Rebuild Our Boardwalk, Now!
Six months after Sandy and with hurricane season approaching, residents of Rockaway rallied with a sense of urgency last Sunday demanding that the Parks Department step up its efforts to restore the boardwalk on the peninsula.
“In the wind and the rain, the Rockaway people came out to tell Parks and the City that we demand real protection.
We demand a timeline on the replacing of our boardwalk now,” said Eddy Pastore, of Friends of Rockaway Beach who called for the rally.
Councilman Eric Ulrich talked about the need for rebuilding now.
“We are approaching hurricane season again and I pray, and your prayers should be too, that another hurricane or horrific storm doesn’t come our way,” said Ulrich. “God forbid it ever did, we want to know that people and properties are going to be protected. And right now it is not.”
Pastore and others have been pushing for more beach protection for months and is a proponent of using HESCO barriers. Others have argued that such barriers have metal frames and would be create an environmental issue. In any case, Pastore suggested, the Governor should act and permit what is necessary for the people of Rockaway to survive.
Pointing to the multi-million dollar bathrooms newly installed by the Parks Department near Beach 84th Street, Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder said, “We’re sending a strong message. This banner is sending a strong message …. We’re not going to take it lying down. This is our community. We built it to what it is, and we’re going to rebuild it to what we want it to be.”
District leader Lew Simon said, “We have to make sure that, from the day they open the beaches. that we’re a thousand strong to send a message to the commissioner and the mayor – take care of Rockaway. Don’t forget us.”
In addition to the rally, residents and supporters signed a banner demanding a new boardwalk immediately. John Cori, of Friends of Rockaway Beach, said the banner would be presented to the Parks Department. The group also plans to unveil the banner at the ceremony to open Rockaway’s beaches on May 24th.
Although a wet and rainy day, many supporters drove to the rally, got out of their cars, and signed the banner. Others included Borough President candidate Melinda Katz and State Senator Tony Avella.