Not On Our Boardwalk!
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.
“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.”
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.