Just when I thought it was about the kids, I quickly learned that it was much, much more.
This past Saturday a group of "civically-minded people" gathered at the wave bus shelter at Beach 107 and Shore Front Parkway (WEEDway).
We hung a large 4’ x 15’ banner reminding NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver that over one mile of parks in Rockaway Beach and Rockaway Park is still not reconstructed since Superstorm Sandy completely obliterated every inch of park and playground from Beach 87th to Beach 108th.
After the banner was hung, more than seventy-five people stopped by to sign it, essentially sending their own personal message to Mitchell Silver.
The banner was summed up with four bold words: WHERE IS THE LOVE???
These banner signings are an extremely powerful means of sending a message to government officials. Once signed with hundreds of signatures, we will send it along to the appropriate agency. This banner will be taken directly to City Hall and symbolically presented to Mayor de Blasio and NYC Parks Commissioner Silver.
After we set up on Saturday morning, one of the first families to come sign the banner was the Casey Family. Mom Denise, seemed so eager to sign the banner, her first words were, "where do I sign?" After she signed, her husband and two children, 7-year old Walker and 5-year old Shea all signed. I asked young Walker if he missed Sandpiper. He didn't seem to remember it all that well, as five years to a 7-year-old is two-half lifetimes away. Sad!
What did strike deep in my heart was Walker's mom, Denise and her recollection as a child growing up and enjoying Sandpiper Playground. She told me about learning to ride a bike and playing with her friends, many of whom still live in the area, when she was the same age as Walker and Shea.
At a recent meeting this past Monday between NYC Parks and The Rockaway Beach Civic association, I pointed out that with the recent departure of past Parks' manager for Rockaway's parks, the two most influential parks employees in Rockaway do not know the Shore Front Parkway Park system prior to Superstorm Sandy. This is not to say that they care any less, but nothing beats the memory of a young kid learning to ride a bike to push NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver to get the job done and show Rockaway Beach and Rockaway Park some love.
If you did not have a chance to sign the banner, you will have a chance this weekend! We will have the banner at the Protection Protest this Saturday at Beach 129th at 2 pm. And again on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the performance space at Beach 94th and Shore Front Parkway.