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Sandaway Beach

Last week, Katie McFadden wrote about the sand erosion I was itching to write about right after the project was finished, all because I saw a glaring fault to the whole project. I hesitated, but not now.

While it is absolutely stupendous to see the sand stretch so far and wide, knowing that we residents, and also the millions of visitors this year, can enjoy the stretch of beach that is most often the busiest of the entire peninsula, the problem I see is that I doubt it will last to the end of the beach season, let alone ‘til October.

Here’s the reason, looking at the picture, they failed to fill in the precise area where all the erosion starts, the escarpment right at the main jetty. Instead of filling sand halfway out to the tip of the jetty, like they have all other replenishment jobs by the ACOE in the decades past, ‘someone’ said, “nah, leave it as it is.” This was a humungous mistake!

All they’ve done now—the Parks Dept. that is, because they were the ones who made this catastrophic decision—is completely exaggerate every inch of erosion to a scale of 1000 times compared to if they had filled halfway out of the main jetty. Here’s why. With the littoral current, or longshore current heading east to west, the water movement flows in around the jetty and with wave action forcing the water deeper over the beach in that area, obviously pulling sand away. Now the ocean via high tides and wave action has every opportunity to just keep gouging more and more beach away. If you remember in the past sand replenishment, we never had massive sand drop offs like today, because the sand gradually tapered off into the ocean due to the evenness of the sand fill. If they had filled sand halfway out of the jetty to keep it uniform with the rest of the beach filled in, this would take over more than a year to create the escarpment not even remotely near to where it currently is that was left alone.

After the project was finished and they’re starting to pack up the pipes, I went to one of the project leads (who wants to be anonymous) and I asked, “WTH!!! Why on earth did you guys not fill sand further out at the jetty? In fact, you’ve done no filling in at all!” The response was, “They (Parks Dept.) got an extra $3 million of sand and they told us where to put, and that area wasn’t included. We just put the sand where they told us to.”

Well done NYC Parks Dept.! Another feather in your cap of blatantly proving you have no concept of how to run and protect ocean-facing beaches. Stay to trimming trees, mowing grass, and leave the ocean and its environment to subject matter experts who won’t throw money (and sand) away like you’re doing.

All images by @sergiocostaphotography


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