Downtown Dissent

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 Dear Editor:

Did a member of the Rockaway Times staff actually write the story, or was it a City Hall press release?

I won't go into all of the lies and problems with the "Downtown Far Rockaway" plans here, but the story was made up of whole cloth.  The existing DOT "mall" is a horror and an NYPD headache.  All of the traffic engineers who have reviewed the city's development plans say that the new developments will bring a traffic horror show. And, of course, the eastern end of Far Rockaway has far, far, too many millionaires so it is critical to balance the population with all of the available homeless, destitute, or merely poor people whom the city can find.

The story of Far Rockaway will, one day, be written up as a case study in not merely stupid, but anti-social and evil urban "planning."  Of course, it started with Moses. No, not Moses Rabenu (Moses the Teacher who gave us the Bible), but Robert Moses.  He converted middle class summer housing to slums, then "cleared" the slums. Then "city planners" living in SoHo, Brooklyn, and Long Island City decided to remake Rockaway in Manhattan's image.  If large apartment houses were good for Manhattan, then mile after mile of NYCHA projects would certainly aid Rockaway. If hospitals were good for the Upper East Side, nursing homes, adult homes, and the like would be great for Rockaway. If there was anything that would make a neighborhood less attractive, that was what the city would put in Far Rockaway.

I am a third generation Rockaway resident.  My grandparents lived in the Hamels Houses. I know what they are like. But that doesn't mean that all new public or publicly subsidized housing in the city should be, must be, in Rockaway. Nor does it mean that, on a narrow peninsula, with only two traffic lanes in each direction, greater population density is a good idea. It certainly doesn't seem like a smart idea to encourage people to move to a location with few jobs and even fewer support services.

Of course, it won't really affect me. I have a car and can escape to the Five Towns.  But what of the new residents who won't be allowed to have a car (since new developments won't have parking)?

Eugene Falik

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