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Whizzed away: City to move beachfront bathrooms from Oceana

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Bye bye, bathrooms.

The city announced plans on Monday to move new high-rise restrooms from in front of pricey Brighton Beach condominiums to a nearby community center in a controversial decision that locals see as the city pandering to wealthy residents.

The Parks Department said the partially constructed bathrooms in front of the Oceana Condominiums will be relocated 350-feet down the Riegelmann Boardwalk to the Shorefront Y after a two-year battle with the Oceana residents, who even sued the city to halt the construction.

The department said its decision reflects the community’s concerns, but a longtime local who has been fighting to prevent Parks from converting the Boardwalk from wood to plastic and concrete said the department’s rationale smells fishy.

“I’ll be honest with you — I think they’re a bunch a hypocrites, because they said they were responding to community concerns and yet in the exact same area, the community has expressed concerns about a concrete Boardwalk and they won’t give the community the time of day,” said Ida Sanoff, a Boardwalk activist “Why aren’t they responsive to the whole community and not just the people in Oceana? … Follow the money.”

The department announced the original plans for the bathroom in 2013 but the construction was halted after the Oceana Homeowner’s Association sued the city for not following proper procedures, and a judge ordered Parks to conduct an environmental impact study before work could proceed.

The study was finished in 2014 and the city said the location was approved for the bathrooms, but last March the Parks Department introduced the idea of moving the bathrooms in front of the Shorefront Y.

The executive director of the Shorefront Y said she was only informed of the decision when the department made the official announcement this week.

“Up until now, Parks had no conservation with us,” said Susan Fox.

Residents have long speculated that the department’s about-face wasn’t about residents’ worries, but rather accommodating the wealthy.

But Parks insists its decision simply reflects the community’s feedback.

“After reviewing options for the Brighton comfort station from a planning and design perspective, and gathering feedback from local elected officials and community members, Parks has identified a new, more accessible location that better serves beachgoers,” said Maeri Ferguson, a spokeswoman for the Parks Department.

To make matters messier, some Oceana residents who fought for the relocation still aren’t happy. One local said he is glad he no longer has to worry about seeing the loo from his window, but the decision to keep the elevated bathrooms anywhere on the beach is ruining the ocean aesthetics.

“Of course I’m glad it is not going to be in front of a residential building, but this ugly thing shouldn’t be at the beach at all,” said Oceana resident Dmitry Geyber. “They destroyed the beach for another generation.”

The bathrooms will have two units about 15-feet wide, 12-feet high, and 60 feet long. The height is mandated by the federal government, which is paying for the new loos.

The city already done $5 million worth of work on the project, only half of which can be transferred to the new site, according to Parks.

The department said the new bathrooms are expected to be for the summer of 2017. This summer, temporary bathrooms will be installed at Coney Island Avenue before May 25.

Reach reporter Vanessa Ogle at vogle@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4507. Follow her attwitter.com/oglevanessa.
Updated 3:31 pm, February 26, 2018
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Reader feedback

