Should Have Known
I would like to respond to the letter last week from Bob Israel regarding the lack of a Fall Festival this year. I appreciate that he and his family enjoyed the event each year and that his family looked forward to it.
The Riis Park Festival as he called it, is actually a 25 year event presented free to our neighbors by The Rockaway Music and Arts Council each September. Each year we contracted for new and better vendors and artisans and the festival grew, but in recent years we were presented with many problems by Gateway National Recreation Area and it became impossible for us to continue. The fact that the festival was not held this year was posted in The Wave many times. Several weeks ago there was our usual Festival flyer overlayed with the word “Cancelled” and if you had been reading the “Notes From The High C’s” column over the past few years you would have read about the problems presented by Gateway that made it impossible for us to continue. President Obama had nothing to do with the cancellation and I can bet he doesn’t even knew we exist. The problem started four or five years ago. With their need to make money the federal government had a plan to make a profit and so began asking exhorbitant fees when actually most of the festival was on city land. They even went so far as to ask us one year to provide toilet paper. The fact of the matter is that they do not want anything in Riis Park, (and I can bet in Ft. Tilden in the future) as it saves them money and they have nothing to watch over and clean up.
In addition to the Festival being cancelled we also had to cancel the Summer Sunset Concert series this year (another free event to the community) for the same reason, their exhorbitant fees.
As the name states it is Gateway National Recreation Area not Gateway National Park. It is called a “recreation area” for a reason but our government and specifically the Department of The Interior who oversees the parks, has no idea how to utilize a wonderful beachfront recreation area for the local community.
VICE PRESIDENT, RMAC