Parts of New York City's Coney Island beach have been closed for several hours because of reports of a shark in the area.

The city parks department says stretches of the beach were closed Tuesday "because sharks have been sighted in certain areas of Coney Island."

The director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's New York Aquarium says shark sightings are a reminder the city and its waterways are home to "fascinating marine wildlife."

Aquarium director Jon Forrest Dohlin says wildlife sightings are opportunities "to appreciate the wonder, beauty and diversity of the ocean."