2011-04-22 / Community

Jane’s Walk Comes To Rockaway On May 7

By Kahalia Solano


Jane Jacobs, in a photo shoot shortly before her 2006 demise. Jane Jacobs, in a photo shoot shortly before her 2006 demise. The gem of a peninsula nestled south of Jamaica Bay and north of the Atlantic Ocean has many residents who possess an unparalleled sense of community.

Rockaway residents individually understand the region and everything it has to offer.

Now, locals and anyone else with a keen attachment to the peninsula, have the opportunity to come together and collectively celebrate the turf.

Jane’s Walk promises to deliver an event at which people can truly get an authentic Rockaway experience. The walk will be held on May 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., beginning at the Beach 94-95 Street parking field on Rockaway Beach Boulevard near the Doughboy Memorial.

It is limited to 20 participants. The rain date is scheduled for Sunday, May 8, 1-3 p.m.

According to janeswalk.net, Jane’s Walk honors and embodies the ideas and legacy of Jane Jacobs, an urban activist and writer, whose most popular book is “The Death and Life of Great American Cities.” The walk aims to get people out, explore their neighborhoods, and meet their neighbors. These free walking tours are held in different cities and countries on the first weekend in May of each year.


Jane’s Walk events take place in many parts of the country, as well as in other nations. Jane’s Walk events take place in many parts of the country, as well as in other nations. The walks are led by locals who want to create a space for residents to immerse in dialogue, learn history, focus on what matters to them in their community, and enjoy the place that they call home. For the first time, this ground-breaking affair will come to Rockaway. It will be led by local writer, photographer and attorney Vivian Rattay Carter.

“This will not be a bike tour; I like the idea of people just walking.” Carter said. The walk consists of traveling through some Rockaway neighborhoods. People will visit local businesses, historic sites, and marvel at fixtures unique to the Rockaway area. Some of the places include Rockaway’s first school, first police house, and bungalows.

“Rockaway needs a place for history to be observed, and we don’t have that.” Carter said. “I don’t want the walk to be professional; the goal is to engage locals and other people interested in civic affairs.

We will walk through the neighborhood, stop in a café, and talk with people along the route,” she said.

Jacobs had a primary focus on communities, urban planning, and decay. Her book, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” is revered as a dynamic critique of the urban renewal policies of the 1950s in the U.S., but is still relevant to policies today.

The activist is also well-known for being at the forefront of grassroots movements to block urban-renewal projects that had the potential to hinder and destroy local neighborhoods.

She was a Greenwich Village resident who shook the development world. Jacobs played an instrumental part in the cancellation of the Lower Manhattan Expressway proposed by Robert Moses, “Master Builder” of the mid- 20th century.

Jacobs and Rockaway residents at the time shared a common thread. Moses, who was the developer of Jacob Riis Park and the Marine Parkway Bridge, caused uproar among Rockaway residents with the construction of Shore Front Parkway.

Residents’ criticism was sparked by his large-scale introduction of public housing and massive-scale demolition of bungalows, which accompanied the construction, along Rockaway’s beachfront area.

One is forced to make the correlation. What would Jacobs think of Rockaway today with its on-going development projects?

“In Rockaway there is a presence of things that are not residential; it is always a place to put something disgusting to our environment.” Carter said. “Rockaway is all about politics,” she said.

According to janeswalk.net, the walk’s audience includes people who want to participate in meaningful conversations about the social and built future of neighborhoods.

In “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” Jacobs wrote, “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created for everybody.

On May 7, participants in Rockaway will have the opportunity to live out Jacob’s vision and work as an integral part of building a cohesive community.

“I’m not doing this just to gain publicity for my event, I’m doing it to let everyone know, next year other people can do it as well.” Carter said.

The NYC Jane’s Walks are being coordinated by the Municipal Art Society of New York.

A Jane’s Walk is also being conducted on May 7 at Beach 24 Street in Far Rockaway.

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