Now, most of us make a lot of jokes about contracting gonorrhea or whatever from a trip to a city beach, but no one really believes that, right? At a certain point you have stop worrying about germs and live your life, even if that means getting in the water down at Brighton Beach (where, for what it's worth, I've never found anything worse than a small, dying shark).
And mercifully, it seems like the "eh, fuck it" approach here is actually the right one. According to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council, the situation with New York's beaches really isn't all that bad, in spite of somewhat frequent sewage spills (Sandy alone dumped 5 billion gallons worth), issues with stormwater runoff, and the fact that none of our local waterfronts qualified for the report's coveted 5 star top rating. And the fact that apparently "[combined sewage overflows]discharged from New York City also carry floating debris made up of street litter and toilet waste such as hygiene products." In spite of all this, it's mostly still fine.
But, as with everything in this world, there's a hierarchy. Some beaches are cleaner than others. So, using the NRDC's detailed rating rubric, let's take a look at the relative safety of some of New York's most popular beaches. It's comforting, mostly.