Far Rock Gripes

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Dear Editor:

I grew up in Bayswater and it was a great place to grow up. Spent the summer days at the beach on 25th Street with my family. Far Rockaway had just about anything you needed. Only went to the Five Towns for Jans and Baskin Robbins, otherwise there was no reason to go anywhere else.

I left Far Rockaway to find my future in Manhattan. About two and a half years ago, I decided to return to the beach and found a nice apartment with a balcony overlooking the beach on 26th Street. Since then, there has been over a dozen incidents of gun fire on my block. It's a special day when you can walk down Beach 26th Street and not see a discarded stained mattress while walking through a mine field of dog droppings. During the summer, you are lucky if your A/C can drown out the immature adults that the city dumps in our communities, who spend their days sitting on their decks with loud speakers turned all the way up, forcing us to listen to what music they want, that is until the police finally show up. It only takes less than five percent of the residents of any block to make it uncomfortable for the other 95%.

Unfortunately, the city administration’s desire to build affordable housing is very short-sighted when it comes to having a viable social service network available to handle the troubled families that can go hand in hand with families facing temporary or years of financial misfortunes. Destroying blocks with violence, rubbish and noise isn't helpful. The Rockaway boardwalk cost $140 million and the beach reclamation is running into 350-400 million dollars, yet the streets in the 30s, including the lot allocated for beach visitors, are a filthy embarrassment. The Sanitation Department that is responsible for Far Rockaway is a failure. They would turn around at my building three times a week and back up within feet of an overflowing city garbage can that they never would touch.

I would have to send monthly emails to our former Councilman Richards’ office to have the cans emptied. The police are overworked; the Sanitation Department just goes through the motions. There is no strong city social service network in Far Rockaway and if it wasn't for the Greek Council, Far Rockaway would never be cleaned.

The city's answer: build huge apartment buildings with 2,000 affordable units, but don't worry we'll build a gym. Reminds me of a queen who felt that if you let them eat cake, everything will be fine, but it wasn't.

My hat’s off to those behind the brewery project, finally Far Rockaway will have a place off the boardwalk/beach where food would be suitable for human consumption.

Good luck for those sticking it out. I am glad that other states haven't all wasted the beach like New York City did with Far Rockaway and I've found a nice quiet respectful affordable beach community in New Jersey!

 Harvey Brownstein

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