We have the Beach to Bay Civic, Eastholme Civic Association, Friends of North Park, High Rise Association, North East Bay & Canal Civic Association, West End Neighbors Civic Association & the Westholme Civic Association.
What other area on Long Island has so many civic associations!! Do we care about Long Beach or what?
At the August WENCA (West End Neighbors Civic Assoc.) meeting, WENCA Secretary Maria Fitzgerald gave a brief presentation regarding a proposal to open a library branch in the West End. She was quick to point out that we are not talking about reopening the type of branch the West End had before Sandy. We are talking about something new and much more useful to residents. Unlike the previous West End Branch that didn’t reopen after the storm, the proposed new branch will be more centrally located and take full advantage of all the technological and socially interactive advances that have propelled modern libraries into the future…and back into people’s busy lives. Including use for senior citizens, book clubs, and after-school programs (a list of more proposed benefits in just a moment). Continue reading “New Library Branch in the West End? Not Without Your Support (Meeting Sept 17th)”
Over the last few weeks seven workers (primarily teenagers) from Project Challenge have been working with a volunteer from the West End Beautification Association (WEBA) to clean up Beech Street. They have removed weeds and garbage from 4 parks, 2 houses of worship, 50 tree planters and several homes of the elderly. In addition, the City then followed up with black mulch to enhance the look and reduce maintenance. To top it off, we added 100 small American flags to the tree planters to commemorate our heroes and country.
(Virginia Street Memorial)
The good news is that this work, when combined with the efforts by the City to clean curb sides and WENCA/WEBA to paint and plant Oceanview planters, has resulted in a significantly improved looking West End. The better news is that their combined efforts will extend to other West End locations in coming weeks.
The best news, however, would be if others supported this effort, including the following:
Have residents and visitors throw their garbage in appropriate receptacles
Have commercial establishments invest just a little time and money in plants/clean up
Have everyone start thinking that a beautiful West End is a step towards Hurricane recovery
Have everyone give thanks to all those who do the above.
Regardless of the location (158 New York Ave) and parking issues, I happen to love the look of the building Arcadia is proposing. As you can see in the rendering, it’s fairly modern, clean and brings Long Beach up to date. It makes those fucco (fake stucco) buildings look downright old, cheap, exhausted, cheap and really cheap (I feel like years from now we are going to look back at these styrofoam fake stucco buildings and regret that choice of material. I personally would never want to live in a Styrofoam-type house in an area that has flooding, but that’s just me.)
Anyway, According to the LB Patch, this proposed building would be the first green-friendly one in Long Beach (Didn’t the Allegria try to claim that already?). If not built at this location, I would love to see these plans elsewhere, hopefully starting a trend for more LEED certified buildings in our city by the sea. One of the jewels of Long Beach is our environment (duh…the beach). It’s our job to protect it as much as we can. If we’re going to build, let’s do it the right way with the smallest ecological footprint as possible.
THE LOCATION (158 New York Ave):
Part of me doesn’t want to touch this topic because I know most of you will yell “PARKING!” I don’t live in that particular area of Long Beach, so I don’t know what the parking situation is. I’m assuming it sucks like the rest of town. From the LB Patch: “The proposed building would be five stories, with the first story devoted to parking……Each unit would have a parking space and the two-bedroom units would have tandem spaces.” I believe the last proposal involved the developer to possibly use the lot over at the Long Beach Catholic Regional School for parking, but that wasn’t so clear. So does this new parking scheme suffice? I’m sure it doesn’t, but please don’t yell at me in the comments like with that other building. I am not the one building this thing.
I’m not going to argue about parking with anyone in this town anymore, but I am an advocate of all that smart development/complete streets nonsense. What I see here is a proposed building in a location that is walking distance to the beach and the West End downtown (restaurants, shops, bars). I would like to believe that the added vehicular traffic from this building would be minimal, or not as much as you think. It’s the same old battle between Smart Development and Suburban Sprawl.
That all being said: I am really tired of looking at this ugly lot (see photo above). This project is most likely wrong for that location, but something needs to go here. Anything.
