2014-06-13 / Top Stories

Not On Our Boardwalk!

By Mark C. Healey


NYC Parks-designed “Chaise Lounges” at O’Donoghue Park on Beach 17th Street. Photos by Miriam Rosenberg NYC Parks-designed “Chaise Lounges” at O’Donoghue Park on Beach 17th Street. Photos by Miriam Rosenberg One of the issues to come up at Tuesday’s Community Board 14 meeting was the latest Boardwalk design and construction update from NYC Parks. While the topic itself was expected (The Wave was supplied with the presentation documents before the meeting itself), where the discussion ultimately went, was not.

One would assume the progress (or lack thereof) of the overall construction process would be the main point of conversation. Instead, some rather unexpected design elements became the main topic of conversation, as well as spirited debate.

It seems that without consulting a single person from Rockaway, resident or Community Board 14 member, NYC Parks decided to include two-person chaise lounges and “tanning tables” to its design for the reconstruction of the boardwalk. The response? A resounding no.


Members of Community Board 14 voting to oppose the furniture elements of the boardwalk reconstruction. Members of Community Board 14 voting to oppose the furniture elements of the boardwalk reconstruction. “I understand where the concern comes from,” said Community Board 14 District Manager Jonathan Gaska. “People are uneasy about the potential drawbacks for the lounges and tanning tables, especially when the summer is over.”

Many residents voiced concerns about “some people making themselves at home,” including one man who said, “Not to mention those teenagers doing who knows what!” That brought some laughter, but the topic was far from funny for many in attendance.

“We were told by Parks that because of cost and parts, we could only use the World’s Fair style of benches and chairs, and that no custom furniture would be considered.” Gaska added. “Yet, here we clearly have a custom design.”


The NYC Parks proposed design of the “Chaise Lounges.” (nycgovparks.org) The NYC Parks proposed design of the “Chaise Lounges.” (nycgovparks.org) There were a few people who disagreed with the opposition, such as CB14 member Jose Velez, who called the boardwalk the “economic engine” of the peninsula and that the lounges and tanning tables could potentially be attractive elements for people visiting the beaches for the day. There were some seen nodding along with that logic, but not enough. Ultimately, it was the naysayers who triumphed.

In the coming days, Gaska will be sending letters to NYC Parks, the Economic Development Corporation, and the mayor. Whether or not they listen is anyone’s guess.



The NYC Parks proposed design of the “Tanning Tables.” (nycgovparks.org) The NYC Parks proposed design of the “Tanning Tables.” (nycgovparks.org)

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ROCKAWAY RESIDENTIAL PARKING

ROCKAWAY RESIDENTIAL PARKING STICKERS!!-PLEASE VOICE YOUR SUPPORT TO ASSEMBLYMAN PHILLIP GOLDFEDER @ GOLDFEDERP@ASSEMBLY.STATE.NY.US

Keep the custom elements!

Keep the custom elements! Don't listen to old people with no clue or sense of any style. You can't be afraid of what teenagers will do all the time. There is a vibrant renaissance happening in Rockaway, and I think these designs follows that exciting theme.

I guess we cant have anything

I guess we cant have anything nice? Keep the chairs and get rid of the board members from the Jimmy Carter era...

I was there and I agreed with

I was there and I agreed with Jose Velez. I don't think it's sensible not to include playful, interesting and innovative elements because they 'might be' abused by the homeless, or by teenagers (OMG!!!), or by nursing home residents who don't remember who they are or where they are. To keep the boardwalk plainly utilitarian and not 'playful and interesting and innovative' reduces it's allure for us (local-everyday-users); as well as Queens and Brooklyn residents down for the weekend, and potential visitors from afar. Certainly the boardwalk should be designed and built to be sturdy and durable, but also attractive and interesting... like Jose says too. Best...PJS


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