Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Riis Park, Queens, New York

While my grandson was visiting us recently we went to Jacob Riss Park for his first view of the Atlantic Ocean.


Jacob Riis Park in the New York City borough of Queens, is part of the Jamaica Bay Unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area, and managed by the National Park Service, and lies just west of Rockaway Beach. The day we visited it was overcast and cool, but I'll go back again on a sunny day and show you how pretty it is.


Besides the lifeguards on duty we were practically the only people there. It was peaceful and also a great time to beach comb.

Opened in 1932, the park is named in honor of Jacob Riis, the famed New York City journalist and photographer who documented the plight of the poor and working class. Riis beach is also known as "The People's Beach" and is comprised of 14 bays, and during the warm days of summer each bay has it's own distinctive personality, which you can read about in this New York Times article.

I grew up in an area of Brooklyn that was just a bridge crossing away, and often spent summer days here, as it was very accessible by public bus.




Unfortunately every summer there have been drownings in this area, and at other New York City beaches, caused by powerful rip currents that can occur off shore. Rip curents are the number-one concern for beach lifeguards: About 80 percent of all beach rescues are caused by them.

This lifeguard was bundled up because it was chilly, but she was very alertly watching the ocean.

We also experienced a little bit of a "Bay Watch" moment when these young lifeguards ran by.......

...... and at the beginning of each bay would stop and do push ups as part of their ongoing training. New York City lifeguards must pass a very vigorous training program which includes:

40 hours of training.
A CPR course.
Swimming tests and a written test.

They must be able to swim 440 yards in 7 minutes and 40 seconds to qualify for a pool assignment, or 6 minutes and 40 seconds to qualify for a beach assignment. Beach lifeguards must also complete a 300-yard ocean swim.

Riis Park is home to many shore birds, including the American Oyster Catcher seen above.

We enjoyed watching this bird from afar as it diligently used its long beak to search the shoreline for food.



Success! She hurriedly carried her catch over the sands to her protected nesting area to feed her young.
There have been sightings of the endangered Piping Plovers, Sanderlings and Sandpipers, among other birds at Riis Park.

Near Riis Park is The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, which is one of the largest bird sanctuaries in the northeastern United States --over 9,000 acres. Jamaica Bay is the best place in New York City to observe seasonal migration of birds. The bay's islands and ponds are a key layover spot for birds along the Atlantic Flyway. During the spring and late summer, it's possible to see hundreds of different birds. More than 330 bird species that have been sighted at the refuge over the last 25 years; that is nearly half the species in the Northeast!

The sound of the ocean and the gentle breezes made our little guy very sleepy and he napped in my arms.

What more could I ask for? It was a perfect day at the beach!




I've joined in on "Theme Thursday" for the first time with this post, as the theme this week is "Summer." Click on the link to visit other participants.

40 comments:

Ciao Chow Linda said...

precious, precious child.

Vee said...

Nothing like fresh ocean air and the sounds of the sea to put a child (or anyone) to sleep. He looks so darling sleeping there. (I love his mama's red skirt...perfect for walking along the beach.)

And, one more thing, I saw that mosaic! Very well done!! :D

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Adorable beach photos! A fellow's first trip to the beach is a big deal! No wonder he conked out!

imjacobsmom said...

Boy all of that activity - the waves, the birds those hunky lifeguards can sure wear one out! Leo really is such a cutie pie! ~ Robyn

Jill said...

What a lovely day at the beach! Your grandson is quite dear and has the most handsome and distinctive chin!!

Willow said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this post on the Atlantic Ocean beaches. And your grandson is absolutely adorable!

Queenmothermamaw said...

What a precious little baby. His little lips are so beautifully shaped. That was a nice tour of a well known spot. Your mosaic was great too. Blessings
QMM

Nola @ the Alamo said...

Oh, sweet little Leo is having quite a vacation! The ocean looks so cool!

Proud Italian Cook said...

What a sweet sweet face little Leo has! I could listen to, and stare at the ocean for hours!

Melanie said...

Thanks for sharing such a special day. The sea air is good for tiring children out. :-)

M.Kate said...

Beautiful images Pat, but I love the last picture of Leo sleeping...so blissful. Happy weekend, hugs/M

Anna said...

A very perfect day indeed!Your grandson is adorable.Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos with us.Have a nice day.Ciao.

Edie Marie's Attic said...

Hi Pat!

Oh Leo is adorable! What a sweet handsome boy!! Your day at the beach was perfect. Thank you so much for sharing such a precious moment with us. It looks like the perfect place for such photos.
Glad you had such a wonderful visit with your family!

Love & hugs, Sherry

Tracy said...

