I have lived on or just off of Beach Channel Drive (BCD) for over 65 years. With the exception of hurricanes Donna and Sandy, I have rarely seen significant tidal flooding on that road until the early morning of Friday, December 23. To someone not familiar with Rockaway or its history, the cause of this flooding might seem obvious – climate change and rising sea levels. Those who profess to believe in these climate theories tend to be liberal and Democratic. In other words, exactly the people who are currently in charge of New York City, Rockaway included.
Several years ago, I answered a knock at my door, only to meet the chief engineer of the upcoming reconstruction of BCD. She informed me that the City’s plan for the road was to level out the bumps by lowering the grade by 10 inches. I told her that Rockaway, as a barrier island (or peninsula), needs higher roads, not lower ones, and that lowering the grade would cause flooding. Nevertheless, that is what the City did, which required them to rip out and replace half of the new driveway I had just had rebuilt. They also undermined my picket fence and lawn, forcing me to install vertical 2 x 12 boards to keep the lawn and fence from winding up on the new sidewalk. Now, about a year after the project finished, the first nor’easter we encountered caused serious flooding of BCD with the FDNY having to rescue stranded motorists. I am still waiting for someone from the City to explain how they approved lowering the grade in Rockaway while simultaneously planning to spend billions for tidal gates and walls to protect Manhattan from “rising sea levels”.