I Was Mistaken
Last week I was reached out to by two senior members of Ortega Family Enterprises asking me how I could condemn their new ventures at the two Breezy beach clubs in my scathing letter to The Wave without first giving them a fighting chance. They were right. Tanya Ortega, who appears to be the person of the family in charge of the two clubs, spoke to me directly last Friday evening requesting I revisit my letter entitled, “RIP Silver Gull.” I told her that the 44 years of the Silver Gull are gone, indeed, with the new era of Silver Shores about to commence. However, the long negative history this peninsula has with the National Park Service and the rest of the Feds, brings one to conclude that anything that has the Fed stamp on it has been done to us not for us.
Whether it is summer volleyball at Riis, our Summer Concert Series, The Rockaway Festival, the fees for using Fort Tilden fields, the contracts with kidsmART facilities and the theater, Feds have dealt the neighborhood blow after blow forcing cancellation of the long standing concert series and festival. Can anyone blame us for our distrust of the Feds?
In a community where culture has been supplanted by sports, for the few cultural events we cherished to be, in essence, out priced by the Feds, is criminal. To further prove in how little regard Rockaway is held by the Feds, they decided that running a substantial natural gas pipeline under our MP Bridge to points north is good for us. Thus, when Tanya Ortega and I spoke, I told her it was difficult to believe that by changing skippers on the Silver Gull ship after more than 40 years, the Feds had the best interests of membership and Rockawayites in mind.
Naturally, I explained to Ms. Ortega that because of the track record of the Feds vis-à-vis Rockaway, we expected the worst. She understood; but, rightfully so, refused to be linked with the mistakes by the Feds in the past. Ms. Ortega couldn’t be nicer or more enthusiastic about her family’s venture here in Rockaway. She advanced the idea that for her to arm wrestle me in The Wave would be a fight no one would win. Then, she asked if I would recant the harshness with which I referred to new management. I told her I regretted jumping the gun with respect to new management and the future of the club and that I would be fair in future correspondence.
Ortega’s manager who had phoned me earlier in the day told me everything in the club that was the Silver Gull and is now Silver Shores would be new from top to bottom. Commercial kitchen appliances, display refrigeration units, furniture, the patio large awning, lounge chairs …also, additional help will be hired to make certain the club is clean and repairs up to date. No raise in fees will be seen this summer; and, the hours of the club and activities offered will be consistent with those of years past.
That new folks will be overseeing Breezy’s two beach clubs after 40+ years of community rule did put fear in the hearts of membership, the devil you know vs. the one you don’t. However, to this point, it is probably correct to say fears are unfounded. Ortega Family Enterprises wants their venture to be a success as much as the passionate members of the clubs, some having 44 years invested in summers there, want them to succeed.
Those Rockawayites who enjoy paddle ball, tennis, bocci, paddle tennis, basketball, soft ball, pool swimming, painting, aerobics, yoga, bridge and general socialization not to mention free children’s camp for members, might want to investigate the new Silver Shores Beach Club, just off State Road, one mile to the west of the MP Bridge. Here’s wishing a successful summer to all of us.