Citizen Jetties

Boyleing Points

Yeah, I’ve got rocks in my head and but now I know what to do with them. 

It’s hurricane season and it’s five years since Sandy and there’s not a new jetty in sight.   The beach is shrinking and plenty of people without rocks in their heads are frustrated, angry and fearful. Rallies are held and elected officials express outrage over the inaction. Same old, same old.

Shortly after Sandy, when the destruction was fresh, the Army Corps of Engineers hurried to do beach replenishment and finish some study (the reformulation study) that would bring jetties here and a bunch of other measures that would fortify the peninsula. 

A nice fellow who lives in Rockaway and actually works for the Army Corps uttered somewhat infamous words: This time it’s different, he said.

 Only it wasn’t.

We’ve got a new boardwalk and after that we got bubkus. Diddly. Jack.

 Looking forward, we can hold rallies. And we can wait. Both of which we’ve done before.

And here’s where the rocks in my head come in. I think we should all take part in building a jetty. Rock by rock, pebble by pebble. 

Twenty-something years ago they made a movie, The Englishman Who Went up a Hill but Came down a Mountain. The story goes that a village was proud of a mountain in its midst but its status as a mountain was being threatened. A surveyor alleged that it was a few feet short of a mountain and therefore it was just a hill. 

The villagers wouldn’t have it. They devised a plan, which included carrying dirt in their pockets to the top of the hill to make sure it maintained its mountainous status. Everybody got in on it.

 I say we steal the idea.

Pick out a beach, any beach, and we drop a few rocks. And then a few more. We get on social media and tell people – bring a rock to Rockaway. We get how many million visitors a summer? We tell ‘em to bring a rock. Bring a rock to Rockaway.

 I think citizen jetties are the way to go. The Army Corps acts like they’re building the Great Pyramids but while they dawdle we’d be building. 

Rock after rock. Civic groups would come armed with wheelbarrows. I bet there’d be middle-of-the-night boulder-dropping pick-up trucks doing their part.

The New York Times would pick up the story. Then network news. More people would bring rocks. And more people. People from far away places would bring their rocks to throw on the pile giving it all an international flair.  Pretty soon you’d have a real jetty forming. There’d be talk of doing a second one.

Who’s to stop us? The Parks Department? They can’t stop litterers – they’re not going to stop people innocently tossing stones into the ocean.

Seriously! A rock here and a rock there is a million miles faster than what the Army Corps is doing. And beach rallies would be a lot more fun.

People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones but everyone else should.

Citizen Jetties – there’s a movie in this!  (Not to mention beach protection).

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