EXCLUSIVE: Attendance at city pools and beaches up this year, according to Parks Department

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The water was just perfect.

Attendance at the city’s pools and beaches was up by a combined 25% as of Sept. 11, according to the Parks Department.

Park officials attributed the swell in swimmers — from 19.6 million visitors last year to 24.6 million — in part to several days of record-hot temperatures and a host of upgrades at Sandy-ravaged beaches.

“We are just thrilled,” said Parks Department spokesman Sam Biederman. “Thanks to ongoing pool and beach improvements, visitors continue to grow.”

The city has invested more than $140 million to fix storm-wrecked Rockaway Beach. The repairs include a new boardwalk as well as renovated public bathrooms and lifeguard stations.

Despite the ongoing construction, attendance at the city’s largest beach jumped from an estimated 4 million last year to 7.6 million this year so far, parks officials said. That’s close to the estimated 7.8 million sunbathers who hung out at the Queens beach in 2012 before the storm hit.

Coney Island remains the most popular beach, attracting an estimated 12.3 million visitors this year.

The method of estimating crowds at the city’s nine beaches is an inexact science, parks officials said. Attendance is determined by visual estimations made by beach supervisors twice a day.

The pool figures are easier to calculate because they each have a central entrance.

The 1.9 million swimmers at the city’s 55 pools was the highest mark in five years between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day, records show.

The most popular pool was the massive Astoria Pool, which attracted 182,621 swimmers this year. The 330-foot-long pool is the largest in the city’s system. The renovated McCarren Park Pool in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, was second with 150,149 visitors, and Sunset Park Pool in Brooklyn was third with 113,190 people.

Labor Day has typically been the final day for both public pools and beaches. But the Parks Department got $687,000 in added funds to keep the beaches open until Sunday, Sept. 13. The extra time did not apply to pools.

As for the warm weather, there have been 20 days the temperature has risen to 90 degrees or higher, compared to eight last year. The city also experienced a record 62 consecutive days with a high temperature of 80 degrees or above between July 10 and Sept. 10.

“It was significantly warmer this year,” said Carlie Buccola, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/attendance-city-pools-beaches-year-article-1.2359013

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