Seven months after Sandy, New York beaches reopen

NEW YORK (AFP) - Seven months after deadly superstorm Sandy devastated the coastline of New Jersey and parts of New York, all New York City beaches opened on Friday at the start of the three-day Memorial Day weekend.

New York City has eight public beaches along (23km of coastline - Brooklyn (south-east), Bronx (north), Queens (north-east) and Staten Island (south).

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Friday that the city spent US$370 million (S$468 million) removing debris, cleaning and replacing tons of sand, and rebuilding stretches of boardwalk to get the beaches ready for the summer.

City workers, along with volunteers, removed some 430,000 tons of debris, while the Army Corps of Engineers and city contractors cleaned more than 153,000 cubic metres of beach sand.

The Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer in the United States.

The beach reopening, however, is more symbolic than anything, since low temperatures forecast over the weekend are likely to keep most bathers away from the waves.

Forty-three people were killed in New York City when Sandy slammed the region on October 29. Thousands evacuated, and more than one million people were left without power for days.