2006-07-28 / Editorial/Opinion

Opinions

Change Is Like Linus When His Blanket Is In The Dryer

Change is always difficult. There is no getting around it. Most people like the status quo because it is somehow familiar and calming. Marilyn Ferguson, the psychologist, writer and poet said of change, "It's not so much that we're afraid of change and so in love with the old ways, but it's that place in between that we fear ...it's like being between trapezes. It's like Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There's nothing to hold on to." John F. Kennedy put it more succinctly, "Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. After 35 years of simulation, Rockaway is rapidly changing. Some say the change is for the better. Many old-timers, however, look at the change as a negative force, as a repudiation of the Rockaway they remember when they were young. Homes are being built on virtually every empty lot on the peninsula. Massive housing projects are being developed. Old, graceful and beautiful homes are being razed to make room for multi-unit town houses. Old roads are changed or closed. New roads are developed. Old stores close. New ones open. It seems that all the new commercial development consists of banks, dollar stores and nail salons. But there is promise for more: A full-scale YMCA; a new supermarket; new restaurants as well as new light manufacturing facilities. The promise of a revitalization for Rockaway is greater now than in the past 80 years, when Rockaway was a premier summer community. Anybody who thinks about the problem for any length of time will know that Rockaway will never retrieve its "glory years," if in fact they were glory years. Our future is not in reviving our summer economy, but in building a strong, middle class commuter community of homes, shops, restaurants and all the other amenities that make a true community - and that includes a movie theater and something for our teens to do in the evening. The trick is not looking back, but looking forward. "Change does not necessarily assure progress," the great historian Henry Steele Commager once wrote, "but progress implacably requires change."

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