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Local Man Badly Injured at ‘Dayton Plaza’

What’s Next?

On Monday, September 25, if you happened to be shopping at Rockaway Commons, locally referred to as the Dayton Plaza on Rockaway Beach Boulevard, you may have noticed that the middle driving entry to the plaza was haphazardly blocked off by police tape and a shopping cart. Angry locals contacted The Rockaway Times (RT) to let us know that a 67-year-old Far Rockaway man was badly injured after falling through an open metal grate at the catch basin located at the entry of the plaza in front of Key Food supermarket.

Friends of the injured man, Thaddeus (last name withheld), immediately called 911 for an ambulance, and he was transported to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital’s emergency department. According to reports, he has been discharged from St. John’s, however “is in a lot of pain and has swelling” due to the gashes on his foot after being deeply sliced by rusty metal sticking up from the grate.

On Tuesday, September 26, the RT went to check if the entryway was still blocked off. We found that the tape was torn down and the shopping cart was removed, but the catch basin with the protruding metal was still in disrepair. One local resident, “Rog,” said that someone tore down the tape. “That grate has been in bad condition for months, and Thaddeus is the seventh person I witnessed falling through. One older lady fell this past May. It’s terrible, especially at nights, when it’s even more dangerous because you can’t see where you are stepping.

“Thaddeus is still in shock. He’s been coming here for years depositing his bottles, and unluckily as he was pushing his cart through the entryway, he fell through. I just hope he’s going to be okay, and somebody gets this damn thing fixed before something even more serious happens,” Rog said.

In the August 10 issue, the RT published a story on locals’ complaints of the plaza called “Residents Decry Conditions and Demand Change at ‘Dayton Plaza.” At the time, the RT reached out to the owners of the Malachite Group, which owns the plaza, but as of press time, received no response.

However, this time around, after repeated phone calls, we were transferred to the maintenance department, and were told, “We are on it. Repairs will be made soon.”

What was the result? Two pieces of plywood were placed over the catch basin’s gap (See photo). For now, the gaps are covered, but will more be done?

Local resident, Dillon Banks, frustrated with the conditions of the shopping plaza, started an online petition on Change.org (https://www.change.org/p/newly-renovated-strip-mall-newly-renovated-and-sa) for locals to sign up, vent their concerns, and hopefully get the attention of local politicians and civic leaders, and the Malachite Group. Banks created the petition in August, and already 432 people have signed it.

In a Facebook post Banks stated, “The slumlords’ time has run out. A shopper in the decrepit Dayton mall was injured and taken to the hospital. We should protest and demand the owners fix this place ASAP. I have lived here for eight years and I have never seen any improvements. Elected officials need to get together and demand a safe and clean shopping mall for the people who vote for them.”

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