Saturday, September 25, 2010

Last Weekend For Cedar Grove Beach Club?

The Bloomberg administration has refused to extend the Cedar Grove Beach Club license.  The administration has also refused to create and competitively bid out a seasonal bungalow concession.   The bungalows have been used for more than a half a century as part of a beach club instead, the city is insisting the bungalows be destroyed.  The Parks Department released a rendering this week (above) for its controversial Cedar Grove Beach Club site. The "plan" calls for destroying most of the 41 Summer bungalows and replacing them with natural vegetation like beach grass. It calls for building a playground and bathrooms, installing new entrances, and installing a concession. A lifeguard station will also be installed. The few bungalows that will be preserved will be converted for administrative uses.   

"It's a typical rope-a-dope by the Parks Department. They're going to get in there with their $1.8 million, knock the bungalows down and then walk away and we will never see the real plan implemented," Councilman Vincent Ignizio (R-South Shore), whose district houses Cedar Grove, told the Staten Island Advance.

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.

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe has said they can not have have people living on parkland as the reason for getting rid of the seasonal concession however they have not said why people living in house boats on park property or allowing many non-park uses which occupy parkland twenty four hours - three hundred sixty five day a week is any different.

Meanwhile Parks Department officials have repeatedly attempted to mislead the public by indicating the seasonal bungalow concession somehow prevents the public from accessing the beach and that its new "plan" was not compatible with current uses including having "nice beaches."

"Now, you feel like you're trespassing on private property," Mr. Benepe said. 

A contention bungalow users say is absurd. 

On Tuesday Mayor Bloomberg was confronted by protesters on the steps City Hall to save the summer bungalows.  The Mayor said he had "no idea" about the issue and he would "take a look."  Mr. Bloomberg posed with one protester and held a sign which read, "PARKS MUST RECONSIDER. SAVE CEDAR GROVE."  - Geoffrey Croft

Longtime residents gather for a final picnic at Cedar Grove Beach Club over the weekend. Bungalow users must be out by this Thursday.  The Bloomberg administration has refused to competitively bid out the seasonal bungalow concession which have been used for more than a half a century as part of a beach club. (Photo: Michael McWeeney/Staten Island Advance) 

Staten Island

It's been quiet on the shores of Cedar Grove Beach Club these days. 

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. 

By Memorial Day 2011, the beach -- already free and open to anyone to use and maintained by its residents at no cost to the taxpayer -- is expected to be readied for swimming, according to a plan provided to the Advance by Parks. 

Read More: 

Staten Island Advance -  September 26, 2010 - By Stephanie Slepian

New York Post - September 24, 2010 - Andrea Peyer 

A Walk In The Park -  September 21, 2010


1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    Today, at 5:30 pm, I walked along New Dorp Beach, and I observed Cedar
    Grove. There are Parks officials walking from house porch to house
    porch. The second I stepped onto Cedar Grove Beach, an official waved
    at me, and yelled "YOU CAN'T BE ON THE BEACH!" I asked "Why? I've
    always walked on the beach." "BECAUSE YOU CAN'T" In my 29 years of
    life, I've never been kicked off of the beach in Cedar Grove. There is
    a heavy Parks presence, one SUV facing into the entrance, and one SUV
    face out, with two officials standing at the gate. I have been told
    there is an army of Parks officials there today. A woman who came on
    my tour of Cedar Grove on Sunday saw me on Cedar Grove Avenue and
    approached me. She recounted her tale from today. She always takes a
    walk through the park, through the front gate. Today, she went to the
    gate, and Parks officials told her she is not allowed inside. She
    said, she heard in the Advance that this is public property. Parks
    told her, no, you are not allowed inside.