It One of the oldest saws is Albert Einstein’s purported definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.
Around here, the definition of insanity is “see: government.”
The latest installment of our infinite-volume series “Tales of the Ridiculous” presents perhaps the strongest case for our insanity shorthand.
This week, the City suddenly and casually informed borough elected officials that it plans to shutter Rockaway Beach between Beach 91st and Beach 102nd streets indefinitely and effective this weekend due to erosion.
Never mind that “this weekend” marks the unofficial start of summer; or that this stretch of shoreline is one of the most popular parts of arguably the borough’s top tourist attraction.
Never mind that Rockaway residents, civic leaders, and pols have been warning City officials for years about erosion issues at certain swaths of the beach.
“The City’s immediate plans for the Rockaways will significantly hurt the local community and Queens economy during the vital visitor season of the summer months, and shortchange one of the largest tourist attractions in the City. This is unacceptable; the Rockaways deserve better,” said Borough President Melinda Katz. “The community had long expressed its concerns about the vulnerable shoreline to the Parks Department for years. When the Army Corps [of Engineers] last replaced 3.5 million cubic yards of sand on the Rockaway Beaches in 2014, the community repeatedly warned the City that without permanent protective measures, the sand would soon need to be replaced again.”
Stories like this make us think of another phrase, one made famous by the journalists-as-detectives Watergate saga, “All the President’s Men.”
“Follow the money,” Hal Holbrook as Deep Throat implores Robert Redford’s Bob Woodward.
However, when we try to follow the money in this instance we end up nauseous.
In 2013, Congress passed the Hurricane Sandy Relief Act, which provided the Army Corps of Engineers with over $5 billion in funding to protect the region’s most vulnerable areas, including fully funding the Rockaway Reformulation Study and construction of the Rockaway Beach coastal protection project. But last year, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Greg Meeks (D-Jamaica) fired off a letter to the corps that basically noted, ‘We gave you a boatload of cash, but have received zero results.’
“We write to urge the Army Corps of Engineers to take action to address the severe and constant beach erosion along the Rockaway Peninsula that threatens the coastal protection of this vulnerable area,” they wrote to corps leadership in June 2017. “More than four years later the study is not complete and construction has not started. It is simply unacceptable that a fully-funded project languish for so long, leaving Rockaway susceptible to erosion, storm surge and flooding. The corps must provide a firm timetable for completion of the study and a construction schedule, including spelling out a specific timetable for construction of jetties, groins and a sea wall. Given the importance of this project, the corps must expedite this schedule.”
Expedite. Yeah, right.
And so, as with so many issues since time immemorial, Queens ends up getting burned for no good reason.
Perhaps Borough President Katz put it best on Monday.
“The consequences of the City’s failure to act earlier will be disproportionately borne by the Rockaway community.”
Insanity: see: government.The city aquired through the city plan. The city paid fair market vaue for all market prices
Building rebuilding was difficult because of new restirctions
Rudy Giui


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