Brighton Beach Lifeguard Is City’s Longest Serving

Billy Weintraub at the 2009 Mermaid Parade. (Photo by Malcolm Brown via
Billy Weintraub at the 2009 Mermaid Parade. (Photo by Malcolm Brown via

Billy Weintraub just finished another year serving as a New York City lifeguard, making him the longest-serving lifeguard in the city. Observer is reporting that Weintraub just finished his astonishing 51st season of service.

Weintraub looks incredibly fit at the age of 70, and Observer detailed his inspiring training regime:

Mr. Weintraub’s workout regimen remains extensive. He trains four-to-five days per week with the other lifeguards, bikes 10 miles every other day and, on nonbike days, swims a quarter-mile in the ocean. “I have somebody from here go with me on the surfboard to make sure I don’t drown,” he said.

From a patch of sand located in Brighton Beach, Weintraub has seen it all. Observer described a few of Weintraub’s more stunning experiences dating back to the early 60s.

Mr. Weintraub remembers the needle scare of the 1980s when nobody wanted to visit the beach and its inverse, the pre-air conditioning mob scene of 1963, when five people drowned.
He has attended hundreds of heart attacks and bouts of heat exhaustion. He has seen “at least six” body parts wash up on the beach. When a leg washed up with an argyle sock on it, Mr. Weintraub called the police, who told him matter-of-factly, “We’ll just match this up with the other one.”
He once searched freezing water for half an hour before realizing the swimmer he sought had already circled the jetty and was back on the beach; Mr. Weintraub then saved his leg-cramped self with a last ditch crawl up the jetty. Another time, he saved an old woman crying, “Save my teeth! Save my teeth!” as she held her dentures above the water. He saved the teeth, too.

Observer described how Weintraub, a Bayside native, fell into the world of lifeguarding. As a swim team member at Bayside High School and Long Island University, Weintraub was encouraged to become a lifeguard by his college coach, beginning his part-time career in 1962. Weintraub primarily worked as a P.E. instructor but retired 20 years ago. My favorite passage from the article was how Weintraub met his wife:

He met his wife, Susan, right on his stretch of beach in 1966. “What happened was there was thousands of girls on the beach,” he said over pizza at L&B Spumoni Gardens in Gravesend. “I looked around, and I picked the prettiest girl.”

Classic stuff, and congratulations to Weintraub for another year looking out for all of us swimming in the ocean.