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Proposed plan for Water Taxi Beach that was present to NYCEDC

OurLIC CONVERSATION with Tom Fox.  Residents and Fox Hope to Convince the Mayor's Office to Review and Approve Water Taxi Beach for Long Island City for Another Season.

Tom Fox has a plan...and Bea Murphy has a petition



Tom Fox points to the location where he has proposed a new Taxi Beach that has not been approved by NYCEDC

 


 


 

 

Full video coverage and follow up Q&A are available in the left column in 2 segments of approximately three to five minutes each.




OurLIC CONVERSATION with Tom Fox. Residents and Fox Hope to Convince the Mayor's Office to Review and Approve Water Taxi Beach for Long Island City for Another Season.

OurLIC CONVERSATION with Tom Fox. Residents and Fox Hope to Convince the Mayor's Office to Review and Approve Water Taxi Beach for Long Island City for Another Season.




Taxi Beach Neighborhood Appreciation Day. Conversation with Andy Towler, Manager. 10/3/2010

Taxi Beach Neighborhood Appreciation Day. Conversation with Andy Towler, Manager. 10/3/2010

 

 

Long Island City, New York April 18 2011 -

It is hard to keep a good beach down!

Tom Fox, Founder of Water Taxi Beach, is the first one to say that the EDC were good landlords while he operated Water Taxi Beach.  He still has two Water Taxi Beach locations. 

No doubt Fox was surprised when the New York City Economic Development Corporation decided not to renew his permit for a new location in a section of Hunters Point South which is not under construction for a school or apartment complex.

Fox had a plan to move the Taxi Beach further down when the City announced that it planned to build a residential towers where the popular beach once attracted people.  His plan included building a miniature golf area, and a Volley Ball court for the leagues which have played at Water Taxi Beach.  

OurLIC met with Tom Fox to get his point of view.  We had a candid conversation and he addressed some hard questions about controversial issues relating to security.   A Video CONVERSATION with Fox is presented with this article.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Fox also wants to add a minature golf area to the beach, and continue the league Volley Ball.
  • The final plan for the open space area along the waterfront has a beach included, and Fox comments that this is an indication that the beach concept "is a desirable activity".
  • The prior agreement with the City was a year-to-year permit.
  • During the 2011 season, Fox estimates that approximately 60,000 people came to the LIC Water taxi Beach. This is a combination of Volley Ball Leagues, open beach to the public, music events, weddings, and community events.
  • Fox addresses the concerns of the past.  He says that two years ago there was a problem, and his organization made adjustments.  During the past two seasons, Fox says that there have not been complaints.  He says that they "..have shown their ability to respond to meet whatever concerns there are, and to work with the community,  local merchants, and the Community Board".
  • During the OurLIC Video CONVESATION, Fox shows the location and discusses its physical merits for a new Water Taxi Beach. He discusses why it is actually a better location than the prior site.  He also discusses each of the different activities that will be part of the plan. 
  • One new item that would be added is a possible dome that would be used to shelter the Volley Ball area, and make it more usable year round.
  • Fox makes the point that "It is much better to put a piece of property like this to use, than it is to let it lie fallow.... That is, if the concerns of the City can be met."
  • The City, says Fox, is "concerned with safety".  He quickly adds that if the land is not available now, he would like to be able to come back at some time in the future. "If we can not do it now, we would love to contnue to be part of the [ Long Island City ] community".
  • Tom Fox points out that he began developing unused land as an activist when he returned from Vietnam at the age of 22. At that time, he became a "green guerilla, turning vacant lots into gardens". He was the first President of the Hudson River Park, the Founding Co-Chair of the Brooklyn Bridge Park, and did the Brooklyn Queens Greenway that was featured in National Geographic in 1988. 

OurLIC asked NYCEDC for a comment on this article and Water Taxi Beach.  We found the EDC to be sympathetic to the community as it is one of Mayor Bloomberg's top priorities.  Julie Wood, Vice President for Public Affairs, sent us this note:

“The construction of a waterfront park and affordable housing development raised safety concerns that couldn’t be overcome. While Water Taxi Beach is displaced for now, we hope there will be opportunities for future partnerships”

OurLIC was at Water Taxi Beach in October 2010 for a Neighborhood Appreciation Day that was organized its management.

In a new development Bea Murphy, a parent and active woman in the Long Island City, has started a petition to request that Mayor Bloomberg and the NYCEDC reconsider their position.   A letter has been sent, and there is a link to the petition below.

Hello LIC Friends, Neighbors and Business Owners,

Please sign and pass along to anyone and everyone you know!

