What WE WANT Long Beach to be. (Number Crunching)

Exactly a week ago I asked WHAT KIND OF LONG BEACH DO YOU WANT?  As of today (8/22) there were thirty eight different comments, but only eleven “copy & paste” votes. These results are based on those eleven.

Here are a couple of ways on how I dealt with categorizing these results:

  1. For The conversion of dilapidated buildings to expensive condos: A lot of you want to see old building be converted to new, but the affordable kind. Rather than separating expensive and affordable, I just lumped it all into the FOR column.
  2. For any question: If you wrote “I don’t care” or “I can go either way,” that was placed in the UNDECIDED or NO ANSWER column.
  3. HOTELS was a confusing category. I guess it wasn’t clear as to what was being asked. Many used it as a way to take a shot at the Allegria. So to simplify things, all negatives are in the AGAINST column. If you said something along the lines of “Could be great, but they need to get there act together” – that tells me you are rooting for it to work, thus went into the FOR column.

We had two categories that were unanimous across the board:

  1. We love our LOCAL EVENTS: After all, The Polar Bear, Wounded Warriors, Irish Day , fire works, concerts on the beach, marathons and the countless fine arts shows are what gives Long Beach its unique flavor.
  2. Surprisingly, 100% of you want RETAIL & RESTAURANTS ON THE BOARDWALK. Of course, you all pretty much wrote the same thing: IF DONE RIGHT.

BIKES: Bike lanes are split down the middle and the majority of you dont want bike rentals. The later aren’t for us residents, so of course most of us don’t want them. As far as bike lanes are concerned, I can see why most of you see no need for them. After all, they’re just a bunch of lines painted on our streets. I just want to see the city address the safety of bike riding on Park Ave & the bridge and I’ll be happy.

MAJOR EVENTS: This one was another shocker. Amidst the fears of parking, large crowds & drunk people (see – No Booze for You), we want these events. So no more surfpocalypse complaints, ok?

DEVELOPMENT: Whether it’s the Superblock, Bay area or the conversation of old to new (ALL HAIL KING DAVID!), we want Long Beach to be developed. Again, most of you wrote that with an asterisk: IF DONE RIGHT. The issue of how big these developments should be will be saved for another story…

HOTELS: ahh, the topic that was talked about the most. Regarding the Allegria, we know the negatives; they are well documented on this site. As far as the positives are concern: “If they get their act together” or “they need to get their act together” was the general census. What about other hotels in Long Beach? Well, we have the mysterious Jackson which doesn’t appear to be a hotel anymore. The bottom line is: it looks like we won’t see any more hotel development, unless the economy improves. Long Beach, after all, used to have a ton of hotels, so having more than one won’t be something new here..

That’s basically it. If more votes come in and we hit the 22 mark (double of what we have today), then I will do an update.

VOTE HERE: What kind of Long Beach do you want? City vs. Suburbia. FIGHT!

The Forbidden Zone of Long Beach: A Photographic Journey.

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.


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.

Section 8 Housing on E. Pine Street being renovated. Is change coming?

Newsday is reporting that the “Pine Town Homes” @ 151 East Pine Street are going to be purchased soon and will be renovated. Newsday states that the total project cost is $26.6 million. That’s a lot of dough for Section 8 housing!  Will this renovation bring major change to the 100+ unit complex or will it continue to serve low-income residents?

The North Park area of Long Beach, where this complex resides, could go through a major transformation if the redeveloped bay front area ever breaks ground.  This plan has been referred to as the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP).  I blogged about this back in 2008 and there hasn’t been any movement on this issue since then.  (see – The future of Long Beach being considered).

The redevelopment of the bayfront area located between Long Beach Boulevard and the Long Island Rail Road tracks. Conceptual plans include: a 250-slip marina, “salt air” performing arts center / amphitheater, promenade, five mixed-use towers that would contain residential units, a marine science center, restaurants, A water taxi to Island Park.

