On one of the busiest beach weekends of the season, a stretch of sand in the Rockaways remains off limits due to erosion.

Protesters gathered on Rockaway Beach as the Parks Department celebrated the unofficial start of summer.

Earlier this week, the agency announced the area between Beach 91st Street and Beach 102nd Street will be closed.

Officials say there is not enough space on the beaches for people to safely walk or swim in the water.

"In May is when we started actually measuring the beach. We looked at the tides throughout the summer, we looked at some alternatives before we made an announcement, and so we decided that we had to do it before the opening," said Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver. "No timing would be the right time, but we kept exploring other alternatives as much as possible and we couldn't find one."

Local business owners held a mock funeral to mourn the loss of the beaches. 

They also say businesses will suffer.

Four-and a half miles of beach will be open between Beach 88th and Beach 91st Street.