Adult beach irks officials

State Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder (l.) listens to concerned residents who want a fence separating an adult beach rebuilt. Photo courtesy Phillip Goldfeder
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Rockaway residents want to cover up cheeky sunbathers.

Some beachgoers and elected officials are flush with anger that the city has yet to rebuild a fence separating a family-friendly beach in Neponsit and the more adult-oriented nude beach at Bay 2 in Jacob Riis Park.

Hurricane Irene destroyed the fence, which was erected nearly100 years ago, last year – exposing beachgoers with nothing to hide to the general public.

In an effort to spur the city into action, elected officials and concerned residents rallied in Rockaway July 1, calling for the fence to be replaced.

“For decades, families have felt secure in bringing their children to Rockaway Beach without having to worry about the potential of exposing them to the adult behaviors of the adjacent beach at Riis Park,” state Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park) said. “The fence has served as an effective barrier, allowing all types of beachgoers to enjoy our beautiful beaches.”

Goldfeder also said the city Parks Department and the National Park Service, which run the beaches, owe it to the families of Rockaway to replace the fence.

Neither Parks nor the National Park Service returned requests for comment.

City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) and state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) were also on hand at the rally to say children at the beach should be protected from adult behavior in a public place.

“Public beaches are for everyone, but displays of nudity and lewd behavior by some salty adult non-residents are not for everyone, especially not in front of our children,” said Addabbo. “Put a good fence back up like the one that has stood for almost 100 years. Then both sides win and become good neighbors.”

But bare-skinned beachgoers believe those who want the fence rebuilt are unfairly characterizing them as “degenerates.”

“There is nothing vulgar about this at all,” said Michael Giannopoulos, 42, who wore a barely-there speedo in lieu of total nudity. “We are not degenerates. No one is having sex in public.”

While he believes there is nothing wrong with nudity at the beach, Giannopoulos said he would not care if the fence was put back in place.

Topless sunbather Andrea Marcos, 25, agreed and said fence or no fence, she will be on the beach to soak in the rays.

“I don’t care if the fence is up or not,” said Marcos, adding that she has never seen lewd behavior at the beach. “I’m comfortable being topless on a beach, but if a parent doesn’t want their kids to see my breasts, I totally understand that, too. We aren’t looking to bother anyone. We just want some sun.”

According to officials, the fence was not only meant to protect innocence.

Elected leaders noted the barrier has served as a clear indicator for policing agencies to identify jurisdiction and enforcement. National Park police said the absence of a fence could cause confusion in jurisdiction and relaxed enforcement, leading to an increase in crime.

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4546.

Updated 6:21 pm, July 11, 2012
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Reader feedback

Grant from Melbourne says:
Why call it an 'adult' beach? It's not. It's a clothes-optional beach, and hundreds of thousands of families the world over go to clothes-optional beaches, holiday resorts, and clubs. They use family and community saunas without clothes and shock horror they don't suffer even a hint of psychological damage. In fact in most of the world the idea that the might is laughable.

Using that title just predjudices your readers into assuming it's a place for 'intimate' adult behaviour, and that is not the case here, or on 99% of the world's nude beaches. No more than on any clothes-mandatory beach at least! Pun fully intended, but Senator Addabbo needs to do some personal work to understand boundaries a little better. Bodies are just bodies. We all have one, and we all know what shape they are.

Thankyou for letting Mr Giannopolous set the record straight, and sure, put up the fence - but try not to be so sensationalist. Let's just hope the fence doesn't lead to repression-driven tittering comments about what goes on behind it.
July 15, 2012, 3:13 am
TIm from USA says:
I agree, you really shot most of you credibility but calling it an adult beach. Please do a little more research next time you decide to write an article next time.
July 15, 2012, 7:05 am
Julio from USA says:
Nudity is not a lewd behavior! If you can't handle seeing a human body, or you think that being nude is a sin, you need to spend your days in church! Leave other human beings alone if they like being naked! Are we also going to force vegetarians to eat meat? Nudism is not a crime, nudism is a choice to be free! If you want to live chained to rules of pseudo-decency, wear your clothes outside and hide your conscience to every need for justice.
July 24, 2012, 8:24 am

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