Although the city just released plans to restore and improve the Rockaway Beach boardwalk, damaged by Sandy, there is no timetable and and no plans to build up a protective seawall. DNAinfo attended a community board meeting last night, in which the city presented plans for the $200 million restoration project. FEMA previously recommended constructing a seawall — which would lower the new home-elevation requirements, as well as the cost of flood insurance — but it was not included in preliminary designs. Instead, the city proposed baffle walls and TrapBags along the beach. They also proposed to elevate the boardwalk and place rocks, fill, grasses and vegetation underneath to protect it against a storm surge. Residents expressed anger that the city couldn’t offer an actual timeline for these improvements, and felt a vulnerability to any future storms. The city hopes to begin working on the boardwalk by the end of the year.

No Timetable for $200M Repairs to Rockaway Boardwalk, Parks Says [DNAinfo]
Photo by scarlatti2004


Image source: dakine kane on Flickr

A while back we told you about the property buyout plan from Governor Cuomo that would take damaged homes, raze them, and leave the land as a sort of buffer zone against future storms. But WNYC reports on another buyout plan, this time coming from the Mayor’s office. While the Cuomo plan would use that purchased land strictly as “open space for use as parks, wetlands, drainage or other purposes,” the Mayor’s plan could use that same purchased land for development in the future. In the words of Brad Gair, the director of the city’s housing recovery office, “These are valuable properties. There is a limited amount of coastline properties.”


Image source: Reuters via Travelers Today – what’s left of the boardwalk in some places in the Rockaways

WNYC wrote about some of the changes coming to the Rockaway beaches this summer, from the plans by the city’s Parks Department:

They include a boardwalk made of reclaimed wood and walkways with broom finish concrete; new Pavilions with wrap around billboards; and new bathrooms and lifeguard stations that will stand 12-feet above the beaches, in compliance with FEMA’s 500-year flood plan.


If you’ve paid attention to the flooding in the Rockaways from Hurricane Sandy, it’s probably not a surprise that much of Howard Beach (GMAP) is now considered to be in a flood zone in the new FEMA maps, which were released last week. The Queens Chronicle reports that the flood zone includes “the entire neighborhood south of the Belt Parkway and a section of Lindenwood west of 84th Street are now considered flood hazard zones.”


Image source: The Nation

The Nation has a photo essay that sings the praises of Occupy Sandy’s hurricane relief efforts in the Rockaways. This confirms some of the things we had heard – that early on, the Red Cross and FEMA were nowhere to be seen, while Occupy Sandy was there on the ground and exhibiting organized effectiveness. The Occupy movement, which has been at the end of some serious criticism in the past, was called “phenomenal” in this article:


FEMA sets up camp in Forest Hills

It’s true – FEMA is now occupying ten floors in the Forest Hills Tower building. They’ve created a temporary office where they will coordinate Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. This is the former home of JetBlue, before they moved to LIC. Back in April, Leslie Brown, president of the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce said, “Hopefully, [we’ll] get another big client to fill those spaces.” The FEMA folks will probably be there for a year.

Diwali at the Queens Museum of Art

Last Sunday at the Queens Museum of Art they celebrated Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, during their Second Sundays series (Diwali proper was yesterday). Here’s a great photo taken from that event:

Image source: QMA

Terrizzi is gone, Leli’s Bakery is here

We learned from intrepid food adventurer Sue Yacka that a new bakery has opened up in the old Terrizzi Pastry Shop space (so yes, they really have), called Leli’s Bakery. Their offerings – breads, pastries, and sweets – sound very promising, and the presence of good coffee (Irving Farms) is also another good sign. We welcome them to Astoria and we look forward to trying their noms.

Broad Channel in another life, though not long ago

If you’re wondering why people live in Broad Channel – one of the communities that was wrecked by Hurricane Sandy – and why they might risk living in a place where the water could turn on them, this long essay from Narratively may help with understanding. From the article:

From the window, or below on his back porch, [Battalion Cheif Dan] Mundy Jr. also has a sweeping sightline of the Manhattan cityscape, along with sections of Brooklyn that his fire battalion oversees. Sometimes, on his days off, he’ll sit and relax and occasionally something will catch his eye beyond Jamaica Bay—like the telltale flashing of emergency lights rushing toward a car accident or a fire scene. Those days Mundy Jr. will call his crew to make sure they’re alright, inevitably surprising them by the fact that he’s even privy to the situation. But on calmer days he’ll just head out in his boat and drift between the marsh islands and among the tall grass stalks he’s known since childhood.

Also, did you know that in the 60s there was a proposal to extend the JFK runways into Broad Channel? The Port Authority proposed it in 1968.