This is actually what troubles me the most. The project was pitched as affordable rentals, but only for retired people. From the LB Patch article: “I am mainly looking for retired people,” [Joe Iorio, Arcadia Management] said. “People raise their families here and then want to sell their homes, but want to remain in Long Beach and are not able to do so because of the lack of affordable rentals.”
The last time I checked, it was the young adults who were having problems finding affordable places to live on Long Island. Most people don’t get it. They say we have to lower the taxes and the young adults will come back. I disagree: A) The taxes will never be lowered, so throw that idea out the window. B) Many young adults want more exciting places to live, thus many flock to the city (See Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It’s like lord of the flies, but with hipsters). Long Beach is an exciting place, but we are eliminating options for them to live here. Please keep it affordable for everybody, both young and old, before illegal rentals are the only way to go for most.
SITE NEWS: While some of you want nothing, but budget talk on this blog, you can find plenty on that topic over at the LB Patch & LB Herald. That is, unless one of my fellow SBC writers care to write about it here. I just have no time to repeat what paid folks are writing elsewhere. Quite frankly, I’m getting burnt out on budget talk. Death & taxes are guarantees in life; Cost of living increase should be added to that too. Yeah, I know the budget is important. That’s why I still read those articles elsewhere and you should too. But please don’t email and yell at me for not doing my job. I didn’t get into the blog business to solely talk about numbers. This blog will forever be a diary of Long Beach; the dirt, the weird stuff; a commentary of what’s going on in our city by the sea. Not all of that involves the budget. Sorry.
DECONSTRUCTING West End Neighbors Civic Association (WENCA) LETTER:
There were some comments regarding the WENCA letter that I posted the other day. While I have absolutely nothing personal against the folks over at WENCA, some of you felt they were taking credit for stuff they had nothing to do with. I’m not sure if it was intentional or just the way the letter read, but it did seem odd. For example, it starts off by saying “If you take a good look around you’ll notice some things are being done.” A number of items are then listed, including: DecoBike Stencils on Oceanview, boardwalk repairs, work schedules revamped, etc.Those seem pretty obvious, but what about late night sanitation?
The Sanitation pickup schedule is being changed to rid Beech Street of late night garbage so it’s off the streets by 7am. This is a needed and welcome change.
There were some beautification items also mentioned in WENCA’s letter. While they have always been involved with beautifying the West End, it appears to me that the recent WEBA push has woken WENCA up a little (Oceanview planters, artists involvement, appearance of vacant store facades). Do we see a beautification battle brewing? Hey, any battle that involves the word ‘beauty’ is a win for all in my book.
STOP THE PRESSES! Jedi Master Yoda just called and said “Begun, the West End Beautification war has.” Yes, Master Yoda. Begun it has. This could get interesting.
THE TIME FOR CHANGE IS NOW: TONIGHT 7PM CITY HALL…..WENCA MEETING TOMORROW
OK let’s get started. Most importantly I hope all of you and yours are well! It has been a while since I’ve written you, but rest assured we have been working with plenty of things shakin’. We began last month’s “kickoff” meeting with Scott Bochner of Sludge Stoppers. Scott explained the acute dumping and treatment problem we face right here in our surrounding waters. The very same water we sooo enjoy frolicking and surfing in. Go to Sludge Stoppers Task Force on Facebook for more information. As I said, we have working with City Manager Schnirman and Public Works Commissioner LaCarrubba on several fronts. I’m happy to say with some compromise on both sides we have a bathroom facility at the Georgia Spray Park. Thanks to all you folks who signed our petition presented to the City Council by WENCA Quality of Life Director Jerry Romanoff. Your support is necessary to bring about positive results. We are refurbishing the Oceanview planter boxes in a joint effort with the City’s Beach Maintenance Department. It’ll give a fresh, brighter look to our “boardwalk”. Also on tap is a program designed to ease the appearance of the many vacant storefronts we have. So you artists out there be ready, we’ll have more details in the very near future.
