2009-05-01 / Letters

Clean Up Beach 116 Street

Dear Editor,

I'm writing as a guy who used to summer a lot in Rockaway years ago, and who had the terrible misfortune of spending some time back at my old hangout last summer. Believe me, it won't happen again. It was years since my previous visit and unless things change, last year was my last year at "The Rock" I used to love.

Summer is around the corner and so is Rockaway's tourist season. But with all the talk about making Beach 116 more attractive to businesses, I wonder why the alleged "hotels" (a.k.a. SRO's) at the beach block are still operating. Does the crack trafficking they permit help the Rockaway economy? Or is it the prostitution that "helps grow" Rockaway finance? Maybe it's the resale of items taken from hotel guests when they leave the premises that keeps the Rockaway currency afloat. (And this is only the staff! Imagine what the numerous "guests" and "residents" must contribute!) And don't give me the "Renovated" or "Improved" or "Secure" bunk! It's the old "lipstick on a pig" routine. Smokey mirrors abound!

Seems to me that there are more than enough people who know about all of these things and some are in positions to do the right thing and close the culprits down. For those who don't know, I'll suggest a stay in one (or both) of the "hotels" to get first hand experience.

Meanwhile, maybe if the Times or other papers get the word and do the investigating, things on Beach 116 Street will improve and Rock Park can have a block that nice folks will want to come to someday. But wouldn't it be better if Rockaway cleaned its own trash out?

Shut down the fleabag hotels. Open legitimate places where good people can come to stay. Maybe then good business will follow. Honorable people with money to spend certainly don't appreciate strung-out crack heads, drunks and whores vying for their vacation budget (even if the vacation is a weekend trip to the beach). And these types (crack heads, etc.) prolific at best, in and around the bedbug hotels, also vie for money better spent at the local businesses. But the legitimate quests and visitors, tourists and shoppers won't venture to the front door of any store when they have to hold breath and wallet passing the derelict element housed in the "hotels" of Beach 116 Street.

As I say, don't take my word on the conditions and situations in the "hotels" on the south-east end of Beach 116. Give a look-see for yourselves. But hold on to your suitcase! Better yet, bring no more than your toothbrush (and keep that in you pocket too)!


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