2005-03-25 / Front Page

‘Surfing Only’ Beach Coming Next Month

Addabbo Seeks Comment On Changing Lifeguard Hours
By Brian Magoolaghan

Surfers rejoice! Local officials and the Department of Parks and Recreation are planning to designate a piece of the Rockaway shoreline next month as the city’s first “Surfing Only” beach, The Wave has learned.

And it gets better: The area the city selected – just west of the rock jetty on Beach 89 Street – tops the list of the sweetest surfing spots along the Rockaway peninsula.

Parks spokesperson Warner Johnston confirmed this week that an announcement would come in late April.

The move is a victory for members of the surfing community, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and City Councilman Joseph Addabbo Jr., who worked on the issue. Together they collaborated with and sometimes battled the city and Parks.

“It’s very exciting,” Pheffer told The Wave from Albany this week. “It’s good because we won’t have the surfers harassed and everyone will know that they have a place.”

Pheffer said the “Surfing Only” area would give surfers “a sense of pride.

“They fought hard for this. They wanted this,” said Pheffer.

Chance To Change Lifeguard Hours

The time has come for the beach-going public to voice an opinion on a possible shift in lifeguard hours, said Addabbo, who called on residents to send letters to his office.

The change, an attempt to accommodate 9-5 workers who traditionally arrive home too late for a safe swim, was suggested by Democratic District Leader Lew M. Simon at the end of last summer.

Lifeguard hours would shift by one hour, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., under the proposal, which could go into effect this summer if it garners enough support, Addabbo said. Weekend hours would not necessarily have to change, he said.

“I really need to show the lifeguard union and the Parks Department that a good portion of the residents would want the proposed [change],” Addabbo said. “Parks is not going to do something where they could get bit on the behind because only half the people wanted it.”

Parks confirmed that it has talked with the councilman “to outline the various potential pros and cons of changing the shift hours,” said Johnston. “As of this point, we have not made any commitment to changing the hours.”

Comments are due in Addabbo’s office, 92-03 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Rockaway Park, NY 11694, by April 29.

“I hope I get 1,000 [letters] because that would help,” he added.

Lifeguard Recruitment Update

Want to become a New York City lifeguard?

The Department of Parks and Recreation is holding free qualifying exams for interested candidates Monday through Friday, 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., at the 59 Street Recreation Center, located at 533 West 59 Street in Manhattan.

Candidates who pass the exam will participate in a free training course. Those who successfully complete training will be paid for their training time and are guaranteed a job.

Call 311 or visit www.nyc.gov/ parks for more information.

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