Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

June 27, 2008

For Release: Immediate
Press Contact:
Eileen Larrabee
Dan Keefe
518.486.1868

Robert Moses State Park Celebrates 100th Anniversary

New bathhouse opens at Long Island's oldest state park

$28 million revitalization of Long Island's state parks moving ahead

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash commemorated the 100th anniversary of Robert Moses State Park, the oldest state park on Long Island, with a birthday cake and the reopening of a new bathhouse at Field #3. The bathhouse is one of the more than $28 million in revitalization projects taking place at state parks across Long Island as a result of the state's new Revitalizing State Parks initiative.

"It is truly fitting for us to acknowledge and celebrate the 100th anniversary of Robert Moses State Park at a time when we are engaged in an initiative to revitalize New York's tremendous and diverse state park system," said Governor David A. Paterson. "This park is a wonderful community asset where 3.5 million visitors come each year to swim, boat, fish and relax by the ocean. We need to continue our efforts and ensure that Robert Moses State Park remains vital and accessible for future generations."

"Long Islanders are deeply connected to the state parks, where generations have lasting memories of spending their days at the beach with friends and families," said Ash. "Revitalizing Robert Moses State Park and so many other fabulous parks and beaches in the region will ensure they continue to be so integral to Long Islanders' quality of life"

The $700,000 rehabilitation of bathhouse at Field #3, which originally opened to the public in June of 1940, was completed largely by parks staff. The renovation included removal of a glass and metal storefront added to the building in the 1980s, allowing the food concession, beach shop and first aid offices to be enlarged with the construction of a new exterior, which complements the original architecture of the building. In addition, the park's cupola and clock have been restored to working order.

Inside, the bathrooms were completely renovated and reconfigured to allow more space and better traffic flow to the changing areas. A new family bathroom has been added to what was formerly closet space in the center entryway of the bathhouse. Renovation of the restrooms involved retiling the walls, the floors, new partitions and fixtures. The entire interior and exterior were repainted.

Long Island state parks will see a number of additional improvements this year, including a $3.3 million project to rehabilitate the east boat basin, $400,000 to rehabilitate the bulkhead at neighboring Captree State Park, and $250,000 to upgrade electric systems and replace fuel lines at the Captree fuel dock.

The renovations are part of a $132 million capital improvement spending plan that Governor Paterson and the Legislature advanced in this year's state budget for New York's 178 state parks and 35 historic sites. The $132 million is the single largest capital investment in the history of the state park system. The infusion will enable the state to begin addressing the system's extensive capital needs – needs that have been estimated at approximately $650 million.

"I am proud to represent the area that encompasses this historic State Park which was the vision of its legendary namesake parks planner Robert Moses," said Senator Owen H. Johnson (4th Senate District, Babylon). "As we look back and reflect on the history of this park and celebrate its centennial, we can be certain that the Robert Moses State Park will continue to provide many more years of family fun and wonderful memories for current and future generations of Long Islanders."

"As someone who has enjoyed the fun and scenic beauty of Robert Moses State Park all my life, I am delighted to join the New York State Parks Office in wishing Robert Moses State Park, 'Happy 100th Birthday!" said Assemblyman Phil Boyle (8th Assembly District, Bay Shore).

Robert Moses State Park has about five miles of ocean beach from which visitors can swim, surf or surf-fish. Anglers can also fish from piers. A day-use boat basin can accommodate 40 boats. The park also has picnic areas and an 18-hole pitch-and-putt golf course, and recently constructed sand volleyball courts. It also has a major hawk watch platform.

Originally known as Fire Island State Park, it became the first state park on Long Island when it was established near the Fire Island lighthouse and administered by the Fire Island Park Commission.

In 1924, the Long Island State Park Commission was created by the Legislature as part of a comprehensive State Park and Parkway program. One of its first acts was to acquire 600 acres of land formed by accretion west of the lighthouse reservation to enlarge the park.

In 1938, the park was devastated by a hurricane. Plans were immediately made for the reconstruction on a more desirable site. A stretch of beach about two and a half miles west of the lighthouse was chosen. In 1939, a modern bathhouse was completed and opened to the public the following year. It was renamed Robert Moses State Park in 1964, and with the opening of the bridge spanning the Inlet that year, attendance became so great that new swimming areas had to be provided. The first few years saw three bathhouses, complete with refreshment building and parking fields constructed, increasing attendance.

A 202-foot-high water tower with its 1,102-foot-deep well was completed in 1968. With its beacon visible many miles at sea, it is a companion piece to the tower dominating the Central Mall at Jones Beach State Park.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation administers 178 parks and 35 state historic sites. For more information about state parks and historic sites in New York, please visit www.nysparks.com.