Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Follow The Community Alliance On Twitter

For The Latest Rants And Raves On Long Island's Quality Of Life

Often irreverant. Never irrelevant.

The Community Alliance
New Visions for America's First Suburb

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cue The White Picket Fences

Slicing And Dicing At The Town Of Hempstead

Put away the Popiel Veg-A-Matic, folks. Kate Murray has taken a hacksaw to Charles Wang's Lighthouse plan, offering up a vision of Nassau County's future that harkens back to Levittown, circa 1950.

SEE Hempstead Town plan cuts Lighthouse Project in half.

Yes, when Nassau was but a sleepy bedroom community, and all of Suffolk a potato farm, the quaint notions of smaller is better, all must be contained within the confines of that white picket fence, defined suburbia.

Fast forward to the 21st Century, where Nassau is now part and parcel of a burgeoning metropolis -- or at least adjacent to it -- and Mineola is no longer the vacation spot of the likes of Edward G. Robinson, and the white picket fence theory all but implodes.

Forget that "small" (as in small minds, small ideas, small, immeasurable steps, unless you count the ones we take backwards) scale, the lilliputianesque myopia that mires Long Island in yesteryear. In terms of economic gain alone, the Town of Hempstead plan -- or should we call it, Murray Minutia -- does little to raise much-needed revenues, something which Town Supervisor Kate Murray all but concedes she did not consider.

A quarter of the housing units (now down to a mere 500) as first proposed for the Lighthouse. Far less density, despite Kate's myriad references to Smart Growth, which principles include higher density. More a portended Grand Avenue in Baldwin (or what a thriving downtown Main Street should look like) than an inviting, imaginative, sustainable (simply invoking the word does not make it so) grand centerpiece of a reinvigorated Nassau.

And what about the Coliseum? Oh yeah. Kate thinks that should be included in the scaled-down plan too. Somewhere. Somehow. WATCH Murray Minutia on YouTube.

And we wonder why our children, our seniors, our workforce, our businesses and our middle class are leaving Long Island in droves?

Even Nassau County Executive, Kate Murray's fellow GOPer, Ed Mangano, has trashed the Town's plan, calling it "economically unviable."

Then again, Ed Mangano, of the Mondello-D'Amato tribe, is of the mindset that a casino at the Coliseum is the salve to solve all of Nassau's woes, economic and otherwise. We wouldn't bet on it.

A casino at the Coliseum is madness. Murray Minutia is mindless.

Nassau needs to rekindle that grand vision of a glorious future, stepping out of the shadows of what the suburban landscape held dear for the likes of Levitt and Moses (that's Robert, not the other fella whose vision was of more biblical proportions).

We know. Let's compromise. Let There Be Light(house). Ten years ago, it seemed like a good idea. Today, it's an even better one.

One thing is certain. There is no more time to lose. The clock has run out. The vuvuzela has blown its last. Whatever is decided, let's get it started. And let's get it done, before the next decade is out. The world around us is not standing still. Nassau County can ill afford to remain mesmerized by 20th Century suburban lore, stagnating amidst the blight, the brownfields, and the asphalt wastelands that have become the Town of Hempstead.

When all is said, if not far from done, this is a heck of alot more than just about hockey on Long Island. This is about life on Long Island. Ours, and our children's. We need to sieze that grand vision. Build it, and they will stay!
- - -
Epitaph or Intermezzo?

Have we reached the end of the line at Nassau's hub, or is this merely an interlude, of sorts? Another stop along the Town of Hempstead's twisted, potmarked biways that lead, invariably, to the Twilight Zone?

To the casual observer, Kate Murray's plan actually rings true. A measured, almost well-reasoned, ode to suburbia, with the opportunity for developers to build within the newly-created "alternative development" zone's somewhat tight and conspicuously restrictive constraints.

To the informed and enlightened, about the only things missing from this disingenuous attempt to stave off urbanization are the Victorian-style streetlamps.

The real problem with Kate Murray's "plan" is, as with almost everything else she does (or doesn't do): it is too little (emphasis on "little"), too late.

Had this "vision" appeared before her, say, a decade ago, residents, from Elmont to Wantagh, would have chomped at the bit to put shovel to dirt. It is, after all, quintessential suburbia, with a touch of swank and a dab of smart.

As for the lament of the Lighthouse supporters, 2 to 1 means nothing on the blogs, in the print media, or at rallies. There's only one place such numbers count -- that's at the polls. In that respect, as Pogo once said, "We have seen the enemy, and he is us."

So there you have it. Another $255,049 of TOH taxpayer money (paid to consultants Frederick P. Clarke) down the tubes. [Money that, come to think of it, could have been spent on elaborate, four-page, full-color Murraygrams.] Progress cheated under guise of "protecting the suburban character." A meaningful, if not monumental project, a shot at renewal for America's first suburb, thwarted again. The future of Nassau County, nay, all of Long Island, delayed, if not denied in its entirety.

Yes, you still can fool most of the people all of the time. In thinking, on our part, that words alone will, in the end, speak louder than actions, we continue to fool only ourselves!