Weekend Service Was Previously Scheduled to End After Memorial Day and Resume in Late June
Funding Also Extends the Service Past Labor Day
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $120,000 in state funds has been allocated to ensure the Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) can offer uninterrupted weekend bus service to Jones Beach State Park throughout the month of June, as well as from Labor Day until mid-September. Weekend service provided by NICE Bus was initially scheduled to end after Memorial Day and restart on June 22, when service begins running daily through Labor Day. Under the Governor's direction, the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Department of Transportation, Empire State Development and Nassau County reached a solution to ensure there would be no interruption in weekend service, as well as extended weekend service after Labor Day to September 15.
"Jones Beach State Park is one of our most popular and treasured destinations in the state," Governor Cuomo said. "If the park is open, it should be accessible without interruptions in the transportation that visitors rely on to get there. Weekend bus service to Jones Beach is essential for visitors as well as the local Long Island economy that relies so heavily on tourism."
NICE Bus service will run weekend service from Saturday, May 25 through Sunday, September 15. Monday through Friday service, which starts on Monday, June 24 and runs through Friday, August 30, will be hourly, departing Freeport 30 minutes past the hour and departing the beach at 55 past the hour. Saturday and Sunday service will run half hourly, with additional service as needed, leaving Freeport on the hour and half hour, and departing the beach at 25 and 55 minutes past the hour.
Bus service will begin in Freeport at 8:30 a.m. and the last bus will depart Jones Beach at 8:55 p.m. A roundtrip NICE ticket to Jones Beach from the Freeport LIRR station is $5.50. More information is available here.
Summer ridership is estimated at 33,000 with 16,000 weekday riders who will benefit from this restored service.
With an estimated 4 million visitors to Jones Beach between Memorial Day and Labor Day the NICE service has proven to be an efficient and stress free way to get to the beach and state park.
Acting New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "Our state's parks are premier summer destinations and economic engines for local communities. I applaud the Governor for making sure visitors can plan their trip to Jones Beach without worrying about interruptions in the bus service."
Acting New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, "Thanks to Governor Cuomo's leadership, critical public transportation services are being restored to the world famous white-sand Jones Beach State Park. Unparalleled State support for Long Island's public transportation network ensures that the region remains economically competitive by facilitating tourism and enhancing employment opportunities."
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said, "Our local community at Jones Beach welcomes thousands of visitors every summer and for us every day counts. Having daily bus service to the park for the extended season is a gift to our local businesses who depend on tourism. I thank the Governor for making this investment"
Since 2011, State Parks has committed over $65 million through 2020 in projects to restore Jones Beach State Park's historic grandeur, attract new visitors and create new recreational facilities as part of a multi-year revitalization plan. Projects include:
Energy and Nature Education Center
This $18 million nature center that is currently being built will promote energy conservation and sustainability. In a public-private partnership with PSEG Long Island, the Long Island Power Authority, New York Power Authority and private donors, the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will construct an interactive facility to encourage visitors of all ages to become good stewards of the environment and smart energy consumers. State Parks designated the park's West End a Park Preservation Area to enhance protection of its significant maritime coastal habitat.
This $20 million 7,700-square-foot café, featuring an open and airy Market Hall dining concept and distinctive tensile roof, opened in June 2018 and brings back food and beverage to the Central Mall that has been absent since 2004, when the previous building was demolished due to structural failure. The building was constructed to hurricane standards and is 20 feet above sea level. It also features 75,000 square feet of Brazilian Ipe wood. This tropical hardwood is very resistant to decay and can last for up to 100 years, making it an ideal material for boardwalks. The café is operated by Centerplate, a concessionaire offering hospitality services at the park.
1931 West Bathhouse Restoration
The $16 million restoration of this historic building to its 1930s character entailed numerous external and internal improvements, including installing windows to match the building's original Art Deco appearance, masonry repairs, replacing the pool deck, and repairing the pool filtration system. The first-floor interior was renovated to reestablish the open, airy connection between the pool and boardwalk that was part of the original design. The work included reopening the central bays to reconnect the view and circulation from the pools to the beach. The second-floor Marine Dining Room with carved ceiling beams - offering daily lunch and dinner service and weekend brunch - was renovated to offer rentable space for catered weddings, proms and other events.
As a result of State Parks investments totaling over $12 million, additional improvements at Jones Beach have enhanced the visitors' experience and revived many of the park's historic features. In 2015 State Parks completed the renovation of the deteriorated bathroom and dining areas of the Field 6 Concession Building that originally opened in 1948 and serves one of the most popular beach areas in the park. Additionally, The Central Mall mosaics, at the historic main entrance to the park, were restored in 2015 after weather and age caused some of the mosaic pieces to break apart and crumble. The mosaics are composed of slate and tinted concrete with brass detailing. The largest one is a 12-by-32-foot map of Long Island featuring its state parks. In 2017, a 1.7-acre East Games Area opened featuring amenities at the Central Mall that include shuffle board courts, a concrete table tennis, and a bocce ball court. At the West Games Area and at Zach's Bay, meanwhile, new playgrounds were installed in time for the 2018 summer season. Additionally, new gateway monuments were installed in 2017 to welcome those heading to the park on the Wantagh and Ocean Parkways. The "Welcome to Jones Beach" signs are designed to match the park's signature Art Deco style and are illuminated at night with energy efficient LED lights. The latest project, completed ahead of schedule, is the Jones Beach Shared Use Path, a new 4.5-mile path that connects to existing paths to give walkers, skaters and cyclists access to hundreds of miles of trail, promoting green transportation in the region.