Archive for the tag 'rockaways'

The misinformed sign. (Source: DNAinfo).

The stupid sign. (Source: DNAinfo)

Plumb Beach, the Brooklyn beach of…plumbs, has been labeled as part of Rockaway Beach, annoying anyone that knows the difference between Queens and Brooklyn. DNAInfo is reporting that a sign placed along the Belt Parkway has claimed that Plumb Beach is now part of Rockway Beach, even though the beaches are separated by different coastlines and a stretch of water.

While some might think that the sign is the result of a silly error, DNAInfo noted that there is an heir of authority behind connecting the eastern most part of Sheepshead Bay with the Rockaways:

A spokesman for the city Parks Department said the “Rockaway Beach” sign is correct, though, saying Plumb Beach is part of the new Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, which is an agreement between the city’s Parks Department and the National Parks Service.

The signage, which was put in place after Hurricane Sandy, is part of a consistent layout, and “Rockaway Beach” reflects the partnership, the spokesman said.

Is there no end to the evil and wrath of Superstorm Sandy?

A local community advocate took to YouTube to express the frustration felt by the encroaching maw that is Queens and Rockaway Beach. We have presented his unedited remarks below.

No it will not, dude. No it will not.

Photo By Erica Sherman

Photo By Erica Sherman

Plumb Beach is considered one of the most vulnerable stretches of coastlines in the city, and the overall sand replenishment and long-term restoration effort undertaken by federal and city officials is being considered as a model for rehabilitating Sandy-devastated areas. NY1 is reporting on the progress and the specifics of Plumb Beach, an effort expected to be finished by the end of the year.

Previously, we reported on the Army Corps of Engineers work on Plumb Beach, noting that the first phase of the operation, which was sand replenishment, had been completed. Phase two involves the construction of two terminal groins and one offshore breakwater and the installation of 1.2 acres of beach grass. Army Corps engineer John Knight described the purpose of the stone groins to NY1.

“The eastern groin right there acts as a catch for sand movement along the beach, keeps the sand and the protection in place on the shoreline itself,” Knight said.

The report also described how, as work continues, the project is laying the foundation for other shore restoration projects needed following Sandy:

Officials say the work here needs to be replicated in Sandy-devastated areas.

“This was a success story. It’s a wonderful model for the type of work that we must do,” [Representative Hakeem] Jeffries said.

“It’s going to allow us to do this very similar work in the Rockaways, which we already started with 4 million cubic yards of sand that will be laid there, and very shortly after that, right here in Brooklyn’s Coney Island,” Jeffrey said.

To see video of the construction effort being undertaken by the Army Corps, click here.

Photo courtesy of John Landers

The dock entrance in Sheepshead Bay (Photo courtesy of John Landers)

If television has taught me anything, it is that one should be wary of any “three hour tours” unless you don’t mind getting stranded on an island with a scientist, a goofy first mate and an angry skipper. Luckily, the tours once advertised by Rockaway Boat Lines only offered tours ranging from one to two and a half hours, saving people the fate of trying to figure out how to wire a radio out of a coconut. The pictures were provided by Sheepshead Bites read John Landers, who had previously sent us a picture of the Columbia, which sailed from Sheepshead Bay to Breezy Point and the Rockaways.

Landers has provided us with more vintage pictures including a shot of the dock entrance at Sheepshead Bay and other ferries docked at the Sheepshead Bay Marina. Thanks for the great pictures John!

Photo courtesy of John Landers

Photo courtesy of John Landers

Photo courtesy of John Landers

Photo courtesy of John Landers

A little duck walks around the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuse. Source: peterjr1961 / Flickr

A little duck walks around the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. (Source: peterjr1961 / Flickr)

The Obama administration is looking to transform Jamaica Bay and other parks located in urban areas, into hotspots for hiking, biking, boating and camping, putting them on par with the nation’s most popular national parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite. The Queens Chronicle is reporting that the US Department of Interior and the National Parks Service (NPS) announced a general management plan for Jamaica Bay and the Gateway National Recreational Area that would turn the area, especially the Brooklyn parts, into major hubs for outdoors activity.

The Queens Chronicle described some of the plans proposed by the NPS:

Among the ideas being proposed in the NPS’s preferred plan are increased opportunities for camping in and around the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and means of connection, such as bike lanes and trails, between sites around Gateway like Charles Park and Hamilton Park, which would also be eyed for “small-scaled” visitor centers that may include food and bicycle vendors — a plan proposed by the Parks Department to Community Board 10 in April that was shot down because board members wanted to see the park, notorious for being dilapidated and dirty, given an overhaul first.

