Erosion Affects Our Home

Deme Apostolou

When it was announced in late May that a popular section of Rockaway beach would be closed for this summer, New Yorkers were stunned and disappointed.  This popular stretch, which is about a half mile long, is from Beach 91st Street to 102nd Street. The closure of the strip for the summer is due to the fact that erosion has caused the beach to be too narrow to use.

Rockaway Beach comes to life every year between Memorial Day and Labor Day, seeing millions of visitors per season.  Only an easy subway or shuttle ride out from the city, this beach attracts many who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the big apple and just enjoy the ocean.  The beach is an expanse of white sand that is on the southern coast of Queens. While there you can see surfers and swimmers in the ocean waves, kids playing in the playgrounds and people eating in one of the many good restaurants nearby.  

The announcement of the closing of this strip came only five days before the beaches were set to open.  City officials say the reasoning behind the closure is because the beach has eroded so much that it is now unsafe for swimming since a lifeguard chair can’t be set up far back enough for there to be a full view of the water.  Also, problems arise with people accidentally harming the man-made sand dunes built there after Superstorm Sandy.

Mayor Bill DeBlasio says the announcement came so late because they were waiting to see if the Army Corps of ENgineers could do anything to fix the problem.  The corps has said that they would build jetties to stop erosion yet the project has been delayed due to it not being approved by their headquarters. In 2014, they poured in millions of cubic yards of sand (costing about $37 million), but without jetties, most of this sand has eroded away since then.  

The major problem, in this case, is evidently erosion.  As New Yorkers with beautiful lands, we should want to protect our home and the world. Although most coastal erosion is caused by waves and storms, we can help to save our beaches by getting educated, protecting our investments, using our resources wisely and pushing for change by political leaders.