A Simple Plea
The following letter was sent to Linda Canzanelli, Superintendent, Gateway National Recreation Area
Recently Mark A. & George J. from Rockaway asked you to clean up and beautify the median on Riis Park’s northern perimeter that serves as the grande entrance into Rockaway and Far Rockaway (please see attached foto, Before) .
Riis Park, of course, is a product of Robert Moses’ vision...as a sun and fun destination for the people of New York. Mister Moses was a very, very difficult man to work for, but he would not have tolerated the dilapidation and abandonment of today’s Riis Park.
Now, please Madame Superintendent, don’t get me wrong, your generous allocation of space and facilities for some of Rockaway’s youth and cultural activities - The Rockaway Little League, The Rockaway Theatre Company and the Rockaway Artists Alliance - and for our Summer Youth Camps is TERRIFIC stuff. It’s a fabulous outlet for Rockaway’s kids, for the arts and for all of us.
On the other hand, the balance of your campus lies abandoned, dissolute, dilapidated and crumbling....the ball fields, the handball courts, the barbeque pits, the boardwalk, the railings, the beach, etc., etc. To get a simple playground for kids, previous NPS park-workers had to beg the superintendent just to get a few swings. Look at your Bath House, Madame Superintendent. In the central arena - which is inexplicably off limits to all guests, visitors, beach-goers - lifeguards grow tomatoes and hang out their clothes to dry like some 1950’s Brooklyn row houses. Speaking of ‘50’s Brooklyn...it was then that Brooklynites by the tens of thousands dropped into Riis Park for sun and fun, and filled your parking lots.
Since NPS stewardship, those parking lots look more like America’s Great Northern Plains - you know, the badlands - than a summer destination for two and half million Brooklynites and eight million New Yorkers.
So please Madame Superintendent, remember Robert Moses!!!: clean up the trash, cut the grass and beautify the median with some nursery plantings and maybe some beautiful shade trees.
And please Madame Superintendent, remember the local Chamber of Commerce’s beautiful ‘Welcome To Rockaway’ sign (that sits right there at the entrance to your Median)!!!: serve as a sincere and gracious steward to Riis Park and Fort Tilden.