In response to my fountain proposal from yesterday, a reader named Doug sent in photos of the old fountain at the LIRR station. These old photos sometimes drives me nuts. While I don’t fully know the history behind it all, whose bright idea was it to destroy such a beautiful feature of our city? Well, at least now we have a billboard.
I friend of mine (and reader of the blog) sent me the following email regarding LIRR Long Beach Getaway Package Ridership Numbers (link) which he got from the MTA customer service dept. As you can see on the chart below, July 2014 really took a hit, as the overall number of LIRR Long Beach Getaway Package Ridership Numbers is on a steady decline from 54,048 in 2010 to 47,284 in 2014.
“A LIRR Getaway Package entitles you to: • One-day round trip train fare. • Discounted daily beach admission. • Free Long Beach bus service • Discounts on food & drinks at local restaurants. • Hours of fun in our beautiful “City by the Sea”.
Is it the economy? more competition? higher prices? the weather? or do people just not like package deals anymore? Here is the original email with the numbers:
I received the following info on the LIRR Long Beach Getaway Package Ridership for 2014. It shows a modest drop of almost 500 less riders this summer as compared to 2013 and still down almost 3,250 from 2011 and almost 7K from 2010. I wonder if the “tourism” outreach to Manhattan was worth it.
Hard to see what if any impact the tourism push had, or does the weather dictate the usage? Still very weird that we are down 6700+ over past 5 years. Maybe the $12 cost adds up? Same ticket to the Rockaways costs $5.00 for a round trip metro card vs $22 for LB, that $17 is a dinner and beer.
Year June July August TOTAL
2014 11,011 17,307 18,966 47,284
2013 10,139 21,606 16,029 47,774
2012 9,264 21,904 17,356 48,524
2011 6,318 32,384 11,830 50,532
2010 7,834 26,683 19,531 54,048
PLEASE NOTE: These are only the numbers of people who bought the package and not overall tourists. Also, August 2011 we had a big rain storm, followed by Hurricane Irene.
Long Beach Streets has provided us with some wonder photos of bird-crappy bike racks, as well as a clipped bike lock. Allison B, infamous commentator on this blog and CEO of Long Beach Streets, has relentlessly tried to get this bike rack situation solved at our train station. These photos basically spell out the issues clearly:
Long Beach needs to have a fancy name for our LIRR train in the summer, right? The Hamptons have the Cannonball, but why should they have all the fun. Long Beach is cooler [in my opinion] and has a much, much, much, much, much, much, much shorter train ride to and from the city anyway. Let’s capitalize on this!
I don’t want our train to be as snobby as the Cannonball, where it gets sold out before the season even begins (see –The rich are hoarding Hamptons Cannonball tickets), but naming our train would have people saying “I’m taking the [COME UP WITH A NAME] to Long Beach.” It could create a buzz and be a fun way to promote our city by the sea. Now, I have no idea how this can be done, but with enough support, perhaps we can make this happen!
First thing is, let’s come up with a name. I keep thinking The Silver Surfer, for obvious reasons, but I am not sure if Marvel Comics would like that. What do you folks think? Anything else? Discuss…..
We want our express train back! That’s what our city officials are telling the MTA. I will personally never understand the MTA; they always try to solve their problems by cutting services and raising fares. Wouldn’t it be better to attract as many riders as possible? Perhaps compete with the automobile? You know, offer the best commuting experience with no service cuts, plenty of trains and a guarantee arrival time? Ok, in this situation, it’s because of track work being done. I just wonder how long this work will take…
Press Release: City Officials Request LIRR Express Train Service Return
Long Beach, NY – Members of the Long Beach City Council are outraged over the recent temporary cancellation of express train service. “Service to Long Beach should never be cut in the summer,” commented City Council President Len Torres. “Why shouldn’t we have as many express trains as other communities? Summer work should be done where summer ridership decreases, not where it increases.”
As excavation work is being done on the Queens side of the East River Tunnels, an important switch has been taken out of service. This has eliminated one of the three eastbound tracks normally used during the PM Peak period. Long Island Rail Road trains are now operating using two main tracks between Penn Station and Jamaica instead of three during this time period. The reduction in capacity has resulted in the cancellation/combination of three evening rush hour trains – two on the Babylon Branch and one on the Long Beach Branch. “We are against any cuts to service in Long Beach – temporary or otherwise,” stated City Council Vice President Scott J. Mandel. “While we recognize this work has to be done, we feel that it is unfair to punish Long Beach commuters, particularly in this time of year.”
