YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Local mariners have something to be happy about this New Year: the Department of Environmental Protection reversed course on plans to destroy a 78-year-old navigational aid between Manhattan Beach and Breezy Point that mariners say makes them safer and shows them the way home when gizmos can’t.
According to documents released under a Freedom of Information Law request filed by Sheepshead Bites, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection decided to leave a wastewater diffuser pipe that locals affectionately refer to as the “roundhouse” after sailors and other mariners objected to its removal.
“Comments received questioned whether it would be more advantageous to leave the existing outlet chamber in place,” DEP reps wrote to partnering agencies in a September 2012 letter. “If kept, it could serve as an underwater fish habitat and provide opportunity for sea birds to perch.”
It wasn’t just the environmentalists that the DEP sought to please; the agency determined the now defunct roundhouse served a crucial purpose for navigation, and as a marker for underwater infrastructure that could damage vessels.
Activists blast Community Board member selection process, demand more transparency: The president of a local civic association and another active member of the community slammed the Community Board appointment process for a lack of fairness and transparency at Community Board 15′s final meeting of the season on Tuesday.
Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association President Ed Jaworski led the assault. He insinuated that there is a conflict of interest for members or advisers who also have business connections to buildings-related cases that come before the Board.
Sheepshead Bites reader Stan Kaplan recently passed along a copy of the May 10, 1973, edition of Scepter, the student newspaper of Kingsborough Community College. Its yellowed pages commemorated the 10th anniversary of the school’s establishment, illustrating the complex story of Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay and the higher education institution through original materials, reprinted news articles and historical advertisements. Headlines like “KCC Will Not Open on Manhattan Beach Site” remind us that the school has always played a tug-of-war with the community in which it exists, and the reporting reminds us that journalism, indeed, is only history’s first draft – and quite a rough one at that.
With permission from Kingsborough Community College, Sheepshead Bites brings you a digital version of the newspaper in full, with an introduction from former Brooklyn Historian John Manbeck, who also served as faculty adviser to the paper at the time of publication.
On Wednesday, we told you all about the barbecue-hatin’ Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association’s Monday meeting, in which they presented a petition from the barbecue-lovin’ Manhattan Beach Community Group. That petition, drawn up in 2007, before the two groups split and when current MBNA leaders actually ran the MBCG (confused yet?), has included on it the signatures of the current leaders of the MBCG, who say they oppose the ban. According the MBNA, that shows that the MBCG are a bunch of hypocrites.
Our question? Why is one of New York City’s tiniest neighborhoods so freakin’ confusing?
Anyway, we couldn’t include the video with yesterday’s story because of technical problems. So here it is, in all its glory. Now you can see MBNA President Alan Ditchek look directly in the camera and talk to the “bloggers” (though a quick review of what we’ve written suggests he’s probably talking to the commenters). Oh, and there’s a doctor there, too. Around minute 6:30, when it turns political, he seems about as confused as we are.
The rhetoric between the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association and Manhattan Beach Community Group continued to mount this week, as MBNA President Alan Ditchek released a 2007 petition to ban the practice – a petition signed by the current proposal’s most vocal critics.
The petition reflects efforts from four years ago to ban barbecuing in Manhattan Beach Park, and the signatures of Manhattan Beach Community Group leaders – who now call the current attempt “racist” – casts doubt on their sincerity.
The heat around a proposed barbecue ban on Manhattan Beach continued to intensify this week, this time at the Community Board 15 meeting. But the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation said they have no plans to halt one of America’s favorite pastimes.
Parks Department Brooklyn Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey listened intently to arguments for and against the ban at the Wednesday night meeting, but appeared unmoved by the opponents’ concerns. And, according to a statement from his office, no ban is likely in the near future.
“Commissioner Jeffrey has been in touch with the Community Board regarding their concerns,” a Parks Department spokesperson told Sheepshead Bites. “At this time there are no plans to eliminate barbecuing at Manhattan Beach.”
Yesterday we posted about how the 77-year-old roundhouse that sits just off the tip of the Manhattan Beach peninsula is going to be removed. The roundhouse has been a navigational aid that longtime sailors in our area have relied on. The mariners in our community are very against its removal.
Sailor and community activist Stan Kaplan e-mailed us yesterday to elaborate on why keeping the roundhouse is imperative.
I am advocating for keeping the Roundhouse. As my point of view has been published, I am attaching The US Coast Guard’s current “Notice to Mariners.”
On page 5 at the top, it suggests that using floating aids to navigation can have “varying degrees of reliability.” It also suggests to “utilize bearings from fixed objects and aids to navigation on shore” is much more reliable.
It is my understanding that the Roundhouse is in shallow water. To make safe passage, it will have to be dredged. As it has been suggested, a floating aid to navigation, a.k.a. a BUOY, will have varying degrees of reliability. It would be prudent for the Corp of Army Engineers to put a tower as a replacement. The Roundhouse is a large masonry structure that boats will avoid. This structure has been there for over 70 years, and it will probably last another 70.
Last week’s Community Board 15 meeting was the final one before summer recess. To mark the occasion, board member and Manhattan Beach resident Manhattan Beach Community Group boardmember Stan Kaplan riffed on a number of topics. [UPDATED]
I like Stan. Although he can never remember what blog I’m from, he cares a lot for the community while also having a sense of humor about the issues it faces. So keep in mind that Stan’s rant is light-hearted, while also touching on some serious topics.
And those topics are:
Bicyclists on the Ocean Avenue footbridge
Manhattan Beach’s zebra stripes
Architectural renderings from developers coming in front of the board
DOB’s use of “non-compliance” as a euphemism for “illegal”
Correction: The original version of this article indicated Kaplan is a boardmember of Community Board 15. He is not; he is on the board of the MBCG for more than 30 years, and a member of MBNA and Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association. We apologize for the confusion.