Spectators Shooed From ‘Surfing Only’ Beach
Parks Enforcement Patrol officers caused a stir on the “Surfing Only” beach over Memorial Day weekend when they shooed groups of spectators from their spots on the sand, The Wave has learned.
The bummed out surf-watchers contacted City Councilman Joseph Addabbo Jr.’s office almost immediately to find out if “Surfing Only” means “Surf or Go Home.” Addabbo, who was surprised and concerned by the reports, contacted The Wave to see if similar complaints had been voiced to the paper.
“You can’t deprive people who are not blessed with the ability to surf,” he said initially.
Subsequent, independent inquiries by Addabbo and The Wave on Tuesday prompted the Department of Parks and Recreation to address the issue.
“Our policy is that spectators are absolutely allowed,” said Parks spokesperson Gina Masullo after a call to Parks’ Queens Borough Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. Masullo reiterated that bathing is strictly prohibited because bathers and surfers make a potentially unsafe mix.
Lewandowski, Addabbo said, contacted Parks Enforcement Patrol herself to make sure spectators are left alone.
“She said people will be able to go on the beach and watch people surf,” Addabbo told The Wave. “She was as concerned as I was.”
Addabbo said his office is looking to stay “ahead of the curve” on beach issues this season. “We encourage people who have a problem on the beach to call us,” he said.
Despite the inconvenience to the handful of spectators, Addabbo thought the weekend was an overall success.
“The weekend was great considering the [favorable] weather and the crowds,” said Addabbo.
Rockaway’s “Surfing Only” beach is located between Beach 87 and Beach 91 Streets. It was designated by Parks and local officials at an April ceremony.