Beachgoers To Be Greeted By Completely Overhauled Jones Beach Amenities


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Memorial Day weekend kicks off the unofficial start to the summer, and many businesses are looking forward to a great season.

Mayor Bill de Blasio was in the Rockaways on Friday afternoon to announce the official opening of New York City beaches, where lifeguards will be on duty starting 10 a.m. Saturday.

At least 10 million visitors are expected in Coney Island this summer.

“This is it, this is the center of the universe — Coney Island. This is nirvana,” said Tom McGann, who was getting ready to take a dip in the ocean Friday morning. “If we have good weather, you’ll see this place crowded every single day of the summer.”

Nathan’s, Tom’s of Coney Island and Brooklyn Beach Shop are some of the businesses gearing up for what they hope will be the best seasons in years.

Business owners have the same hopes at the Jersey shore.

“This is it, summertime, I’ve been waiting for this for months, thank God,” said Danny, who owns the Shore Store on the Seaside Heights boardwalk. “This is it for me to pay my bills and pay my rent.”

“Memorial Day is like Christmas for us,” said Romeo Santoro, who runs 3 Brothers From Italy Pizza on the Seaside Heights boardwalk. “If we lose this week, it’s big for us. Thank God right now the weather is looking OK.”

Angie Lombardi, who helps run clothing store Le Petit Garage near the Seaside Heights boardwalk, is hoping for a 20 percent boost in business from last year.

“The weather is supposed to be really great, so we anticipate the town being very full,” Lombardi said. “We anticipate the biggest. We stock up for the biggest.”

Beach goers can also start voting for their favorite top 10 New Jersey shore beaches.

The deadline has been extended to June 19. For more information, visit http://njseagrant.org/

CBS2’s Christine Sloan was in Seaside Heights on Friday, where few didn’t mind the cold ocean temperatures.

“We’re coming Sunday and Monday and we’re coming the whole weekend. Even if we can’t sleep here we’d sleep in the ocean if we could,” said Kailey Pascale of Basking Ridge, New Jersey.

“It’s just the right breeze … The water is lovely,” added Serena Socha of East Hanover.

In Belmar, a new boardwalk built after Superstorm Sandy and new features like water bottle filling and cellphone charging stations greeted the public.

“A lot of people come to the beach, take selfies and their battery runs low need to charge it,” Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty said.

The upgrades and life guards come at a price — a dollar increase in beach tags.

“The fairest way to pay for the expenses on the beach is to charge the people who use the beach,” Doherty said.

Residents in the Hamptons are gearing up for the crowds and traffic, while shopkeepers get ready for big business.

“We’ve been working up to this the last few weeks and it has gotten busier and busier and this weekend is the real kickoff,” said Susan Reynolds who runs a kids clothing store in Southampton. “We’ve got everything stocked. We are ready.”

“I welcome it and it puts an amazing amount of energy,” resident John Bennett said.

“Everybody loves the Hamptons because the beaches are the best in the world,” Reynolds said.

The historic Bethpage Air Show will take place this weekend at Jones Beach, where the sand was already packed with people Friday.

Three million visitors will travel to the iconic beach between Memorial and Labor days, making it among the top tourist attractions of the entire East Coast.

A $65 million overhaul from the state is underway at Jones Beach. According to CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan, visitors can look forward to a central mall a facelift, a rebuilt west bathhouse and swimming pool, replanted gardens, restored fountains, new food venues, adventure play areas, and automated fee booths that accept E-ZPass.

“It’s going to be a soup-to-nuts changeover for Jones Beach,” said NYS Parks Regional Director Wayne Horsley. “We are bringing a 20th century park into the 21st century, and everyone will still say this is Jones Beach, the place I’ve always loved.”

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