Some locals refer to the North Park-area as a ghetto, while others see it as one of the last parts of Long Beach that’s still affordable. For that, it will be very interesting to see the outcome of the Pine Town House renovation.  As of now, it seems like the economy has been the only thing that slowed down the LWRP, but perhaps things are starting to pick up? We shall see….

Newsday Source : Nassau hands out millions for redevelopment

LWRP INFO: http://www.longbeachny.org/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={307741C4-483C-4C97-BED0-20FF147304D3}


Superblock & LWRP updates?

Ah, an article that slipped right by me. This is from the July 24, 2009 issue of the New York Times – Building Projects Shelved.  The article mentions the two major Long Beach projects which are currently on hold due to financing and the economy: The Superblock & Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP). Both will drastically change Long Beach as we know it;  including a major hotel, retail on the boardwalk, a new marina, two-story towers, an amphitheater.

From the article: Sometimes, the developer ends up defaulting regardless. In Long Beach, for example, after nearly two decades, plans were approved in 2007 to redevelop the Superblock, a waterfront parcel between Riverside Boulevard and Long Beach Road. But the only movement on the urban renewal site since then has been its use as a parking lot during a nearby fireworks display this month.

Charles T. Theofan, the Long Beach city manager, said that the lender for Philips International, the developer, “evidently defaulted,” creating a state of limbo for the two 10-story towers and their 100 hotel rooms, 325 condominiums, conference center, health club and retail stores. “They did not get the funding to develop it,” said Mr. Theofan, adding that the deed to the land had been taken over by IStar Financial, a Manhattan-based real estate investment trust.

Andrew G. Backman, an IStar senior vice president for investor relations and marketing, said that “as a matter of corporate policy,” the company would not comment on “individual assets in the portfolio.”

The urban renewal guidelines still determine what the development will ultimately be, Mr. Theofan said. But the city has started talking to other developers. “We have people chomping at the bit,” he said. “The negative effect is that it remains vacant,” but then “it has been vacant for the past 20 years.”

As always, I will post updates on these two projects as soon as I get more info.

Newsday – Explore LI Dockside dining

What’s missing from this article? Yeah, you guessed it: Long Beach.

Sure, we have plenty of great restaurants in town, but if we want some dockside dining we have to go over the bridge to Island Park or down the block to Point Lookout. Better yet, if we had a proper marina in Long Beach, we could take a boat to any of these places!

I guess the Allegria will give us some boardwalk/water view dining. Vito’s on the Beach offers some “off boardwalk” dining, but we have no restaurants right on the water which is crazy since we are entirely surrounded by it!

The Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) , if it ever happens, might offer us these options. That area along Reynolds Channel between the LIRR tracks and Long Beach Road desperately needs to be changed.

Hopefully not overdeveloped, but it has potential to be something special. I am picturing a brand new marina, a few restaurants and a sculpture park. I keep hearing things about an amphitheater and four 12-story buildings, but right now nothing is happening due to the economy.

Bits & Pieces

  • That new healthy California-style restaurant Monterey opened last Friday. I went there last night. Look for my review later in the day at LBfoodie.com
  • Parking Study Public meeting this June. This meeting will focus on the commercial district. See the full public notice below if you don’t feel like downloading the PDF off the official Long Beach site which can be found here.
  • The Kennedy Plaza Farmers Market kicks off its second week today between 11am to 7pm. Stop by for some cheese, bread, fruit & veggies.
  • The bayside development is being held up by the economy. I’m guessing you can say the same about the Superblock.
  • This summer we will see two new things on or near the beach: Pedi-Cabs & Umbrella/Chair Rentals (cha-ching $$$$$). Oh wait, I mean three new things; more tourists.

PUBLIC MEETING NOTICE – Taken from the City of Long Beach site

The City of Long Beach will be holding two public meetings to discuss:

Long Beach Parking Solutions

Over the past several months, the City has been working with Level G Associates, a nationally recognized parking consulting firm, to explore solutions for Long Beach’s chronic parking problems, including parking meters. Level G’s most recent studies have focused on the central business district along Park Avenue — between Long Beach Road and Magnolia Boulevard. As part of the study process, we are inviting local citizens and business owners to share their concerns about parking in this area of Long Beach.

