Jones Beach park on endangered spaces list

A girl chases the waves into shore at

A girl chases the waves into shore at Jones Beach in Wantagh. (Aug. 17, 2012) (Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

Jones Beach State Park has been named an endangered cultural landscape by a national preservation group.

"Over the years, funding shortages, deferred maintenance, and a lack of comprehensive preservation planning for the site has led to an incremental yet significant loss of integrity," according to the annual listing by Washington, D.C.-based The Cultural Landscape Foundation. The iconic park was created by Robert Moses.

"Robert Moses conceived of this unrivaled act of civic patronage -- a 2,400-acre park with 6.5 miles of white sand beaches -- the first public park to provide resort-like activities for ordinary Americans," foundation president Charles Birnbaum, who grew up in Bayside, said Monday. "It's time to reverse the decades of neglect that have taken a toll on this Beaux Arts-designed landscape and its nautically inspired Art Deco architecture."

The Landslide list, first issued in 2003, has highlighted more than 150 significant at-risk parks, gardens, horticultural features and working landscapes.

Alexandra Wolfe, preservation services director for the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, nominated Jones Beach, where she said original materials used in buildings and landscaping have been lost over the years because of budget constraints or lack of attention to historical detail.

"Jones Beach was part of Moses' vision for state parks and it's something that's been diminished," Wolfe said.

"The reason for nominating it was to increase awareness that Jones Beach is also a cultural landscape as well as a historic site," she said, "and to not point a finger at the parks department but to bring to light the fact there isn't enough money to take care of these facilities."

Dan Keefe, spokesman for the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said the New York Works capital funding program would pump $11.7 million into Jones Beach this coming year for rehabilitation of the West bathhouse, and its pool and the boardwalk.

With Donald Trump planning to build a waterfront catering hall and restaurant on the Central Mall, Wolfe said, "He really needs to be mindful of what he is dealing with -- that this is a very important historical and cultural site."

 

Endangered spaces

 

The Cultural Landscape Foundation's 2012 Landslide list also includes:

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Burlington, Vt.

Fern Dell, Griffith Park, Los Angeles

Garland Farm, Mount Desert, Maine

Hannah Carter Japanese Garden, Los Angeles,

Innisfree Garden, Millbrook, N.Y.

Isham Park, Manhattan, (20 acres at the northern tip of the island)

Jack London Lake, Jack London State Historic Park, Glen Ellen, Calif.

Nasher Sculpture Garden, Dallas

Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.

Riverbank Park, Flint, Mich.

Thieme Drive, Fort Wayne, Ind.

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