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Pockets Of Sunshine, Churning Ocean Bring Beach-Goers To Coney Island After Tropical Storm Fay Hits Tri-State Area

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Nice weather at times Saturday gave businesses and beaches in New York City a boost, but it was a struggle for some swimmers who encountered dangerous rip currents.

Pockets of sunshine and churning ocean brought people to Coney Island's beach and businesses.

The proprietor of Ruby's Bar and Grill, Michael Sarrel, was glad to salvage a little business after a stormy Friday, but he was bothered by all the sand Tropical Storm Fay deposited right at his door.

"The fact the storm kicked up all the sand on the boardwalk here makes it uncomfortable for people to have to walk," Sarrel told CBS2's Dave Carlin.

RELATED STORY: Tropical Storm Fay Causes Flooding, Power Problems Throughout New York City

There appeared to be a full slate of lifeguards on the beach, perched on every one of the stands to watch over swimmers.

That includes 17-year-old Aiden Rivera, who had a scare when he went in.

"It was really strong. I couldn't get out," he said.

He ended up getting grabbed by a rip current.

"I couldn't reach the sand. I'm not really that good a swimmer," Aiden said.

Lifeguards watch over swimmers and surfers at Coney Island on July 11, 2020, one day after Tropical Storm Fay hit the tri-state area. (Credit: CBS2)

Two lifeguards grabbed him out of danger.

"Thank god," Aiden said. "I said thanks."

Surfer Leo Pinto accompanied his son Lucas onto Arverne Beach and into rough surf.

"There are a lot of riptides. The waves are super big," Pinto said.

Seeing waters whipped up by Fay, they knew they needed the buddy system.

"It could be dangerous, so if you're a beginning surfer, don't come just yet unless you have a surf instructor with you," Pinto said.

"If it's your first time, don't go out today," Lucas said.

Partial sunshine always means partial success for Coney Island business owners, who say the entire season is an uphill battle.

"Business is down 80% from last year. That's a trend that's stayed true for the last two, three months. I imagine it's gonna stay true for the next two months, and then we're closed for the season," Sarrel said.

In the short-term, Sarrel hopes a crowd shows up Sunday to end a washout weekend on a high.

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