Look at that angel-boy! First trip to see the sea...a big moment! I miss the Atlantic coast sometimes...so loving these views, Pat! Happy Day :o) ((HUGS))

Beverly said...

Pat, I know I've said it before, and I know I will say it many more times, but your little Leo is just gorgeous.

Sue said...

Pat, I think it is because the day was overcast and gray that your pictures turned out even more special. They set a calming, peaceful, and pensive mood. I'm sure your day was especially memorable to you, once again. hugs, Sue

Michele said...

Your grandson is soo kissable! I remember going on class trips to Riis Park! Nice touch with the lifeguards! LOL

Marg said...

I love your summer theme. I'm torn away by the photos of that little one and then of course Bay Watch...
Oh my, how nice looking.
God made this world so beautiful eh?

Wings said...

Wonderful pics, and good musings. Thanks for sharing it with all of us! :)

Betsy said...

Very nice visit with your son and his family. That little guy is the sweetest thing! But then, you already knew that! :)

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Awwwwwwwwwwww... that last picture of you with that precious boy made me tear up, Pat. How darling! I loved seeing the beach, but that last shot stole the show.

XO,

Sheila :-)

willow said...

Hi Pat! I was here earlier this morning and didn't realize this was your TT "summer" post. Beautiful grandson! Happy TT!

GMG said...

Hi Pat! He won't remember that trip, but grandma had a great time surely!! And we too, with the amazing pictures you got!!

Blogtrotter is showing some sights of the most northern capital city in the world. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Fifi Flowers said...

GREAT photos... PRECIOUS little one!!!

jeanne said...

Hi Pat, I talked to Beverly and she said you finally did get through to her. I too have had some computer problems. I couldn't comment on any typepad bloggers. I think it is fixed now.

Your trip to the beach with baby Leo is a precious outing. He is so cute I just want to give him a big hug. Your photos are great and so is the info. A lifeguard is not an easy job. Whew!

When are you going out West Pat?
We did have a wonderful trip. Thank you for your comments and safe travel wishes. We were blessed to have six weeks on the road without a hitch.

Now we are going camping for a week. LOL. It will be fun but very busy.

Have a wonderful week.

Hugs...Jeanne

The Silver Fox said...

I spent the entire day coming back to your blog, waiting for you to post your Theme Thursday entry. I finally scrolled down, and discovered that this was it! Nothing in the title to tip me off, plus it posted on Wednesday. *sigh*

Having said that, the post was very informative and filled with excellent photos. And I even liked your playlist; the Giovanni Marradi "Summertime" was a delight!

Joanne Kennedy said...

Oh Pat, you are making me wish I had months to visit NY rather then days. Every post I read I think "Oh I want to go there!".

How cute is that photo with Leo sleeping in your arms! Just darling!

Hugs,
Joanne

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Thanks for taking us on a beach tour! Beautiful pic's...all of them...especially the sleeping grandson.

JGH said...

We lived in Brooklyn when my daughter was born and I remember bringing her to this beach when she was just learning to sit up. How great that you were able to enjoy your grandson's first view of the ocean. The view of the lifeguards isn't bad either! Nice to meet you and your blog!

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Your precious g'baby is so sweet, Pat! He's absolutely beautiful!

Donna at Mourning Dove Cottage said...

What a beautiful beach, Pat. Your grandson is SO sweet!

Hugs,
Donna

Susie Q said...

Oh what wonderful photos Pat...your grandson is truly beautiful...so, so precious. There is nothing as soothing as the sound of waves and the sweet air from the sea to lull you into dreamland. I know you enjoyed every single second with your family.

Love,
Sue

CatHerder said...

great pics..your grandson is ADORABLE

Sandra Leigh said...

Oh, dear. I can tell I'm getting old. I looked at the pictures of the young men running and exercising on the beach, then got to the oystercatcher photo and said Wow! Great shot!

aliceinparis said...

That last picture of Leo sleeping sweetly is magic!!!
Love your beach pics especially the boys in red! :))

Melissa Miller said...

What a gorgeous place Pat!

Your grandson is absolutely beautiful! :)

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

Ha! Baywatch East. :-)

That Leo...too, too cute. And a Yankees' fan too? He's just perfect, then! I can't BELIEVE you were at the "ball drop game"! In a way...I hate to win that way...but...I'll take it! :-)

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Leo is adorable! I'm so glad they visited you all!

Lisa's RetroStyle said...

Leo is beautiful! So is the beach. I've got to visit there someday as we collect National Park Stamps:D Love the bird photos.

louise said...

Baby Leo, as always, looking so cute. I love the photo of the oystercatcher, and very interesting to see the real-life Baywatch. No Pamela Anderson lookalikes then! x