We May Be Facing Another Fort Tilden-Less Summer


What a lovely, balmy winter day this is we’re having. Not a cloud in the sky, temperature hovering right about 40 degrees. It’s enough to start making you look forward to summer, when your movements aren’t dictated by the need to spend as much time as possible indoors, and you can spend your weekends drinking white wine on the sand and communing with the ocean and an infinite sense of possibility. You’ll be able to do all that soon enough, but it remains  to be seen whether or not you’ll be able to do it at Fort Tilden. As Gothamist reports, after spending the season closed last summer, it’s still unclear whether or not the beloved stretch of beach will be open for the 2014 season.

Like all New York beaches Fort Tilden took a brutal battering during Sandy, but unlike most of the Rockaways, Tilden is the responsibility of the National Parks Service instead of the NYC Parks Department, and was also considered a lower cleanup priority in favor of the city’s lifeguarded beaches. A Gateway National Recreation Area spokesperson explained, “We hope [it will be open], but it’s not ready yet and there’s still a lot of work to do. The hazardous debris in the sand (metal and broken slabs of concrete from Shore Road) is still in the sand. We had a lot of people volunteer to help last spring and they were able to clean up all the things that they could. What remains are the bigger things: pieces of metal, broken pieces of concrete from the road.”

The process of awarding a contract for the site’s cleanup has also been slow enough to maybe raise a few eyebrows, but regardless, the spokesperson assured Gothamist that Tilden’s restoration is “a priority.” Frustrating, undeniably, but if we’re looking on a bright side, an opportunity to appreciate the relative efficiency of New York’s own parks department in this whole thing. In spite of the wreckage they did manage to save us from the worst fate that could have been: a summer without the beach.

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.

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