2004-07-02 / Editorial/Opinion

Show Them That You Care About Beach Access

Show Them That You Care About Beach Access

On July 9 last year, at least 1,500 residents crowded the boardwalk at Beach 116 Street to demonstrate their anger over the restrictive beach and boardwalk rules and to demand action on changing those laws. Unfortunately for the demonstration’s organizers, an incident a week earlier when police raided a party on a west end beach focused the ire of the people on the boardwalk to the issue of the use of alcohol on the beach rather than the larger issue of access. City Councilman Joseph Addabbo, who was then the chair for the Council’s Parks Committee (he still sits on the committee, although he gave up the chair), did not attend the rally. Afterwards, however, he promised that he would try and get the harsh enforcement of the draconian beach and boardwalk rules stopped. He also promised to work with local state legislators to get surfing and fishing beaches designated. In the intervening year, he has done neither. Local activist Lew Simon, who coordinated last year’s rally, has scheduled another one for this year. It will once again be held at Beach 116 Street on the boardwalk, this time on July 13. The 1,500 locals who took to the boardwalk last year apparently did not impress Addabbo or Deputy Commissioner for Operations Liam Kavanagh. Kavanagh was spotted on the boardwalk, but refused to comment on the demonstration. Not much has changed in that year, except that enforcement of the rules by officers from the 100 Precinct has become more rational. Parks Enforcement Police (PEP), however, has more than picked up the slack. Complaints have been flowing into both The Wave and Addabbo’s office at a record rate. Perhaps the powers-that-be would be impressed with 3,000 demonstrators. Perhaps not. In any case, Rockaway needs everybody who wants to use the boardwalk after 10 p.m. on a hot night or to walk across a "closed beach" without being harassed to show up at Beach 116 Street on July 13 to have their voices heard.

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