2002-11-16 / Letters

Not Insulting To Rockaway

Not Insulting To Rockaway

Dear Editor;

There is an old saying, "Those who do DO and those who don't just talk about it." As someone who grew up here, left for 25 years and moved back here recently I have come to observe a few things. There is a hell of a lot of whining and not a whole lot of action. There are several groups that are doing great things, namely, the three artist groups that sponsor events in Fort Tilden, the garden clubs, and I am sure there are some I am not aware of.

In response to the article that ran in The Village Voice, I don't get your beef. Do you think that Beach 116 is eyesore or jewel? Do you think that a shopping area for a community of $500,000+ homes should look like it does? As far as the reference to Williamsburg, it is probably due to the fact that all the artists are being forced out of Billyburg and are settling in other areas, this being one of them. This will never be Billyburg, because you can't get into Manhattan in 7 minutes and there isn't the raw industrial space. I don't think anything in the article was meant to be an insult to Rockaway and its residents, maybe just a wake up call to what it looks like to an outsider.

How do I know so much about Williamsburg? I lived there for 14 years. I was one of a group of residents who gathered information, wrote and then got passed a 197a plan. Residents, not the Community Board, not the elected officials, they all came on board after the hard work was done. It took 12 years of hard work and the process is still going on.

Having worked on a multitude of issues from urban planning to fighting garbage transfer stations to getting a Greenmarket for the community, I have come in contact with residents from many communities across this city and in almost all cases it's the residents who have instituted positive change, not the politicians. In many cases it's been the residents fighting the local community board and electeds.

The McCarren Greenmarket in the Greenmarket program of the NYC Council on the Environment was created against the forces of the Community Board and the elected officials, and is one of the most successful markets in the program. This is the group that runs the Union Square Market, Boro Hall as well as about 28 others across the city. I garnered grassroots support for a greenmarket and fought all the force trying to kill the initiative.

My suggestion is some of the writers of your newspaper should get out and see what's going on in other parts of the City, it may give you better perspective and their statement wouldn't sound so silly.

Property values are going to continue to go up in spite of the big Hurricane fear. There is a big housing shortage and this is a pretty great place to live in spite of the lack of transportation, the lack of decent restaurants, and the ridiculous ticketing of surfers. Just for the record it is really quiet here. If you don't believe me I can give you some corners to stand on that we can change your mind.

HELENE LESKIN


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