The meetings are open to the public and will be held in City Hall, 6th Floor on:

Tuesday, June 16th from 10AM to 12 noon
Tuesday, June 23rd from 7 PM to 9 PM

The two meetings will be identical in format but are being held at separate times of the day as a convenience to our residents and business owners. Meetings will commence with a brief presentation outlining the study results and will be followed by questions, answers, and public comment.


  • The 9th annual Polar Bear swim went without a hitch and boy was it fun. Thousands of people showed up and lots of money was raised for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Too bad I am more of a chicken than a polar bear. Visit the Long Beach Polar Bears for more info.
  • Lido Blvd median should hopefully be done soon. I am tired of driving on uneven blacktop with rocks bouncing off my windshield from the car in front of me. What’s gonna go in the middle planters? Any guesses? Flowers? Shrubs? Trees?
  • Speaking of medians, Surf City Pizza @ 300 Lido Blvd wants the median that blocks access to their street be removed. I can’t say I blame them. Poor planning if you ask me. Small businesses are the life blood of our barrier island and we shouldn’t do anything that discourages shoppers from shopping. Stop by to sign the petition and grab a slice while you’re at it.
  • Full-screenCorbin & Reynolds‎ @ 20 W. Park Ave is closed. A sign on the window says something about a California style restaurant coming soon. Not sure what that means, but I’ll give it a try.
  • Nothing new on with Superblock or Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP). I search every square inch of the internet for news on those two developments and I always come up empty. If anybody has any info on these topics, I would love to hear from you. I need to know when I can dock my boat at the long beach marina.

Well that’s it for now. Sorry for the lack of updates. I will update soon with some pictures of the Polar Bear Swim. If anybody would like to contribute, please email me (Anthony) using the contact link up top.

The future of Long Beach being considered:

A collection of interesting notes taken from the City’s Comprehensive Plan, Master Plan & Planning Board Charrettes.

1. A redesign of Waldbaums shopping center – the only shopping center in Long Beach. Strip stores – bring those stores to the street with parking in the rear. It would compliment the downtown district better.

2. Would Long Beach ever consider licensing bed & breakfasts?

3. Artwork included in building design of new high rises, similar to Portland, Oregon.

4. The redevelopment of the bayfront area located between Long Beach Boulevard and the Long Island Rail Road tracks. Conceptual plans include: a 250-slip marina, “salt air” performing arts center / amphitheater, promenade, five mixed-use towers that would contain residential units, a marine science center, restaurants, A water taxi to Island Park.

5. An architect has been hired by the City to design the Recreation facility rehabilitation project. Upon completion, the facades of the Recreation center and ice arena will compliment one another.

6. The location of the Public Works municipal parking garage on Long Beach Boulevard is considered problematic. In addition to its appearance and the congestion caused on Long Beach Boulevard by city vehicles having difficulty turning into the lot, there is not enough room in the structure for the addition of a natural gas refueling station. As a result, at this time, the City is unable to switch to more environmentally friendly natural gas vehicles.

7. Appropriate placement of bicycle facilities and racks, clear marking of the pedestrian route from the LIRR station to the boardwalk, and provision of shuttle bus service between the LIRR station and beach areas, would act to reduce traffic and beachfront parking needs.

8. The Long Beach Island Landmarks Association have also been working toward the creation of a Long Beach Historic District that would include the West Penn Street blockfront with parcels from National Boulevard to Lafayette Boulevard.

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…..

New Developement

Just a quick post on new development which is going on in our city right now. Later, I will give more detailed descriptions on each development.

Three major projects going on right now.

One is the Renovation of the King David Manor. Go to http://www.alrosegroup.com/ and click on OTHER PROPERTIES – it’s the one on top. The King David is completely gutted and work is underway.

The second is the bayfront redevelopment project. I will post more on this later.

The third is the Superblock. I will post more on this later.