Beaches Open as Storm Cleanup Continues

The New York City Parks Department has some good news for beach-goers. Commissioner Adrian Benepe said all city beaches will be open on Friday, just in time for the Labor Day weekend.

But some sections of those beaches, particularly in the Rockaways and on Staten Island, will remain closed due to damage.

Benepe urged residents to swim only where lifeguards are present.

The Parks Department said its received about 9,000 calls in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene, and was working to clear out downed trees as quickly as possible. Benepe asked for patience as those efforts continue into the weekend.

"Our priority is to open up the streets, starting with the primary streets, and then going to the secondary and tertiary streets, then to get trees off houses and off cars, and then to remove debris," he said. "So there may be piles of debris on sidewalks and in streets, for quite a few days to come as we continue to open up the streets and remove trees from houses and cars.

Benepe also urged residents to be careful as cleanup continues.

"Do not try to remove a tree from your house yourself," he said. "Leave it up to the professionals, we will get to it, but trees weigh many tons, and they can suddenly shift if you try to cut them, and could pin you under them and cause serious injuries or worse."

The Parks Department said it's already picked up about 1,200 trees, and completed about 80% of its post-storm inspections.