The Dangerous Politics Behind NYC’s Lifeguard Shortage

A day at the beach — with and without lifeguards. Ruthie Kornblatt-Stier

On the evening of July 31, New York City’s ocean lifeguards competed for gold (or, more accurately, seashells) in seven different lifesaving events in the Rockaway Beach Olympics. The tournament, facilitated by the Department of Parks and Recreation and held at Rockaway’s Beach 106, was the first organized event for the city’s lifeguards since 2006, and was designed to build camaraderie in the midst of New York City’s critical lifeguard shortage.

Post-pandemic, lifeguard shortages have plagued beaches across the country, but the situation at New York City’s beaches

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