2012-08-10 / Letters

Outrageous Comments By Warren

Dear Editor,

I just had a brief conversation with a local seven-year-old, a veteran of playing organized sports in Fort Tilden; and, I asked him if he heard “the Gravy Train was over and wasn’t coming back?” He told me he thought he fed Gravy Train to his dog and did that mean he would have to change brands of dog food. No, I said. All that ball playing that you did in the Fort, if you want to continue playing, you will have to dip into your college fund to play. You see, this ‘gravy train,’ the one that implies west end families refrain from paying federal income taxes, is a misnomer. It implies westenders whose kids use the fields of Tilden as getting a handout from the feds. Au contraire! We have been handing out money to the feds ever since earning our first paycheck. In addition, we took a blighted area, the fort, and carved out a community friendly haven for our kids and artists. But, it seems Commander Warren and the government he represents do not quite see it that way.

Whether it is the beach clubs or the use of the fort, it is clear the federal government wants Rockaway out of their land (our land). The problem is that the restrictions on the size of our community makes utilization of the Fort our only avenue of ball fields for our children. After all, what other community has a national park in its center with no available land on which to construct ball fields? Everything, according to the Feds is rules, rules, rules. Whether it’s the beach clubs or the ball fields our geographical situation screams exceptions rather than rules.

Our locals have already lost the beach clubs to out-of-towners and the feds are determined to exclude local children from their (our) fort land.

The feds have no clue that our peninsula and its inhabitants, especially our children, exemplify the saying “family first.” Is it thinking out of the box that our federal representatives in Washington could fix this issue once and for all by proposing a law that states, if a community borders on a National Park, the community has FREE ACCESS to the park and its facilities in perpetuity.

Allow me to remind our politicians that were it not for phenomenal members of our community, the fort would be a succession of abandoned, horribly neglected buildings on fallow land only good for scary hay rides on All Hallow’s Eve. Dedicated community members converted this disaster into a gem. Now that the Feds ‘discovered’ that gem, they are doing everything in their power to separate the community from it. And, who gets hurt? Our children!

Turner, Schumer and Gillibrand sit in Washington and watch our federal taxes wasted on tax breaks for big business and for billionaires. How about giving our children a break? Chances are if you total the amount of federal taxes paid by west end residents you will come out on the long end of the tally. Return to us what our kids and our community deserve. Subsidize us for the next ten years and in that time get a bill passed that gives us ‘free’ use of the fort for life. For a situation that in the grand scheme of things seems so petty to be a monkey on the back of our children in America in 2012 is shameful.

The feds want input on use of the park? Here’s the input you deserve: We’ve re-built this fort into an attractive sports and cultural mecca for our community. Surely with the toll and parking restrictions you can’t expect visitors from other parts of the city or country to come to the fort to play ball or see a show. Ft. Tilden is but a small cog in the big wheel that includes the Grand Canyon and the Everglades, neither of which boasts little league ball fields in a community’s backyard.

Splattered all over the five boroughs are little league fields because they have or at one time had the space. Due to our geographical limitations, we have no space for fields other than on ‘federal land.’ Just the sound of the words, federal land, makes it seem like it belongs to a foreign country. This is our government that we are talking about. And, they can’t or won’t cut our kids a break.

Give us what we have paid for through out taxes. Give us what we’ve transformed from garbage into beauty. Give our children a place to play. It seems the Feds are masters at taking things away. It’s high time they gave something back. National Park rules cannot be written in stone. Amend the federal ‘rules’ to adapt to special situations like ours. Do it for the kids.


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Well said Joan

Well said Joan

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