NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s not summer just yet, but one Queens community is fed up that nobody seems to be stepping-up to help in the year-round fight to save its beaches.
Residents say it’s been one broken promise after another to alleviate erosion on Rockaway Beach.
The Rodkin family were out for a winter walk along the concrete near the sand Friday afternoon. They’d have rather been strolling on the beach, but it’s been closed for months.
“Break’s my heart,” Alice Rodkin said. “My mom brought us here as kids. We can’t even enjoy our own beach.”
The beach erosion has become so dangerous, the city’s Parks Department was forced to close several blocks of beach last summer that are still shuttered as the sane disappears even further.
People who live nearby say the sand should be much higher than where it is, but rapid erosion means you’ll need to jump more than four feet to get from the boardwalk to the beach.
“Very much kicking and screaming, trying to get people to pay attention,” John Cori, president of the Rockaway Beach Civic Association said.
Last spring, Cori said the erosion was “by far the worst” it had been. Fast forward to 2019, and the dunes are nearly half the size they were last April. He’s been fighting for the city and federal government to install barriers like jetties and rock groins to help protect the beaches as they’ve long promised they would.
“The Army Corps of Engineers said they’d be there in 2018 to tell us the plan,” Cori said. “Not even a word.”
The federal agency says it’s working to make sure the area gets the most “effectively designed plan to reduce flood risk and combat erosion.” The city says its understanding is that should start late 2019.
That’s just not soon enough for restaurant owners like John Moroney.
“It definitely hurts the bottom line, no question it hurts a lot of businesses,” he said.
It’s an ominous sign for those who fear they’re just one more monster storm away from losing the shoreline they love.