2001-08-04 / Columnists

Chatting With Chapey by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey

Chatting With Chapey by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey


Every time we turn around, someone is dumping on the Rockaways.  Now we have the Federal Park Service and the New York City Corporation Counsel coming together to send another blight to our community.

According to park authorities, Riis Park has 9,000 parking slots of which visitors’ use 3,000 on any given day. Someone, no doubt, had a bad dream and came up with a nightmarish scheme to cordon off approximately one third of the parking slots at Riis Park.  They are planning to have the New York City Police Department dump 2,400 cars, which have been confiscated from drivers who were caught driving under the influence of alcohol.

Have you been to the pier on the West Side of Manhattan where the NYC Police Department tows illegally parked cars?  It is a deplorable site. However, that pier has a distinct advantage to the Riis Park proposal because the owners in Manhattan are generally anxious to go to the pier to get their towed vehicles. At Riis Park, the owners will not be able to retrieve their cars because the DWI laws require that the cars be permanently confiscated. No one knows how long the cars will be dumped at Riis Park.

The Rockaways shouldn't be a dumping ground for NYC.  Beverly Baxter in her "One the Beach" column in the Wave last week points out that in 1915, the Rockaway residents voted for secession from the City of New York. They wanted to become a self-governing entity. The Assembly and Senate approved this Charter.  Beverly's column certainly poses a great idea, which she notes was researched by John Baxter.

Since New York City is dumping on the Rockaways once again perhaps we should revive Rockaway City.  According to Beverly Baxter's article, several attorneys have reviewed the Charter for Rockaway City and believe that it is a legitimate document.  If the people of the Rockaways want to express their dissatisfaction with the antics of our city fathers, we can ban together to secede from New York City once and for all.  I have had several conversations with John Baxter on this topic. I know that John is very thorough in his research.  John Baxter and Beverly Baxter are really presenting Rockawayites with a key to our own city.

As you know Riis Park is in Gateway National Park, which is part of the National Park Service, which includes the Grand Cannon and Yosemite National Park.  Can you imagine the uproar if someone decided to put a DWI impound lot in the middle of the Grand Canyon or Yosemite National Park?  Such an outrage would bring a public outcry that would be heard across this country. Why, then, do we have to accept such an unsightly dump in Gateway National Park? Does anyone really believe that the only way to get the needed funds to repair Gateway National Park is to dump a DWI impound lot in our midst.

If this impound lot was proposed in any other national park you would see TV and newspaper people from across the United States covering this event. The headlines would read "What Part of No Don't You Understand" --  (The title of a familiar country and western favorite).  Lets tell the city fathers and the federal park service that Rockaway will not suffer this indignity. They promised us a pool and it never came.  They promised us a ferry and we are still waiting on the pier.

It's time for the Rockaways to get something uplifting. Staten Island and Brooklyn merit new baseball stadiums. We deserve something that will enhance our town.

I am calling on all Rockawayites to stick together and call for an end to
this strategy of dumping on our fair Rockaway City.

On a more cheerful note, please join us at the Rockaway Music and Arts Concert on Sunday, August 5th at 6:00PM in Fort Tilden.  It will be delightful.

Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Alex Romero, Barbara Eisenstadt and Sharon Gabriel enjoying the Rockaway Music and Arts Council Concerts at Riis Park

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