Life really is a beach in Rockaway, where a “nearly impeccable” shoreline vaulted it to the top of the city’s seaside spots in a new report obtained by the News.
New Yorkers for Parks gave the Queens peninsula an A-minus rating in its survey, but fabled Coney Island received just a C-plus.
The non-profit’s “Report Card on Beaches,” which will be released Wednesday, examined eight city-run beaches last summer.
Researchers found the Coney Island/Brighton Beach shoreline littered with broken glass, though free of trash. About a third of drinking fountains were beset by low water pressure and had algae, weeds or other “unsanitary substance.”
“I think the reason to do these report cards is so that we are better informed and the public is better informed,” said Tupper Thomas, executive director of New Yorkers for Parks. “We want the city to put more money into parks and into the right places.”
The report, usually issued every two years, was delayed a year to give the city time to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Manhattan Beach earned the second spot with a B-plus, followed by Cedar Grove with a B and South Beach with a B-minus. Midland Beach and Coney Island/Brighton Beach tied for fifth place at C-plus.
Orchard Beach, rated D, was found to be “challenged.”And Wolfe’s Pond Beach in Staten Island — at rock bottom with an F — was strewn with “excessive litter or large natural debris,” and in need of sand replenishment.
Parks Department officials disagreed with parts of the report, saying the group based its rating at the Wolf’s Pond “natural beach” instead of the swimming beach, which is marked by large red flags.
“We are pleased that New Yorkers for Parks’ survey noted many improvements at our beaches,” said agency spokesman Sam Biederman. “Because our beaches are New York City’s first line of defense against climate change, NYC Parks has made the creation of a strong, resilient waterfront a priority.”
Biederman also said repair crews regularly monitor bathrooms and water fountains in Coney Island and other beaches for needed repairs.
Vendors in Rockaway’s popular food concessions were happy to hear their beach ranked first in the city.
“It definitely makes you feel good,” said Justin Harter, owner of CITYSTICKS, which sells fruit pops and frozen treats at the Beach 97th St. concession.
Visitors and vendors in Coney Island were not discouraged by its middling grade.
“Everyone that comes here is happy to be out and is having a great time,” said Matteo Castelli, 41, manager at Tom’s Coney Island. “Hopefully (the researchers) come back and realize it’s nothing but growing. Every month, every year it just keeps getting better and better.”
The rain didn’t dampen 82-year-old Marion Kueber’s enthusiasm for Coney Island.
“This is the only beach that I know so it’s gotta be #1 for me,” she said. “My father used to say, ‘No, no, no more Rockaway. Coney Island is #1 for us.’”