Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Life preservers for the wealthy

Critics: City favors beaches of the rich
by patrick arden / metro new york

“Beach apartheid” is the label Ida Sanoff has attached to the city’s system for assigning lifeguards in Brooklyn and the Rockaways.

Many beaches near lower-income areas, such as 36th Street, are left unstaffed by lifeguards, while more wealthy areas have plenty.

“Year after year, certain beaches are privileged,” charged Sanoff, who lives in Brighton Beach. “They’re always staffed, while other beaches never have lifeguards. It’s not fair.”

Swimming is prohibited where there are no lifeguards, but in 2004 Sanoff was arrested for simply sunbathing at a closed beach. She wants to know why lifeguards in her neighborhood, for example, are always posted in front of the Oceana Condominiums, where apartments can fetch millions of dollars. “But if you walk past the Steeplechase Pier in Coney Island almost down to the end of the peninsula, where there are a lot of low-income minorities, there’s just about no place open where there’s a lifeguard,” she said.

Dan Mundy Jr., a firefighter who lives in Broad Channel, complains about the lack of open beaches in the Rockaways, particularly in the less affluent, northern areas, where he worked as a lifeguard for five years in the late 1970s. “People could use those beaches,” he said.

“Lifeguards are assigned based on where they are most needed,” said Philip Abramson, a spokesman for the Parks Department. When Metro asked about beaches in the 30s, 40s and 50s, next to stops on the A line, he claimed the lack of lifeguards was due to an absence of “residences adjoining the beach.”

“You have a tremendous population that comes down to use those beaches,” Mundy said, “and all those areas are closed.”

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sort of like assigning landmarks, too.

Only certain areas get it.

Everyone knows it.

No one will say it.

Except Crappie!

Anonymous said...

Sort of like assigning landmarks, too.

Only certain areas get it.

Everyone knows it.

No one will say it.

Except Crappie!

Anonymous said...

Lifeguards probably don't want to deal with the kids featured in the previous post!

Taxpayer said...

Never forget that the Parks Department is guilty (in federal court) of violating the civil rights of minority Perks employees in it hiring and promotion practices.

Why would Benepe limit the violations to employment practices when he can broaden his bigotry in all of Parks' responsibilities?

He knows he has the complete support of his open bigotry from Bigot Master Commissar White Hood of the Burning Crosses.

Support?

He is directed by this Bigot Master!

Wade Nichols said...

“But if you walk past the Steeplechase Pier in Coney Island almost down to the end of the peninsula, where there are a lot of low-income minorities, there’s just about no place open where there’s a lifeguard,” she said.

Yes, but what about the idea that lifeguards in minority areas should be "representative of the community"? We always hear this principle mentioned when it comes to policemen, firemen, etc. Why not apply it to lifeguards as well? You can't have it both ways!

I'm sure the city can spend ridiculous amounts of money to have "minority swimming outreach programs" in order to train people to become lifeguards in their communities, right? Perhaps the city could lower the standards for minority lifeguard applicants, in order to have sufficient numbers of lifeguards in underserved communities. Similar to what Miami did with their police department exam. They used to require policemen to know how to swim, but requiring black officers to know how to swim in a city located by the ocean was deemed "racist", and it's no longer required.

Anonymous said...

You can get arrested for sunbathing at an empty beach? Damn, these cops have way too much power.

CntrySigns said...

Get organized! Get a bunch of people and kids in bathing suits and towels and organize a press conference in front of the closed beaches. Do it enough and maybe things will change. When ever I've been in these areas the streets are like ghost towns.

I'm Watching! said...

down in the 30's-50's - aren't parts of the beach closed anyway due to some rare bird that nests there?