Bloomie And The Rock
Well, Rockaway won’t have Mayor Bloomberg to boo any longer. At a recent event honoring him for his efforts on behalf of the environment he recalled his visits to the Rockaway St. Patrick Day parade with good humor. “They cursed me from beginning to end. They said F You, F You and I said thank, thank you, the whole way.”
The Wave had some history with the guy as well. In 2009 The Wave was just one of a very small handful of newspapers which didn’t endorse him. The editorial at the time declared: “He has painted a target on the back of every middle class New Yorker for his increased taxes, water rates, summonses, fines and business taxes. He has turned the Department of Education into a testing mill at the expense of real education. It is time for him to go.”
Of course, he didn’t go anywhere except back to his throne. In Rockaway there was little evidence that he knew the place existed. Oh, wait, he said no beer on the beach. Wine was okay in Central Park but beer in Rockaway? Bah humbug.
His administration did virtually nothing after Hurricane Irene. The boardwalk was still in disrepair 14 months later. For all his talk of resiliency now, we don’t remember that word coming out of his mouth before October 29th, 2012. Talk to anyone in his administration about what was done after Irene and they change the subject.
Since Sandy, it’s a mixed bag. He can’t leave office without us saying one more time: he wanted the NYC Marathon to go on as scheduled. On the plus side, he put Rapid Repair in place which had some missteps but thousands of people were helped. He put the ferry in service and put a team together to address the challenges of being a coastal city in an era of climate change. The Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resilience (SIRR) is an admirable blueprint. It’s got some holes (like a misleading picture giving dunes, rather than groins, credit for sparing a section of Rockaway) and a lot of it is “subject to available funding.” Still, it’s comprehensive and should be a guide for subsequent administrations. It was his Sanitation Department that proved to be miracle workers in the aftermath of Sandy so he gets credit there, too.
He made the call on getting the beaches open by Memorial Day and with that decision came some regrettable choices. He’s been the guy in charge while Build It Back stumbles to help homeowners. He’s the guy who wanted the beaches open in 2013 but doesn’t seem to care about the boardwalk getting done.
Funny thing is, as much as he ignored Rockaway through the years, he seems to have some new interest. No coincidence, we’re certain, that his buddy, fellow billionaire Tom Secunda, is in charge of the newly formed Jamaica Bay Rockaway Parks Conservancy. That group could have significant sway over the peninsula’s future.
Imagine years from now, Bloomberg comes back to the parade and he’s cheered. Well, it is the holiday season. Time for wishful thinking.