Community Leaders in Rockaway Beach are battling a plan that would allow the parking of 2,500 cars in the Jacob Riis Parking Field. Does anyone know who the contract is between or if our elected officials have seen the plan? The ownership of Riis Parking Field has been in dispute for more than 67 years. Records going back to 1934 show that New York City Parks Commissioner Robert Moses assigned the area north of Rockaway Beach Boulevard to the Marine Parkway Authority, which built the Jacob Riis Parking Field and the Marine Parkway Bridge. Then, the Maine Parkway Authority became the New York City Authority and, eventually, the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority. Finally, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority became the parent agency of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority. Therefore, contrary to popular belief it is not the National Parks Service which owns the parking field proposed to become an impound lot. Instead, the owners are the TBTA and its parent company, the MTA.
Since the NPS, a federal agency, is not the owner, the battle to prevent the dumping of cars becomes a local issue. Therefore, community leaders who wish to fight this plane should demand answers from the Community Board and the City Council who would have had a say in developing the plan. Just because the Gateway National Recreation Area has given the plan a thumbs-down doesn’t mean it’s a dead issue. They never had complete control over the parking field in the first place.
So much for that. What about the sewer coming alongside the Marine Parkway Bridge from Brooklyn into Rockaway? According to reports, the project is being held up because the contractor hit rock in Jamaica Bay, and since that wasn’t part of his contract, he refuses to continue work. He is now battling the planners in court. Who is responsible for arranging a sewer line from Brooklyn in the first place? Plenty more to come on this one. It reminds me of the time the fox came into the farmyard back in Ireland: that fox had everyone on the family running after her with brooms while her young were cleaning out the henhouse.
Local official have an obligation to provide the community with all the facts on both projects. Let’s demand that they spill he beans.