I was tickled to find Mr. Reinhardt's (and Scout's) find on the front page of the latest issue of The Rockaway Times! I found a puffer fish while walking home the other day around Beach 120th. The little dude I found was more of a hockey puck than the photogenic fish on the cover, but certainly the same species. I had no idea how the dried-up little guy I found ended up on Rockaway Beach Blvd, although I had guessed the fish ended up this far north ahead of the hurricane down south.
Thought you might find it even a tiny bit interesting, as fish pucks of this species are few and far between!
Far Rock Detriment
The puff piece about Councilman Donovan Richards’ plans to destroy Far Rockaway (“Richards Talks East End Upswing” by Katie McFadden) in the October 4 issue, at best left me dismayed.
Of course it is true that people need places to live, and the poor should not be condemned to live under the Brooklyn Bridge or sleep in Penn Station, BUT there are appropriate places for various facilities that communities need. And unfortunately, neither Donovan Richards nor the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) has the slightest concept of these ideas. Let’s look at some of these proposals.
Beach Green is one of the most environmentally friendly buildings that I am aware of. But its residents have no place to buy the most basic items of life. There’s no shopping in the area to speak of, even with the nearby NYCHA project across Beach Channel Drive. Food shopping requires lugging a load of groceries via the Q22 bus (recall the deaths of old age people waiting for it), or a trip by automobile. But Beach Green has no parking to speak of.
The Downtown Far Rockaway plans are a horror. The EDC planners live in a fantasyland, best explained by their drawings of how they suppose the area will look when they are finished with the development projects. They suppose that people will get off the “A” train and sip lattes on the plaza after a 2-hour trip! Does this happen in the Five Towns, where people have money for Starbucks? Does it happen at 116th Street? They suppose that the middle income residents of the area will shop in Far Rockaway, but they provide no explanation of why no one with two nickels to rub together shops there now. Far Rockaway has a substantial population with money to spend, who spend it in the Five Towns. There is no reason to suppose that the new residents will be any different. They will just add some 5,000 new purchasers to the Five Towns shopping base.
The plans ignore fundamental issues, such as driving and parking. DOT says that their parking lots are unused and therefore unneeded. But this ignores the fact that the lots are often paved with broken glass, and police say that the lots are dangerous. But, of course, parking won’t be an issue because DOT says that the already narrow streets are too wide. Driving to shop in Far Rockaway, already difficult, will become impossible. But DOT is run by city planners rather than traffic engineers. These wonderful planners have diverted much of Beach Channel Drive traffic to local Bayswater streets, though their roads are narrowing.
But who am I to criticize. Everyone knows that replacing streets and parking with housing will certainly “revitalize” a shopping area. And just look at the shopping. Use the new Shop Fair as an example. It looks bright and cheerful. But in an area with a significant African-American population, apparently none could be found to work in the store. And there appear to be violations. Two visits were enough for me. You can see detailed rebuttals of the arguments in favor of the plans at http://bayswatercivic.org/whatsnew.html. Perhaps the Federal Railroad Administration and the Department of Housing and Urban Development will stop the madness for various federal violations.
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