2001-12-08 / Columnists

Sprayview Sticks and Stones

By Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum

By Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum

In time of tragedy we especially are our brother’s keeper (sister too) in ‘the family of our kind’ and tragedy on tragedy is a terrible enforcement of this important concept and to promote peaceful relationships. While it is possible to be so philosophical I delayed typing up this column even more than usual given these tragic events.

If a line is drawn above the eyebrows and below the noses in the lower picture of the previous column a family resemblance is discernable. Readers may note that those couples who relate well (or not so in these serial marriage times) look often like brother and sister. By facial profile-and especially in that aspect of the face – the individuals are drawn to their own facial likeness. But sometimes what happens beyond shared similarities, one of the couple may be drawn to a facial likeness of the opposite sex parental figure. And if a reader understands the aforementioned not only is there a prize waiting but there is the further understanding as to why my brother’s Italian wife was drawn to him (beyond other particulars). She fell in love with her father’s face. And being attractive herself it would have taken (in the physical sense alone) an ‘infinite number’ of horse powered engines to pull them apart!

There are people like my Mother who are strong willed on many issues and this one – intermarriage – left her inconsolable. Thus a fractured family broke apart. I couldn’t say it was unreasonable anger of her own with the unfortunate aspects of the Jewish experience since the fall of the Second Temple up to the more fortunate experience in the US and Israel. There were reasons to be angry but personality types (the strong willed and stubborn) will not let issues drop and move on to improve relationships. She said our family had lost 60 relatives in the Holocaust in Europe and she felt like a survivor. I could not introduce a lady I was seeing (of Jewish faith) into such a fractured scene (and other issues did not work out either).

All I can say is for anyone not sympathetic to the above (Jewish or Gentile) is that there is the belief that prayer can act as an ark (thanks Sam) against sorrows and obstacles that come into lives. Prayer even keeps order in the Heavens (the Sun-Moon-Stars) and even can bring rain in the right season for a good harvest. So there would be a ‘functional extinction’ of Jewish prayer if intermarriage like my brother’s continues (as much as it indicates some acceptance of the Jewish people and culture). But all the friction that has happened over religious and cultural differences in World History and the consequences are awful to review. Even today in the Middle East, the Balkans, Ireland, Africa, and India the family feuds within the family of humanity continue (and even with religions).

So I brought up this problem because how do we focus on the planet Earth and its resource management – and the ‘Rockaway’s coastal ones’ too – if there is too much friction (or potential) such that management issues are lost sight of including stewardship of people and resources – and fairly too?

I went with Technodrome – (or dome?) given it was recreation tied to coastal location and would provide jobs. Birds and butterflies, shrubs and trees would be sacrificed – and there was room to push for some conservation. Though skeptical of there being any possibility I played along. Those who remember the Oceanview condo concept for 7500 units will also remember it could have been built in the Gobi desert of Mongolia since it had had no economic coastal aspect to it. It couldn’t even fund a park. Battery Park City was the development ‘for such highlights’ not Rockaway! The Community Board 14 acted as if it had no clue of the difference.

So how will the Baxter/Rawlins – father of technodrome plan be financed in Rockaway? What about Kevin Callahan’s Recreational Pier? Or what about Lew Simon’s small college edifice. My ideas for a surfing center-small aquarium and museum also come to mind. All I can say is that any ‘anticasino zealots’ are to be praised. But anyone interested in promoting coastal employment and recreation should look to an RFP for an ‘entertainment complex’ that includes by necessity one Casino. Before any global warming flood catastrophe (may the Almighty prevent) maybe Rockaway real estate networks and the Chamber should examine this solution.

LI commercial interests want to tap into State tourism (according to a recent article) yet Rockaway has never has a delegation to the NYS Waterfront Revitalization conferences held for the last couple of years in Albany. Officials don’t even promote such important events. Hey a Casino operation might even be concerned that its customers not be all bitten up in the summery nights on the boardwalk. Anything is possible – even the tragic (A National Prayer day with meditation optional is a good idea).

Just to stick in some environmental news the Natural Resources Protective Association managed a second voyage into the unexplored waters of Norton Basin and found abundant marine life – and videotaped it down to 40’ depths. Thus neither the Feds nor the State agencies can argue that it’s so dead that it needs restoration by dumping toxic dredge spoils into it (nor Rockaway dirt)! The toxic dredge spoils can’t even be used for mosquito repellent (better for filling Pennsylvania mines on fire). In a pinch it might be used or grading the Pennsylvania and other Brooklyn landfills (and exposed degradation onsite and then planted over).

As for other news let there be prayers for Rockaway and that the State decides to add Dubos Point (with zillions of mosquitoes) to the list of five sites chosen but the agencies (and others) of the New York – New Jersey Harbor Estuary Program to be restored (which includes reducing the volume of stagnant water that breeds mosquitoes). These are wetland areas like Dubos Point but these sites ‘have more pull’ in a prioritization process.

Not enough Rockaway pull has been expanded in this brother’s sister keeper theme. Also note there is a federal soil program in the Department of Agriculture and it promotes topsoil conservation. In fact there is a New York City Soil and Water Conservation District group (as part of the federal program). But the powers there never let me make a presentation on Rockaway’s topsoil loss and gain of mosquito swarms. Its got a kitty of about $100,000 clams the last time examined. And the estuary program gets about $300,000 federal clams each year for operations. Neither program has cared enough about Rockaway’s topsoil losses nor mosquito swarm gains.

The agencies of the estuary program have been more interested in bringing toxic dredge spoils into Norton Basin and Jamaica Bay than issues of more concern to me and $300,000 should make Jamaica Bay another type of target. Yes this federal program has Jamaica Bay designated as a special area for protection. Is taking poison fashionable these days for health benefits? Next time more on the estuary program’s approaches to Rockaway and Jamaica Bay.

My cousin Andrea (deceased from breast cancer) between my brother and me. Note the energy efficient tricycle (still seen in Rockaway) with 1940’s bungalow scale.

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