Most of the Floating Heads have been swimming here for well over 50 years, in the shadow of the Throgs Neck and Whitestone Bridges, in waters fed by New York City’s East River. But lately their beloved waters have drawn concern.
This summer, the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has identified the beach as having the highest levels of pollution in the city, specifically fecal bacteria counts, which spike after heavy rains cause the city’s sewer system — feces and all — to overflow directly into these waters, posing a serious health risk.
The water at the beach exceeded acceptable bacteria count levels by 20 percent, according to a study released this week by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
City officials have already told beach operators to close it to swimmers from June 13 to July 18 because water quality did not meet acceptable standards. It has since been upgraded to a day-to-day advisory — with “swimming and bathing not recommended” for 48 hours after a significant rainfall.
Advisory updates are routinely posted at the gatehouse, and routinely ignored by the Floating Heads, and just about every other water-bound resident of Douglas Manor.
Douglas Manor Swimmers Ignore Health Warnings