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Summer storms put a damper on Bayside Marina

Northeast Queens marinas and beaches have been waterlogged and empty throughout the summer because torrential rainstorms consistently forced them to shut down for hours or entire days.

The Bayside Marina’s owners said business has been down this summer due to the inordinate amount of rain that has fallen in the borough. Last weekend, the marina was forced to close as heavy winds, lightning and severe rainstorms blanketed Bayside.

“A lot of people haven’t come out because it’s been raining,” said Martin Munch, president of the marina. “Our snack shop hasn’t seen the business that it usually does. The boaters don’t go out in their boats as much. Everything, on the whole, is on the slow side this year.”

Matty Castellano, one of the marina’s owners, said revenue at the marina is off by an estimated 30 percent from 2008’s levels. The marina, open from May 1 through Oct. 31, has often had to shutter its operations for entire days, he said.

“It’s wrecked the business,” he said. “The fishermen go home and don’t come back that day.”

Castellano said this summer’s weather is the worst he has seen in his 15 years at the marina and he now no longer consults weather reports in advance.

“I don’t look at it anymore,” he said. “It brings me down too much.”

But the marina is still planning some events for the summer, including the city’s park rangers teaching people of all ages how to fish each Wednesday in August and a large fishing tournament hosted by the Bayside Anglers for borough youths Aug. 22.

The marina is not the only northeast Queens-based waterfront concern that has suffered through the rainy summer, however.

Douglas Manor Beach has either been closed or issued advisories against swimming in Little Neck Bay during 46 days since the beginning of the summer, a spokeswoman for the city Health Department said.

“It’s near the top of the list for advisories in the city,” she said.

From May 24 to June 23, the beach was closed and from June 24 to July 8 the city put out advisories that warned swimmers not to get into the water, the spokeswoman said. On Monday, the beach was given its fourth wet water advisory notice since July 8.

Wet water advisories are warnings issued by the city to alert consumers that bacteria has exceeded acceptable levels in city waters. The unsafe levels are often caused by a combination of sewer overflows and storm water runoff.

Marianne Cooney, dock manager at the beach for the Douglas Manor Association, said swimmers have been thwarted this summer by the heavy rainfall.

“The weather hasn’t been cooperating all the time,” she said. “And there hasn’t been a lot of swimming because the water has been pretty cool.”

The beach averages about nine or 10 swimmers at a time, but could receive more this week as temperatures are expected to rise, she said.

A 2008 study by the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council found that Douglas Manor Beach, which was closed from June 13 to July 18 last year, had been shut down more than any other borough beach due to bacteria counts. The group said rainstorms often caused pollution to be washed into the beach’s water.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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