As a child growing up in eastern Queens, Gov. Andrew Cuomo would take family trips to Jones Beach, he said, where he noticed its run-down facilities and diminishing services.
At an August 2 press conference held at The Landing, the park’s new dining hall that opened Independence Day, Cuomo outlined the ways in which the state park has transformed since his childhood.
“We’re [bringing] it back to its original majesty,” Cuomo said, referring to the state’s $65 million revitalization plan, which began in the summer of 2014 and is set to be complete in 2020.
When the park opened in 1929 it drew 350,000 visitors to Long Island, according to the New York State parks system. Robert Moses, the State Park Commissioner at the time, built the beach on what was once swampland and created a public park with bathhouses, miles of boardwalk, restaurants, recreation areas and lush gardens.
“Along the way… Whatever spirit built this place was gone,” Cuomo said. “Jones Beach should be, once again, an international tourist destination.”
Cuomo touted that the park had 500,000 more visitors within a year of the restoration’s launch. The focus of this summer is the West Bathhouse area and The Landing is one of its many improvements. Equipped with a full bar and two outdoor patios, the restaurant is the third in a small chain of Manhattan-based eateries run by the coffee company and food service provider COFFEED. The goal in its creation, Cuomo said, was to replicate the architecture and style of the Marine Dining Room, which operated at the same location before it was replaced with a Friendly’s restaurant.
At the August 2 press conference, Cuomo boasted next year’s Jones Beach renovations, which will include modernizing the nature center, installing new benches and beautifying the landscape. Down the road, guests can expect to see an adventure park at Jones Beach, complete with soccer fields, a water park and zip line. Additional plans include installing solar panels to make the park energy neutral.
“For those people who think they have been to Jones Beach before, you haven’t,” Cuomo said.