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NEW YORK — “It can be hard to get New Yorkers to agree on anything – but one thing I’m sure we can all see eye-to-eye on is that this summer has been hot, with a capital H. The good news is that these days, there are more ways than ever to cool off along New York City’s 578 miles of waterfront. And with the summer moving along faster than hometown Olympic hero Lia Neal in a swimming pool, now is the time to take advantage of all our waterfront has to offer.
“For instance, the enormously popular Brooklyn Bridge Park, which we opened in 2010, now features a pop-up swimming pool where families can take a dip to escape the heat and take in the magnificent views of the Lower Manhattan skyline. And earlier this month, we cut the ribbon on the brand-new Rockaway Park in Queens, right beside the cool waves of the Atlantic. After a $9 million investment from the City, the long-underused park now has a 15,000-foot skate park, rolling lawns, sports fields and more, all within a few feet of beautiful dunes and ocean swimming.
“Rockaway Park not only brings great new recreational opportunities to the neighborhood – it’ll also attract visitors to stimulate the local economy and create jobs. That’s been the goal behind much of our work along the city’s waterfront. And there’s no better example than Coney Island, where our revitalization plan has created hundreds of seasonal jobs and thousands of permanent jobs while attracting investment in housing and new businesses throughout the community. Coney Island has been a terrific success – last summer, more than 640,000 visitors took more than two million rides at the new Scream Zone and Luna Park. And this year, along with the newly opened second phase of the Scream Zone, there are new games and attractions; a faster, refurbished Cyclone roller coaster; and a range of new and expanded restaurants and stores for what we expect to be an even greater number of summer visitors to enjoy.
“And we’re not done yet. This week we unveiled the new design for the centerpiece of the renovation of Coney Island’s New York Aquarium – the “Ocean Wonders: Sharks!” building. When it’s completed in 2015, it will feature more than 100 different species of marine animals, including sea turtles, rays, and thousands of schooling fish; but the real stars of the show will be the sharks – a dozen or so species, up close and personal like never before. We expect the exhibit will be a major draw – not just during the summer months when visitors flock to Coney Island, but all year round.
“The Aquarium has long been one of our city’s great family attractions. After the $127 million public-private investment in the Ocean Wonders building, it’ll be even better – and that’s more great news for the Coney Island community. Of course, there’s still the surf, sand, and cool breezes that have always drawn visitors to Coney – and which we’re especially thankful for come the dog days of summer. If you haven’t visited the new Coney Island this season – or any of the great summer resources we’ve improved on – there’s no better time than the present.
“This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening.”
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