I Love MY Gateway!

Best friends embrace each other and the Gateway experience at a school outing (June, 2000)

Happy Valentine’s Day to my friends, neighbors and family!  These days, non-committed relationships are all the rage, and the terminology we use in our social interactions seems to be focused on mutual fulfillment, supporting one another, and every euphemism in the book as an alternative to saying the word, “love.”  For those who are happily hitched to one another, I wish you continued success in that balancing act, which can seem unfashionable in light of pop culture trends.    

Today, I’m searching for something I can publicly declare my passion about. As a 17-year resident of Rockaway, one of the places on the peninsula that has been central to my family and cultural life is the land within the boundaries of Gateway National Recreation Area, including Floyd Bennett Field,  Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Riis Park, and Fort Tilden! 

Copyright 2008 Vivian R. Carter

M.A.S. Swing Band in the groove at Riis Park--Summer 2008

From campfire sing-alongs to pony rides at the RMAC Fall Festivals…from “My Fair Lady” at RTC to years of Little League games and school picnics…

One of the fabulous Little League championship years..the boys with coach Palmer Doyle

Halloween fright fests at RAA, and even hayrides (in the early years)…

Don Riepe talks about a horseshoe crab

The open spaces and rustic buildings being re-purposed by hard-working community volunteers lend a magic to Gateway’s environs that I find hard to resist.  

I’m urging everyone on the peninsula to think about what Gateway means to you and your family.  Many of you may have already received emails from various civic groups that are encouraging public comments on the proposed Gateway General Management Plan.  Here is the link:  http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentForm.cfm?documentID=36924;  please take a few moments to visit that page and record your comments.  If you have friends and neighbors who don’t use a computer but would like to comment, print out the information for them, and they can write a letter. 

Low Tide Walk in Deep Winter with Mickey Cohen

The future community use of Gateway’s lands and buildings is at stake.  It’s our neighborhood park and our donations and support have made it a community cultural and recreational center of great importance.   Please get involved!  Send a comment to “Oy Vey Rockaway” if you have any trouble using the link above to get to the Gateway site.  Comments are being received until March 15, 2011. 

Also of note, two important community meetings regarding Jamaica Bay and its shoreline are coming up soon:  Thursday, Feb. 17, 7 p.m., Kings Plaza Community Room (right near the entrance to the parking garage on Flatbush Avenue), the NYC Economic Development Commission will host a public scoping meeting on the proposed development of Four Sparrow Marsh, near Toys R’ Us.  You can read a story about it published on this blog last month. 

Plumb Beach Visitor's Center is Boarded Up...notice the erosion!

Next Thursday, Feb. 24, 7 p.m., Salt Marsh Nature Center, Avenue U (in the park area west of Kings Plaza), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and NYC Parks Department will hold a public meeting about the plans to rebuild the crumbling bike path (and endangered Belt Parkway road surface), at Plumb Beach, the shoreline park due east of the Emmons Avenue “Restaurant Row” in Sheepshead Bay.  The beach is an important horseshoe crab nesting location and recreation destination, and the shared responsibility of city and federal parks officials. 

Plumb Beach Nesting Grounds for Horseshoe Crabs--Since Before Humans!

One last comment–hope everyone is finding time to check out the news about the proposed expansion of JFK Airport, one of the most important things to happen out here in decades.  I wrote an aticle on this blog last month; there is also a longer piece on the front page of the Feb. 4 issue of The Wave, with photos of the four proposed runway expansions on page 60.  None of it is good news, in my view, but opinions may differ.   What is undisputed is that everyone is talking about it!  Keep an eye out for upcoming meetings, and there’s no harm in firing off a letter or email to your congressman right now, expressing your views.  The email address for Congressman Weiner’s assistant, Mike Gluck, is mike.gluck@mail.house.gov.  The snail mail addresses for Weiner and Congressman Gregory Meeks are also printed each week on page 4 of The Wave.

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About rockviv

You've entered the cyber-locale of Vivian Rattay Carter. I blog with the username "rockviv," short for Rockaway Vivian, which locates me in the place where I live, work and write, one of New York City's most fascinating neighborhoods. With degrees from Northwestern (journalism), Brooklyn College (elementary education), and Fordham Law, I find I have a lot to say about Rockaway and this great planet we share. I am proud to have served, for several years, as a board member of Rockaway Civic Association (formerly Rockaway Park Homeowners' and Residents) and a lay leader of First Congregational Church of Rockaway Beach, United Church of Christ. I'm a member and supporter of many New York cultural, educational, and ecology groups.. Although I have produced written work for publication in multiple genres, beginning with poetry in the early 1970's, my first non-fiction book, Images of America: Rockaway Beach, was published by Arcadia in June, 2012. My monthly opinion column, Rock Solid, appeared in The Wave, Rockaway's weekly community newspaper, from April 2009 through October, 2012, and I contributed numerous other articles and photos from 1999-2012. From the home page, click on the "Publications/Press-Links" tab for links to these articles The views expressed here are my own, and do not necessarily coincide with the views of any of the organizations that publish my work, or the groups I assist and support. Here's to independent voices!
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2 Responses to I Love MY Gateway!

  1. Noreen Hamilton says:

    Active, organized recreation must be the primary use of the eastern section of Ft. Tilden. We do not object to sharing the park with the environmental advocates, but we object to efforts to exclude us and our children.

    • rockviv says:

      Noreen,
      Thanks for reading my blog and for speaking out about Gateway. We all look forward to seeing positive changes at Ft. Tilden and Riis Park in the near future! It takes hard work and solidarity among community organizations. Spread the word to all your friends who are members or supporters of Gateway user groups–let your governing boards and officers know that you support changes at Gateway for the benefit of all!
      Vivian

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