2002-09-07 / Letters

Supports Surfer Letter

Supports Surfer Letter

In reference to surfing or not surfing, kudos to S.O. In his letter (Wave, 8/31) he said a mouthful. While a few days ago, right here on 116 Street, the U.S Postal Service dedicated a stamp honoring Duke Kahanamoku, the great Hawaiian waterman, who in 1912 introduced surfing, the sport of kings, to the U.S Atlantic Coast and that in 1960 visited Rockaway and that in 1990 a street in our region was named in his honor, the police department issues summonses to surfers for the criminal act of surfing and wanting to have a little fun. What a farce. What an irony!

In the same issue, in the "opinions" the writer asks "Who Owns The Beach? He mentions a few instances, a few pros and cons. It is his opinion that "right now, it seems as the police have the deed and the visitors to the beach are not welcome" Interesting to know that our Councilman, Mr. Joe Addabbo, who chairs the council’s Park Committee says that "giving tickets for leaving beach property behind is a matter of interpretation of the rule and the police have it all wrong".

According to his interpretation, the beach property referred under "construction" in the Green Book was meant for construction material and not for a beach property, such as a blanket. Equally interesting, if not more, is the fact that the Park Supervisor, Mr. Joe Bonkowski doesn’t even know the existence of such a law in the book (after all he is only the super.) Confusing? And how!

That said, who owns the water for surfing, fishing or for a stroll? Well for the right answer, I suggest to read the letter by Ira Feldman (Wave, Aug. 10) There is no doubts that the law mentioned by Mr. Feldman exists. He would not have mentioned it without having well researched it or not being very sure of himself. I know him well.

Of course there are other questions. Having established that "We The People" own the access to the water, with the right to surf or fish, next question is who has jurisdiction over it, the right to administer it, and to oversee it? Are the police in charge? Is the park department in charge? Is a blanket a beach property or is it an item subject to a fine as defined under "construction" in the Green Book? (If there is such a rule, right Mr. Bonkowski?) Can the police strip our rights to free access below the mean high water mark? Can we surf, fish or access the water at any time, even when there are no lifeguards on duty?

There are many ideas, many suggestions, either in articles or in letters. They all are eager to keep the surf, the fishing, and the access to the water, to the beach free, as they were meant to be. Sorry I am not a surfer, but I love to sit on my chair and watch them for hours. Many times I close my eyes and surf with them. What a relaxation. I love the water, the beach, and the surf. They are the reasons, for which I, and the majority of the residents, moved here in the first place. A Rockaway without the surf, the water or the beach is only a rock.

Today, the summer season is legally over, but the surf, the fishing and the access to the water are still with us. We need answers now; we must solve the present problems now. Next year if it is not the surf, the fishing, the dunes, the beacon or the barriers, there will be other problems.

It looks like Rockaway is prone to problems. Lets solve the present problems now, one at a time, "una alla Volta, per carita" Until then, ciao!


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