2013-10-04 / Editorial/Opinion

Boardwalk Aesthetics

Yes, we’d love a seawall. But we don’t want to wait for the Army Corps of Engineers to build one. For that matter, we don’t want to wait to find out IF they’re going to build one. We want a boardwalk ASAP. Put a sturdy baffle wall on the north side or street side of the boardwalk and erect some dunes. But get the boardwalk built. It’s the economic and cultural engine of the peninsula. Some have suggested a temporary boardwalk for long stretches be installed while work goes on elsewhere. If engineering allows that, it should be done. Rockaway needs a boardwalk. Period.

The Parks Department and new design team will be revealing more of their plans this coming Tuesday, October 8th. We like some of the samples of concrete they showed at meetings last week. Although we originally were in favor of a wood finish concrete, we have to admit to being swayed by one of the blue choices. Blue concrete speckled with different colors would certainly make the Rockaway boardwalk one of a kind. Imagine seeing it from the sky! For that matter, we’d like to see the word Rockaway engraved in the boardwalk so it could only be seen from the sky. People approaching New York by plane would see a bluish boardwalk and be greeted by the eye-catching “Rockaway” aerial art. It would be striking and memorable and great advertising for our beaches.

Aerial art is a touch. But creative touches will make the boardwalk great. A few spots should allow for street performers and small exhibits. Shade structures should be added at places other than the concessions. And a fountain or a big statue of a surfer or a lighthouse should be built. Something iconic, something that people will want to photograph and post online.

The lifeguard shacks and comfort stations are here to stay. But they can be redone by artists to make them fit the beach.

Many things go without saying. Of course, bike lanes are a must. A smart ramp and stair system is crucial. But let’s not overlook the little touches that can make the boardwalk a big deal.

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