Rockaway Locals…You Tell Us! Get Your Voice Heard!
In our feature, reporter, Kami-Leigh Agard scours the streets to get your opinion on current issues facing the peninsula.
Your Voice…Your Community…Your Platform
This Week’s Topic:
From garbage strewn and dog droppings on our beaches, bay and the streets, how can folks — peninsula-wide and Broad Channel — improve the overall sanitation and cleanliness in the community?
Locals weigh in:
Proprietor, Rockaway Love yoga studio,
Business owner in Rockaway Beach, NY
Resident of Neponsit, NY
“I have lived in Neponsit since I was seven-years-old, and have seen many positive changes throughout Rockaway. I have seen firsthand, why it’s so important for locals to participate in beach cleanups, such as the one organized by Louis Harris’ nonprofit, Black Surfing Association-East Coast. As a community we need to actively participate in keeping our beaches clean. Plastic bags are a big problem. You see the seagulls attacking them, which is terrible because these birds can choke on the bits of plastic they swallow. It’s too bad that the law mandating a 5-cent consumer fee on plastic bags was killed. We must petition our legislators to agree on another way to reduce the use of plastic bags. These bags infest our beaches, streets and are harmful to our animal friends, who also call Rockaway home. The Sanitation Department needs to double-up on garbage and recycling pick-ups, especially during the summer, when we have more people visiting Rockaway, and more garbage collecting. When Rudy Giuliani was mayor, NYC overall was so much cleaner. Sanitation did more weekly pickups. Since his three-term tenure, I feel that the City has progressively become dirtier. That’s why it’s so important for us to individually do our part in cleanups, and also encourage our representatives to advocate on our behalf for more garbage pick-ups and fines on those who freely litter our streets and beach.”
DANIEL MARTINS & CLAIRE GONCALVES
“We just moved to Rockaway and love it here! However, under the subway, as you walk east of the Arverne By the Sea area, is filthy. However, once you gradually walk west, it’s so much cleaner. This puzzles us because the entire peninsula is so blessed to have both the beach and bay. Locals get to enjoy both all year-round, while visitors mostly flock here to get a taste in the summer. With Earth Day coming up next month, I would love to participate in a beach cleanup because it’s all about preserving the natural environment, while ultimately making it enjoyable for those who live and visit here. Admittedly I smoke cigarettes, but I make the effort to throw the cigarette butt in a public garbage can. Little acts like that only helps. The community needs more public garbage cans. Sometimes, we walk for blocks, looking for one. Also people need to pick up after their dogs. It’s not pleasant to see or smell dog droppings on the streets. It would be cool to have a ‘Rockaway Earth Day’ on the boardwalk, where people gather to celebrate the beauty of Rockaway and band together to pick up and clean up.”
Lab Technician, Husband & Father
Rockaway Beach, NY
“Instead of complaining, folks need to roll up their sleeves and clean up. Taking care of your own is the best way to chip in and make sure our neighborhoods look and feel good. Being a homeowner, I know that if we all actively worked at keeping our areas clean, our properties’ value would go up. If our streets look good, we look good. Unfortunately, some people just don’t care. Some rent and are in and out of the neighborhood. They aren’t stakeholders like homeowners. As for my biggest pet peeve? Folks not picking up after their animals! I am a dog owner myself, and it looks bad on me because people are probably saying, “It’s that guy who doesn’t pick up after his dog,” which isn’t the case at all. I know that if you don’t pick up after your dog, you can get a fine. But who reports it? Admittedly I don’t, I just pick it up myself. Also, we need more public garbage cans to drop our bags, after we clean up after our dogs. On the entrance and exit to the beach, there used to be more garbage cans, now they are hard to find. People who don’t see the garbage cans, use it as an excuse to not pick up. We should create block associations to address these problems. Maybe people would start to understand how we should treat each other as neighbors, be more courteous, and inspire others to follow suit.”
Mom of three children
Rockaway Beach, NY
“To improve and preserve the overall cleanliness of our community, folks need a change of mentality, and start to actually care! It starts with how parents train their children. You see children throwing their plastic wrappers and bottles in the streets, without giving it a second thought. Is this what they are learning and doing at home? It’s just like some people pick up after their dogs, and some don’t. Those that don’t, obviously either don’t know or don’t care. Again the question — what do they do at home? People complain, but they don’t do anything. We need to have town halls, where locals step up, voice their concerns, and TOGETHER come up with strategies to make change. We need to build awareness and education in the community about how important it is to pick up after yourself and your pets. To be fair, some may not even be aware of how their careless behaviors are affecting their neighbors, and ultimately detracting from the beauty of our community. It all comes down to the individual. I warn my children about littering. I won’t allow them to do it in the street, much less in my house. If kids don’t learn at home, it just makes it harder for them to understand why it’s wrong and harmful to the community, and ultimately the environment. We can’t get the desired end result without a change of mindset.”