Category Archives: Opinions

Lido Boulevard transformation

Written by Michael Kleinert of insidelongbeach.com

What does everybody think of the Lido Boulevard transformation?

Do you think that the County actually got it right? Or do you think that they just caved to appease the residents by slamming together any ole plan that cosmetically looks like something is being done, but may not have the intended outcome?

Personally, I believe that the intentions were good – and the overall concept might be the best one presented thus far – but there are too many errors and oversights that might actually make the roadway more hazardous than before.

For example –

  • 1. The turn lanes are not long enough – vehicles will back up into the traffic lanes and this presents potential hazards – particularly so when pedestrians will now be crossing at these locations. If a vehicle is rear-ended, a pedestrian could get injured.
  • 2. The usable roadway area was narrowed more than necessary. This increases the need for greater precision in people’s driving and thus leaves less room for error, more room for bad judgment – thus greater likelihood of accidents. And again, the turn lanes are particularly narrow.
  • 3. The turn lanes were not placed where needed – there is no break in the barrier to turn for any of the local businesses. People will be trying to make illegal u-turns or will be trying to find creative ways of crossing and that will create new hazards, in addition to backing up traffic.
  • 4. The basics on the remaining length of Lido still have never been addressed. There are two intersections which still have old antiquated traffic lights that cannot be seen well from sufficient distances. One of these is at Donna Lane. My ex-girlfriend’s father died in that intersection.
  • 5. More people, likely kids, will decide that the barrier is a great place to walk along the road – thus placing pedestrians now in the center of the roadway and thus in a very dangerous situation. I’ve already noticed this on a couple of occasions. You never want to have pedestrians walking down the center of the road.
  • 6. The old road surface is obviously about to be paved over with the cheap stuff that requires frequent repaving for maintenance. The old road surface holds up forever with little maintenance. This is expensive and inconvenient.
  • 7 . They are adding a crazy amount of traffic lights. This is a great irony, since the planner of the project from Nassau County previously stood up in front of all of the residents and told them how more traffic lights was not a good solution. He emphasized that traffic lights are only to be used for traffic control (ie. right of way) and not for speed reduction or safety improvement. Every expert – the LB Police and Fire Commissioners – then proceeded to talk about the added dangers of increasing the number of traffic intersections, because these are always correlated to car accident locations. They add new decision points and thus introduce additional driver error, which equates to more accidents.

So, I continue to be puzzled as to how this project improves the safety of the road.

It merely *changes* the road, and it is naive for people to assume that all change is good. Only the *right* change yields the desired result. The only good things I can say is that the project has been run very smoothly, which is refreshing to see. And, it does appear to slow the flow of traffic – but it’s yet to be seen whether or not that will be a good thing or a bad thing.

Your thoughts?

Continue this discussion here at the insidelongbeach.com forums

The local diner scene

One thing that I worry about here in Long Beach is the fact that some of these restaurants survive based on “location” and not by “quality.”

For example, I lived in Manhattan and a pizza / bagel place opened up right down the street on the corner of 3rd ave and St marks. It had what was possible the worse pizza and bagels I’ve ever had in my entire life, but the place was always crowded because the location.

Some of these restaurants in Long Beach seem to survive because they get the same crowd going to them year after year and it’s just good enough. Their locations make them the only game in town and they have no incentive to improve or make their place nicer or better. I am speaking mostly about the diners.

I love diners and have been to a ton of them across the Island and the metro area. The diners we have here in Long Beach are below average.. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Now I just moved to the area about a year and a half ago and I still haven’t found a diner that I love and want to visit when friends come into town. So far the only decent local ones I found aren’t even in Long Beach – Jo Jo Apples in Point Lookout and Dee’s in Island Park. What’s it going to take to get the local Long Beach diners to step up their game?

I’m sorry if any local diner owners are reading this and get offended. You are probably thinking “what does he know? he just moved here.” Well eating food and time spent living in an area have nothing to do with each other.

Discuss here.

