I’ll be the first to admit that my optimistic nature sometimes gets the better of my journalistic obligation for accuracy. Such was the case with last week’s Ideas Wanted column. Readers may remember that I was all excited about the prospects of a fun-filled summer at Riis Park this year. The reason for my giddiness was a conversation with Kelley Brooke who was in talks with the new City / Fed partnership to bring a wide variety of food, entertainment and activities to our ravaged community.
In retrospect, I guess it all just sounded too good to be true. Something should have triggered my cynical side that knows nothing good can happen in Rockaway. Could the new alliance between the NYC Department of Parks and NPS possibly be yielding such juicy fruit so soon?
Well, apparently not.
Shortly after The Wave hit the stands last Friday morning, I got a call from Kelley to let me know that the National Park Service had not yet approved her application for food vending or programming activities (in response to their Request for Proposals) either.
That was my first mistake. I misstated that NYC Entertainment already had an agreement with NPS. They do not. I also was under the impression that activities such as the Memorial Day Kick-off party, movies under the stars, stand-up paddle board race, EVP Pro Volleyball, etc. were approved. Wrong again!
Sandy might have decimated the Fort Tilden dunes, removed tons of sand from Riis beach and turned their concrete paths and roads into rubble but it was no match for the bureaucratic red tape that is anchored to the ground like the swamp cypress.
Putting the federal bureaucracy to the side for a moment, it would be a real tragedy if Ms. Brooke’s proposals are not given serious consideration. You don’t have to look far to see examples of the positive impact of concessions and community activities supported by NYC Parks Department.
As upsetting as it was to think that I could have had anything to do with creating problems for Ms. Brooke, her business and ultimately the people of Rockaway, I have taken some comfort in knowing that at least somebody reads this stupid column.
Send comments to me at: RickHoran@ IdeasImprov.com.