Swimmers flock to Coney Island beach for first day with lifeguards

Coney Island beach was open and busy on July 1.
Photo by Todd Maisel

The first day of swimming started with a fast-moving thunderstorm but soon morphed into a warm, sunny day for bathers under the watchful eye of New York City lifeguards.

Lifeguards took the stand for the first time on July 1 after COVID-19-related restrictions delayed the beaches’s opening. And despite the turbulent weather, the Coney Island shoreline drew a steady crowd, and many people swam.

“It was just a little rain – we’re used to that and now look at it, a beautiful day,” said one lifeguard sitting on his stand.

Pricilla and Rachel Lopez of Sunset Park enjoy the water in Coney Island.Photo by Todd Maisel

One beach-goer traveled from the Bronx to swim in the cool waters — and was happy to see the lifeguards on duty.

“I love it,” Mia Valle shouted as she waded in the waves. “I’m so happy that it’s open, this is my favorite place to be. I did go to Orchard Beach the other day – but I have to be in Coney Island.”

A Bay Ridge local, who lounged on the beach and swam with his family, lauded Coney Island as one of the city’s best beach spots. 

“There is nothing like being in Coney Island for a good swim and the lifeguards are here to keep everyone safe,” said Michael Manos. “We didn’t know if the weather would clear, but then, here we are. This is great.”

A lifeguard was happy to be back at the beach and on duty.Photo by Todd Maisel

The beaches will be open through Labor Day and city pools are expected to open at the beginning of August if the number COVID-19 cases remain low. Officials still advise people to wear masks at the beach, though few were taking that advice.

“How can you wear a mask at the beach,” said Joseph Curio of Canarsie. “It’s just too hot and then, the mask gets wet and full of sand. We just try to give people room, you know, social distance.”

This article first appeared on AMNY.com.

Lifeguards at the Coney Island beach watch swimmers on July 1.