Multimillion Dollar Rockaway Beach Lifeguard Shack Still Closed
A multimillion-dollar lifeguard shack installed after Hurricane Sandy on one of the peninsula’s most popular beaches remains shuttered — nearly two months into summer.
The pair of buildings — which were part of a controversial project after Hurricane Sandy that has cost the city more than $121 million so far — have been standing empty at beach 97th Street and the waterfront since Memorial Day, officials admitted.
“Though lifeguards are staffing the beach in this area, they haven’t yet moved into the 97th Street building,” Parks Department spokeswoman Meghan Lalor wrote in an email to DNAinfo New York.
“They will be in the building within the week.”
The shacks were designed for lifeguards to shower and stash their gear while working in the Beach 90s in Rockaway Beach. But while the lights inside remain on 24 hours a day, no one has worked out of it since the end of the 2014 beach season, a source said.
“It is one of the most densely populated areas. I don’t know logically why that wouldn’t be open,” the source said.
A Parks Department spokeswoman said the shacks were closed while the city completed the second phase of the boardwalk, which opened July 3. However, the lifeguard shack is on a portion of the boardwalk that has been open since Memorial Day.
She did not immediately respond to questions about why the shack was closed on a completed boardwalk section.
The buildings were two of 35 shacks opened at city beaches after the 2012 storm, and while the city praised the structures for their resiliency, DNAinfo reported on their condition — including railings held together with tape, leaking windows and rusty exteriors — just months after they opened.
Community members fought their installation and weren’t informed of the plan to put them in until after the contract was approved with the Parks Department and the Department of Design and Construction.
While some of the buildings opened as public restrooms for beach goers, the buildings at Beach 97th Street include lockers, showers and an office for lifeguards stationed at nearby beaches.
Those guards, sources said, are currently using other shacks at Beach 86th and Beach 106th streets instead.
“It doesn’t make sense to me on why…I don’t know the reason,” a source said.
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, who has been vocal in the past about the buildings, railed against the city for letting such a costly structure sit unused for most of the summer.
“I thought they were disgusting from the beginning, I thought they were deplorable when they were installed and I think it’s a disgrace that some of them are still not operating,” he said.