Breezy Point Won't Have to Go Public to Get Dunes

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Several days after Sandy burned down more than 100 homes in Breezy Point, residents continue to pick through the rubble for belongings. Several days after Sandy burned down more than 100 homes in Breezy Point, residents continued to pick through the rubble for belongings. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

Some residents of Breezy Point, a beach community at the outermost tip of Rockaway Peninsula, once feared that in order to qualify for federal money to help protect itself against future storms like Sandy, it would have to open up its private beaches to the public.

That was the suggestion laid out in former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's citywide resiliency plan issued last June. The agency that normally builds beach dunes, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, does typically require public accessibility as a prerequisite for its construction projects.

But it turns out there is another pot of money that could pay for the project without forcing Breezy's beaches to go public: the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that he supported using FEMA money for the dunes, a necessary step in the approval process.

Arthur Lighthall, the general manager of the Breezy Point Cooperative, said opening up its beaches would require parking spaces and bathrooms that the densely-settled area does not have space for. He also said FEMA funding has other advantages: it will likely come more quickly.

"We may never see the results of any study or work done from the Army Corps for years," Lighthall said.


Julianne Welby


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Comments [16]

Matt McLean

A lot of posters on here are not from Breezy and I would be willing to bet live in "exclusive" neightborhoods throughout the city. So, going by the logic of all who are in favor in public access in Breezy and building public facilities on private property, every rental building and co-op that received FEMA money to fix common building areas and facilities should open their property to the public; whether it is use of a pool, a gym, or a common room with spectacular views used for co-op residents' parties - these would all be open to the public? This sounds great to me! To be able to walk in downtown Manhattan, have unlimited access to the residential buildings, and be able to take a swim, use the gym, and walk around the building would be a lot of fun! And yes - it is the EXACT same thing.

May. 05 2014 06:10 PM
Benoit Balz from NYC

We'll be agitating in the local media and through local politicians to see what it will take to have a rudimentary parking lot and bathroom facilities installed, something like what exists at Fort Tilden. Over fifty million bucks should leave some pennies for something like this -- nothing fancy.

It's not the particulars, it is the principle of the thing. People who want to be exclusive don't get bailed out with public, taxpayer money. It's as simple as that. I'd be willing to bet there is a significant percentage of Breezy people who look down their noses at "socialism" but there's absolutely no way to slice or dice or describe this situation any other way. You can call it a co-op or whatever you want, but THE BEACH and the ocean is something that cannot be walled off. It becomes a particularly egregious situation when people want to suck at the public teat, and then attempt to remain smug about it.

So let's look forward to having free and open public access to Breezy beaches, a modest parking lot and toilet facilities in exchange for the significant taxpayer largesse. Until then we'll be riding bikes, walking up the beach and swimming up there. Whatever it takes. And Breezy residents will get their taxpayer money, get some humility and hold the stink-eye, please.

Mar. 26 2014 08:45 PM
Gp from Queens

Riis park is a great park. Why bother going to breezy when we have such a great spot. It's never crowded. Not sure what the fuss is all about. The dunes created here will help maintain this area also and the point where the bird sanctuary is also. Keep in mind the bird sanctuary is by permit by the city. So both sides of breezy are accesable anyway!

Mar. 26 2014 08:43 PM
B T from NY

Thank you Susan I was a bit agrevated and couldn't get my point across clear enough :) I couldn't agree with you more....

Mar. 26 2014 06:41 PM
Susan from NY

Those of you leaving comments about racism should look up the definition of a co-op. If any of us walked into a co-op building there would be security at the entrance asking you where you are going . If you wanted to go for a leisurely walk through the building, and we're not a resident you would not be allowed. Would you call that racist? If you want to live in a co-op, apply. Breezy is like any other cooperative building in NYC. Residents pay cooperative fees in addition to taxes to live there. To those of you who think tax dollars should not be used to build a dune system, I ask you, those cooperative buildings that flooded in lower Manhattan during Sandy, should those building not have used tax payer dollars for their clean up. Please don't be ignorant. Get your facts straight before you make comments. Also, Breezy point has many ethnicities living in their community.

Mar. 26 2014 06:26 PM
Pete zuma from Rockaway

Benoit check yourself it is private and will remain private stay out.

