The Gentrification Of A Beach And Federal Park Part II And III: It’s Failure And The Ludicrous New Effort

493The screen and seating areas. Pathetic.

Riis Park, Gateway National Park, Rockaway Beach, Queens, N.Y., U.S.A.

Here is part one

Rockaway Beach, the biggest beach in the greater N.Y. area and arguably the east coast, immortalized in song, and thanks to moneyed interests whom are persistent, oblivious and crass, ripe for picking.

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There they go and went again. This is second year in a row that the Central Park Conservancy, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Rockaway Artists Alliance attempt to remake/remodel a beach for the bogus rationale of having a movie night in a park, a gimmick that has seen widespread popularity in the past few years in city parks in this city and other major cities across the country. The reason for this alleged philanthropy is to bring vibrancy, diversity and revitalization to the beach, which was rocked by Hurricane Sandy 6 years ago wherein this particular spot was used as a landfill for all the debris and damage from the devastating fires of Breezy Point and the destruction of half of the original boardwalk eastward.

Riis Park, known as the “people’s beach”, designed by the notorious city planner, architect and segregator Robert Moses, is mostly visited by Blacks, Hispanics (ranging from various nations), even Russians and gay people (the gay community has a long history with this beach). It is still, as it always was, visited by millions of people of all races and nationalities. The need for diversity and vibrancy is in fact, moot and redundant.

Here was the turnout of their “film festival”, which consisted of one movie,”School Of Rock”.

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Less than hundred people sat down on the dirty sand for 2 hours to watch a movie on what looks like a giant raft or the bottom severed off a bouncy castle, which are tied down with cables and looks a bit perilous. The audio was horrible because of the consistent gale force winds which should be expected since it’s by a town known as the aforementioned Breezy Point.

Meanwhile by the bazaar, the restaurant was shut down and all the attractions bailed out leaving the boardwalk bare except for a makeshift stand taking donations for the former mayor’s philanthropic organization who along with the brass at Gateway thought this was a smashing idea again. This time with lower turnout than last year.

This festival is happening in congruence with the daily beach bazaar going on by the parks toilets, which is being run by some perpetually failing event planners and promoters from Greenpoint, Brooklyn, after their original space shut down, were awarded a 3 year contract from the National Parks Service promoted by a semi-major local newsblog who are friends of theirs, to bring what one of the organizers claimed, to bring “Brooklyn” to Queens (not that condescending or insulting, but they are invading hipsters, and as the record shows, useful idiots for gentrification).

Although one concession stand did remain open and was just as vibrant, although in competition with the RAA, Bloomberg’s and the Central Park Conservancy’s second vain and sad attempt to revitalize the beach. And it was the beach bazaar’s star chef Whitley Aycock. While the movie was running, Mr. Aycock was blasting music from his stand and drowning out the audio from the movie as if the wind wasn’t enough. And continued to do so in spite of complaints from visitors and park management.

The following week at the bazaar, Whitty was blasting some music that was quite vulgar that offended passerby. When one person requested that he maybe should play something else, Whitty proceeded to pump up the volume out of spite, leading him to get ejected by the folks of Gateway and begrudgingly his Riis Park Bazaar admirers, for the rationale that it was a “family beach”.

Well, they should have thought of that before the folks they awarded that contract to decided to hire this guy to run his concession stand of overpriced and little pizza pies to begin with. Mr Aycock, for a couple years was wreaking havoc running a joint with a  hedge funder in Rockaway Park at the now shuttered Playland Inn.  After trying to run a conventional pizzeria, he started yelling at customers, mostly the area black kids from the neighborhood and changed his format to whole pies at upscale prices, and continued to be a cantankerous sore to his new clientele which had a pervasive influence on his equally surly and pompous staff. As time went on, and a few more hipster themed barstaurants opened up, Aycock became quite the habitual criminal. He grew pot inside his restaurant, which drew attention of the police station 2 blocks away, and tried to convince/fool two patrolmen that it was just herbs for his overpriced dining fare and wound up getting arrested. Reportedly, the staff and some customers came to his defense by actually getting physical and obscenely yelling at the cops as they were frogmarching his ass out the door. Imagine if that happened at a restaurant with Black or Spanish people.

Things continued to get worse, since being a flaming diarrhetic asshole does not make for good business acumen and his investors attempts at gentrification with their arty hotel did not get any patrons except for homeless people for a little while, his pizza place shut down, leaving him temporary no place to create his revolutionary pies. The day he closed, he left a message for the fine folks in the community who just couldn’t appreciate his talent nor his putrid existence.

pizza sign

A few days later, Aycock showed up at his former digs with a forklift and was busted breaking and entering into his old restaurant trying to steal the oven by destroying the wall in the back of the building. Then he had the nerve to sue the proprietor by claiming ownership of the oven.

