2003-08-29 / Editorial/Opinion

No Resolution Of Beach, Boardwalk Issues

No Resolution Of Beach, Boardwalk Issues

With the coming of Labor Day next Monday, the summer season in Rockaway has effectively come to an end. This is the second summer in a row that has ended with no resolution of the controversy over beach and boardwalk access. During the summer of 2002, there was a wave of tickets on the beach. At the beginning of this summer, City Councilman Joe Addabbo, the chair of the council’s Parks Committee, promised that something would be done to ameliorate the problem before this summer season began. That did not happen. Instead, the Parks Department posted red and white signs codifying restrictive access rules along the entire boardwalk. In early July, in the wake of the promised boardwalk protest, Addabbo told The Wave that the access hours for both the beach and the boardwalk would be changed, but that nothing could be done prior to the rally on July 9. Addabbo continues to say that he sees no consensus on changing the rules. Now, September is upon us and nothing has been done. On a number of occasions, Addabbo told Rockaway residents to go on doing what they had been doing for years – effectively, to break the rules. He told residents to contact him if they were hassled. We know that many did. We ask again why a city agency would promulgate rules that were made to be broken. We ask again why Rockaway is treated differently from the rest of city neighborhoods that have beaches and city parks. We ask again why the draconian access rules remain as the summer ends. The question will invariably end with cooler weather. It will return next July, however, as soon as the first surfer is ticketed, as soon as the first person is asked to leave the boardwalk at 10:01 p.m. or is ticketed for riding a bike on the boardwalk during the swimming period. This issue needs to be resolved prior to next summer. We understand that Addabbo has formed a committee that includes residents such as Palmer Doyle and Kevin Boyle and George Johnson to address the problem and to send a letter to Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. At this date, that committee might be a case of too little too late. If the city is waiting for the state to act, of if the final decision is up to Benepe and his minions, we may well be recycling this editorial again at this time next year…and, for many years to come.

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