De Blasio, Shea debate best NYC beach ahead of Memorial Day weekend

It’s the battle of the beaches.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea made waves Friday when they debated which beach is the best in the Big Apple — just before the start of the Memorial Day weekend.

The mayor, a longtime Brooklynite, said he’ll always favor Coney Island Beach.

“It’s an ocean beach, it’s a beautiful beach, let alone the amusements and everything else,” Hizzoner said at his City Hall press briefing.

Shea said he begs to differ.

“I love the Cyclone, I certainly love Brooklyn… but there is no comparison,” the top cop said. “The number one beach is clearly Rockaway Beach.”

“We’re having a little borough pride showing here,” Hizzoner replied. “So I appreciate you being a proud son of Queens and I will continue to assert the superiority of Coney Island.”

But both beaches — and others in the city — will be missing some of their charm this weekend as beach bums won’t be allowed in the water.

The Parks Department will take the lead in enforcing that rule, though the NYPD will step in if necessary, the mayor said.

A total of 150 Parks personnel will be on hand at the city’s beaches over the weekend, and hundreds of NYPD cops will be present.

“You’ll see a number of uniformed police officers both at the beaches as well as parks,” Shea said. “But they’re going to be out there as stewards. The last thing we want to be at this stressful time for the city resorting to summonses.”

During a Thursday press conference, Brian Conroy, assistant chief of the NYPD’s Patrol Borough Brooklyn South, laid out guidelines stating that surfing will be permitted at the city’s beaches but swimming will not.

Neither de Blasio nor Shea mentioned those regulations Friday.

Lifeguards won’t be on hand just yet, but socially-distanced training started this week, city Parks Commissioner Mitch Silver said.

The entire process is expected to take “a few weeks,” according to Silver.

“At that point, we’ll work with the mayor and other public health guidance to determine when it’s safe to bring back the lifeguards,” he said. “The lifeguards will be ready long before we can make any deeper push on re-opening beaches.”

Group gatherings, as well as volleyball and other sports, will not be permitted at beaches this weekend, de Blasio said.

“You can walk on the beach, you can hang out on the beach,” Hizzoner said. “But do it in a manner that’s consistent with what we’ve been talking about.”

Beach goers must observe social distancing and wear a face covering.

“Anyone who thinks it’s unfair, the buck stops with me,” de Blasio said. “This is the decision I’m making as the elected leader of this city to protect all of us.”

The mayor called Memorial Day weekend “a time to redouble our efforts, not lose our focus” — and that fewer restrictions will come in time “if we play this right.”

“If we play it wrong, [we] will go backwards,” he said.

The MTA on Thursday begged beachgoers to stay away from its trains and buses over the Memorial Day weekend, and leave public transportation to essential workers only.

For New Yorkers who don’t want to trek all the way to the beach, 13 more miles of streets will be opened for walking across the city, to allow for increased social distancing, de Blasio said.

A total of 8.8 miles will be supported by local precincts, 1.8 others by neighborhood organizations, and 2.7 miles will be adjacent to parks.

With this new addition, 45 miles of streets will be open to pedestrians in the city.

“This now means we have more miles of operational open streets…than any place in this nation because we have found a model that works and it’s very, very gratifying to see the way everyone has worked together,” de Blasio said. “We’re going to keep building on it through this crisis.”

The goal, the mayor has said, will be to expand to 100 miles of open streets before the end of the pandemic.