Seasonal beers have a home in Queens

Local writer Danielle McClue has shared with us a great roundup of spots around Queens that feature seasonal beers particularly appropriate to this chilly Fall season – stouts, pumpkin ales, and Oktoberfest beer. It’s impressive how many different spots around the borough offer tasty brews for this time of year, from Alewife in LIC where they’ll serve your drink at their beautiful bar, to Triboro Beverage, where the shelves are chock full of an interesting array of craft beer.



Image source: Forest Hills Tower

The NYDN reports that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be using the old JetBlue space in the Forest Hills Tower building on Queens Boulevard (GMAP) in which to coordinate Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. Ironically, back in April when JetBlue moved to LIC, Leslie Brown, president of the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce said, “Hopefully, [we’ll] get another big client to fill those spaces.” FEMA certainly fits the bill.


Image source: FEMA

As we mentioned yesterday, there was FEMA hope for the Rockaways in the form of a visit from the agency, and that is exactly what happened – Administrator Craig Fugate did visit the area on Sunday, according to the FEMA blog:

Administrator Fugate then traveled to Breezy Point, Queens to survey the ongoing response and recovery efforts in the borough.  FEMA teams are on the ground there registering survivors for financial assistance from FEMA. It’s important to remember that the first step to receive financial assistance is to register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA or visiting on a computer or mobile device.

As of this afternoon, more than 182,000 people have registered with FEMA and over $158 million has been approved.

The Administrator then drove to Rockaway, Queens to survey the response and recovery efforts.  There, FEMA staff, the National Guard, New York Fire Department and New York Police Department, and private sector cell phone companies, were all working together to support disaster survivors.  By far, the largest effort has been neighbors helping neighbors clean out homes and start down the road to recovery together.

Also in Rockaway, the Administrator stopped by a FEMA Mobile Disaster Recovery Center, where survivors can find out about the federal financial assistance programs that are available.  The center was being manned by FEMA staff as well as FEMACorps members (you can find out more about FEMACorps here).

Finally, the Administrator stopped by the Community Church of Nazarene in Far Rockaway, where Rev. Dr. Les Mullings and Congressman Gregory Meeks showed the Administrator around the congregation which was working tirelessly taking in and distributing clothing, as well as serving hot meals to disaster survivors.

Hurricane Sandy surivors were feeling forgotten after days of no visits from FEMA, though parts of the peninsula were helped out by the National Guard, the Navy, and in Broad Channel a self-organized community police department also helped out their community.

Administrator Fugate Travels to New York to Survey Ongoing Response and Recovery Efforts [FEMA]
Feeling forgotten in the Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy [QNYC]


Image source: Google – click to enlarge

We mentioned both the Google Crisis Map: Superstorm Sandy and the Google Crisis Map: Superstorm Sandy: NYC on October 28, which at that point had a few things to offer – the location of the storm, webcams, and a few other things. Since then, it’s exploded with information that is incredibly valuable during this post-Sandy world in NYC. More about the map:

This map displays information about current crises and events for which the Google Crisis Response team has collected geographic information. The data comes from a variety of sources, including official information sources and user-generated content. See the Layers list for additional details about each layer.

Tips for using this site:

  • Zoom the map using either the on-screen controls or your mouse.
  • Find additional layers in the Layers list, where you can turn them on or off. Scroll to see all layers.
  • Zoom to an appropriate view for each layer by clicking the “Zoom to area” links in the Layers list.
  • View selected layers in Google Earth by clicking the “Download KML” links in the Layers list.
  • Share the map in e-mail by clicking the Share button and copying the URL provided there. The URL will restore your current view, including the set of layers that you have turned on.
  • Embed the map on your website or blog by getting a snippet of HTML code from the Share button.
  • Share the link on Google+, Twitter or Facebook by clicking the appropriate button in the Share window.

If you wish to provide feedback or comments on the map, or if you are aware of map layers or other datasets that you would like to see included on our maps, please submit them for our evaluation using this form.


Over on Brokelyn, they’ve published a great list of resources in case your apartment or business has sustained damage or flooding from Hurricane Sandy.

Even if you were hyper-responsible and remembered to get renters insurance (thanks roommate), turns out weather related flooding is considered an “Act of God” (cue boiling blood) and is not covered anyway. While a week ago your basement apartment was filled with secondhand and Ikea junk, now it’s a den of gross black mold. Your landlord’s insurance policy will cover the structural damage, but your personal property is your own problem. Our Congresswoman, Nydia M. Velázquez, put together the following list of contact information for federal, state, and city emergency relief and response programs to help you and your small business recover from this terrible disaster asap.

Here are the agencies that can help, in a quick and dirty list:

Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) – apply for assistance starting October 31st