Friday, August 31, 2012

Sad state of Riis Bathhouse

From the NY Times:

With its octagonal brick towers rising above the beach, the sprawling bathhouse at Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways has, since opening in 1932, served as a monument to Art Deco design, grand public works and populist fun. Lately, however, it has become a symbol of something else: public frustration.

Renovation work began in the 1990s on the bathhouse, which is part of the federal Gateway National Recreation Area. Nearly $20 million was spent on asbestos removal, electrical upgrades, window replacements, new elevators and facade work. Politicians predicted that the bathhouse would be a fitting centerpiece of Jacob Riis Park, which is nicknamed the People’s Beach, while beachgoers envisioned cafes and souvenir shops, hot showers and community space.

But the work was never finished, and today the 40,000-square-foot bathhouse appears all but abandoned. Its large oceanfront bays are boarded up with plywood; its giant courtyard houses piles of sand, weeds and several derelict lifeguard stands, two of them toppled over.

Officials of Gateway, which is part of the National Park Service, say that the bathhouse suffered a one-two punch. First, the money meant for the restoration did not go as far as they had planned. The bathhouse complex actually comprises four buildings; while the entry pavilion on the inland side is finished, the beach pavilion still needs major work. Then came Tropical Storm Irene, which smashed a series of large doors protecting the interior — the ones now covered in plywood — and dumped four feet of sand on the ground floor.


Anonymous said...

Give us an update in 20 years please.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, my experience with the bath house has been limited to using it as a shore range for an occasionally productive piece of bottom a few miles away while fishing.

Anonymous said...

This is a trip we've made before: (1) take a great old building. (2) make a show of trying to preserve it. (3) but actually neglect it, (4) let time and vandals take their toll (5) declare the building not recoverable and tear it down.

Anonymous said...

A sad indicator of the sad state
of the Rockaways, in general.

Anonymous said...

Create a basic restoration plan that becomes part of a concession requirement that is put out for a bid. Let an entrepreneurial type take the risks - do it asap so that renovations could start prior to the next beach season. This is probably the fief of the Feds so that means nothing gets done until Mitt get's elected.

Anonymous said...

"First, the money meant for the restoration did not go as far as they had planned."

This is usually the fault of management to either estimate costs properly or not controlling costs. In the evil private sector managers that do this get canned. What happens in the government sector? Or is whoever was responsible for this get to go on to another project they can screw up.

mmbb said...

The sand had been accumulating at the bathhouses long before Irene. So a bit of BS going on. Seriously I am thinking of getting out of NYC the way the city is pushing to turn everything into bland condo-land and "luxury rentals" of sub-par constructed buildings.