, and Nassau County. Remember that open hours are subject to change due to the vagaries of weather and availability of lifeguards, so call or browse before you go.

Coney Island, Brooklyn (Surf Avenue, on the Coney Island peninsula)

The granddaddy of New York beaches, Coney Island is also the starting point for four major subway lines, so it's easy to get to for most Brooklynites. It's also wide, stretching almost two miles from east to west. The mythical glory days are well past, so expect a somewhat depressed surrounding residential/commercial area, and occasional beach litter (cigarette butts, etc.). However, even for that you'll be hard-pressed to find a place in the sand on a high-summer weekend. This is the one beach where it seems all of Brooklyn wants to be, so be prepared to jostle for space. The vista from the Rockaway peninsula to Sandy Hook, New Jersey (on a good day) is stunning. You're not a real Brooklynite until you've experienced this place, in the summer, for yourself.

The attractions here don't just include the beach. The Boardwalk has been substantially restored and is in great shape. The landmarked Cyclone roller coaster still rumbles at Astroland amusement park. The equally landmarked, equally terrifying 150-tall Wonderwheel still towers over Deno's Wonderwheel Park. The original Nathan's Famous continues to pack them in at the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues. And the New York Aquarium, though pricey, sprawls adjacent to the shore from Coney Island to Brighton Beach. Plus, in 2001, Coney Island welcomes the Mother Borough's first pro baseball team since the Eisenhower years, the Class-A Minor League Brooklyn Cyclones.

Summer 2002 Hours/Fees: Memorial Day to Labor Day, 10 a.m.-6 p.m./Free.

Subway: B, D, F, N to Stillwell Av-Coney Island; D, F to West 8 St. [Danger, Will Robinson!: Rehab work on Coney Island's Stillwell Avenue subway terminal and on the Manhattan Bridge will have major impacts this year on all of these subway lines. Routes and even letters will temporarily change, so be sure to browse NYC Transit's Service Diversion Page for up-to-date information before you drag your cooler and sun chair through the nearest turnstile]

Parking: various commercial lots on W12th, W15th, and W17th Streets between Mermaid Avenue and the Boardwalk.

For More Information: NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, (718) 946-1350. You can also browse the semiofficial Coney Island Tourist Page, and the NYCSearch profile. As a side note, those interested in the preservation of the historical treasures of the Coney Island Boardwalk area may want to visit Friends of the Boardwalk.


Brighton Beach, Brooklyn (Bright-water Avenue, on the Coney Island peninsula)

This is an eastern continuation of the beach and boardwalk that begin at Coney Island, so expect to find crowds here, too. Brighton Beach's half-mile of sand abuts the burgeoning Russian Jewish neighborhood of the same name, so also expect interesting ethnic eateries worth a trip to explore in their own right, and a distinct local color from Coney Island.

Summer 2002 Hours/Fees: Memorial Day to Labor Day, 10 a.m.-6 p.m./Free.

Subway: D/Q to Brighton Beach. [See important note under Coney Island]

For More Information: NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, (718) 946-1350. You can also browse the NYCSearch profile.


Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn (Oriental Boulevard, on the eastern end of the Coney Island peninsula)

The third of the Coney Island area's beaches, Manhattan Beach is the smallest and least centrally located. It's a 5-minute bus ride east from Brighton Beach, and is not as commercial in character as its beach neighbors to the west. However, because it's so tiny, it still manages to be crowded.

Summer 2002 Hours/Fees: Memorial Day to Labor Day, 10 a.m.-6 p.m./Free.

Subway/Bus /Q to Brighton Beach, connecting to B1 bus eastbound to Oriental Blvd. [See important note under Coney Island]

For More Information: NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, (718) 946-1373. You can also browse the NYCSearch profile.


South Beach/Midland Beach, Staten Island (Father Capodanno Boulevard, immediately south of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge)

Great views of Brooklyn and the Verrazano, a two-and-a-half mile boardwalk, and smaller crowds are the main attractions here. If you've got a car, on a high-summer weekend South Beach might easily be a better bet then Coney Island. Midland is just south of South Beach, and sports more traditionally colored sand (South Beach sand is reddish due to natural soil conditions).

Summer 2002 Hours/Fees: Memorial Day to Labor Day, 10 a.m.-6 p.m./Free.

Subway/Bus: B53 or B79 from 86 St R station, connecting to S53 at School Rd/Lily Pond Av to Father Capodanno Blvd.

Car: from the Verrazano, south on School Rd/Lily Pond Av to Father Capodanno Blvd.

For More Information: NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, (718) 816-6804 or 987-0709. You can also browse the NYCSearch profile.


Rockaway Beach, Queens (Rockaway peninsula)

Bigger than Coney Island, Rockaway Beach is actually similar in size to Long Island's Jones Beach, stretching for more than six miles. The subway can deposit you along most of the length of the beach, but the area's nicer around Rockaway Park (to the west) than Far Rockaway (to the east). Just don't expect Playland, the famed amusement park was razed for an apartment development in the 1980s.

Summer 2002 Hours/Fees: Memorial Day to Labor Day, 10 a.m.-6 p.m./Free.

Subway: A, connecting to Rockaway Park shuttle at Broad Channel, to Beach 90 St, Beach 98 St, Beach 105 St, or Beach 116 St.

For More Information: NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, (718) 318-4000. You can also browse the NYCSearch profile.


Jones Beach State Park, Nassau County (Jones Beach peninsula on the south shore of Nassau County)

By far the most popular of the Long Island beaches, Jones Beach State Park comprises more than six miles of ocean beachfront and a half-mile of stillwater beach on East Bay. Generally cleaner and roomier than the NYC beaches, the park is also home to a popular annual series of outdoor rock concerts. However, the downside is the hour-long drive from Brooklyn and the weekend traffic jams that the park generates on south shore highways. (See below for LIRR rail/beach packages).

Summer 2002 Hours/Fees: weekdays 8 a.m.-dusk ($7 parking fee charged until 4 p.m.); weekends 6 a.m.-dusk ($7 parking fee charged until 6 p.m.); beginning June 23 attractions and grounds open to midnight all week.

Long Island Rail Road: Babylon Branch to Freeport. Shuttle bus and taxis available at Freeport station. Browse the LIRR Summer Beach Getaways page for all-inclusive transportation and beach-admission packages. If you're not lugging a lot, these LIRR packages are a better bet on crowded beach days.

Car: Belt Parkway to Southern State Parkway to Meadowbrook Parkway South to Wantagh Parkway South.

For More Information: Call (516) 785-1600. Surprisingly, no official website, but you can browse a summary of the state park at LIGlobal.com. Concert info can be found at JonesBeach.com (note- this is not a homepage for the park, itself).


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Last updated Tuesday, 16-Apr-2002 17:11:35 EDT .