Before going to Far Rockaway, I used the Coastal Resilience map put together by the Nature Conservancy as well as the University of Arizona sea level rise map created by Professors Overpeck and Weiss to learn where the impact of sea level rise would be felt there. The Coastal Resilience map not only indicates flood boundaries but also gives an estimate of the percent of damage to the built environment by 2080 from sea level rise. You can also select different scenarios and combine sea level rise with a Category 2 or 3 storm to see where the damage will be. While the Overpeck and Weiss map and the Coastal Resilience map overlap quite a bit, the data offered by the Coastal Resilience map serves as a reminder that sea level rise is a process.
Lanett Avenue off of Beach 9 St. marks the edge of the area, as designated by the Coastal Resilience map, that will sustain damage due to sea level rise of its buildings by 2080, with the percentage of damage increasing as you get closer to the water. Jarvis Avenue is predicted to sustain between 20 and 50% building loss due to sea level rise by 2080.
Jarvis Avenue, Far Rockaway, Queens, NY, August 5, 2011
At the water and Beach 9 St., there were a number of fisherman and a few elderly people out for walks.
Beach 9 St., Far Rockaway, Queens, NY, August 5, 2011
One block east, right on the beach, is the 4-building residential development that used to be called the Roy Reuthers Houses. According to The Wave, the complex has been sold a few times in the past several years and there are no longer restrictions that tenants must be 62 or older or disabled. The current owners have renamed it the Sand Castle. I could not make this up. The building is in the Coastal Resilience map’s zone of 20 to 40 percent building loss by 2080 and is predicted to be in the water by the Overpeck and Weiss map by 2100.
The Sand Castle, Far Rockaway, Queens, NY, August 5, 2011
The next block between Beach 6 St. and 5 St. is empty except for one lone house, which was probably once lovely and now is stripped, windowless, filled with garbage.
The Sand Castle from Beach 5 St., Far Rockaway, Queens, NY, August 5th, 2011
On the other side of Seagirt Avenue (not Blvd.) is a dirt lot.
The Sand Castle from Seagirt Avenue, Far Rockaway, Queens, NY, August 5, 2011
On a google map, you can see that Coronado Ct. was once here. In a post on Forgotten-NY by Sergey Kadinsky dated May 1, 2010, there is a photo of the bungalows that were here last year. I also learned from Forgotten-NY that the city received the property in the 90s and is now creating the Seagirt Avenue Wetlands. The city park’s website states that wetlands slow “global warming by converting carbon dioxide into oxygen at a prodigious rate.” It also mentions the alarming fact that New York City used to have 224,000 acres of freshwater wetlands. Now, there are 2,000 acres.
Seagirt Avenue Wetlands, Far Rockaway, Queens, NY, August 5, 2011
Another asset that Far Rockaway has are its dunes. These could offer some measure of protection from storms.
Near Beach 17 St., Far Rockaway, Queens, NY, August 5, 2011
On this beautiful Friday in August, around 10 am, there was one umbrella to be seen on the beach between Crest Rd. and Beach 24 St.
Near Beach 24 St., Far Rockaway, Queens, NY, August 5, 2011
At Beach 24 St., there are a few remaining streets of bungalows. I have heard a lot about them, first from a City Tech student, Rudolph Bastien, also a Far Rockaway resident. There is even a documentary called The Bungalows of Rockaway. The Coastal Resilience map has these streets in the 20s south of Seagirt in the 1-10% building loss due to sea level rise by 2080 with very high rates of damage in event of a Category 2 or 3 storm. However, this seems somewhat irrelevant. Development and poverty are bigger, more immediate threats to the bungalows and serious issues for neighborhood residents in general.
Beach 24 St,. Far Rockaway, Queens, NY, August 5, 2011
Some bungalows are adorable and well kept. All are raised a few feet, I assume to accommodate moderate flooding.
Beach 24 St., Far Rockaway, Queens, NY, August 5, 2011
Some have a strong sense of personality and being lived in.
Beach 25 St., Far Rockaway, Queens, NY, 2011
The lovingly tended bungalow on the left, I believe is the one written about in the NYT Real Estate section last fall. You can see a row of back houses behind the bungalows that front on the street.
Beach 26 St., Far Rockaway, Queens, NY, August 5, 2011
The recently built development across the street is not faring so well.
Beach 26 St., Far Rockaway, Queens, NY, 2011