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NEW YORK — “I hope you’re all enjoying this Memorial Day weekend – the traditional blast off into summer. Right on schedule, the City’s 14 miles of free public beaches opened for the season yesterday. So did two of the city’s other crowd-pleasing warm weather destinations. One, Coney Island, is old, and one, Governors Island, is new. Both are key parts of our strategy to revitalize our waterfront. And both are soaring in popularity with New Yorkers, and also attracting tourists to our city.
“The revived amusement zone at Coney Island is one of the great comeback stories in our city. The City’s rezoning of the area in 2009 kicked off this revitalization. Last year, more than 640,000 visitors enjoyed rides at the new Luna Park and Scream Zone, as well as on such longtime favorites as the Cyclone roller coaster. More new rides should attract even more visitors this summer. So should the array of new and expanded stores and restaurants on and near Coney Island’s historic Boardwalk. Since last season, these businesses have made more than $2.3 million in improvements. And along with Coney Island’s amusement operators, they’ve also created more than 600 new jobs – good news for our city’s rebounding economy.
“Saturday was also opening day of the new public season on Governors Island. Since 2010, when an agreement with the State cleared the way for its use and development, Governors Island’s popularity has been nothing short of phenomenal. During four months last year, some 448,000 people visited the island – an increase of some 5,500% since 2005. Once again this year, free ferries will run from Manhattan and Brooklyn to Governors Island on the weekends and on holiday Mondays through September 30th. And this year, in addition to enjoying the island’s promenade, ‘picnic point,’ and a wide range of free cultural and recreational programming, visitors will also be able to tour the newly refurbished and re-opened Castle Williams – a more than 200-year-old fort managed by the National Park Service that offers commanding views of the harbor and city skyline.
“Last week we also broke ground on 30 acres of park and public space on Governors Island. They’ll be completed next year. And coupled with other improvements to the island’s infrastructure, these new open spaces will bring the day closer when Governors Island is a year-round destination.
“This Memorial Day weekend also coincides with the 25th annual Fleet Week in New York. Because we’re marking the bicentennial of the War of 1812, there’s a formation of ‘tall ships’ in our harbor. You can also see some of our 21st century fighting vessels moored in the Hudson River. And there are some 3,000 members of our Sea Services – the U.S. Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard – enjoying some well-deserved shore leave in our city. That includes three units of Marines who’ve just come home from a year’s duty in Afghanistan. There’s a good chance you’ll run in to some of these service men and women on our streets. When you do, be sure to thank them for all they’ve done to protect our lives and our freedoms.
“This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks”
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