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Why Giant Pipes Spewed Water and Sand onto Rockaway Beach

Source: The New York Times

Just weeks ago they were working 24/7 to rebuild this stretch of Rockaway Beach between Beach 92nd Street and Beach 105th Street, which last year had become so narrow that the city suddenly closed most of it for the season just days before Memorial Day, a move that made beachside business owners feel insufficiently blessed.

That was last year.

Tides roll in, tides roll out, and what do you know, this year $13.4 million washed up on the shore, in the currency of sand — 348,000 cubic yards of it, pumped onto the beach from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ dredging mission in East Rockaway Inlet.

The strip of beach reopens for swimming this weekend.

“We’re beyond stoked,” said Michael Perzy Powers, a co-owner of the Low Tide Bar and High 97 concessions at Beach 97th Street, eyeing a genial midafternoon crowd. Summer frenzy had not yet arrived. But at least this year, Mr. Powers felt confident that it will “Last year was a struggle,” he said.

A commander from the Corps of Engineers said that if you piled that much sand onto a football field the heap would be 20 stories high. That’s in addition to nearly 3 million cubic yards of sand that was already added to a two-mile stretch of the beach in 2014, a project that cost $28 million in federal emergency relief funds available after Hurricane Sandy.

Ever since Rockaway Taco opened nearby in 2007, drawing other foodie-friendly vendors to the area, this stretch of the barrier island has been a magnet for off-islanders, including busloads from Williamsburg in Brooklyn and the Lower East Side of Manhattan. (The taco shack closed in 2015, replaced by Tacoway Beach.)

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