So, some neighborhoods in New York were set up as completely private. Their streets were private, and everything was behind fences.
Well, after hurricane Sandy, they are asking for a bailout:
Sea Gate looks the same as many storm-scattered waterfront communities do. Home after home torn apart by the ocean. Streets filled with sand. Shattered sidewalks and clogged sewers. A sea wall, which had already been inadequate to the task of safeguarding residents, reduced to rubble.
Ordinarily, New York City or other governmental entities might take over the tasks of restoring a middle-class neighborhood like this. But Sea Gate, with its 850 homes on Coney Island’s western tip, is not an ordinary neighborhood. It is a 113-year-old private, gated community, where the razor-wire-topped fences and armed security checkpoints that keep outsiders from its streets, beaches and parks serve as a constant reminder that the residents of this community have chosen to live somewhat apart.
Once the gilded retreat of the Vanderbilt family, Sea Gate, like other gated communities in New York, preserved its exclusivity with the promise that the residents would assume the costs of community upkeep, maintaining their own streets, parks and sewer systems and even fielding the distinct Sea Gate Police Department.
The special status endured, through occasional controversy and political efforts to open the streets to the public, because of the community’s self-sufficiency.
But the damage inflicted by Hurricane Sandy to Sea Gate, in Brooklyn, and another gated community, Breezy Point, in Queens, was so monumental that residents who are already struggling to figure out how they will pay to rebuild their homes say they cannot afford to pay the additional cost of repairing communal infrastructure. So neighborhoods that have long held the rest of the city at arm’s length now seek the financial embrace of the city, state and federal governments.
This is not public infrastructure, it’s private infrastructure.
They don’t have streets, they have a communal driveway. If they wanted it protected, they should have had insurance.
If they want public help for their private property, then the public needs PUBLIC access to those streets.
The city has already bulldozed sand off the streets and vacuumed sand out of the storm drains, and until their public spaces are once again public, that should be it.
H/t JR at the Stellar Parthenon BBS.