“The express train is sorely missed by many of our residents, trying to get out of the hot city and back home to Long Beach,” said City Council member Fran Adelson. “While we laud the LIRR for their recent announcement of adding additional peak trains later this year, we are disappointed in their decision to cut express service for commuters during the middle of the summer.”
(A Decobike kiosk sits empty on the Olive St & Edwards Blvd intersection, two weeks after installed.)
The DecoBike bikes are coming this July 4th, according to a recent Newsday article titled: Long Beach bicycle rental program to roll. Well that sucks. Didn’t Deco get the memo that our beach season is a lot shorter than that in Miami? I call this a major missed opportunity, as June is an important beach month to the city. I also feel like more kiosks should have been installed at the LIRR, so visitors can use these bikes to ride around and spend money. I mean, isn’t that the whole idea?
Safety concern was actually the bulk of the Newsday article:
“Residents, and some Long Beach officials, said the bicycles could bring a rise in traffic accidents and make driving in the city more difficult on busy beach days.
If the city really cared about safety, they should place more speed bumps at stop signs (especially at roads heading to the Park Avenue stop lights), enforce speeding laws and narrow the roads. Also, like what Allison said in the article “bicycle safety education”. Instead, the city installs more stop signs which does nothing, for I watch automobiles drive though them at full speed all day long. One of these days I should just video tape in and post it on here.. I just have to figure out how to blur the moving license plates.
18 ANNUAL KENNEDY PLAZA FINE ARTS SHOW
One local artist told me the event was a huge success: “Every artist I spoke to seems happy, so I’m happy.” The fine arts show is a great way for local artists to get their stuff out there. Oh and it didn’t rain! Although it did seem like there were less vendors this year. Maybe the possibility rain scared some away….
HISTORICAL MARKER AT THE LIRR
During the city’s 90th anniversaty celebration of becoming a city, the Long Beach Island Landmarks Association unveiled a new historial marker (photo below) at our Long Beach LIRR station. We already have historial markers scattered across the city, but I love this new one. It looks like it’s built to last, plus the coloring is fantastic. Advice: Let’s now bring one to our historical boardwalk and make sure you mention the elephants.
I wanted to share some West End Beautification good news. I received a phone call yesterday from Christopher Windel, the Supt. of Long Beach Water. He advised me that his department will begin painting the fire hydrants in the West End on Monday morning starting on Nevada Avenue and moving east up Beech Street then down West Park Ave.
Some of you must be thinking “Hey, it’s only fire hydrants, who cares.” Well the truth of the matter is that it makes a BIG difference. When you want to beautify a community, every little bit counts (again, read – It’s the little things…).
Speaking of Fire Hydrants, check out this photo of the cool new hydrants that are popping up around town. The one below is in the W. End. I think I saw another one of these in front of the LIRR. I love the nautical futuristic-look. It reminds me of something out of the cartoon Sealab 2021. The City of Long Beach website has the story behind these hydrants (Read – Hydrant Donated in Name of former Fire Chief).
I’m a LIRR commuter – like many LBers, and look forward to the delays, bomb scares, occasionally odd passengers, and otherwise thrilling commute I’m hit with on a daily basis. Long Beach started with a train track and a dream. Before there was ever a car bridge (and before there were cars) over Reynolds Channel (which wasn’t called that yet), Austin Corbin decided to run tracks from Lynbrook to the unpopulated Long Beach and built the Long Beach Hotel.
Fast forward some 120 years, and the LIRR is still sending trains back and forth to the barrier beach where more than 33,000 people live. This is a long way of saying, beyond the parking garage added in 2005, not much has been done on the Long Beach terminal… until this weekend.
One of those nagging things that always irritated me was the bird crap everywhere around the station – as it seems every pigeon and seagull for 100 miles made the platform’s overhangs and underhangs their personal roosts. This led to those winged-rats leaving their presents all over the station, regardless of how often LIRR staff cleaned things up.
This weekend it looks like a crew came in, put spike strips on everything, and further, completely caged off all the underhangs and beams that the birds loved to sit on. And now, two days later, the entire platform and waiting area remains, crap free. This is one of those little improvements that probably cost close to nothing but so dramatically improves the basic quality of the area that it should serve as an example of one of those “little” projects, with a massive impact.
