(UPDATED) The Great Beige Sidewalk Planter / Water Wall of Long Beach [Opinions Galore]

Update:  I’m hearing these planters are going to be removed.

parkaveplantersThese planters appeared on the sidewalk in front of the Don Juan-strip on Park Avenue yesterday. They are a hilariously hot topic on Facebook right now, jokes about them being the Great Wall of Long Beach or when will stickers will start appearing on them. Somebody even photoshopped advertisements on them. Great stuff.

I’m worried about access. Is this even safe? Is there enough room on the street side for persons with disabilities or those with strollers? What will these planters will look like as time marches on? Are we going to see dead, unkept flowers in them? Are the bottoms of these boxes going to look gross and disgusting from dirt, grime, lard and gum? I know one thing, they will definitely be used as a garbage can because people around here have no idea how to dispose their trash.

Just look at the image below. The beige makes me want to throw up. That planter is going to look so gross in about a month or I will eat my hat. Look at that image, it’s already chipping!


I feel bad the wonderful businesses that occupy that strip. Sandbags were being used regularly to prevent flooding. Something definitely needed to be done. Obviously the last thing we want is more flooding. I’m assuming these planters will act as a water barrier. I know nothing about sewers, but I wonder if the flooding has to do with a greater issue that will hopefully one day be addressed.


On a slightly unrelated topic, that building has driven me nuts since the day it was built. Not only does it not fit with the character of Park Avenue, but I have a hard time telling the businesses apart due to the black canopies with same colored lettering. No creativity. I’m sure that’s on the landlords part, as our city has no sign code for uniformity like what the Town of North Hempstead does.

The fire in 2009 was tragic, but it was such a ripe opportunity for something special to be built there. Instead we got a strip mall-looking fucco building that floods. Yeah harsh, but that’s my opinion.

Back to the planters, how long until we see more of them appearing and obstructing our sidewalks?

Some code stuff: 

  • Sec. 23-3. – Obstruction of streets.

    It shall be unlawful for any person to obstruct any street, alley, sidewalk or public square, by allowing any wagon, cart, vehicle, merchandise, stand, garbage, debris, wood, sand, ashes, snow, ice, coal, coke, brick, stone or any encumbrance whatever to remain on such street, alley, sidewalk or public square for more than four (4) hours.

    (Code 1957, § 6212)

    Cross reference— Responsibility for good order, § 14-287.

  • Sec. 23-4. – Encroachments.

    It shall be unlawful to erect, build or maintain any wall, fence, building, courtyard or area, show window or showcase which projects over the building line or is upon any street or boardwalk within the city. In addition to prosecution for violation of this section, the building commissioner shall cause the removal of the encroachment if the owner of the premises fails to do so after ten (10) days’ written notice and the cost of such removal shall be a charge against the property, collectible in the same manner as taxes.

    (Code 1957, § 6-214)

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45 thoughts on “(UPDATED) The Great Beige Sidewalk Planter / Water Wall of Long Beach [Opinions Galore]”

  1. Those planters/walls make it difficult for handicapped or those with difficulty walking to get to the business they want. I agree with you on the appearance, etc.

  2. Definitely agree with the building. Something nicer should have been built there. I’m thinking room for outdoor seating like a patio, even apartments on top. oh and no beige 🙂

  3. Any chance they thought this might deter double parking? I know it’s worse in other parts of park ave, but it might make it less convinient to do so here.

    Back on topic, it is ugly and needs to go.

  4. I agree that the planters are a horrible idea, but i have to disagree about the building itself. Park Ave is a disaster with not once single building matching another. That stretch of stores is one of the nicest in my opinion. Maybe a different color scheme would have been nice, but at least its clean and uniform.The city needs to come up with some codes in order to get the entire strip of Park Ave on the same page. It just looks like a crowded block in Queens somewhere the way it is right now.

  5. If Mary Ellen Pollina, the beautifier of the West End, lived further east, our business district on Park Avenue, from Laurelton to Roosevelt Boulevards wouldn’t be the eyesore that it is. Too bad we can’t clone her.
    However, if Anthony can persuade his friend, Neal Monteko a/k/a The Constant Gardener, of Long Beach Herald fame, to take the lead, Park Avenue would sparkle, as it should.

  6. We have codes, many of them. From what I can tell, they are rarely enforced, if at all.

    We are also supposed to have an architectural review board, a planning commission, a tree committee and so much more according to our city’s Code of Ordinances. Below is an example from the LB Code of Ordinances regarding the Architectural Review Board. IWish they would follow it!

    It is the purpose of this article to preserve and promote the character and appearances and conserve the property values of the city, the attractiveness of whose residential and business areas is the economic mainstay of the community, by providing procedures for an architectural review of structures henceforth erected, reconstructed, rehabilitated, or altered in the city, and thereby:

    To encourage good qualities of exterior building design and good appearances and to relate such design and appearances to the sites and surroundings of structures;

    To permit originality and resourcefulness in building design and appearances which are appropriate to the sites and surroundings; and

    To prevent such design and appearances as are unnecessarily offensive to visual sensibilities.

    There is hereby created a board of architectural review which shall be comprised of all the members of the city council of the city. The city manager may appoint, to aid it in its review of plans submitted for approval, the following:

    Two (2) duly licensed architects who shall act as architectural consultants.

    Three (3) citizens of the City of Long Beach, to act as lay consultants.

  7. There was a theme in LB to have red tile roofs, white stucco and that orange tile on the base. The older building had it, but it burnt down. This newer building didn’t follow that theme and created it’s own. I don’t think it’s a terrible building. I just don’t like the canopy with gold lettering. I feel all the wonderful businesses their lose a little personality with that style.

