Four months ago, NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver closed multiple beaches in Rockaway Beach due to severe erosion.
He cited concern for the difficulties NYC Lifeguards would have keeping these beaches safe for swimming. Commissioner Silver also voiced his concerns that limited recreational beach space would lead to sunbathers and beachgoers migrating onto what is left of the already severely damaged protective sacrificial dune.
By closing the beaches of Rockaway Beach, the Commissioner, thankfully, has clearly acknowledged, on behalf of the City of New York, that the protection, which was recommended in New York City’s SIRR (Special Initiative for Recovery and Rebuilding), has been a complete and utter failure. This massive failure by the City of New York has left the neighborhoods of Far Rockaway, Edgemere, Arverne, Rockaway Beach, Rockaway Park, Belle Harbor and Neponsit all highly vulnerable to severe and massive wave inundation during the next severe weather event.
Obviously, if you’re from Rockaway and reading this, I’m preaching to the choir.
I know this. We know this. Mitchell Silver knows this!
As much as I’m not a huge fan of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, I believe he does not know this!
I honestly believe he has not been given clear and concise information of how vulnerable we now stand with the continued destruction of our poorly planned dune “protection!” I also believe the Mayor is being shielded from the devastating effects the beach closures have had on all of our commercial establishments, not to mention, our cultural way of urban beach life, which is so uniquely Rockaway!
On Sunday, October 7 at 12 noon, the Rockaway Beach Civic Association will hold a press conference on the steps of New York City Hall, to give the Mayor a clear and concise message:
1. The Rockaway peninsula urgently needs sand on our beaches to stop erosion of our protective dunes, currently our only line of protection between our homes and the sea.
2. We absolutely cannot wait for 2020 for the Army Corps' Rockaway Reformulation Plan to begin.
3. Operating businesses adjacent to any closed beach is a financial death sentence and Rockaway businesses cannot withstand another year of New York City’s gross and negligent inaction to remedy the beach closures.
4. Waves at high tide are more damaging to dunes than the stray beachgoer.
5. We cannot waste another four months.
6. The Rockaway peninsula urgently needs sand on our beaches to stop erosion of our protective dunes, currently our only line of protection between our homes and the sea.
I hope everyone will join us on the steps of City Hall.