2013-03-22 / Community

NYU and Harvard Learn From Rockaway


Harvard University Graduate School Urban Planning and Design students, faculty and community members stop in at Richard George’s bungalow on Beach 25th Street. The historic group of bungalows survived the hurricane almost completely untouched. Photos by Dan Guarino Harvard University Graduate School Urban Planning and Design students, faculty and community members stop in at Richard George’s bungalow on Beach 25th Street. The historic group of bungalows survived the hurricane almost completely untouched. Photos by Dan Guarino Even before Hurricane Sandy, environmentalists, urban planners, entrepreneurs, engineers and other long term thinkers were greatly interested in the Rockaways and Broad Channel.

Since the storm, even greater interest has been generated around how best to recover, to rebuild and build better. The Rockaways are now offering a real-life lesson in economics, infrastructure, transportation, resilience, self-sustainability, energy use, social policy, area history, crisis management, communications and more to those looking toward the future worldwide.

As an example, two groups of urban planning and policy students, one from NYU, one from Harvard, recently visited the area to learn all they could learn. A group of about twenty-two students from the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy of the New York University School of Law, lead by Research Assistant Dani Rosen and Associate Director Susan Latham, came to the area on Friday, February 15th.


Students and faculty of NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy further their practical knowledge of urban planning, housing and resiliency in the Rockaways. Students and faculty of NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy further their practical knowledge of urban planning, housing and resiliency in the Rockaways. They were met by representatives of the New York City Housing Authority and Arverne By The Sea to get an inside look at how different types of housing fared through the storm and what factors, positive and negative, were involved.

They were also met by Dan Guarino of The Wave, who gave them a background on Rockaway’s history, the boardwalk, bungalows, the hurricane, aftermath, recovery and rebuilding.

Living in New York, many students were affected by the hurricane. Associate Director Latham was part of her Queens neighborhood’s relief efforts to bring food and supplies to the Rockaways.

Supporting the local economy, the Furman Center group enjoyed lunch at Dalton’s Seaside Grill.

A second diverse group of students, under the direction of Associate Professor Joyce Klein Rosenthal, Assistant Professor of Urban Planning and Co-coordinator of the Advanced Studies Program in Risk and Resilience, came from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD).

As part of Harvard’s Department of Urban Planning and Design, they covered a wide swath of the peninsula from Beach 25th Street to Breezy Point. All were also staying New York over several days.

At various points in the area, students met with urban planner/land use expert Walter Meyer, a Harvard GSD alumnus, Beachside Bungalow Preservation Association president Richard George, Dan Guarino, and Breezy Point resident and businessman Tom Fox.

Like the NYU group, the two dozen Harvard students expressed interest in a wide range of topics, including hospitals, transportation, environmental issues, supermarkets, business recovery and economic development.

Going through the Cross Bay Bridge toll plaza, on the way to lunch at Rock N Roll Bagels in Broad Channel, one student asked if they passed into Brooklyn. It didn’t make sense to pay a toll within the same borough.

Students, faculty and Rockaway guides enjoyed lively exchanges throughout the day and all reported coming away having learned a great deal.

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