2000-12-02 / Front Page

Rockaway’s Newest Neighbors Rockaway Park Estates A Welcoming Home

By John C. McLoughlin

Rockaway’s Newest Neighbors
Rockaway Park Estates A Welcoming Home

There’s a doctor down the block, a professor around the corner, and a social worker and attorney within a few yards of each other. These professionals are Rockaway’s newest neighbors since purchasing a house in the Rockaway Park Estates development.

Dormant for more than 15 years, the vacant lot once the site of the Playland amusement park is alive once again. Families have been attracted to the one and two-family homes and townhouses being built from Beach 97 street to Beach 99 street between Rockaway Beach boulevard and Shore Front parkway since work began in the springtime of 1999.

Jon Miller of Rubin Management, the developer of Rockaway Park Estates, said the site presently includes 50 two-family semi-attached homes, some completed and others being built; 13 two-family townhouses in various stages of construction; and eight one-family homes along Shore Front parkway and Beach 95 street, which are near completion. As of this time, 28 homes have been closed on and the developers are "building mostly under contract."

Miller expects to have 140 homes built within the vicinity over the next few years.

At a meeting with several of the new homeowners, Miller was thanked for his continued efforts and support to revitalize the neighborhood. Democratic District Leader Lew Simon, who assisted the new homeowners in forming a civic association, said of Miller, "Everything he touches turns to gold. There’s no skimping on the building...Jon built wisely."

Referring to the new development, Simon said this was the "most positive thing to happen in three decades [to Rockaway]...beautiful homes with wonderful neighbors."

Rockaway’s newest neighbors agree with Simon. James Carman, a homeowner and co-president of the Rockaway Park Estates Neighborhood Association, said, "Where else can you go to the ocean, fish in the bay, and have the subway right down the block. It’s a small town in a big city."

Carman, along with co-president Henry Jefferson, squelched any negative rumors about the type of people living in the new homes. "There’s no welfare or Section 8 in these buildings," Jefferson said. "Our tenants are working people."

"We have a high demand for our apartments," Carman said. "There’s an abundance of tenants." Carman and other homeowners said that they charge between $1100 and $1300, without utility costs, to rent an apartment.

According to Miller, "nobody owns more than one home," and referred to the homeowners and tenants as "good people."

Joan Jacobs, an attorney who is considering purchasing a home, said the diverse population of owners and tenants is good for the community. "Everyone seems to be so warm and welcome to a diverse group of people," Jacobs said. "These people are adding value and culture to the community."

In order to welcome new neighbors, as well as keep the neighborhood clean, several of the homeowners came together to form an association. One of the most recent actions taken by the new civic is the collection of 150 signatures, which were forwarded to the MTA and local elected officials, to address the poor conditions of the subway station at Beach 98 street.

"We’re a plus for the community," Jefferson said. "We will do everything to help the community to be what it was."

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