2004-08-27 / Community

RDRC Drives GEM Into The Future

By Miriam Rosenberg Contributing Editor

By Miriam Rosenberg
Contributing Editor

No, that’s not George Jetson behind the wheel it’s RDRC’s Tony Berkel getting ready to take The Wave’s Contributing Editor for a test drive of the GEM electric vehicle.
No, that’s not George Jetson behind the wheel it’s RDRC’s Tony Berkel getting ready to take The Wave’s Contributing Editor for a test drive of the GEM electric vehicle.

  • Jaws drop and eyes open wide in amazement as it passes by. The future of the automobile has arrived in Far Rockaway with the donation by LIPA of a GEM Car to the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corp. (RDRC).
  • The GEM is an electric car that uses 12 batteries and goes 11 miles per hour. Many people have already seen the Parks Department use such cars on the boardwalk, but RDRC – a not for profit company – is the only nongovernmental business of any kind to own such a vehicle in the Rockaways.Tony Berkel, the Director of Business and Professional Services at RDRC, said that the car “makes it more accessible to get places because it can stop anywhere.”

    Berkel pointed out there is something more important for RDRC about using the GEM than to just get around.

    “It’s environmentally friendly,” said Berkel, who hopes to get other businesses on the Peninsula to purchase such a car – especially ones that count delivery in their services.

    “It improves the quality of air, which improves the quality of life,” said Berkel.

    For those who wonder, the car rides well. It is quite something to see the look on people’s faces as the car passes by. Even Captain Walter Salowski of the 101 Precinct couldn’t help but smile, as he stopped to say hello to Berkel when his car and the GEM vehicle met up at the intersection of Mott and Central Avenue.

    For now, in addition to transporting the staff of the organization to different places in the area, the car will be used for events to promote RDRC throughout the Rockaways.

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