Despite the heat and humidity, some of New York City's most popular beaches are closed today, because of concerns about rip tides from Hurricane Bill. Even though Bill is hundreds of miles away, he's churning up high waves and dangerous rip currents along the city's Atlantic Ocean beaches. The city has closed Coney Island Beach and Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn; South Beach, Midland Beach and Wolfe's Pond Beach in Staten Island and Rockaway Beach in Queens, where six people have drowned already this season. Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe says he realizes the decision to close the beaches won't go over well on such a hot day:
BENEPE: Now we don't like to close beaches. We can't recall last time had to close all these beaches, but we believe conditions could be dangerous and want to air on side of caution in this case.
That, courtesy of New York One. Benepe says police officers will arrest anyone going into the surf. City officials are urging New Yorkers to use the city's pools, and its 300 cooling centers, to beat the heat instead.
In addition, the city's buildings department is warning property owners, builders and contractors to secure materials, scaffolding and debris at construction sites against potentially high winds.