An exciting suggestion came via Bob Hardt, a Rockaway Beach resident who kept us informed through his blog in the weeks following Sandy. Bob suggested having a design competition for the boardwalk. What a fantastic idea! Rockaway’s devastation has gotten international coverage but it will be important for its renaissance to get international attention as well. A design competition should be open to the world —- Chicago, St. Petersburg, Florida, and Philadelphia, we’re told, have all had design competitions for iconic piers in their cities.
The same should happen here. Make it a big deal. The City and the NYC Tourist Bureau could really promote the whole idea. This is New York and the boardwalk’s next incarnation should be a world class attraction. The High Line in Manhattan – go to it, if you haven’t – is essentially a walkway that has given life to a moribund area of the city. A great Rockaway boardwalk could do the same.
And here’s a Wave wrinkle on the design idea. The competition could have a dose of a home court advantage. The design competition would accept proposals from around the world – what great publicity! – and the winner of that competition would have to beat a Rockaway entry. That’s right. We’d have a Rockaway competition – hello local architects, hello Rockaway Artists Alliance, hello local creative thinkers—- – and the local winner would square off against the idea submitted from the world wide competition.
The boardwalk is the spine, the lifeline of Rockaway. Let’s not settle for functional. Let’s reach a consensus that it should be amazing.