Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Modular Bathrooms Coming To Rockaway Beach
The Parks Department plans to place modular bathrooms along Rockaway Beach, like the one seen in this rendering. The bathrooms would replace ones destroyed by Superstorm Sandy as well as be a new addition to beachfront areas without public bathrooms in areas such as Arverne by the Sea. (Courtesy: DPR)
Years before surfers and foodies rediscovered Rockaway and made it a hip place to visit, a group of homeowners took a chance.
They purchased homes at Arverne by the Sea, a suburban-styled subdivision built on an urban renewal tract. But now residents of that growing community say they feel betrayed by the city, which plans to place public comfort stations near the beach for the first time in the area, according to the New York Daily News.
Residents complain the modernistic, modular structures would block their oceanfront views and lure day-trippers to an area with scant street parking.
The city “should have discussed this with us, gotten some input from us,” said Charles Jacobs, who moved into his home nine years ago.
“We know there will be bathrooms here but we want them to work with us.”
The Parks Department recently unveiled renderings of its plan for a post-Superstorm Sandy Rockaway Beach. Miles of boardwalk was destroyed or badly damaged along with bathrooms, lifeguard shacks and playgrounds.
The blueprint includes boardwalk islands around popular concession areas and new bathrooms built high off the ground to meet new building requirements. Glenn DiResto, a retired NYPD lieutenant and civic leader in Arverne by the Sea, said he is aware their rejection of the comfort stations could paint the residents as another group of NIMBYs (Not In My Backyard).
He said the label is unfair. “This really needs to be thought out carefully and planned,” said DiResto.
“This will impact us the entire year. Other people go home.” Jacobs, a beach vendor, said a rush of visitors could mean a boom for his business. But he’s more concerned about his neighborhood. Parks officials have been in discussions with residents and said they are open to possible changes.
“We recognize that Rockaway Beach is a haven for 8 million summer beachgoers, a driver of local businesses, and a backyard for Rockaway residents,” a Parks Department spokesman said in a statement.
We are currently determining the exact locations of these modular buildings, and hope to balance the needs and concerns of all of these groups.”
While beaches in Rockaway are owned and operated by the city, public access has always been an issue. Beaches in some neighborhoods, including the more upscale sections of Belle Harbor and Neponsit, are not easily reached by non-residents.
There are no real amenities for visitors and street parking is heavily restricted. The closest subway stop is miles away. Most visitors rely on Jacob Riis Park, which is run by the National Park Service.
In Arverne, however, the subway is just up the street. The developers of Arverne by the Sea praised the Parks Department for its “herculean efforts” to make the area safe after the storm but are unhappy with the current plan.
“We believe there are better alternatives,” said Gerry Romski, Arverne by the Sea project executive and counsel, who he said he is “confident” both sides will be able to hash out a “more acceptable” plan.
Arverne by the Sea residents say beach bathrooms are a bad call Homeowners ask Parks Department to reconsider its plans for new comfort stations in the neighborhood
New York Daily News - March 5, 2013 - By By Lisa L. Colangelo