My Long Beach Wish List

All these ideas require lots money, but I can dream right? I don’t think they’re too far fetched. In fact, some of them can be done when the existing needs repair or updating. So without further ado: I give you my City of Long Beach Wish List:

1. A NAUTICAL THEME throughout the city. I have nothing against the colonial look, but leave that for Manhasset or Garden City. Long Beach is a true beach community so let’s embrace it! Nautical style pedestrian lights for the downtown shopping areas. Nautical themed sculptures, artwork, murals. I love the blues used in those “Long Beach Welcomes You” signs and would love to see those colors used more – whether it’s store fronts, more signs, or bus stops (see below on bus stops). Speaking of those signs, I wish they had a small spotlight shining on them at night. When I enter Long Beach, I want to know that I’m no longer in the Town of Hempstead. So yeah, more nautical and less ordinary/colonial.

2. NEW BUS STOPS. Bus stops are a vital part of our transportation system and the current ones look dull and abandoned. Why not make them pretty? As mentioned above, utilize the “Long Beach Welcomes You” color scheme. Give the bus stops tiles, murals and glass patterns. Each section of Long Beach can be identified by what art is on the bus stop! For example: The bay area bus stops can have murals of boats or fish. West End can have a surfers. The bus stop by the train station can have a mural of the train! Make it cute. People will come to Long Beach and say “wow, what a cute town.” I go to Seattle a lot and they do this right (see photo).

3. MORE ART!!!! This ties in with what was already mentioned. I would love more sculptures, statues, murals & art throughout the city. A sculpture garden would be great. I could see the city hosting a contest for all the local artists – commissioning the winner ‘s design to be used as an identity that can be used throughout the city.

4. A “GREEN” centralized park. Not green as in environmental, but green as in trees! Now I happen to think Beach Park is the greatest park in New York, but wouldn’t it be nice to sit in the shade once in a while? A real park! I’m talking Olmsted style; shady trees, paths, benches, the works!. In a much smaller scale of course. Now where can we put such a thing.. hmm perchance Foundation Block? What’s going on with that anyhow?

The potential of a “green” park:

  • A seasonal outdoor Ice Skating rink. Port Jefferson does this (see photo) and it’s really cute. We already have the Ice Arena, but I think an outdoor rink would attract more casual skaters and tourists as opposed to the ice arena which is more for sports and recreation.
  • A dog run. Dogs get no love in this city, so give them a place where they can stretch their legs.
  • A place for the city to display more art work. (Sculpture garden?).
  • A gazebo. Who doesn’t love gazebos?
  • More vendor options – potential revenue for the city. Hot chocolate and skate rentals anyone? Convenient Bike rentals for the spring, summer & fall?

5. Bike racks everywhere. When the summer time comes, I don’t even want to use my car.
When I want to grab a slice of pizza at Gino’s I have to lock my bike to either a garbage pail or a light pole. That doesn’t make any sense to me. More Bike Racks please!! Why doesn’t the new Walgreens on Long Beach Road have any bike racks? All new commercial development should consider the placement of them. Cycling should be the most encouraged form of transportation in town. Plus it’s good for you and the environment.

6. A redesigned Waldbaums shopping center with more to do in the winter time. This idea was mentioned numerous times during the city council meetings, the city’s master plan and charrettes. That shopping center’s current design just doesn’t work. Too many vacant stores. It doesn’t compliment the rest of the area and it forces you to get in your car and drive around if you want to shop at other stores in the area. The supermarket itself would most likely remain, but the other part has to be brought up to the street. It would benefit all the other stores in the area as well and could bring different retail options to the area:

  • I would love a larger book store. Dare I say Barnes & Noble? Even better would be an independent store like Book Revue in Huntington. Sorry small book stores in town. I am always rooting for you, but a bigger store means more books.
  • I would love a bigger Lowes or Regal style movie theater. Sorry Long Beach cinemas, but I am spoiled by stadium seating. Unless you want to go through metal detectors at Green Acres, or fight for parking in Rockville Centre, there aren’t any good theaters on the south shore of Nassau county. A new stadium seating venue will attract a lot more folks than the current theater. Trust me. It would be a big boost for the local restaurants and the local economy and more movie goers watch movies at night so it won’t compete with beach traffic. The current Long Beach theater can play more independent movies like the theaters in Roslyn or Manhasset.

