Mayor Bloomberg said much of the city is better than it was after Hurricane Sandy, but miles of gaps in the Rockaway Boardwalk tell a different story. And while Rockaway waits for its restored boardwalk, nearby at Long Beach, a new boardwalk has been in place for months. Josh Robin filed the following report.
It's the tale of two boardwalks.
The boardwalk in Long Beach, Long Island, is ready for residents to walk on it already.
"It's amazing that in a few short months, it's completed at this point,” said a resident.
The one in Rockaway Beach in Queens is still a mess.
"I just see a bunch of excuses,” said Kevin Boyle, editor of “The Wave.”
The two spots are only nine miles apart. Both boardwalks buckled under Sandy's storm surge, rendering both communities without veritable boulevards.
Long Beach’s boardwalk was rebuilt in a year.
City officials said Rockaway’s may not be fully ready until winter 2017.
"The Empire State Building was built in one year and 45 days and people say 'ah, they didn't have regulations then.’ Well, point to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It broke ground in 2010, it opened for a Jay-Z concert in 2012,” Boyle said.
Understanding the difference requires diving into an alphabet soup of government agencies, but it boils down to this: the city says building it stronger requires using a certain set of funds from Washington, D.C.
And spending that money comes with a lot of hurdles.
"The boardwalk is following a process where we are building it better and stronger and that we are moving as fast as we can do get it done,” said New York City Director of Resiliency Daniel Zarrilli.
A spokeswoman for Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio didn't return a message.
The city points to work that it has done here, including replenishing beaches with more sand than has been here for decades, that's to stop ocean waves from once again flooding the peninsula.
Long Beach is using a wall that city officials privately dismiss as unreliable.
Long Beach also used a mixture of concrete and wood.
The city said it's safest to use all concrete, a charge that Long Beach's public works commissioner disputes.
"They may call it rushed, you know, and that's their opinion. I could say they're taking an awful long time to do their work, too,” said Long Beach Public Works Commissioner James LaCarrubba.
No matter who is right, this much is clear, years after they left Long Beach, this family came back to see the boardwalk.
"It doesn't have the old charm the other one had, but it looks like if there's another storm, it will weather the storm,” said a former Long Beach resident.
A family headed back to the Rockaways would just see the remains of what used to be a boardwalk.