Reaction To Irene
In attempting to rekindle the dune “debate,” the Wave failed to emphasize the more critical point: The City made no credible effort to keep the ocean off City streets in advance of a major tropical storm.
Prior to the storm, a Parks bulldozer made small piles of sand by the tide line, each about two blocks apart. These piles were as protective as sand castles built at low tide. Meanwhile, the beach entrances were left wide open. When Irene’s storm surge was at its peak at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, the storm surge was never higher than the lower wall at each beach entrance. Yet, the ocean ran undeterred onto Belle Harbor’s and Neponsit’s streets.
Clearly some common sense prevention would have rendered unnecessary the herculean (and expensive) cleanup effort by the Department of Sanitation. Your editorial is correct: If we had known the Parks Department would not seal the beach openings, residents would gladly have sandbagged the beach openings with Parks support.
As you know, it is still early in the tropical storm season. If the City is not able or willing to protect the neighborhood, our citizens need to be ready to take more aggressive actions the next time a hurricane approaches the peninsula.