So that’s my Long Beach wish list. I really should be punched for suggesting a bigger movie theater and Barnes & Noble ??????? I’m sure I have more wishes, but I can’t think of any right now. Any comments or suggestions? Send me your wish list and I’ll post it right here.

**”Long Beach Welcomes You” photo by Daniel Prisco

Here comes the sun!

Spring! It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Well, to me it is. I’m pretty tired of snow and cold weather. It’s time to dust off those lungs and get some fresh air for a change! I love the spring and spending it here in Long Beach makes it so much better. Sorry television, but I’ll see you in the fall. I have a boardwalk to visit.

Attention fellow Long Beach neighbors:
Got any news, dirt, reviews, community updates, stories, art or photography that you would like to share? Please contact me by filling out the CONTACT ME window on the right of this page. I’m looking for more writers and contributors.

-Anthony
(photo by: me! email me your Long Beach photos and I’ll post them)

Random Updates

Well the winter is almost officially here and all is quiet here in this sleepy beach town.

I went to Sugo Cafe and liked it. The owner was really nice and they have live entertainment and comedy on the weekends. It’s not your typical Italian food that you would find at Gino’s or Mulberry Street. Being an Italian myself it was pleasantly surprised and not bored. Mulberry Street was a little too boring for me (sorry).

Green Cactus has been open for a few months and I suggest everybody to try it if you haven’t already. It’s a local Long Island franchise and one of the better ones.

Five Guys Burgers is also open. I love the checkerboard / old diner look. I wish them success. Unfortunately I probably won’t eat there that much. When I want a burger, I usually just throw it on the grill.

The Allegria Hotel & Spa (King David Manor) website claims that they will be open for business this March and they are already taking reservations.

No news on the Bayfront development or the Superblock, but it looks like city might consider using Meter parking on the West End of town.. As if parking there didn’t suck already…..

Lido Blvd traffic!! What is the deal?

What’s with the traffic on Lido Boulevard? Lately it’s been getting worse and worse. It took me forty minutes just to drive what normally takes five. Road construction on the boulevard has been making life miserable for us commuters; Making us angry, late for work, and causing us to drive like maniacs as soon we exit the construction zone.

I’ve been monitoring the road work for the past month or so and couldn’t even figure out what the contractors were doing. First they chopped the street up, dug only 2 feet deep, and started filling it in with stone. No pipe work. No sewer work. Nada. It just didn’t make sense! Then it hit me… They are turning Lido Boulevard into an actual Boulevard – a real median with planters, trees, and the works!

According to Wikipedia, a “boulevard (often abbreviated Blvd) is usually a wide, multi-lane arterial thoroughfare, divided with a median down the center, and “roads” along each side designed as slow travel and parking lanes and for bicycle and pedestrian usage, often with an above-average quality of landscaping and scenery.”

This median will certainly spruce up the road and make it scenic, but pretty trees aren’t the main reason for this project. According to this New York Times article, safety is the main reason here; a safe median for pedestrians and bike riders as they cross the dangerous six lane blvd on their way to the beach.

Safety and beauty. Sounds like a win-win situation for all! Unfortunately, it comes with a price of making our lives miserable until the project is complete. So when will that be? I did some digging around the Nassau County website and I found the project page: Project 60010 – Lido Boulevard Improvements. According to the project schedule, everything should be complete June 17, 2008!!! What do you expect? I will update this article with more info as soon as I get it.

King David Manor…. the Second?

The King David Manor.

Yes, we all know it. Yes, we all loathe it. It definitely has been an eyesore in the community for so many years. So many people know about this building that it actually starting looking at it as if it were a landmark. I actually find the building to be charming.. but the again, I am weird. well say “good bye” to King David and say “hello” to The Allegria Hotel and Spa.

Renovations are currently underway by the Alrose Group. After digging around their website I found a photo of the finished product:

When done, this “King David II” (aka Allegria Hotel & Spa) will be two stories taller and a lot fancier. It will actually be marketed as an alternative to the Garden City hotel- and why not? It’s 15 minutes to JFK. Walking distance to the LIRR, and it’s on the beach!!! It’s basically a win-win situation for Alrose Group, Long Beach, and those with lots of money.