My co-op faced two engines of destruction in the last 10 months. One of them was manmade.
I have lived at Dayton Beach Park No. 1 Corp. – a middle-income, Mitchell-Lama Housing cooperative – for years. Supervised by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Dayton is home to more than 1,100 families in the Rockaway Beach section of Queens, New York. Our five 12-story buildings are located perpendicular to Shore Front Parkway, with only a few hundred yards separating us from the beach and boardwalk.
Superstorm Sandy devastated Dayton in October. It caused tens of millions of dollars in damage to the buildings and grounds. The boardwalk was uprooted from the support columns in many parts and deposited by the surging waters onto our property. Traumatized during and after the storm, the shareholders and residents of Dayton are now coping with extensive and costly restoration projects.
This past summer, the destruction continued. But this time, it was not a natural disaster that was responsible. It was the city government.
The City of New York’s overly aggressive goal of opening the beaches for the Memorial Day weekend wreaked havoc on Rockaway Beach, including our community. Why is tourism more important than the taxpayers whose property was already devastated by the storm of the century? Whose lives are more important to the city?
Shareholders and residents of Dayton have been subject to relentless pile-driving and construction, even late into the night, all to meet the beach opening goal. Do the sleep patterns of seniors and young infants not matter to the city? It is highly likely that the physical damage caused by vibrations to our buildings will surface during the next Local Law 11 analysis, forcing us to spend millions of dollars in façade and brick work.
As for current identifiable damage to Dayton’s property, various city contractors carelessly drove over the grounds during the boardwalk and comfort station construction process. There was substantial damage – probably amounting to tens of thousands of dollars – to recently grated lawns, sprinkler systems, sidewalks, and other crucial infrastructure. The sewer and drainage systems were also affected, the cost of which is still unknown.
As a result, Dayton will continue to suffer financially because substantial resources were already spent to restore some of the property that was just damaged. We will be making claims against the city for the negligent activities and destruction.
While we are committed to participating in returning the Rockaways to their pre-storm condition, the city must not forget about the hard-working taxpayers who live in the community.