    I am all for cleaner buildings with a uniform look. I just wish it had more creativity to it rather than something you would find in any town on Long Island.

  8. The fork lift from Able Rental was here this morning and moved the planters about 4″ more away from the curb. Now they are really blocking the sidewalk.

  9. When I woke up this morning I really wanted to be “for” something in LB and not against. Wait, does it count if I’m “for” the removal of something from LB? I drove by the block just to have a good laugh. That wall, and the decision to purchase and install the thing, is so void of aestheticism and good old common sense it’s hilarious. What are they, flesh colored coffins? giant horse troughs? I know, maybe it’s an aqueduct when the street floods again. I’m so glad Jack has the background and wherewithal to appoint the members of new Arts Council. I just hope they can glue the macaroni and seashells to that thing before the winter sets in.

  10. All approved by our City Engineer. Oh wait, he ain’t an engineer. He’s a drop out who used to work at “the airport”.

    Nice job in beautifying Long Beach, Democrats!

  11. Anarchy. I don’t know how else to describe this stuff. Those shops probably thought they could put tables out behind The Wall. They probably left the smallest allowable width for a sidewalk. No kidding look at the new “outdoor dining” areas at the bars on the West End.

    Now that Mangano has turned the local Republicans into Democrats, who can we vote for as a “protest vote?”

  12. The County just installed a new drywell and catch basin system in front of these stores in an effort to stem the flooding that has flowed over the curb and into a few of these stores.

    I’m speculating that the property owner somehow feels that these planters will further divert the storm runoff.

    It’s hard to imagine that anyone would plant 20 tons of concrete in on public property without the City’s approval, but it wouldn’t be the first time someone’s done that sort of thing.

    Seems like it could have been planned a little better perhaps.

    I hope the City steps up and does their job. Unfortunately, my hope is usually followed by disappointment.

  13. There are many lessons to be learned from this. First, I hope we agree that our business district could look better, and that improvements need to be implemented with forethought and care.

    Beautification in a business district must meet the needs of both business owners and shoppers. It should enhance the experience of shopping by providing visual enrichment, while supporting convenience and safety.

    Many towns and cities have benefitted from investments in downtown beautification. We can also. But I suggest that it requires a combined effort of professional designers, coupled with the voices of the business owners and the community, and coordinated with the City.

    Soon the West End Beautification Association (WEBA) will be contacting other like-minded groups to help develop this kind of coordinated effort. Our measure of success will be simple: are there more/happier shoppers and better business results.

    Any volunteers?

  14. Hi, I live very close to this area and am quite surprised at this insulation, too.

    Do we know if it went through the Zoning Board? It seems as though something of this nature should have been approved according to building code.

    The bigger issue here is that this area (along Park Ave as well as Riverside) floods because of the storm sewers. The storm sewers in this area seem to be quite full even when it has not rained for well over a week (like this past summer). Does anyone know if the storm sewers should be almost full to the street level when it has not rained in a quite while?

    Is this how the storm sewers are in other parts of town?

  15. Coordination is a great idea. But look at these pictures. Common sense should not need to be investigated with a study. Public places should be safe from things like this, with the laws already quoted above. If some kids dumped a ton of sand on the sidewalk it would be vandalism. This thing “speaks for itself.” Whoever is responsible for this should be determined and dealt with the same way any vandal would. Graffiti “artists” think they’re beautifying their neighborhoods. This Wall created more of a hazard and eyesore than them.

  16. Here’s a real city, with viable solutions to stormwater AND planters. “Stormwater Planters”, hmmm? Doesn’t anyone in any of our city departments know how to Google anything? http://www.phillywatersheds.org/what_were_doing/green_infrastructure/tools/stormwater-planter
    Take a look at the pictures on pages 25 and 27 of this PDF http://www.phillywatersheds.org/img/GSDM/GSDM_FINAL_20140211.pdf I’m not suggesting this IS the solution to our stormwater problems, but this is why when we don’t have open calls for the best and brightest as department heads, or to sit on CRP committees, arts councils etc, we end up with horse troughs, carpeted plywood mini golf and giant black metal trash bins as revenue generating beautification around town. It’s time for a change folks.

  17. Right or wrong, could be that the business owners are tired of getting flooded with no apparent remedy on the horizon from the city, and so they installed these things. If they are in violation, the city can take action against them regardless.

  18. If you don’t like the building, why didn’t you buy the property and develop it yourself. The same can be said for a lot of your blogs. You always have something to say about private property. Dig into you pocket and develop something yourself.

  19. They are in the street, on public property. These guys are about seven feet into the street.

    Maybe I can just dump a load of stone on my sidewalk too. Or put some beer vending machines on West Park Avenue.

    Imagine how inept the owner feels the City is to pull off a stunt like this?

  20. Project 11561: fantastic! Your goals and WEBA’s are totally in synch. Contact me at 917-312-1219 or by email (edglister@gmail.com) to discuss further.

    Any other groups/individuals want to get involved?

  21. Anthony, Donald here brings up a very valid point that your opinion is rife with opinion and that “you (and everyone else) always have something to say…” Ummm Donald, maybe you need to find out what a blog is. And while you’re at it, go back and look at the many praises given on this website for various causes and subjects. And just so you know, I thought the storefronts looked like hell from the day they went up. Big black awnings with barely legible cursive fonts with no community aesthetic. And now flesh colored horse troughs. Oh, and concerning your comment “develop something yourself”, it’s obvious to a good number of appreciative people that he already has.

  22. Park Avenue is a county road and its drainage is the responsibility of the County.

    And I think those stores are ugly too. But I didn’t build them, don’t own them and aren’t too good looking myself.

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