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Press Release

Press Release # 035-08
Friday, May 23, 2008

MEDIA CONTACT: (212) 788-5290
Jessica Scaperotti:;
Sara Markt:
Celina De Leon:


Health Department Announces City’s Beaches Are Safe for Swimming

NEW YORK CITY May 23, 2008 – In time for the holiday weekend, the Health Department announced today that all of the city’s 20 public and permitted private beaches will be open for the season beginning Saturday, May 24th at 10 A.M. Public beaches open for swimming include:

Bronx: Orchard Beach

Brooklyn: Brighton Beach, Coney Island, Manhattan Beach

Queens: Rockaway Beach

Staten Island: Midland Beach, South Beach, Wolfe's Pond Park

“New York City beaches are open and safe for swimming, which is a great way to have fun and get exercise,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, New York City Health Commissioner. “New Yorkers should be sure to enjoy the water only when lifeguards are on duty. And please avoid diving in places where it is not specifically permitted.”

When water near the beaches becomes contaminated, it can pose health risks – especially to infants, toddlers, people over 65, and those with underlying medical conditions. The Health Department regularly tests the city’s beach water and inspects beaches to ensure compliance with local, state and federal safety standards. Beach advisories, closures and water quality test results will be posted at and updated regularly throughout the summer. You can also get this information by calling 311.

Health Department Beach Advisory System (see below for full descriptions)
OPEN Swimming and bathing permitted
WET WEATHER ADVISORY Advisory – Wet-weather conditions, swimming and bathing not recommended
ADVISORY Advisory – Swimming and bathing not recommended
CLOSED Closed. Swimming and bathing temporarily not permitted.

Wet Weather Advisory

A Wet Weather Advisory may be issued following a period of heavy rainfall, which could lead to sewer overflows and storm runoff from streets and other properties. This in turn may lead to elevated levels of bacteria in some beach waters, which may pose a public health risk. Ingesting water with bacteria can lead to stomach illness. Infants and toddlers, people over 65, and people with underlying medical conditions are more likely to have severe illness that could occur if contaminated beach water is swallowed. The Health Department does not recommend swimming and bathing in any area affected by a Wet Weather Advisory.

Only certain beaches are affected by a Wet Weather Advisory. For a complete list, visit


An Advisory is issued to advise the public against swimming and bathing when preliminary water quality assessment indicates that bacteria levels or other conditions may pose a risk of illness. The Health Department does not recommend swimming or bathing in areas affected by an Advisory.


Beaches will be closed if weather or environmental conditions warrant, and if there is a significant threat to public health. City beaches may be classified as closed when one or a combination of any of the following conditions exists:

  • Water tests confirm that enterococci bacteria (microbes that indicate fecal pollution) exceed standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Test results indicate a significant incidence of illness or injury among beach patrons.
  • There are potentially hazardous amounts of floating debris, medical or infectious waste, toxic contaminants, petroleum products or other contamination on the beach, or there is evidence of sewage and wastewater discharge in quantities that adversely affect water quality.
  • Any other environmental factors exist that the Health Department determines to be a public health or safety hazard.

For information on becoming a Lifeguard, go to the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation webpage at