Two new beaches are slated to open in the city — one on the Hudson River that will be ready for sunbathers this summer, and another on the East River that will open in the coming years.
The Hudson River Park Trust plans to open a beach just north of West 12th Street in Manhattan.
Hudson River Park Trust president Noreen Doyle said the nonprofit organization has been planning its new 14,000-square-foot stretch of sand, on a 5-acre public park on the Gansevoort Peninsula, for three years.
“I feel so lucky to be able to work on a project that, I hope, forever improves New York City,” Doyle said.
The beach will include a kayak launch and a place to lounge to view the river. Most notably, it will be Manhattan's first beach.
“In this case, there will be the opportunity for people to get their feet in the sand, as well as feet by the water,” Doyle said.
That's by the water, not in the water. Beachgoers won't be able to take a dip in the Hudson River.
“Many days, the water is actually very clean, but on the days when it is not clean, and you can't tell by just looking at it, they could indeed get sick,” Doyle said.
The Department of Environmental Protection says New York Harbor is the cleanest it’s been in the last 100 years, due to continued improvements to wastewater handling and treatment. But water quality can vary, especially after a heavy rain, which can flush out sewage into the river.
Across Manhattan and the East River, though, there's a plan to build another beach on the Williamsburg, Brooklyn shoreline. Beachgoers would be able to wade into the water.
“A couple days ago, there were dolphins swimming behind me in the East River. The trajectory of water quality over time is a very sharp improvement,” Two Trees Management director Dave Lombino said.
Two Trees is the company behind the redevelopment of the Domino Sugar Factory next door, where several residential towers and office buildings are going up.
Lombino said ultimately, he wants full-fledged swimming.
As for the beach projected to open by 2028, only wading will be allowed, Lombino said, because regulations have stalled plans for swimming.
“The goal is to attract folks to the water’s edge, to let them interact with the East River in a way that they never have,” Lombino said.
To allow swimming, the developer will have to get clearance from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
"New Yorkers should enjoy the spectacular view over the water at the new non-swimming beaches at Domino Park and Gansevoort Peninsula, but when it comes time to go in the water, enjoy one of the city’s beaches that are safe for swimming," a department spokesperson said.
For now, these are the only beaches in development.