Hurricane Sandy at Jamaica Bay Unit -- Six Months Later


The West Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, a manmade freshwater pond popular for its circular trail, remains breached after the storm.


Unit programs

The campgrounds at Floyd Bennett Field have been reconstituted and camping is open for the season. Sailing, kayaking, and other recreational/interpretive programs have been planned and are being coordinated in conjunction with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

Plumb Beach

Plumb Beach will remain closed through the season due to the Army Corps of Engineers construction work (construction of two rock groins to trap sand, and a wave attenuator to prevent wave action from quickly re-distributing deposits.

Bergen Beach

The Jamaica Bay Riding Academy is open and hosting clients and horses.

Canarsie Pier

Opened to the public on May 20.

Frank Charles Park

Frank Charles Park was one of the first sites to open after the storm, and facilities there are in fair working order. Additional work is scheduled to repair the children's spray park as well as the lights.

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge was one of the earlier sites to open after the storm. However, the West Pond remains breached, and the NPS is still in the planning stage to find a proper solution to the problem. This may include careful replacement of the dike, and probably draining the salt water in the pond to restore it to a fresh water pond that can support the bird population. We will be consulting with scientists through the Environmental Assessment process.


The storm forced open the doors and windows of the Jacob Riis Bathhouse with such power that the surge knocked down a six-foot tall brick wall behind the bathhouse.


Jacob Riis Park

The Jacob Riis Park Bathhouse - built in 1932 - saw significant damage from Hurricane Sandy. The Bathhouse has been determined to be structurally sound and the park will be able to utilize the second floor for normal park lifeguard operations. Riis Park and the beaches are scheduled to open on Memorial Day weekend. The one impediment to visitation is the condition of the parking lot, a lot that was used by New York City as a temporary transfer station for all the debris that was removed from the neighborhoods surrounding the park. The City promises to remove the remaining debris by May 1, but extensive repairs will be needed. At least one quadrant of the parking lot will be open for use.

Fort Tilden

The Fort Tilden beach area remains closed at this time due to the overall deteriorated conditions left by the storm. An underwater survey has been funded to assess any threats which might be underwater at this site and at Riis Park. All dunes were lost at Fort Tilden and the storm exposed an old seawall with metal rebar and jagged debris in the sand.

Floyd Bennett Field

Floyd Bennett Field, the former New York City municipal airport that opened in 1932, served as a staging area for recovery efforts on the Rockaway Peninsula and Breezy Point. There were more than 1,000 relief workers collectively from FEMA, the National Guard, the US Marine Corps, and others. Most of these activities have ceased and the park reopened one of its campgrounds on March 1 and the second one on April 1.

Check other park webpages for background on Hurricane Sandy hitting Gateway and for six month updates of the Staten Island and Sandy Hook Units.

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