Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Parks staffing beaches based on race

On a recent sunny Tuesday morning when I toured the golden 9-mile stretch of Rockaway Beach, the largest oceanfront in the state, with Chief Lifeguard Janet Fash, I was shocked to see that almost all the beaches at the affluent western end of Belle Harbor and Neponsit were open. Each beach on Rockaway's western Gold Coast - where houses go for millions, where there is no subway service, no public boardwalk, and where parking permits are required - had four lifeguards protecting the sparse, vastly white bathers.

These are public beaches that essentially function as private beaches for the white locals affluent enough to access them.

Beach disparity in Rockaway is a black and white issue

In contrast, several miles to the east in the less affluent area of Far Rockaway - serving a largely minority community where more than 100,000 people are squashed into 2 square miles of housing projects, multiple dwellings, and single family homes - only two beaches from Beach 25th St. to Beach 72nd St. are open to the public.

On Beach 25th St., at 11:15 a.m. on the sunny Tuesday I trudged the sands, well over an hour after the beach's official 10 a.m. opening, there was but one lifeguard to safeguard the entire bay. There are supposed to be three lifeguards and a supervising lieutenant. (A second lifeguard, transferred from Belle Harbor, showed up as I was leaving.)

These two Rockaways couldn't have been more different than, well, black and white.


Wade Nichols said...

Far Rockaway High School is slated for closure because of a shameful 30% graduation rate, and where subprime mortgage foreclosures lead the city - must walk 20 sweaty blocks lugging beach gear to go for a swim.

Something's wrong.

Indeed. Something surely is wrong if 70% of the students at Far Rockaway can’t even graduate from a school which no doubt has an extremely “dumbed down” curriculum.

“20 sweaty blocks” hardly qualifies as the “Bataan Death March”. Considering what the obesity and diabetes rates are in those communities, the kids could use some exercise.

Dupont points out that there are no youth programs in Far Rock - no moviehouses, no bowling alleys, no community centers, no basketball programs, no swimming programs. "What are these kids supposed to do?" asks Dupont.

With a 30% graduation rate at Far Rockaway HS, you don't have to be Stephen Hawking to know what these kids are supposed to do:

Go to school, pay attention during class, don’t act up and disrupt the teachers, turn off their mobile phones, bring their assignments home at night and complete them, ask their parents or another adult for help if they need it, get involved in after school activities, join a school club, etc.

That’s what THOSE kids are supposed to do, which is what I did, and what all the high IQ Asian, Indian, and Jewish kids who go to Stuyvesant HS and Bronx Science are doing right now.

georgetheatheist said...

Denis Hamill, brother of "Pete the Putz", my favorite liberal.

Anonymous said...

"Parks staffing beaches based on race"

Just the way most readers of this blog like it as you can clearly see.

It is trulyt sad how ignorant you are.
All that schooling, unlike all THOSE people as you put it and you still turned into an uneducated, idiotic bigot.

Wade Nichols said...

It is trulyt (sic) sad how ignorant you are.
All that schooling, unlike all THOSE people as you put it and you still turned into an uneducated, idiotic bigot.

And when you get mugged, you will do one of the following:

1.) Blame yourself
2.) Wake up to reality, and finally take your head out of your liberal asshole

Queens Crapper said...

I like how there were only 2 comments before the anonymous poster's, both of which he didn't like, so therefore he figures that "most people who read this blog" must feel the same way and must be racist, thereby displaying ignorance and bigotry himself. Guess what? This post was linked to by NY Magazine, which means most people who read it came from their site, and I doubt most of their readers consider themselves Archie and Edith.

panzer65 said...

This would make a great "Son Of The Beach" episode.

bmmaxfield said...

Hamill ignores the fact that the Far Rockaway beaches in question(the closed beaches) are not used nearly as much as other locations on the peninsula. Hamill should walk the beaches on a sunny summer Sunday to confirm this before he spouts his politically correct nonsense. Lifeguards I've spoken with assigned to the beaches in question say the Far Rockaway beaches can be desolate, even in summer. Staffing appears to be based on beach usage, not race.
Beach 116th Street, which has a very diverse beach-going population, has plenty of services, including lifeguards, cops, PEP's, etc. because it is a heavily used beach-plain and simple.
Why not focus on the fair and equitable testing/training of lifeguards? I've had friends who were not allowed to have stopwatches during the lifeguard testing process. No one got to see their actual swim times. Many said the treatment at the testing center was downright abusive. Why? This seems to be an important factor as to why there's a shortage of lifeguards.
Perhaps this story wouldn't further Hamill's racial agenda...but it might get us more lifeguards.

Anonymous said...

Also have to do with the fact that the surf in that section is very dangerous for swimmers and lifeguards alike. Most drownings happen in that vicinity.