After this recidivist juvenile delinquent behavior, which would have landed anyone else in Rikers, he was approached by  Gateway and the Riis Park Beach bozos and was contracted to cook for the bazaar and open his new place, despite the fact that it was October and the event was supposed to end at the official end of summer. But Gateway decided to let it continue through the cold seasons and early spring with this menace working in their kitchen working aside a ridiculous craft beer and cocktail bar beside them. These creative types were basically given a place to hang out for almost a year despite making no business or money for the park and beach. A veritable tax payer funded social club.

The Riis Park Bazaar is a big colossal joke and a failure. It does get patrons, the dopes who wait on line for food that are quite ubiquitous in the now tony parts of Brooklyn but not enough to truly influence a massive dramatic change in scenery and demographics. And the performances they have there is barely audible because of, well the friggin’ wind makes the acoustics there lousy.

Mostly and historically, the majority of people that go to Riis bring their own food, beverages and entertainment. Mostly, nobody gives a damn about this bazaar, and are clearly not intimidated by it. And the set up of this is clearly seen as an obvious farce and the ruse that it is.

So much for bringing “Brooklyn” to Queens. Mostly, so much for a pathetic lame attempt bringing the gilded age, disposable income, frivolous spending, obnoxious, entitled hipster lifestyle to spread across the beach in the hopes of turning it into the Hamptons with a more convenient commute.

But apparently, the national parks service to privatize parkland and beaches is not over. Now there is a new and preposterously dumber and scarily more powerful invader. Starting today, Gateway now will like to present the new vibrant movement for superfluous revitalization-“Glamping”.

Yes, Fort Tilden, which for the past 3 years has been inundated with the hipster demographic they prefer whose access to the beach as been aided by extended with consistent bus service from gentrified nabes of Brooklyn and burgeoning nabes in northwest Queens with the Q35 and now with the new ferries, in an area not even disclosed by Gateway or even on the organizers bland website, for the money pissing bargain of $200 or $250 dollars a night, you can rent a tent on the sand with encroaching and unpredictable tides and sleep in a queen size bed with rugs and furniture. Amenities include continental breakfast, campfires, use of bicycles, actual butler service and s’mores.

This is not only insane, no, this is only insane. And lookie here, some of these sponsors have actually done event work in the Hamptons.

I have a line for the existence and the mental malaise and utter willful insensitivity that inspires this creativity and that is “this is why Trump is president”. It takes some new significance considering that he dedicated his presidential salary to the national parks dept. which are dwarfed by the looming cuts in next year’s fiscal budget. Although to be fair, this glamping thing has apparently been going on for a while, even under Figurehead Obama. So chalk up another lame contribution and rotten asset from the former first black president.

While this is going on, how are they going to secure the grounds? Will extra security in the form of state police and park rangers be deployed there as personal security or will these event planning assholes have their own security contractors? Especially since the “guests” will be there all night. What about lifeguards, which are already understaffed throughout the Rockaways?

And of course, there is the major concern about the forces of nature. As mentioned before, this is the windiest part of the beach and the waters here are hazardous even during the day.

Being that it will be there for a month, who knows what will happen and what kind of environment it will be for other visitors to Fort Tilden or even east at Riis. But this concept is so ludicrous and so similar to criminal abomination of the Frye Festival that it’s destined to fail as well. But the fact that money and effort is being spent like this to change the outlook of a public beach is just horrendous, immature and spiteful.

I guess the natural gas pipeline that was dropped into the ocean a few years ago is not paying any dividends, for it was actually the only new infrastructure that was installed in the last few years. And the classic bathhouses and former diner and lodge on the Riis boardwalk has not got any buyers yet and is now basically a piss room for people waiting for the bus to arrive.

This is just another sign of the times. It’s the bastardization of doing something normal and routine like enjoying a day at the beach and trying to make a gross profit from it and trying to disenfranchise people of that vibe. There is really no need for these entrepreneurs or “creators” and “makers” as they lamely think of themselves. For they are not contributing anything to these locations and are forcing these lifestyles on people. Especially the motherfucking sponsors of terraglamping, one of many heinous portmanteaus foisted on this revolting zeitgeist from the sharing economy. These people continue to get rejected, mocked and reviled by the citizenry and they still persist.

The message can’t be more transparent, they need to get the fuck out for the good of society and humankind.

 

 

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