Gateway Does Not Fit The Mold
In treating Gateway as a traditional national park, the NPS is ignoring history and doing a grave injustice to the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers this recreation area should be serving.
Unlike the lands set aside by Presidents Roosevelt and Clinton, Gateway wasn’t some pristine natural wonder. It was land that was already developed and being used largely for recreation by the Rockaway, Brooklyn and Queens communities. The City of New York gave Riis Park and other properties to the Federal government with the explicit understanding that the NPS would enhance our beaches, fishing areas and ball fields. Over time the Feds have defaulted on their commitment to us, largely due to budgetary reasons.
Only now are we being told that recreation is no longer an objective of our National Recreation Area. I for one hope we can work with the NPS to enhance the conservation, education, water-based recreation and, yes, organized recreation opportunities within Gateway. However, if the Federal government is declaring the recreational mission of our NRA a failure, then it should return the Jamaica Bay unit to the good citizens of New York City.
We did not give the Federal government our recreational spaces only to have our children and grandchildren denied use of them.