Rockaway Beach Residents Demand Rock Jetties, Protective Measures
Rockaway Beach residents are used to storm damage, but on Sunday locals gathered on the beach to call on federal officials to build rock jetties and take measures to protect the Queens peninsula from future hurricanes. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
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The stories of loss on are Rockaway Beach in Queens are heartbreaking.
"The home that I grew up in, my grandmother's house, which was a sanctuary to me because my grandmother passed away in 2010, was completely lifted off the foundation and demolished, so my childhood memories went with it," said Caitlin Ferguson, a Rockaways resident.
With that loss in mind, Rockaway Beach residents stood just feet from the ocean that pulverized their peninsula Sunday to call on the federal government to stop studying ways to protect the community and put those measures in place.
"They've been studying for 10 years, it's long enough. Let's get the study done," said Eddie Pastore, a member of Friends of Rockaway Beach.
The answer, Rockaway residents say, is building rock jetties that would break up waves and soften a blow that would otherwise destroy the boardwalk and structures beyond and stop excessive sand from washing away.
On Rockaway Beach, the boardwalk to the east of a jetty is still intact, but to the west it's a much different story.
"We don't have the rock jetties as you go down about 20 blocks. It's half the beach," said Kelly Donlin, another Rockaways resident.
Locals think jetties are the first step to a three-pronged approach to protecting the shore.
"We need new jetties, new sand on the beach, a new boardwalk-slash-sea walk. You leave one of those equations out, it's not going to be totally effective," Pastore said.
Residents want to use the spotlight that Sandy put on the peninsula to their advantage.
"We're trying to keep the pressure on so we don't have to wait until another Sandy to hit the community," said Selvena Brooks, a Rockaways resident.
Their message has resonated in Washington, D.C., as senators push for about $9 billion of federal aid to ensure shoreline communities are better prepared for storms.
"What we need to do is make sure this supplemental has mitigation, and mitigation means making sure if there is another storm, a god-awful storm like this, that areas are better protected," said Senator Charles Schumer.
That request will be submitted by the president later this week.