Makeshift homeless shelters, Igloos, vibrating sand, the sweet smell of gas, garbage-by-the-bay. Yep, that’s right. I’m talking about the Forbidden Zone, but not the one on that planet where apes evolved (You mean that was Earth? Damn them all to hell!). I’m talking about the bay area of our beloved city of Long beach. More specifically – between the LIRR tracks and Long Beach Blvd, as illustrated on the map below:
I don’t even know where to begin… let’s just say this is the creepiest part of town and with good reason. This forgotten land is very easy to visit: Just take Park Place to Riverside Blvd; Or right off Long Beach Blvd on that weird road past McDonalds and True Value. There really is no reason to go there, but I am hoping these photos are enough to convince you that this area needs to be redeveloped.
(CLICK ON PHOTOS FOR LARGER IMAGES. All OF THESE PHOTOS WERE TAKEN BY ME)
This first photo is looking west at the water towers and LIRR bridge. I do realize that these utilities are essential for living, so to simply redevelop won’t be an easy thing. Still, it’s nice to think about it. Could this broken paved road be the future home of a promenade and marina?
Looking South East from Riverside Blvd.
Looking East at the Long Beach Bridge. Old dock pylons – remnants of a forgotten past.
A gallery of debris. If you enlarge these next few photos, you can really smell the garbage.
I have no idea what’s in this photo below. I see a cyborg. Please keep in mind: We swim and fish in these waters…
Below is a wider shot of the photo above. THIS IS WATER FRONT PROPERTY IN LONG BEACH!!!
Below is a wider shot looking at the bridge. You have Pop’s Seafood Shack & Grill in the upper left & A nice view of cinder blocks and broken cement in the foreground.
I wanted to walk closer to the bridge. For this, I had to go back to the paved path. You really get a feel over how much land there is here.
On my way to the bridge and to the south of the above path I found this little shelter community:
I’m not sure if these shelters are for the homeless or for animals. I am dead serious when I say that… I didn’t see that much garbage, which makes me believe homeless people aren’t living in them. I’m hoping one of you can shed some light on these shelters. Below are a few more photos, including an igloo!
A plastic igloo; not a bad little bay side bungalow. There are those of you in the West End who wish they had this much square footage…
Below is a photo of a haystack shelter with the LIRR bridge in the background. This shot should give you a better idea where this little community is. While looking at this photo, think of how much property your house is on… What is an average size lot in Long Beach? 40 x 80? That’s just a guess, but I’m sure I’m not far off…
Below is another shot looking west towards the water towers. Again. you really get an idea just how much water front property there is here. Primed for development with ample parking. 😉
So here I am at the bridge. I’m guessing that rusty foundation had something to do with those pipes that are there. This area reeked of gas. Perfect for getting high, if you’re into that sort of thing. I was definitely feeling lightheaded and I didn’t stick around much longer.
In the Master Plan of 2005, the city talked about building a promenade that went east along this water front, under the bridge to the tennis courts.
Below is the same spot, but looking west. LIRR train caught in action. That lounge chair really makes this little beach seem like a perfect getaway…
This last photo is looking south. With the smell of gas and a vibrating ground, I decided it was time for me to go. Yep, the ground was vibrating. I guess they really mean it when they say “No Trespassing”.
So that’s it! I took so many more photos that I will eventually post on this blog. There is really no reason for any of you to visit this part of our lovely seaside community. These photos basically tell the whole story. That is, unless you like to stand on a vibrating ground, get high off gas while feeling creeped out at the same time.
Taking cue from the original Planet of the Apes, I call this area The Forbidden Zone: it’s deserted, dilapidated & creepy with remnants of a forgotten past. I would love to see this area cleaned up, but it’s just going to get dirty again, unless some real development happens. With all the essential utilities such as gas, electric, and water, it makes me wonder if this land will ever get redeveloped. All of these utilities would have to be relocated. That could cost a bundle and it’s going to take one heck of a strong economy to do it…
SITE NEWS: I plan on going on more of these urban-by-the-sea excursions, if anybody wants to join me. That is, if you don’t mind scaling barbed wire fences, running from attack dogs and dodging bullets. Contact link is at the top of the page.
In another recent article (whose link I cannot find), the Herald mentioned that the LIRR bridge over Reynold’s channel between Long Beach & Island park was going to be replaced. I searched all over the MTA website and I only see an article regarding the two smaller bridges in Island Park and Oceanside. I posted this link before, but here you go again: Buses Replace Trains as LIRR Installs New Bridges Over Powell Creek and Hog Isle Channel. I’m hoping somebody can clarify this story.