Starbucks Arrives on the Rock, In a Way

They’ve finally made their way along the North Atlantic Flyway–Starbucks Cups Have Arrived on the Rock!

Somehow, they are getting to the peninsula—those ubiquitous Starbucks coffee cups.  The $6 Joe can’t be purchased locally, but we have become a “privileged” repository of the brand’s classy paper receptacles, and trash of various other kinds.  Everyone’s starting to notice the volume of waste being left behind every hot summer day. Turns the “leave no trace” slogan of the National Park Service on its head.

If trash cans are full, please take your trash to the next receptacle that is not full–even if it’s at your home!

Do they deliver pies out here?

A casual stroll behind the RAA galleries at Ft.Tilden on Sunday, July 22, 2012, turned up pizza boxes, coffee cups from stores we don’t have in Rockaway, and extensive vandalism of signs and roadways.

When visitors from near and far have no respect for the fences, walkways or overflowing conditions of trash cans at Ft. Tilden or along the Rockaway Beach boardwalk, it doesn’t surprise me that destruction and theft of piping plover nest eggs has followed.

Disrespect for property has always been found to lead to other types of law-breaking.  I consider it a privilege to live in one of the last seafront bastions of the tiny, harmless piping plover (there are fewer than 2,000 nesting pairs left on the Atlantic coast, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).  This bird has been pushed to the brink by short-sighted and greedy over-development of shore front areas.  I really don’t find it amusing when local characters make juvenile jokes that “piping plover tastes like chicken,” and “it’s good on the BBQ.”  Likewise, I was horrified when an area “waterfront activist” who has been the recipient of  environmental education grants suggested at a 2009 public meeting that people are more important than birds, so we should just run the boardwalk over the plover nests!  Maybe that’s the nature of our society today–man always comes first.

If there is no enforcement of the littering, vandalism or pooper scooper laws, good luck to endangered species.  As William Shakespeare wisely wrote in his play, Measure for Measure:  We must not make a scarecrow of the law, setting it up to [frighten] the birds of prey, and letting it keep one shape till custom make it their perch and not their terror.”

Looks like the body of laws that protects the health and safety of our public spaces is becoming a scarecrow.  A scarecrow covered with flocks of ignorant, careless, selfish, lazy, perching birds.  If we look away and say nothing, we are living in denial.

Put out a welcome mat for park visitors? I’d prefer to quote the sign that hangs over the bar at Rogers Pub: “Be Good or Be Gone.”

Text and photos copyright 2012 Vivian R. Carter

About rockviv

You've entered the cyber-locale of Vivian Rattay Carter, a writer, teacher, advertising representative, and licensed sightseeing guide. I've lived and worked in the New York metro area since 1979, in diverse places like Astoria and Rockaway Beach (Queens), Kensington and Windsor Terrace (Brooklyn), Grand Street and Tribeca (Manhattan), and Norwood, Riverdale and Woodlawn (The Bronx). I treasure the amazing parks, civic architecture, and cultural institutions of our city, and love the inspiring stories of the outer borough pioneers. What an interesting apple this is!
This entry was posted in Creatures of the Planet (Non-Human), piping plovers, The Land We Share and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Starbucks Arrives on the Rock, In a Way

  1. Nancy Dodson says:

    I grew up on beach 109th and have fond memories of Rockaway, I was lucky to be able to come back this weekend and spend time with my family on b109-110st ..the bagel place was a nice addition, and the revitalized bunglow courts made my heart sing. But the floating plastic, overflowing trash and glass made me mad!! I went around picking up as much as I could but it is a far greater job than one person can handle. I love that place and would love to see it loved as it should be! It can be done! I would love to help in some way. I live in Charleston SC at the present time but email me. Rock gal

    • rockviv says:


      Nice to e-meet you! Don’t worry, there are many on the peninsula who are very concerned about the trash. It’s been a major topic at community meetings in past several months. About 80 people crammed into a Community Board 14 Parks Committee meeting held several weeks ago, and trash was one of the three top items of concern. Sand replenishment is another. We keep hearing how there are budget cuts to the NYC Parks Dept. and to Gateway Natl. Rec. Area. I think we have to keep focusing attention on all of the money that comes into the public coffers (other than Parks Dept. & Interior Dept. budgets). For instance, there’s the funds from Port Authority that get collected from airline passengers. Those funds are supposed to be awarded to neighborhoods affected by aircraft noise. There are also the MTA Bridges and Tunnels toll collections. That’s been hundreds of millions since those bridges were built. How much of it comes back into the community? Not much. I’ll add you to my email list, and check my blog for news about beach cleanups. Rock Viv

  2. Cecila says:

    Hey are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying
    to get started and set up my own. Do you require any html coding
    knowledge to make your own blog? Any help would be really appreciated!

    • rockviv says:

      Hi, Cecila!
      Thanks for posting a comment on Oy Vey Rockaway. WordPress is a pretty user-friendly platform for blogging. I had no programming background, and limited graphic design experience, yet I’ve usually been pretty satisfied by how my postings look. If you read through all the free helpful articles on the WordPress site, you can get a blog started with very limited assistance. They also offer seminars periodically in various urban areas, if you want to learn more. I’m not an expert yet, but I manage to get by.

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