Submitted by ub on Fri, 05/27/2011 - 20:37

The NYC Department of Parks & Recreation says that beaches will open to the public on Saturday, May 28, with lifeguards on duty daily, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Swimming is prohibited at all other times. Beaches will remain open through Labor Day weekend.

Meanwhile, Orchard Beach is celebrating its 75th anniversary as the Riviera of the Bronx. In 1936, Parks Commissioner Robert Moses transformed a small beach colony on Rodman’s Neck to a 1.1-mile-long crescent of fine white sand. This past winter, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District, completed work on the $13 million Orchard Beach Shoreline Protection Project. The Corps placed approximately 268,000 cubic yards of sand on the beach to further protect it against tides, winds, waves and storms.

Swimmers are reminded to observe the following beach safety tips.

§ Swim when lifeguards are present, who are there for your protection. Follow their directions and all rules.

§ Drowning often involves single swimmers. A friend can signal for help if a problem develops.

§ Swim sober: Alcohol impairs swimming ability and is a major factor in drowning.

§ Supervise children: Watch children closely even when lifeguards are present.

§ Never chew gum or eat while swimming.

While enjoying yourself at the beach this summer, all New Yorkers are also reminded to dispose of their litter in the many trash receptacles that are provided. Each summer day, Parks picks up about 1,300 cubic yards of litter dropped on the ground or left behind at our beaches, ballfields and picnic areas. New Yorkers are encouraged to “bag it at the beach” by disposing of their litter and helping to keep NYC lean, green and clean.

For the first time this year, City beaches are smoke-free! The amended Smoke-Free Air Act bans smoking at City parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas with the goal of eliminating smoke and cigarette litter. This week, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is launching an educational campaign on television, in the subway and in print media, to inform New Yorkers that the ban is now in effect. The campaign highlights how the City’s many parks and beaches are being made healthier and cleaner through the absence of secondhand smoke and cigarette butts.