2001-07-07 / Editorial/Opinion

Rockaway for Rockawayites!

Rockaway for Rockawayites!

There is a growing feeling on the part of many people who live on the peninsula that our annual summer visitors are not worth the problems they cause for year-round residents. Typical of the complaints is the letter that appears in this week’s Mailbag. "The residents of Rockaway do not benefit from this tourism. The only people who benefit from the summer influx of mainlanders are the merchants," the writer argues. The arguments are the same as they have been since the 1920’s, when tens of thousands of bungalow residents began coming to Rockaway each summer to escape the hot pavement and stifling apartments of Brooklyn and the Bronx. The "Down For The Dayer’s" (DFD’s, as they are derisively called) cause traffic jams, they bring dirt, they bring crime, they urinate on local lawns, they take parking spots from Rockaway’s "real" residents. Those arguments are not generic to Rockaway. They are the same arguments that can be heard in every beach community in the world. And, they are wrong. Rockaway is an isolated group of communities that need more business, not less. That business, in many cases, survives thanks to the people who come to Rockaway during the summer months. We know of several restaurants, for example, that would not be available to residents in the winter were it not for the revenue generated by summer business. Rockaway has always been parochial. That is one of the peninsula’s problems. Rockaway is a beach community and one of the immutable laws of nature is that beach communities draw visitors during the summer months. We should not fight it, but learn to maximize our strength to make our quality of life better during all seasons of the year.

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