For the most part, residents fear neglect. Just next door sits New Dorp Beach, whose bungalows were knocked down in 1962. Now owned by the city, the beach there is hideous. Condoms and drug refuse litter the shore. The foundation of an ancient hospital has never been removed.
The city has put aside $1.8 million to fix up Cedar Grove -- money, ironically, from the rent paid by Grovians. It's not enough, officials admit, to get through even one summer.
The kids are back at school and their parents at work, leaving only the oldest of the old-timers to reflect on nearly 100 years that suddenly seem like they've gone by so fast.
"Sometimes I find myself standing and staring out the window and I can't imagine not summering here," said Marie Mulcahy, 67, who was sitting on her deck recently with her husband, Roger, 79, and sister-in-law, Eileen Lee, 82. A few feet away a lone fisherman cast a line and a sunbather sat under a yellow umbrella at the water's edge.
"All we have is hope now."
Over the past few weeks, the residents of the 41 beach colony bungalows have been taking photos off the walls and boxing away knickknacks collected through the years. Furniture has been donated to charity or given to friends. Pots and pans, clothing, small appliances and paintings were sold at a yard sale last Saturday.
Despite the support of elected officials and a rally last Monday on the steps of City Hall, they may really be leaving for the very last time when their lease with the city expires on Thursday.
The Parks Department is reclaiming the privately-leased stretch of land at the foot of Ebbits Street in New Dorp as part of its vision of incorporating its 78 acres into 10.6 miles of "continuous, open public beach" from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to Crescent Beach in Great Kills.