Mar. 26 2014 06:04 PM
B T from Rockaway

I have lived in the rockaway community for years grew up here and have lived in Starret city in Brooklyn.. Breezy point is a CoOpertive just like any building/coop in and around the city.. No one who doesn't live in any coop is not allowed to come in and park for free or use the building facilities.. Breezy is a great community and it has beautiful beaches that people take care of it is not a rich community most of the people who live there are city employees fire fighters police men/women teachers.. People work their aas's of to buy a home in breezy to have a comfort of letting your children play without worry to live close to your family and friends .. Yes it a tight nit community and yes they have security you are not allowed to just wonder around and check things out.. just because it's a town like atmosphere and have single family homes does not give you the right to wonder around and do as you please it's still a CoOp ... so yes A LOT of people mostly the elderly call security on people who they find suspicious .. It's just like every neighborhood you see people walking through and you know they don't belong but breezy has security and so they are called.. They have lost so many homes and so many families are displaced why shouldn't they get the help they need .. Everyone has the right to be home and move on with their lives it's a coop and most people are white SO.. Because people are white and presumed rich they shouldn't be helped???? People come from all over and use rockaway beaches if you ask any rockaway resident how they like the people who come down to rockaway beach who are loud obnoxious rude start fights leave garbage and broken glass on their beaches hear what they say they may not be in a coop but rockaway broad channel are all the same hard working class people that love their layed back way of living and YES it's their beaches not the DFD's (down for the days) ....

Mar. 26 2014 05:57 PM

It's great knowing that people are coming on their bikes to breezy to sit on the we have id's for our bikes .. We are a cooperative,,,and the beaches are private ,,,we bought the beaches when we formed the coop...we all still pay taxes and deserve to get financial help like every other community...we own all the property which includes the beaches.... I don't think people would like strangers walking , on their property and we don't' either.

Mar. 26 2014 05:30 PM
Thomas from bklyn

If taxpayer dollars go toward fixing these beaches
and making it safe and it's a public beach everyone
should have the right to visit.

Mar. 21 2014 02:10 PM

I am not from Breezy but I am an lifelong Rockaway resident. The beaches in Breezy ARE NOT PRIVATE. I ride my bike up there and sit on the beach and no one throws me off. There is no one checking id's. The article is not correct, the reason why people think the beach is private because the residential area is a co-op and you are unable to park on the streets. If you lived in a co-op would you want someone parking on your property that you pay to maintain? No, I don't think so.
If you want to get a little exercise and sit on the wonderful beaches of Breezy get a bike or take a walk over no one is saying you are not welcome.
It is poorly researched journalism such as this that creates hatred for a community that just wants to rebuild and have protection for their home.

Mar. 21 2014 01:59 PM
RMH from Rockaway

I live in Rockaway not Breezy and I don't blame them at all for wanting to keep the beach private. Perhaps if the filthy pig down for the day beach goers didnt leave the beach and surrounding neighborhoods strewn with garbage they would find themselves more welcome. Can not even count the number of times I've seen these slobs pack up and walk away leaving mounds of their crap behind or tossing it aside on the street as they walk to the subway. I lived down the block from the B90th St. subway stop for 15 years and every Monday during the summer, walked the 2 blocks through broken glass,cans, bottles,food wrappers, foam containers, pizza boxes and dirty diapers left behind by "visitors". Oh and the puddles of urine and vomit under the stairs for the el always made for quite an early morning wake up. Here's a clue. Try showing even a modicum of respect for other beach goers or Rockaway residents and maybe we wouldnt hate you so much.

Mar. 21 2014 01:24 PM
Brown guy from ABTS

Screw Breezy point with their stank racist attitude. Yes, minorities get pulled over in breezy. They think they are holier than thou. Get real, you are just trailer trash garbage just like broad channel scum

Mar. 21 2014 11:28 AM
Patty from NYC

I am not quite sure why posters are referring to "Breezy Point State Park." Breezy Point is NOT a state park. It is a cooperative -- just like a co-op building on Park Avenue or in Forest Hills. Breezy Point is not a wealthy community -- it is filled with many of NYC's public servants, like fireman and teachers. Get the real story before one makes comments that are incorrect!

Mar. 21 2014 10:08 AM
Brigitte Zuend from NYC

I first heard about the breezy point state park riding the bus from Riis beach.
The woman sitting next to me was coming back from cleaning homes in Breezy Point, she told me the beaches are beautiful but if someone like her (african american) would try and walk to the beach, they would stop her!
However she said: You should try see the state park, you're white!
That's how far we got in NYC!

Mar. 20 2014 10:30 PM
max p schneider from nyc

Great news, however if tax payer finance this plan it should include public access to breezy point state park, which has been blocked for a very long time by the very segregated breezy point community, known to be 99% white!

Mar. 20 2014 08:18 PM
Benoit Balz from NY

Government bailout and no beach access? Are these people serious? This is what's called: socialism-for-the-rich. No other way to describe it. Over $50 million and they can't find ten grand to build a parking lot and a few bathrooms like at Riis Park? NO WAY.

It's almost as bad as taxpayer subsidies for Wall Street bonuses.

The party has been over at Breezy since the "big storm" rolled in. They always had a stink-eye and an attitude for anybody who didn't "belong" there. Now their houses got washed away and burned down and they want help from "outsiders"? This is a joke.

Open up the Breezy Point beaches.

Mar. 20 2014 08:17 PM

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