If you take a good look around you’ll notice some things are being done. Roadwork and repairs are ongoing, with Florida Street just completed (ahead of schedule). The bicycle path has been stenciled throughout the city for the forthcoming DecoBike program. Boardwalk maintenance crews are now working 7 days a week in an effort to meet the constant demand for repairs. Best of all… at NO OVERTIME due to revamped work schedules. Our street cleaners are out on a regular schedule as well as, the street sweeping truck. The Sanitation pickup schedule is being changed to rid Beech Street of late night garbage so it’s off the streets by 7am. This is a needed and welcome change.
With the summer season upon us, our scheduled guest speakers will be Police Commissioner Tangney and Chief of Lifeguards and Surf program Paul Gillespie. We know you have questions and concerns, so who better to get the answers from?
Please come out Wednesday, May 23rd @ 7pm. West End Community Center on Maryland Avenue.
I would be remiss not to mention that the second and FINAL hearing on the City Budget is TODAY (TUESDAY) at 7PM. Please attend. The City Manager and Council need to see and hear from the TAXPAYER. If all the seats are occupied by, and all the hoots an hollers come from, labor, it does NOT present a balanced view to the Manager and Council. They need our support/pressure to:
1. Address our runaway employee costs
2. Take permanent steps to right the ship
3. Not kick the can down the road
4. Not balance this budget by looking to the taxpayer to solve the problem
If you WANT your taxes to only ever go to employee costs AND NOT improving the infrastructure of your City, do nothing.
If you want to help get things moving in the right direction, SHOW UP AND SPEAK UP. Tell the Council that RAISING TAXES IS NOT THE ANSWER. CUTTING COSTS, WITH OR WITHOUT THE HELP OF THE UNIONS, IS THE ONLY ANSWER.
WENCA reports that their 2012 Kickoff meeting is ON. It’s this Wednesday, April 25th @ 7pm. Lots of great guests will be there, so it will definitely be a meeting you don’t want to miss.
Dear West End Neighbor,
We hope you had a great winter…but summer is just around the corner. So please join us for a very exciting 2012 kickoff meeting of the West End Neighbors Civic Association (WENCA). The meeting will take place Wednesday, April 25th (tomorrow), at 7pm at the West End Community Center on Maryland Avenue.
We are very excited to announce Long Beach resident and activist Scott Bochner will be our featured guest speaker. The Long Beach Herald’s 2011 Person of the Year, Scott originally gained public attention from his alarming fall 2010 videos of sewage dumping in Reynolds Channel. Scott’s latest effort, as a representative of the Nassau County Coalition of Civic Associations, is to address Nassau County’s proposal to sell or lease the Glen Cove, Bay Park and Cedar Creek Sewage Treatment Plants.
We will also hear from Long Beach School District Superintendent, David Weiss. He will comment on his first school year as Superintendent and the upcoming school budget vote on Tuesday, May 15th.
Beautification Committee Director Jerry Romanoff will also provide an update on 2012 initiatives.
We look forward to seeing you tomorrow evening and please bring a friend!
Just like the East Coast–West Coast hip hop rivalry of the 90’s, Long Beach has its own little east/west war. Generally speaking, some East Enders I’ve heard from feel that their part of town is ignored by City Hall, while the West End gets all the milk, cookies and toys they want. In some ways, they are right; for such a small area of Long Beach, the West End does get a lot of attention, but there’s a reason for that.
It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, right?
Sure, you can say that, but the folks in the West End work hard to achieve that ‘grease.’ They organize, mobilize, communicate and vocalize (see WENCA & WEBA). They don’t just stand on a soapbox bitching and complaining, “this town sucks.” They make the effort to things done.
Not to get into any details, but I was at a West End Beautification Association (WEBA) meeting last night and witnessed this enthusiasm firsthand. Various topics were discussed – all involving ways to make the West End a safer, cleaner and more pleasant place to live and visit. I sat there quietly observing.. thinking of all the issues we have in the East End, wondering if a similar meeting would ever take place over there as well.
Any grease left over for us squeaky East Enders?
Several years ago there was talk of an East End Neighbors Association. I was asked to be involved. I wasn’t sure what my role was, besides blogging about it. The founder had a website, a logo, t-shirts (store still online) and an article in the LB Herald. I was somewhat ready for the ride, but then the association dissolved overnight. Not to get into details, but the founder decided to leave Long Beach.
