By Lou Pastina
Yes, “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” was the big winner at the Oscars this year. A bizarre story about the metaverse, whatever that is, with time travelling characters making no sense at all. This is what goes for an Oscar winner these days, who knows maybe someday we will look back and think, “what a classic!” But for now, I think it’s just some weird movie with some very disturbing undertones.
Which brings me to Rockaway. If you have come out of hibernation recently, you will notice that there is construction work everywhere, all at once! The beach project is live uptown, midtown and downtown. Who knows if any humans will be able to use the beach this year. Never mind that we had a mild winter when much of this work could have been done, the powers that be have decided to do all the work everywhere this summer. What am I talking about you say? Well, the rock jetties are still being installed, the dunes are being rebuilt with cement and metal and then covered in sand, entrances are being reimagined into wiggly paths, the Neponsit Home is being knocked down and various houses are being knocked down for more condos. Some of this makes sense, but why all at once?
I also don’t understand why the rock jetties seem to be more on the sand then out in the water. The older built jetties all reach out into the water and allow beach walkers to walk continuously rather than around. And doesn’t nature eventually take its course? I mean won’t the sand that covers the cement and metal barriers eventually blow away exposing dangerous materials on the beach to navigate around, especially for kids. Granted I’ll be long gone, but someone, like our grandchildren will have to deal with that, no?
And this notion that a seawall should be built across Jamaica Bay that will somehow magically protect everyone from the bay during a storm? How about the impact on the health of the bay if only a trickle can get through that sea gate? Not to mention the impact on the wildlife. Sometimes I wonder if any of us will even recognize Rockaway when all this is done. And knowing the government, be it federal, state or city – won’t they come back and ask for their pound of flesh in repayment? Did I hear more shelters and denser housing? Forget about driving, they don’t want anyone doing that anywhere, anytime, and never at once. I’m usually an optimist, but this much change, especially when implemented by bureaucrats who don’t live here, is unsettling.
Speaking of change and unsettling, St. Francis College, the alma mater of my sister, brother, son, nephews, and me, recently eliminated their entire Athletic Program, this coming on the heels of their move from beautiful Brooklyn Heights to Downtown Brooklyn. The school is in deep financial trouble and their current President over the last seven years has been asked not to come back. Apparently, a planned sale of the old campus did not go through, which leaves a big financial vacuum to fill. I understand that every small college in America is facing the same issues. But SFC has a large and successful alumni group that could have been leveraged rather than alienated. This is an example of Nothing, Nowhere, All at Once!
I guess what I am thinking is that we need transparency, commitment, and involvement on a constant basis here, there, and everywhere or Rockaway could go by the way of St. Francis College, and that would be a crying shame for all times.