Summer Is Here

I feel overwhelmed by the masses coming to Rockaway the past few weeks. Last summer it was calm in comparison, due to the pandemic. The garbage, the parking situation, and the dunes problem have been upsetting. Before I scare you off though, I’d like to say,  I’m not using this forum to complain. This is not Facebook!  I’ve been thinking about it and I want to share some of the positives I came across relating to these local issues.

garbage rockaway beach summer 2021

The Garbage: A few Mondays ago I went down to the beach for a morning walk. Even though I’ve seen the overflowing garbage cans and fields of plastic before, I had a “Looney Tunes” bulge eye-pop moment. I started picking up garbage at random, as many of us do. Every hour that goes by, is more opportunity for the plastic to make its way into the water.

clean up the beach 1

While I was there though, I noticed thoughtful, hand-painted wooden signs reminding beachgoers to “keep our beach clean” “take out what you bring in,”  and so on. But there was this one sign that stood out. It’s of a turtle with a plastic bag around its neck. The detail in the drawing shows how much the signmaker cares about the ocean and their community. Even the placement of the sign is purposeful. The turtle message appears near a garbage can on the way back up to the boardwalk. It’s on Beach 91st.  I can’t get the image out of my head. This artwork has an impact. Thank you to whoever took the time to create this meaningful message.

The Parking: This has been a decades-long debate and conversation on the peninsula. Rockaway Beach is inundated. Uptown has no parking rules during the summer. There is something very wrong with this and it’s not about parking. It’s a social inequality issue. I’ll leave that there. Multi-level parking garages in Rockaway and Far Rockaway for use only four months out of the year are not the answer. The answer is eco-friendly transportation –  better public transit infrastructure and easy access, safe bike paths.

On that note, if you’re a visitor just picking up this edition of the paper after driving around for an hour to find a parking spot, consider taking public transportation next time. While we don’t have the best transit to Rockaway, the trip will be less stressful and probably take the same amount of time given “looking for parking.” Better yet, take advantage of the bike paths to Rockaway! There are many stop-offs to check out too – Jamaica Bay, Canarsie Pier, and Floyd Bennett Field.

keep off the dunes rockaway beach summer 2021

The Dunes: A few weeks ago the NYC Parks partnered with the Rockaway Beach Civic Association. Together with community members they took action and made “Keep Off The Dunes” signage.” Now you can see the important message clearly on the dunes in the Rockaway Beach area. Thank you and nice swift action!

I also see Rockawayites on social media reminding their network of the importance of dune protection as our main source of erosion protection. I’m hopeful when the Army Corp. of Engineers’ infrastructure project is completed this problem will diminish. The ’90s are slated for groin construction in October!

A big thanks to our community members that are taking action to remind our guests of the appropriate behavior when visiting our beautiful beach town.

Follow me  for the local summer seen on instagram – @theglorifiedtomato


tagged in beach, rockaway