2001-02-24 / Letters

Pleased With Thumbs Down

Dear Editor;

I was pleased to read that the proposed Bridge Creek apartments received a vote of no confidence from Community Board 14 members at their meeting on February 13. I want to congratulate all the members who voted against this housing project, although represented as upscale and luxurious, it is more than likely to be subsidized low income.

It was only a while back that District Manager Jonathan Gaska represented Wavecrest Gardens 2 as garden apartments, but in reality six stories, 122 units of low and very low income housing for the homeless and built on a public access from Seagirt boulevard to the beach. A letter of congratulations to Samuel Goldfarb from Judith A. Calogero, president of the New York State Housing of Trust Fund reads, "On behalf of the Housing Trust Fund Corporation, we are pleased to support you in your endeavors to provide needed housing for low and very low income populations in your community. We look forward to working with you to ensure a successful project completion." This letter was cc’d to Senator Alton Waldon jr. and Assembly Member Pauline Cummings.

Assembly Member Audrey I. Pheffer wrote on May 9, 1988 to Gene Alfred Norman, chairman of the Landmarks Commission, "I am writing to add my voice to those requesting landmark status for beach-side bungalows located on Beach 24 to Beach 26 streets in Far Rockaway. The beauty and historic presence of these buildings is surpassed by few cities in the City of New York. These bungalows were built in the 1920’s and many remain in their original state. If this site is granted historic status, future generations will be able to view the history of Rockaway first hand."

On June 2, 1988 Assembly Member Pheffer attended the Queens Historical Society tour of the bungalows and was photographed on Beach 24 street mid-block public access easement with then chairperson of the BBPA Betsie Parker White. Almost 10 years have past and although Assembly Member Pheffer told me that she will not support subsidized housing on the waterfront a letter of support was written by her for 122 low-income units of the Wavecrest Gardens 2 apartments.

In addition to the low income housing being built on our public access easement, further assault on our bungalow community came with the bulldozing of our only access ramp, a permanent easement to the street and homes used by homeowners, the disabled and the public. Audrey’s response to correspondence by the BBPA requesting her help stated, "Upon investigation, it has come to my attention that the area affected lies within the 31 Assembly District, which is represented by Pauline Rhodd-Cummings."

I an glad Assembly Member Pheffer, after 12 years, was able to investigate that the "area affected" was not her district even though she supported Wavecrest Gardens 2 but did nothing to help the disabled and have our ramp access restored. Maybe she can continue with her investigation on our public access easements and our land use rights. Audrey Pheffer as well as all the politicians have a responsibility to their constituents to make sure our tax dollars are not misappropriated.

The fact is that after the indictment of past commissioner of the Department of Buildings James Leonard, evidence that our 40-foot wide public access easement is legal and permanent. The BBPA and our attorney’s meeting with Mr. Leonard in August 1999 revealed a legal document, a survey approved by the Department of Buildings in 1980 that was not enough evidence to have Leonard issue a stop work order, if not revoke the permits. He would do neither as he was more concerned about being sued rather than doing the right thing.

It is coming into focus and is very clear that Jonathan Gaska and the local politicians don’t give a damn about the revitalization of Rockaway. They have aligned themselves with the big money—New York State monies—our tax dollars—to push and dump more low income into Rockaway.

Again I congratulate the Rockaway residents and Community Board 14 for their no confidence vote.

RICHARD GEORGE


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