2003-07-04 / Columnists

Sprayview Sticks Stones

by Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum
Sprayview Sticks Stones by Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum

This 1988 City Parks Guide Map sends Rockaway into rec­reational oblivion. Law­suits against the City could have paid for lifeguards for Arverne beaches, and to open up creeks at Dubos Point with its beaches.This 1988 City Parks Guide Map sends Rockaway into rec­reational oblivion. Law­suits against the City could have paid for lifeguards for Arverne beaches, and to open up creeks at Dubos Point with its beaches.

As the tabloids have explained, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani had taken lessons from some Conservative think tank, the Manhattan Institute for example, on such issues as privatization and crime control by the famed "broken window" approach. So, if on quality of life crimes (in the human environment) ‘small fish’ are hauled then crimes of large fish (grown from the smaller) of a serious nature will be prevented.

A lot of fishing expeditions were sent out (for example, beach ticket blitzing) and whether picayune or non-existent to serious – a pack of dictators are out there who can be arbitrary, vindictive, etc., and make life miserable for citizenry! So whether justified as fundraising, or crime and quality of life crime control – if quota driven – and with excessive force there are violations of Constitutional rights and ethics. So litigation against the City skyrocketed with big sums paid out.

So when Diallo/Dorismond/Bush deaths happen it’s just oops/collateral damage, the cost of fighting crime paid by human suffering! I spoke to this Mayor on radio and he ‘sounded cold’ as I explained why less drastic approaches towards apprehending alleged criminals should be tried. He was just interested in defending police using guns. While no one wants to have any police widows, still the public has to be protected from ‘excessive force tactics’ as this Mayor initiated in all areas and with quotas……better to be hated and feared than loved!

What has this to do with environment? Well the model is Noah’s time when commentary explains that the earth had become so contaminated with blood and violence that a flood was needed to cleanse even of the excessive violence of animals and their bloody remains. June rains...national, global record floods….

Mystically a prayer can serve as an Ark of sorts to be shielded from sorrows and or overcome them. So the times we are living in now calls for such an approach even for ticket blitzing over use of public beaches on the Rockaway waterfront! Hey you could get shot by accident if your mistaken at night, as an alien species invading forbidden shores….should Mayor Bloomberg emulate such governance attitudes about locals and tourists alike?

I do not recall the tabloids mocking the blitzing in Giuliani time, but obviously the impact of harm finally wore through and more sense is called for in human rights……..beach use….

But what about the right to have accurate information for access to beaches that the public has paid for over and over and over, etc. Like the map Commissioner Stern published in 1988 that maps Rockaway into Nassau County, and not as an Oasis for recreation. No boardwalk, no beaches, not even Gateway National Recreation Area is shown to eliminate "recreation" to oblivion as a great spin and down-dumbing achievement!!!!

Happy zombies ignore this signage until suddenly it strikes home – this arrogance of power – and their beach use rights are also blitzed to oblivion! The "A" train signs send people to Coney Island and Nassau County so maybe go/ move there? Or else take hold of government, pray, and mend what has been ripped up – the social contract that makes government a public servant, not a draconian dispenser of rights already owned with justice for all even in beach access and use!!!! Giuliani delivered pain, not justice, and it’s nothing to emulate!!!! My beaches are closed into this Bloomberg mayoralty, even with more lifeguards. Why, since the people paid for it……

The NY/NJ Harbor Estuary Program gets at least one-half a million dollars to keep habitat and clean water/ clean dredge spoils for disposal/promote access (and the NYC Parks Department is part of the program) The Program has not recognized surfing access along with that for fishing/boating/swimming. So just discovered another map of this program that dis-informs about Rockaway’s beaches. In the Spring 2003 issue of "The Tidal Exchange" (program newsletter), The beaches of New Jersey are shown for the NY/NJ Harbor Program. But for the New York beaches, Coney Island gets on the list with others, but Rockaway beaches are shown not to exist for monitoring and access rights. Why?

On a technicality, since the Harbor Program has as its southern boundary the Rockaway-Sandy Hook transect, the Rockaway beaches are in ‘NY Bight’ waters, which extend out to a line drawn between Cape May, NJ and Montauk Point. But since the Arverne/Edgemere Renewal area and the rest of Rockaway is all in the Coastal Zone and Jamaica Bay Watershed, shouldn’t our beaches have been asterisked on the listing for public information and clarification?

It’s too late now but for other issues, write Robert Nyman, the Program Director, and one of the Editors, at 290 Broadway, New York, NY 10007. He is a scientist at USEPA Region 2, an agency that needs public outreach to function well!!!! If no one knows the beaches exist in Rockaway by poor mapping, then it’s easier to ignore public rights to them……

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