As much as I love LIC, a fellow has to spread his wings now and then, and wet his beak.
I grew up in south eastern Brooklyn, in particular the Flatlands and Canarsie area. Our nearest neighbors in Queens were in Howard Beach and the Rockaway Peninsula villages of Rockaway and Breezy Point. A significant portion of my wastrel youth was spent riding an Apollo 3 speed bicycle along the coastlines of Jamaica Bay and it’s various inlets, as I’ve always been drawn to the water by some primeval urge. Whenever the chance presented itself, I would ride my bike over to Rockaway Beach via a bridge found on the less commonly travelled side of Flatbush Avenue.
Much of this coastline is administered today as “Gateway National Park,” incidentally, which sounds a lot better than “Horsehead Bay,” I guess.
Gateway National Recreation Area is a 26,607-acre (10,767 ha) National Recreation Area in the Port of New York and New Jersey. Scattered over Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, New York and Monmouth County, New Jersey, it provides recreational opportunities that are rare for a dense urban environment, including ocean swimming, bird watching, boating, hiking and camping. Ten million people visit Gateway annually.
Gateway was created by the US Congress in 1972 to preserve and protect scarce and/or unique natural, cultural, and recreational resources with relatively convenient access by a high percentage of the nation’s population. It is owned by the United States government and managed by the National Park Service.
New York’s State Senate will likely waive some construction approvals to hasten rebuilding at Breezy Point, which was devastated by fire during Superstorm Sandy, the Daily News reported. Last month, the State Assembly passed the measure, which lets homeowners to skip approval from a city panel if they have sprinkler systems and don’t extend properties into the street. The Bloomberg administration also supports the move. The Breezy Point Cooperative said it will reduce construction time by six to 12 months.
It’s a chance to make history, star in a movie and live on in perpetuity. Dan Hendrick, who is currently working on the documentaryJamaica Bay Lives, and the Queens Memory Project are looking for people to share their stories, photos, mementos and thoughts on the neighborhoods stretching from Howard Beach through the Rockaways to Breezy Point. On April 24, Hendrick and QMP partners Queens College and Queens Library will be interviewing past and current area residents during Jamaica Bay Community History Night at the Broad Channel Branch Library. Hendrick noted that this is the chance to preserve local history before it becomes a fuzzy memory. He added that Hurricane Sandy has added a whole new chapter to this project.
First of all, it’s really not that cold. Second, it’s for a great cause. And most importantly, the party afterward is rip-roarin’ fun. On February 2, participants will gather by the Colony Theater in Breezy Point and then charge into the water as part of the 13th annual Rockaway Plunge. Not only is this a perfect opportunity to have some fun in the Rockaways after a few difficult months, the event also raises funds for the Breezy Point Relief Foundation, the Parishes of the Rockaways and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. There’s a heartwarming aspect to this year’s event as local resident Annie McMahon will be celebrating her Sweet Sixteen party. After she was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, Annie’s parents, John and Teresa McMahon, organized the first Rockaway Plunge.
500 Bayside Drive (first right after gatehouse), Breezy Point
Saturday, February 2
1pm – 2pm | A $50 donation is recommended for non-swimmers. Swimmers qualify for free admission to the after party. Goody bag with a minimum of $75 in sponsorships.
Curbed, in their Camera Obscura column, had Nathan Kensigner head to the Rockaway Peninsula to take some photos of the area after Hurricane Sandy. His work is always excellent, and this report is no different. It’s a surreal landscape now, and in the words of one Edgemere resident, “It’s like a bad dream that I can’t wake up from.”
The NY Times has a piece on the Breezy Point Madonna, the only thing left that is recognizable from the neighborhood before Hurricane Sandy; the rest is charred remnants of over 100 homes. This fire was one of the most devastating results of an overall devastating experience on the Rockaway peninsula, and was the largest of three fires that broke out in the Rockaways during the hurricane.
Two places that got hit particularly hard during Hurricane Sandy were LIC and the Rockaways. Breezy Point was particularly hard hit (it is located on the west side of the Rockaway peninsula, and the western tip is known for its excellent birdwatching oportunities) with water and wind and fires. This morning, one woman we met from Sunnyside said that her parents’ house down there was not destroyed by fire (the fire stopped about 100 feet away from the house) but that the house was moved off its foundation by the water and wind.
It’s a heartbreaking scene down there. 111 homes burned to the ground, according to CBS. This image below is incredible – click to enlarge.
This aerial photo shows burned-out homes in the Breezy Point section of the Queens borough New York after a fire on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. The tiny beachfront neighborhood told to evacuate before Sandy hit New York burned down as it was inundated by floodwaters, transforming a quaint corner of the Rockaways into a smoke-filled debris field. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Image source: Gothamist - Damage at Breezy Point Surf Club
This past Saturday, Breezy Point got quite the visitor – around 10:50am a tornado touched down in this small community on the Rockaway Peninsula. Here’s a video of the twister, which shows “a tornado hitting Breezy Point in Queens, New York. It hits the beach first then tracks northeast damaging the Breezy Point Surf Club before continuing on across the peninsula.” (more…)