Many of the drastic changes were proposed for parts of Brooklyn, such as Floyd Bennett Field, Plumb Beach and Canarsie Pier, and the Rockaways, where Fort Tilden would become a major hub for park activities…

The plan also includes suggestions for improving infrastructure, and dealing with the post-Sandy reality of flood risk. In the proposal the NPS outlines plans to construct new buildings to meet the flood elevation criteria set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and build roads that have sufficient drainage and can be passable in a flood.

NPS’s management plan also calls for increased public transportation — including ferries and better train service — to the area to bring visitors in from Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn.

While environmentalists were pleased on the NPS’s plans to get people excited about the parks, Don Riepe, president of the American Littoral Society, cautioned that conservation should remain the top priority when it comes to the parks.

“My only concern is that I feel that there should be a major focus on protecting natural resources,” Riepe told the Queens Chronicle. “The recreation is fine. I think they should get their house in order. I’m asking ‘Who is going to manage it? Are the resources going to suffer?’”

Park of the Obama administration’s goal in pouring money into urban park environments is to get city kids to connect with nature.

The plan also stems from the Obama administration’s desire to pour more resources into federal parkland in or close to major cities — part of the White House’s larger plan to bring inner-city children to the outdoors.

In October 2011, then-U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Mayor Bloomberg signed the agreement in Marine Park, Brooklyn that allowed the two entities to coordinate management of Gateway, which was created in 1972 as an attempt to protect and restore New York’s coastal wetlands that had been severely damaged by industrial pollution during the previous century.

“We are asking ‘How do we connect urban populations to the outdoors?’” Salazar said in 2011. “New York may be the greatest opportunity we have.”

The Queens Chronicle laid out information for the public comment period and other open house meetings for the federal plans:

Public comment is being accepted on the proposal online at, where the entire plan can be downloaded and read. Open houses discussing the plan are scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 20 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Ryan Visitor Center in Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn and Tuesday, Sept. 10 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

Photo Courtesy of John Landers

Photo Courtesy of John Landers

Reader John Landers sent us a picture of Jamaica Bay that might take you back in time. The image was taken in 1963 and is of the Columbia, part of a ferry/excursion fleet that used to sail from Sheepshead Bay to Breezy Point and the Rockaways. Landers noted that the shot of the Columbia was in front of an open Cross Bay Bridge. I’m guessing that this was before the bridge became ‘fixed in place’ by 1970.

Anyone remember riding this ferry or ones like it? Let us know.

Source: Clean Ocean Action via the Queens Chronicle

Source: Clean Ocean Action via the Queens Chronicle

Local environmentalists were outraged at Liberty Natural Gas’s proposed plan to place a fuel port 20 miles off the coast of New York Harbor. The Queens Chronicle is reporting that Liberty argues that building the port will save New York and New Jersey residents $325 million per year.

The area surrounding Jamaica Bay, New York Harbor and the coast of New Jersey has become a battleground between environmental activists and big energy operators. Recently, Transco Williams won the right to build a 1.6-mile natural gas pipeline that stretches underneath Jacob Riis Park and ends at a meter and regulating station positioned at Floyd Bennett Field. Environmentalists fought the pipeline’s construction, arguing that it could harm the Jamaica Wildlife Refuge, local animal life and residents. Despite protests, the approved construction of the pipeline appears to be moving forward.

The Queens Chronicle describes the purpose of the new port, which would connect to the pipeline in Jamaica Bay:

Liberty Natural Gas submitted an application to the government to construct and operate Port Ambrose, a facility for importing liquified natural gas from Trinidad and Tobago. Specially designed vessels carrying liquified natural gas would regasify the fuel on-board and feed it into loading buoys and pipes which would link to the existing Transco pipeline, near Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways. The project would cost $300 million.

Liquified natural gas, or LNG, is primarily methane, cooled and condensed into liquid form, so that it is one six-hundredth of its usual volume, which makes it possible to ship.

According to Roger Whelan, the president of Liberty Natural Gas, natural gas prices in New York spike during the winter and summer months and importing the gas would keep prices down. Whelan claims the port will save consumers $325 million per year.

As Liberty prepares their $300 million project, environmentalists are coming out strong again, arguing that the port would create a threat comparable to a terrorist threat. Jamaica Bay Ecowatch member Dan Mundy was uncompromising in his opposition to the project:

Dan Mundy Jr., a member of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers, strongly opposes the port. He called it a terrorist threat and an environmental disaster “with no benefit to the country.”

… Mundy said that the port would be a terrorist threat and that if the natural gas were to hit the warm ocean water, it would be like a “mini-nuclear bomb” and the plume of smoke would blow ashore.

Officials with LNG promised that the port would be built with “proven and safe technology,” but according to environmentalists the actual construction of the facility would be detrimental to the surrounding ocean habitat:

Building the port would entail trenching 20 miles of ocean floor to build the pipeline, increasing underwater noise and dumping massive quantities of warm water, severely damaging the ocean habitat, where a variety of fishes, crustaceans, whales and dolphins live. Testing the pipe requires 3.5 million gallons of chemically-treated seawater each time.

