Monday, September 5, 2011

Monday Morning in Rockaway Park: Breakfast by Jamaica Bay at Tribute Park

On the last day of the summer, at least as far as psychologically and the beach season goes, we wanted to get out to the beach really early, before the predicted rain materialized, so we left Williamsburg via the L train at 7 a.m. this Labor Day morning, switched to the A at Broadway Junction and the shuttle at Broad Channel,

making our arrival into the Rockaway Park/Beach 116th Street terminal

before 8:30 a.m., when the sun was shining brightly.

We walked over to Broad Channel Drive and across from the post office where we had our first P.O. box in 1979,

we got a little takeout breakfast from Rockaway Bagels and then walked down to Tribute Park, overlooking the bay just at Beach 116th.

The park was created to serve as a tribute, not a memorial, to those Rockaway residents who died in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Their intention was to provide a place where community members can reflect on lost loved ones and find comfort to move on with their lives.

The Rockaways lost more people than any other area of New York on September 11th.
The peninsula, as all of us who've lived here know, is heavily populated with police officers and firefighters.

About seventy residents of the Rockaways died on 9/11.

After years of debating on where to place a 9/11 memorial, the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce decided on this spot at the Jamaica Bay end of Beach 116th Street.

It's a little out of the way, but that's why we like it. There is a parking lot at the Duane Reade right next to it.

It's really peaceful and there are tributes to individuals everywhere, on benches, the firefighters' stone (which lists all FDNY personnel lost on 9/11),

on bricks. . .

We really like this star/compass

which has on it the ten neighborhoods of the Rockaways: Far Rockaway, Edgemere, Arverne, Rockaway Beach, Broad Channel, Rockaway Park, Belle Harbor, Neponsit, Roxbury, Breezy Point.

These little glass stars on the ground also have people's names on them.

This bench's plaque is from the Peninsula Hospital Center, which just a few days ago was saved from closing after a valiant campaign by Rockaway activists. Special thanks to Lew Simon and the many others involved in this effort.

The park faces lower Manhattan in the distance. You used to be able to see the twin towers from here.

There are a number of really nice parts to Tribute Park, but this is our favorite.

After eating our bagel and drinking our iced tea

and sitting thinking awhile,

we walked down Beach 116th Street to the beach.

From the beach, we could see the building (center) on Beach 118th Street where we had our first apartment,

well over thirty years ago.

We enjoyed the last rays of summer on the beach until the clouds and then rain came.

(Video courtesy of Gary Mann)

We will be teaching at Borough of Manhattan Community College this Sunday morning, September 11, and not able to attend, but Friends of Tribute Park has announced an unveiling ceremony of the World Trade Center steel on September 11, 2011. The piece of steel was recovered and used as evidence in the World Trade Center investigation. It was then awarded and released to the organization.

To date, it will be the only officially documented piece of steel to sit in a New York City public park. The 8:00 a.m. ceremony will include the reading of the names of residents lost, the placing of roses in their honor, the unveiling, and blessing of the steel. There will also be an evening ceremony beginning at 6:00 pm.

1 comment:

Jenn said...

I found your blog when I googled the Rockaway 9/11 Memorial. That pic you posted of the memorial bench - Jerry Dewan - was someone I dated long ago. It was a lovely surprise to see you included him in your blog. Thank you.