Beaches, Parks and Zombies: How to Spend the Weekend

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Memorial Day weekend marks the start of summer, and with that all public beaches in New York City are officially open. 

City beaches 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.  All city beaches are free to the public.

NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe is expecting record-setting attendance at the beaches this summer — weather permitting.

“This summer, as always, we remind beach-goers to observe all beach rules and regulations, and most important, to observe common sense for yourself and your children and swim only where and when a lifeguard is on duty.” Benepe said. “Have fun at the beach!”"

Lifeguards will be on duty from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Highlights of the city's beach scene this summer include:

  • South/Midland Beach, Staten Island: The Parks Department will be building a $12 million entry plaza to Midland Beach, with construction expected to begin next summer. The Cedar Grove Beach, which debuted last year, will again be open. Last year attendance at the former private beach colony reached 20,000 visitors.
  • Orchard Beach, Bronx: The Bronx's only public beach, the 1.1 mile-long Orchard Beach was conceived as the “Riviera of New York.” The promenade will add a new food vendor, with Havana Café moving in to set up snack bars and mobile food carts.
  • Coney Island, Brooklyn: The 3 miles of beach at Coney Island will open this weekend, with new developments this year from last year's Coney Island Revitalization Plan. Groundbreaking has begun on the new Steeplechase Plaza, which will house Coney Island’s last remaining historic carousel.

And if the beach isn’t your scene, the Coney Island boardwalk amusement park, The Scream Zone, is open with new rides, such as a skycoaster and a new go-kart track.

It's not just the city’s beaches that fill up during this time, but its parks, too, with sports games, picnics and people just lying out grabbing some rays and reading a book.  Benepe expects all the parks to be busy this weekend with “a lot of cookouts and things like that.” There will also be many non-beach related activities this weekend.

  • Central Park: The Central Park Conservancy will be offering its Memorial Walk Tour in Central Park. It’s only offered on Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day and shows off the varying ways that different generations of city residents have used the park to honor veterans. Call 212-794-4064 for information and directions.
  • Governor’s Island: The island sits in New York Harbor between Manhattan and Brooklyn and opens this weekend for the summer season. The Governor’s Island Alliance will host a Family Festival on Saturday that features story telling, arts, crafts and performances.  If it’s more adult fare you’re looking for, the 5 Boro PicNYC will be taking place Saturday and Sunday on Governor’s Island. There will be craft beers and food. Tickets cost $25.
  • Hudson River: If you’re looking for something a bit more active there’s always kayaking. Downtown Boathouse offers 20 minute instructional paddles 10 a.m. to 5 p.m on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s free, but you need to know how to swim ― and not fear a little dunk in the Hudson River. The meeting place is Accessible Kayaking on the Hudson Meeting Point (in Riverside Park) in Manhattan.
  • NYC Zombie Crawl: If you see some zombies this weekend, don’t fear. It's not the Zombie apocalypse — it’s the 6th annual NYC Zombie Crawl. Starting in Brooklyn, at Trash Bar, fans can come already dressed as zombies or get made up there, before zombie-walking through the streets of Williamsburg. There will be contests, raffles, giveaways and an after-party at Public Assembly. Prices vary.