Janison: After Sandy, Long Beach seeks storm protection

A man walks from under a wrecked boardwalk

A man walks from under a wrecked boardwalk to enter the beach at Long Beach. (Dec. 1, 2012) (Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams, Jr.)

Long Beach was shortsighted, it now seems safe to say.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, among others, made mention in Sandy's destructive wake of how the city just a few years ago turned away from the Army Corps of Engineers' "storm damage reduction project."

Schumer brought it up to reporters last week while mentioning that he and fellow New York Democrat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand submitted a billion-dollar request to the federal government for seven Army Corps projects already authorized for protecting beaches and low-lying areas.

He recalled how the corps' plan to build high dunes at Long Beach drew opposition from "a small group of homeowners" there -- "and the city said, 'Don't do it.' " But since the storm, the new city manager, Jack Schnirman, "has called me and said, 'I want it right away,' " Schumer said.

Indeed, the Long Beach City Council is due to take up a resolution Tuesday citing the extensive local damage due to waves and coastal flooding and the loss in the elevation of beach sand. The measure formally "reinvites" the Army Corps "to work in a positive manner" with the city on a dune project.

But in a visit to Long Beach on Saturday, Schumer demurred from elaborating on the wisdom of the city's 2006 rejection of the dune project. "I'm not going to look with 20-20 hindsight," he said. In remarks at a news conference where he addressed residents on a separate matter, Schumer politely chalked up the action -- under prior city leadership -- to a lack of awareness of the dangers faced.

STILL PENDING . . . : As the one-year mark approaches for the MTA board vacancy subject to selection by Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, no name has yet to emerge.

 

CYCLE OF LIFE: If Brooklyn can lure away Nassau's pro hockey team, just maybe the suburban county could respond in kind by picking off a project under discussion for the city. Earlier this year, philanthropist Joshua Rechnitz vowed to donate $40 million for a facility at Brooklyn Bridge Park that would include a velodrome with a 200-meter cycling track, stadium seating and space for other indoor sports.

But some Brooklyn community groups question the location, expressing parking and open-space concerns, and the like. The plan has yet to go through city approval processes. Strictly for spitballing's sake: How crazy would it be for Nassau to make an unsolicited pitch for the Rechnitz project while the New York Islanders prepare for their Coliseum exit?