2006-10-27 / Editorial/Opinion

Opinions

Provide Something Of Value For Teens To Do

Whenever we ask teenagers involved in inappropriate behavior or minor criminality why they did it, the answer is usually that they had nothing to do and so they did whatever got them in trouble. If you talk to experts involved in studying gang and teenage violence, one solution to the problem is always to provide them with something worthwhile to do. In light of that, it is hard to understand why city officials forced the closing of the Irish Ropes boxing program in Arverne. The program was an honest one, taking many at-risk teens off the street in the evening and weekends, teaching them some discipline and building some self-esteem. The city says that it was closed because the building it was using was not zoned for such a program, but we understand that many boxing programs throughout the city have been closed by the Department of Parks and Recreation's boss, Adrian Benepe because he personally does not like boxing. We are not sure that Benepe closed the programs for that reason, but the fact is that the programs are gone and kids in those areas, and in Rockaway, are once again wandering the streets with no place to go. At one time, there were five movie theaters in Rockaway in addition to two bowling alleys and a roller rink. Now, there are none of the amenities that would draw teenagers away from where they traditionally hang out - on the streets, in front of churches and on the beach. We would urge the city to bring back some of those amenities as part of the building boom that is now taking place. We also urge the city to rethink selling the abandoned firehouse at beach 56 Street for homes and instead turn it over to Irish Ropes so that it can once again begin its fine program. Everybody agrees that something must be done to give teens a place to go, but it seems that everybody shies away from actually providing such a place. Giving the unused firehouse to Irish Ropes would be a start in the right direction.

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