Besides waving numerous environmental red flags, environmentalists like Mundy have also noted that a natural gas import facility is unnecessary due to domestic natural gas production reaching all-time highs making prices lower than ever. Some of the opponents think the real reason is not for importing from Trinidad and Tobago, but actually for exporting from our already-high stock.

Questions over the economic and environmental impact of the proposed port will come further to light in the following months:

The public comment period was extended until Aug. 22, after which the U.S. Coast Guard and Marine Administrator will draft an Environmental Impact Statement, in accordance with the Deepwater Port Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. Then there will be another round of public meetings, before the final EIS comes out.

Then both governors, Cuomo and Chris Christie of New Jersey, will approve or disapprove the project and the marine administrator will make the final decision.

The Staten Island Ferry. Photo by Erica Sherman

The Staten Island Ferry. Photo by Erica Sherman

THE COMMUTE: This past week, transit news focused on what seemed like a series of unrelated events — most notably the resumption of Rockaway “A” Train service.

“A” Train Service Returns

“A” train service, between Howard Beach and the Rockaways, which was suspended seven months ago due to Superstorm Sandy, finally resumed on May 30. Due to the destruction of the trestle near Broad Channel, the suspension forced residents to resort to unreliable and overcrowded bus service. Months ago, a fleet of R-32 cars were trucked to Rockaway to at least provide subway shuttle service within Rockaway but it was in no way adequate to meet residents’ needs. If you think transit service is poor in Sheepshead Bay, you should be aware of the two-hour plus commutes and hour waits for buses, which Rockaway residents were forced to endure, with the trestle out of service.

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Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The company seeking to run a gas pipeline under Floyd Bennett Field and build a meter and regulating station in a historic airplane hangar there commissioned a report that found a .2 percent chance the planned facility would be flooded, even amid rising sea levels.

The Williams Transco pipeline company’s report came in response to an April 4 letter from the New York Department of State seeking reassurance that the station couldn’t be breeched after the Federal Emergency Management Agency updated its flood maps, post-Hurricane Sandy.

“Infrastructure in general was severely impacted by Sandy and NYDOS would not be adequately addressing coastal policies if we did not try to ensure that new infrastructure projects were able to withstand coastal impacts, including flooding,” Laz Benitez, an NYDOS spokesman said in an email.

Keep reading to find out Transco’s response.

Source: Metropolitan Transportation Authority Patrick Cashin

As the $60 billion Sandy aid package finally gets doled out, it is interesting to see how that mountain of money actually gets spent. A New York Post editorial highlights how Governor Andrew Cuomo intends to spend $6 billion worth of the pie on water-proofing the city’s subway system.

On top of the $6 billion set aside to figure out a way to somehow make sure the subway doesn’t get flooded again, the MTA is also receiving $4.8 billion in federal funds for general Sandy repairs. The Post editorial takes aim at Cuomo and the MTA for trumping up the damage estimates to ensure the biggest federal payout possible.

For example, when accessing the damage to the A train tracks in the Rockaways, the MTA guessed that they would need $650 million. Construction on that line is nearly finished and will open at the end of the month. In Cuomo’s actual budget released at the end of March, the cost so far has only amounted to $17.9 million. According to the Post, something isn’t adding up:

From photo op to photo op, there’s no reconciliation between huge initial numbers and later smaller ones. But this seeming opposite of a massive cost overrun isn’t that surprising — and it’s more Cuomo’s fault than the MTA’s.

Last year, the MTA was under huge pressure to announce huge numbers, fast — or watch the state lose out on federal aid. And now that the state has secured that cash, no one much cares what happens to it. After all, the money was free.

The cost overruns are creating questions as to where the money earmarked for the ‘water-proofing’ plan is going and how exactly it will be spent. While officials have solutions on how to protect above ground subways from storm surges by building protective walls, they have less of a clear picture on how to protect the underground portion of the system.

At a recent press conference, MTA chief Tom Prendergast admitted that he has no idea how to prevent flooding in places like Lower Manhattan, which has over 500 flood entry points alone.

The Post noted that many ideas floated to protect the underground subway are practical and low on cost, like installing deployable watertight grates across vents and stairways and placing inflatable bladders in key locations. Despite this, the Post is guessing that Cuomo and the MTA will likely favor a more expensive and futuristic idea that makes full use of the billions headed their way.

Just as we came upon the sixth month anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, a unique arts organization has covered Gerritsen Beach with dozens of stars to bring hope and inspiration to the children of the disaster stricken neighborhood.

See a gallery of all the stars, photographed by local photographer Lisanne Anderson.

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