Back In The Swing Of Things
Beach 30th Street Playground was designed as part of the larger Rockaway Park PlaNYC project. This $30 million Far Rockaway regional park presented the opportunity to make the most of the beachfront setting to provide much needed park facilities for the rapidly growing residential community.
The playground features areas with variety of play experiences, including those on both sand and safety surfacing. A water play area with recycled plastic lumber decking and a custom concrete fire boat with kid-operated spray fixtures was included.
Unfortunately, in March, the playground was damaged during its construction after a vandal broke into the site and used a construction vehicle to wreck much of the playground equipment and cause about $100,000 in damages. Not only did the community band together in support of their park, we also received requests to donate money.
The playground was repaired, and opened with the rest of the Far Rockaway PlaNYC park by Mayor Bloomberg in August of 2012.
Just a few months later, Hurricane Sandy hit. Although the play equipment was undamaged by the superstorm – the site was designed with lots of permeable surfaces in the event of flooding– the site was inundated with water that lifted up the safety surface, and the playground was covered with sand and debris.
Parks Commissioner Veronica White said in a Daily News interview, “It is important in communities impacted by the storm to have a place for children to go, for people to go, to get out of their homes and try to resume a normal life. This is a very special playground.”
Once again, New Yorkers stepped up and volunteered in the restoration effort – in many cases working side by side with our staff. Hundreds of volunteers helped out at Beach 30th Street in 11 different events since November 10. As the site was still covered with water and sand, Commissioner White remarked, “It’s hard work and it has to be done very carefully by hand. It’s worse than shoveling very heavy snow.”
This is part of a larger effort to bring volunteers to help clean up their neighborhood parks. Volunteers have come from all over the city – including a woman who traveled two hours from the Queensbridge Houses, and a pilot who flew over Rockaway Beach and noticed the devastation.
We’ve also had many groups join in – including Students from Yeshiva University High School for Girls, NY Cares volunteers referred by David Selig, owner of Rockaway Taco and Rockaway Beach Club concessionaire, members of ‘Occupy Sandy,’ and employees of Time Warner and the Clinton Global Initiative.
These cleanups were organized by Partnerships for Parks and NYC Service, drawing on our existing volunteer network as well as many first-time volunteers who wanted to help in any way possible after the storm.
This cleanup would also not have been possible without Rockaway Administrator Jill Weber, who has been on-site coordinating the efforts, despite sustaining major damage to her own house.
For more information on how you can join an existing volunteer initiative or start one of your own, visit nyc.gov/parks!
“There are no mistakes, only opportunities.”
(1970 - )