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A new roller hockey rink is coming to the Rockaways! New York Daily News reports that City Councilman Eric Ulrich provided $600,000 for the project, located on Shore Front Parkway, and construction is expected to begin sometime this fall. This rink will replace an existing rink on Beach 108th Street, which was damaged during Hurricane Sandy. Building the new rink was also delayed due to the storm. According to the News, “The new rink will feature an asphalt surface and lighting for use at night. Upgrades for the area around the rink include new drinking fountains and seating.” Residents and hockey players helped design this new facility.

Construction on Rockaway Roller Hockey Rink to Begin in Fall [NY Daily News]

Rendering by the NYC Parks Department

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Meandering around Astoria the other day, we stumbled upon this beautiful, huge community garden between 8th Street, Astoria Boulevard, and 30th Avenue — the Two Coves Community Garden. Inside the garden there’s a significant space fenced off and under construction. A woman on-site told us the Parks Department is constructing a “gathering area” within the park featuring a shady area with seating and a water feature. She couldn’t tell us when the project would actually wrap, and mentioned problems with the contractor. Actually, over the summer Two Coves started a petition about the space in question. Here’s what it says:

On March 26, 2012, city contractors fenced off our gathering area for construction of a shade structure, food preparation area, and water feature. They predicted the work would be complete before the end of the 2012 growing season, and promised to finish by March 2013. Months later, we are told that all the work was substandard and must be redone. Yet no work or repairs have been done this year. The construction site is unsightly. The weeds inside the fence are spreading into the volunteer-maintained parts of the garden. The construction site blocks the view across the garden, making the whole public space feel unsafe and unwelcoming. What is most frustrating: the Parks Department has refused to tell us when the construction will be finished.

The park is a volunteer-run garden on city-owned land. The lady we spoke with seemed to think the construction site would remain throughout the off season, possibly until next summer. The rest of the garden space remains open to the public during weekends. GMAP

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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.

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Image source: The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation

Earlier this week a yearling harp seal was rescued from Rockaway Beach, thanks to a group effort by folks from the NYC Parks Department, the New York State DEC, and the Riverhead Foundation. The Foundation posted the above picture on their Facebook page:

[Monday] biologists admitted a yearling harp seal from Rockaway Beach in Queens. The young male weighed in at 20Kg or 44 pounds. He is being treated for dehydration and is currently resting in one of our sixteen seal rehabilitation tanks. We would like to thank the officers from the NYC Parks Dept. and New York State DEC that assisted in rescuing our newest patient.

So cute! Yesterday biologists from the Riverhead Foundation were monitoring a gray seal in the Rockaways. The area has seen a lot of ocean wildlife visit its shores in the past year, including a beached finback whale this past fall, who eventually died. We’re glad this little seal made it out alive.

Grim Prognosis for a 60-Ton Whale Stranded on a Beach in Queens [NYT]
More on that beached finback whale on the shore of Breezy Point [QNYC]
Beached whale in Breezy Point not expected to survive [Newsday]
Rescuers Try to Save Whale Washed Ashore in Queens [WSJ]
Dolphin Dies Hours After Beaching Itself In Far Rockaway [CBS]