Audrey Jongens, 24, runs a TikTok restaurant review page, named the VIP List, and lives for the beach.
“I usually go to the Hamptons, especially Montauk, at least a few times every summer,” said the Financial District resident. “It’s my happy place.”
But this summer, Jongens refuses to set foot in the ocean.
“If the water isn’t crystal clear, if I can’t see the bottom, I am not going in, considering the shark attacks,” she said.
There have been at least six “Jaws”-esque attacks this summer in the region, with numerous other sightings. A dead great white, for example, washed up on Long Island, near Quogue, in late July. Rockaway Beach closed multiple times last month because of sightings.
The shark sightings have put a damper on summer fun, leaving frightened swimmers from New York City to the Hamptons scrambling to find places to cool off. And when they do brave the waves, they are looking carefully over their shoulders.
Jongen said she’ll hang out on the sand if it’s not too hot, going to beach parties at Gurney’s in Montauk, or sitting around a bonfire at night. But with the ocean a no-go zone, she is now limited to her friend’s pools in the Hamptons or rooftop pools in the city.
The latter isn’t even a great option considering her favorite spots, such as the rooftop pool and bar at the James hotel in SoHo, seem to be getting more crowded by the day.
“I don’t even really swim now,” she said. “I just put my feet in, because I feel like so
many people are in the [pool], it’s kind of gross.”
She jokes that next summer, to live it up to the max, she needs to find a private oasis.
“I would not be opposed to having a private pool on my balcony,” she added. “That would be the dream.”
Stephanie Carino, 38, an office manager at a food tech company who lives in Astoria, grew up on Long Island and usually goes to Jones Beach or Robert Moses State Park a few times every month in the summer. This year, she’s staying away altogether.
“That would usually be the plan for summer weekends, but seeing all these news stories, I think people are even crazy to think about going,” she said. “I am avoiding the beach at all costs.”
Instead, she’s heading to pools in the city. “Some of the hotels don’t allow access, but I know which ones you can pay to get in,” she said.
ResortPass, a company that sells access to hotel pools, said its New York bookings were up 207% in July over June. Listings range from the stylish William Vale in Williamsburg ($150 for a half-day) to the flashy…