1999-08-28 / Editorial/Opinion

Still A Ghost Town

There’s a publication called "City Journal" which purportedly attracts the attention of city officials because it is all about in urban policy---and how to make city living better.

The summer edition had an article about Rockaway and Coney Island and their "gorgeous beaches that any other city would flaunt." Because we believe Mayor Giuliani and others read this publication we were hopeful the article would be like a slap in the forehead. Oh, there’s beachfront property in New York city? Let’s take advantage of it.

Unfortunately, the article offers little creativity and insight and, instead, mostly retraces the many missteps of the city (Robert Moses, John Lindsay and the usual suspects) as it pushed Rockaway into decline.

Peter Reinharz, the author, suggests that Rockaway be rezoned to "encourage private development" and that the city should "send its economic development officials across the country beating the drums about the potential commercial opportunities." In the very same paragraph the author suggests that Rockaway "would give the Hamptons a run for their money."

He goes on to suggest that an oceanfront mall might get shoppers from the "affluent" Five Towns. He adds that tearing down the public housing in Rockaway would be "necessary."

With money from the Hope VI grant pouring into the projects that won’t happen. So, our point? There’s no point in making suggestions that don’t have a prayer.

And sadly, he says things look promising because Mayor Giuliani has an "Arverne plan." He does? Well, Reinharz pointed to the $7 million the city was "chipping in" for new sewers and sidewalks in the Arverne Renewal Area. That’s a plan?

This article was printed prior to recent utterances from the Governor’s mansion about Technodome. Charles Gargano, the State’s economic czar said, "in order for this project to come to fruition, it would require a very significant amount of public subsidy from both the State and City of New York for infrastructure and other off-site improvements." He went on to question whether the "return" on such an investment would be worth it.

As we’ve said for months and months, Technodome will not happen.

We would like to see "economic officials beat the drums" about the potential of the area. Perhaps the drums should be beat in Silicon Valley. With the vast amounts of money being made in high-tech maybe some venture capitalists will hear the drums and want to build a high-tech center close the ocean and within shouting distance of Manhattan and Wall Street.

That’s less of a pipe dream than Technodome and tearing down housing projects.

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