2010-02-05 / Letters

Dunes Are Good For the Community

Just when you thought it was safe to enjoy the beach again, along comes “Suit Filed To Remove West End Dunes,” on the front page of the January 15 issue of The Wave!

The best piece that has been written about the preservation of Rockaway’s beaches and the few misguided individuals in Belle Harbor who want the necessary and protective dunes removed, was written by Howard Schwach a few years back when this issue first arose. I would hope that The Wave and Mr. Schwach would reprint the article to remind all of the residents of Rockaway just what a magnificent and fragile asset our beaches are.

To Mr. James Agoglia, who is persisting in this legal action, you should consider the following and hopefully see the error of your ways:

1. The ocean can do whatever it damn well pleases whenever it damn well pleases. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us who choose to live in such close proximity to such a beautiful, yet potentially devastating force of nature, to properly preserve our protective beaches, which in turn protects some rather pricey property;

2. Recently, the tail end of Hurricane Ida and a Nor’easter devastated many areas of our beaches up to the boardwalk and beyond. Considering that the beach in Belle Harbor between Beach 138 and 142 Streets (where the dunes are) is narrower than many areas on the peninsula, the presence of those dunes prevented your streets and basements from being flooded.

3. On Fire Island, which is all natural seashore and a barrier island for the long island mainland, walking on or impairing the dunes in any manner, is punishable by fine or arrest. Obviously the Federal Government takes the dune issue very seriously, and lastly:

4. The reasons you cite as to the way the dunes are dangerous and an impediment to local residents are not due to the dunes themselves, but rather the fault of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, who are clearly not maintaining the dunes properly. If you devoted your time, energy and passion on this issue to forcing Commissioner Adrian Benepe and his staff to do

their jobs properly, then supposed problems with the dunes could be easily rectified.

It has been said that those who do not heed the mistakes of history, are doomed to repeat them. Well once upon a time, there was a thriving community on a mile long barrier island off the Rockaway Coast known as Hog Island. The Island and everything on it essentially disappeared during an 1893 hurricane and was lost to the ocean forever in 1902. While you may think that such a fate for this Rockaway Peninsula is implausible, would you want to be here if it happened? Do the right thing Mr. Agoglia and redirect your efforts into making the dunes what they could and should be. And yes, the dunes should span the entire length of the peninsula.

RICHARD J. VENEZIANO

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