Jack from Brighton Beach says:
The new bathroom will not be elevated. It will be at the Boardwalk level.
It will be located in front of a parking lot adjacent to the "Y". The spot is the widest on the entire Boardwalk and is the busiest in the Summer. Most importantly it will not face a residential building.
In this situation no better spot could have been found.
Everyone asked for it - businesses, beachgoers, elderly, even the Shorefront Y administration complained that even before the hurricane people tried to sneak to the Y's bathrooms and sometime angry mothers let their children do their thing right in the lobby.
And of course last but not least - protecting the residents is a noble thing to do.
Is anyone against protecting the residents Vanessa?
Is anyone looking to discriminate based on race, sexual orientation or economic status?
April 9, 2015, 11:02 am
Carmen Morales from Brighton Beach says:
It is shameful to ignite the rich v. poor controversy where neither rich nor poor would like a bathroom 50 feet from the child's bedroom windows. Ida Sanoff is not a poor but a hateful individual who has no better argument; not everything in this world is about money, sometimes it is a common sense and wisdom.
Looking at the facts, it is crystal clear that the bathroom must be moved to the location where the boardwalk is 80 feet wide (rather than 50), no residential windows facing a bathroom and a human traffic coming from Coney Island Avenue is better served.
Your news paper's restless attacks on the Oceana residents is disgraceful and manipulating facts is unprofessional.
April 9, 2015, 11:54 am
TruthBeTold from Sheepshead Bay says:
Vanessa.
You should check your facts before you publish you articles.
Who tells you what to write? Your boss? Do you write for certain politicians?
Or perhaps it's just your personal biases that make you distort facts and make baseless accusations?
April 9, 2015, 1:38 pm
Rita from Brighton Beach says:
I am wondering who wrote these comments. Residents of Oceana or supporters of one local elected official who lobbied for bathroom to be moved. First it is not going to be an elevated bathroom, so why move? Second, hundreds of people not from Oceana but other residents of Brighton Beach oppose this decision. Third, Shorefront Y was and is the only community center in the area and was the only place to provide thousands of local residents with help and services after Sandy. So, building a toilet in front of Shorefront Y without further study on how drilling will affect its foundation and underground pool is irresponsible. Park said, they have heard community. BS! They are pandering to only one part of community. BTW, there is an elevated structure in front of an apartment building on Brighton 2. Maybe it is time to move it also? Or its residents are not rich enough and cannot put thousands of dollars in local elected campaign fund? Also the story forgot to mentioned that $2.5 millions of taxpayers money are already lost due to this decision. Feel like screaming!
April 9, 2015, 2:40 pm
Rita from Brighton Beach says:
Jack,
It will not be located in front of a parking lot. It will be located in front of a playground. Check you facts! And also do a measurement one more time and stop using a 50ft figure. Money talks, right? BTW why don't we move this bathroom to Brighton 15 street entrance since there are two already on Brighton 4 and Brighton 2 and nothing on the other end. Check your facts, Jack!
April 9, 2015, 2:44 pm
TruthBeTold from Sheepshead Bay. says:
Rita according to what you wrote you would prefer do build the public toilet it in front of your home and your children's bedroom, rather than the windowless SFY where nobody lives.
You are a very heroic woman Rita!
April 9, 2015, 3:11 pm
anonymous says:
They put up four of these toilets next to each other near Beach 115 in Rockaway right across from really nice apartment buildings. The boardwalk there is much narrower than in Brooklyn, maybe 30 feet wide. The buildings have balconies that face the boardwalk too. These people have bedrooms 30 feet from the toilets and it was no problem. Can't understand why they have to spend millions to move these if it was OK in Rockaway.
April 9, 2015, 3:43 pm
TruthBetold from Sheepshead Bay says:
He anonymous.
So what is it - you wish you neighbors had not one, not two not three, but four toilets in front of them?
April 9, 2015, 3:59 pm
anonymous says:
I am just trying to understand why this is different from Rockaway. As I said, in Rockaway they are much closer to apartments so why is it a problem here? If they spend public money there has to be a good reason why. So I am trying to understand the reason for spending a lot of money to move these when even more and closer were OK in Rockaway. Maybe you can explain?
April 9, 2015, 4:20 pm
TruthBeTold from Sheepshead Bay says:
Explain?! I don't think you need explanations.
Just imagine that your daughter's bedroom faces a ——house. That your daughter looks through her window and sees an endless stream of people who came to defecate and urinate in front of your dining room. 24 hours a day 365 days a year - a ——house in your face at 91 feet distance. On the same level with your bedroom.
Ok anonymous? Are you getting there? Do you still need explanations?
April 9, 2015, 6:59 pm
Carmen Morsles from Brighton Beach Area says:
Is it really hard to understand that a public bathroom into the bedroom or dining room windows is unacceptable for either Rockawss residents or Oceana residents, rich, poor - any minimally decent person gets this. If wrong was done to the Rockawsy residents it will not be alleviated with hurting residents of the other communities.
April 9, 2015, 10:35 pm
Les from Brighton says:
This is just pitiful. The boardwalk is approximately 60' wide-the ditch between the boardwalk & the condo is 60' wide-that's 120 ' from the originally proposed bathrooms to the building line of the condo. That's more than enough space. Bay 1 is my backyard & has been for over 65 years. The old bathroom's position was fine for all those years & shouldn't be moved. The requisite need for a public bathroom should be deemed more important than someone's view. If scenic view was the case they shouldn't have built the condo-it blocks my view & ability to get sunlight in the afternoon.
April 10, 2015, 10:33 am
anonymous says:
Or maybe it is not as bad as you think. Other people love their children too and do not want anything bad for them. Maybe they say nothing because there is no problem and you cannot see anything happen in these bathrooms, they are just another building. After all in Rockaway they are very close to apartments 30 feet and there is no problem. Why? People live in apartments all over Manhattan that see into other apartments with bathroom windows near their windows. Apartment buildings are very close to each other and everyone has bathroom and bedroom and kitchen windows that look in to theirs. They pay high prices for these apartments too and there is no problem. Why must city spend millions for this? Does not make any sense.
April 10, 2015, 10:39 am
KNowY our Enemy from Manhattan Beach says:
Les. You really know less.
The narrowest spot on the entire Riegelman Boardwalk is in front of residential Oceana. The distance to the toilets from the building's wall was exactly 91 feet.
In the new spot the distance between the toilets and the wall of the SFY 150 feet.
The SFY building is windowless, shielded by the non-transparent fence and is 4 feet below the level of the boardwalk so those playing tennis in front of the SFY cannot see anything but the feet of the passing by crowd.
So what do we have here: Non-residential windowless building, almost twice farther from the toilets then the previous location. Most convenient for the visiting public. That's were it was supposed to be in the first place. None of the facilities inside will be affected by the construction.
Nice. Excellent solution. Protection of the residents is most important for all of us, good neighbors. Are you a good neighbor Les? Do you wish your neighbors well? Today when errors of the past are rectified you must rejoice.
have a great life Les, my well-wishing neighbor.
April 10, 2015, 1:05 pm

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