Give Your Children Roots and Wings! Floyd Bennett Planning Moves Ahead

The Outback of Brooklyn--Floyd Bennett Field--Copyright 2005 Vivian R. Carter

Aerial map of Floyd Bennett
Have you experienced an epiphany at Floyd Bennett Field?  “Experiential epiphany”—a term coined by Central Park’s designer, Frederick Law Olmsted—is said to be the optimum effect of a visit to a park.  

Was it a sunrise launch into Jamaica Bay at the Casting for Recovery Charity Kayak Fishing Tournament, a peek into a seine net that had captured a tiny sea horse, or the sight of a wild rabbit scampering out of the bushes?  Did you ever experience a moment that brought you face to face with the “eternal”? 

Don McLean Sings at Aviator--September 2010

Perhaps you executed a perfect spin on ice skates, or re-lived the 1970’s with the other, more musical, “Spinners.” I know a group of young ladies from Rockaway who spent four years mastering the sport of lacrosse, coached by a dedicated young teacher.  They became the citywide champions in their sport, besting the perennially dominant team from Staten Island.  Maybe you have had the pleasure of such a moment at Floyd Bennett Field. 

Many of us cherish the open space at the historic air field.  What a great place for star-gazing!  Even if we do have to pay a bridge toll to attend a composting workshop conducted by the Floyd Bennett Gardens Association.  

Birders want to restore more of Floyd Bennett’s grassland habitat because it provides resting cover for birds migrating along the Atlantic Flyway.   The Aviator sports facility ball fields, hard on the border of the “North Forty” natural area, set up a potential conflict between the birders and the soccer fans. 

A blue-ribbon task force has been selected by Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Anthony Weiner, composed of the heads of city and federal agencies responsible for Jamaica Bay.  The residents of Brooklyn and Queens have been asked to weigh in on how they use Floyd Bennett, and to describe what they see as the challenges for the park in the future.  Two sets of public listening sessions were held in September, 2010—one at Floyd Bennett, and one at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

Fly fishing enthusiast speaks at Aviator meeting

At the listening sessions, even those of us who visit Floyd Bennett Field fairly regularly were surprised to learn of user groups we did not previously know about.  As an example, I had no idea that a not-for-profit group in existence since 1898, The Century Road Club Association, has been regularly using the runways for bicycle racing on the weekends.

Bike Racing Club Members Share Ideas at Wildlife Refuge Session

More than a few community participants at the sessions, myself included, strongly advocated that the groups now using Floyd Bennett should be given support and assistance, with both publicity and funding, in order to advance their present stewardship of the park and make the public aware of all that these groups are contributing.  

Will the feds follow these suggestions?  Or will they locate a 95-seat school for emotionally troubled high school dropouts in the old Job Corps building at Floyd Bennett, as has been suggested?

The blue ribbon panel is expected to make its report in January 2011.  Long-time users of the site have been through this waiting game before…and before…and before.  We’ll see.

About rockviv

You've entered the cyber-locale of Vivian Rattay Carter, a grant writer employed by Women's Housing and Economic Development Corporation in The South Bronx. 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, Woodlawn, and Riverdale (The Bronx). I treasure the amazing parks, architecture, and cultural institutions of our multicultural city, as well as the musicians and music lovers who enjoy congregating here.
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4 Responses to Give Your Children Roots and Wings! Floyd Bennett Planning Moves Ahead

  1. Daniel Olufemi says:

    Hi Vivian,
    I spoke with you earlier today at the St. John Baptist Church- the guy from Nigeria. Just read through some of your write-ups…found them very instructive. Are you also into photo-journalism? I noticed the fine array of pictures you got. More grease!
    Daniel Olufemi

    • rockviv says:


      It was a pleasure to speak with you today. Thank you! I have received many compliments on the photos, and I always let visitors to my site know that, at this point, I live for the praise–since I’m not making any money from this blog yet… A Sebago Canoe Club friend said I have a talent for capturing faces and they almost seem three-dimensional. Another friend from First Congregational said “those shrimp near jumped off the page at me!” I’ve been asked what type of photography equipment I use. Surprisingly, it’s nothing special–a six-year-old Nikon coolpix digital camera. You can see that it doesn’t capture as well indoors, or at night.

      My father was a photography junkie, dating back to his service in the Air Force during the Korean Conflict, when he bought a very good camera overseas. He won a statewide N.Y. tourism photo contest in 1991 for a photo taken in lower Manhattan near the site of my wedding reception. You may notice that some of the photos on my site are by Robert F. Carter. That’s my son, who’s also highly skilled at the art. Also, I’ve traced my ancestry back to a great-great-great grandfather who listed “photographer” as his occupation in an 1800’s census record. I’m not positive of this distant link, which is a bit hard to pinpoint accurately in U.S. Census records, but I’ll claim him anyway! It’s fun to say “it’s in the genes.” I truly appreciate your taking the time to visit my site.

      Vivian Carter

  2. Daniel Olufemi says:

    Hello Vivian,
    Happy New Year… I’m not sure I’ve seen you since the year. Just wants to say hi and thank for the good job with the Stillwells. I noticed your coverage of the award in The Wave today. Don’t worry, Vivian, soon your blog will be filled to the brink with adverts. Nice job!

    • rockviv says:

      Daniel, Great to hear from you again, and glad you are enjoying my writing in “Oy Vey Rockaway” and The Wave. The Stillwells are marvelous! They touch so many lives in such a positive way…Hope to see you around in the future. Vivian

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