Life in the East End went on. I haven’t heard of any new development for a new East End Neighbors. What the heck is the East End anyways? East of Long Beach Blvd, right? What about central Long Beach, the West Holme section? Or the Canals? Walks? North Park? Are the Presidents considered East End? They are east of me, so can I call them The East East End? Should I wait to do anything until an East End Organization gets sorted out?
So what’s my point? Well, I often find myself using this blog as a soapbox where I complain about many things: dog poop on my lawn, garbage, cars going through stop signs, bad food restaurants, ugly stuff being built, etc. I blog to create some conversation, but I never really do anything about it in real life. After the WEBA meeting I realized how I should break out of my shy shell and actually use my voice. Like, actually say something; make phone calls; speak up when I don’t like something or when I want something done. Sure, us folks in the Non-West End aren’t as organized as those in the West, but we can still get things done if we squeak loud enough.
Of course the city gave us Long Beach Listens, which is a perfect chance for all to make our voices heard. North Park residents certainly made sure of that a few weeks ago, and there are still a few more of these meetings left:
“a broken window, left unrepaired shows that no one cares so when the next person breaks the next window it seems a bit less terrible because the level of neglect has already been established. It becomes easier and easier to continue into criminality and blight because each successive transgression, while seemingly harmless in and off itself becomes a growing pattern of neglect for which no one feels responsible but for which everyone is responsible. The theory asserts that the solution lies in being intolerant of the “smallest illegalities” If arresting a single drunk on West Beech Street, fining a dog walker who doesn’t scoop the poop or every store owner who ignores sanitation codes seems harsh, failure to do anything about the mounting number of people who continue to flaunt the laws can destroy an entire community.
Quite frankly, Taking care of your community is contagious. When I go home later I’m going to pick up all the garbage around my house. I will do the same tomorrow and the day after that. Hopefully my neighbors will watch me, do the same and it will spread like a virus.
3. In December, WENCA’s attorneys sent WEBA a “cease and desist” letter. Basically telling Mary Ellen that she is legally not allowed to use the logo that her daughter created, for it has been trademarked by WENCA (click to see document).
Now, I have nothing against WENCA. I don’t even live in the West End, but what WENCA did was neither NEIGHBORLY nor CIVIC. I personally think they should just forfeit the logo and move on. For, as long as they use it – the flower on that logo will forever be obscurd by a dark cloud. Yep, this one is added to the WTF category.
The Long Beach MLK Center (615 Riverside Boulevard) held their annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr march yesterday (January 16th), which was photographed and posted on our city’s facebook page. Check it out.
This year’s Grand Marshal was Tuskegee Airmen, Julius Freeman. The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of African American aviators who fought in World War II. If you want to learn more about them, then you should check out the upcoming George Lucas movie titled RED TAILS. It looks pretty awesome and Jar Jar Binks-free. Congratulations to Mr. Freeman and thank you for serving our county.
The City Hall Kennedy Plaza Farmer’s Market is still happening every Wednesday between 10am & 2pm, but it hasn’t been inside City Hall yet. I am hearing that the market will remain outside (even in the freezing cold), unless it rains or snows (or hails?). Don’t forget to ‘like’ the Farmer’s Market on facebook! Let’s try to get them passed the 1000 friends mark! It’s at 990 right now.
(Unfortunately, the lovely West End Beautification logo that my daughter contributed to our cause, was lost in the metaphorical WENCA divorce proceedings. But just like Abe Lincoln wisely once said, “How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling the tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.” They can take our logo, but they’ll never take our spirit! Stay tuned for details on the launch of the new WEBA logo to symbolize the start of the new year!)
I personally think Mary Ellen is being too kind. After all, that logo was designed by her daughter. If that happened to me, I would be pissed. Regardless, I have seen some of WEBA’s new logo prototypes and they look great!
Last, but not least: Tonight (January 17th) is the first Good & Welfare meeting of the year with THE NEW GANG. Read the agenda, which features hot dogs. We will post a link to the meeting video as soon as it’s available.