The LIC Water Taxi Beach has proposed a new site plan to the Mayor and NYC EDC that has been shot down w/ little consideration.

Please help us petition the Mayor et al to get our beach relocated here in LIC.

It’s good for our local economy, the community and all our residents.

And for all of you not from the ‘hood, but who have visited and enjoyed WTB, we’d appreciate your signature as well.

Thank you for your time and attention!

All the Best,

Bea

 

Please click here, read our story, then sign! Post on your Facebook, Twitter and e-mail to all your friends:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/3/save-our-beach-relocate-lic-water-taxi-beach-now/


Bea Murphy says that she is doing this because she has lived here for 4 years and her 4 year old daughter  "enjoys the beach so much".  She says "We would go once a week to dig in the sand, dance to the music, eat a dog, have a drink. I am a member of LITC – Little in the City Parent group and I would round up families to join us on afternoons from 4-6 or 7. We loved, loved it there and are heartbroken it’s gone."

The Petitions Goal is to get 1000 signatures. There are already 287 signatures, so it is hard to say that no one wants this beach. Here are the details:

Please help us save our beach! Long Island City's Water Taxi Beach has served the neighborhood, the city, and beyond for 6 years now. It brought in revenue and boosted the economy locally here in LIC, as well as within the whole of New York City from visitors far and wide.It employed 47 workers, enlisted over a dozen vendors w/ many employees.  The city has closed it down to accomodate the new Hunterspoint South developement, which is understandable. So WTB asked for permission to move this unique urban experiment to a vacant lot further away from the construction, just to the south of the existing parking lot.  They developed a new design, expanding the Beach, adding a nine-hole miniature golf course and a better volleyball court configuration.  The site has great views and a lot of open space. But NYC EDC has shot down the proposal with little consideration.


As a resident and parent here in LIC, I am heartbroken at this sudden news - i always assumed there would be a WTB - where families enjoy the view, children play in the sand while their parents grab a beer, play volleyball, listen to music, and eat a hot dog.  Few businesses in the neighborhood, or the city for that matter, open their doors for the public just to relax and enjoy themselves.

We as LIC residents ask that the Mayor reconsider the proposal on the table and accomodate the relocation of Water Taxi Beach to the currently unoccupied piece of land under conditions agreeable to all parties.
So please join our cause and take a minute to sign this petition asap.
We appreciate your time and attention.


Sincerely,

Friends of Water Taxi Beach

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/3/save-our-beach-relocate-lic-water-taxi-beach-now/

 


BACKGROUND STATEMENT PROVIDED BY  WATER TAXI BEACH

Water Taxi Beach has operated in Long Island City since the summer of 2005 and has since become an institution and destination within the community. WTB/LIC was the first location in a growing company.  Over the past six years, the success of Water Taxi Beach correlated with the impressive expansion and development of the Long Island City community.  We believe our outdoor recreational and entertainment venue helped draw attention to this once industrial neighborhood and support its revitalization.

Water Taxi Beach has regularly played host to guests from all five boroughs as well as other states and countries.  We have been featured on numerous European and Asian television shows.  Four days after winning an Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program, Top Chef filmed at Water Taxi Beach in 2010.  Univision’s Despierta America has shot numerous times at our business; a live Spanish language show broadcast in multiple countries. 

Law and Order, Fuji Television,  and other media outlets have all chosen Water Taxi Beach as a location to film.  With Manhattan as the backdrop, Water Taxi Beach has been a primary destination by which Long Island City has gained exposure to the rest of New York City, the rest of the country and other parts of the globe.  WTB/LIC has been featured in newspaper and magazine articles in New York City, throughout the country, and in foreign press from Australia to France.   A NY Times editorial extolled WTB/LIC as “Imagination on the Waterfront” and The Guardian named WTB/LIC one of the ten best party beaches in the world.  No other business within our community can claim this.

            The original concept in 2005 called for a small outdoor man-made beach along the East River where families could enjoy the view, grab a hot dog or elk burger, a beer or virgin frozen drink and play a game of volleyball.  With the changing economic landscape, Water Taxi Beach evolved to remain financially viable.  We introduced a modern and world-class sound system designed by one of the top sound architects in the nation.  WTB/LIC quickly became a favored destination among adults, young and old, for nighttime entertainment as well. 

By expanding to a larger demographic we were able to increase our workforce, begin the process of opening other locations, and give even more exposure to the community.  This expansion and the increased amounts of guests were always done in a safe and secure manner, always considering the footprint we were leaving on the community.  Many of the guests we attracted in the first phase of our expansion are now the demographic who will be filling the residences being built at Hunters Point South.

As Water Taxi Beach evolved, we have maintained our core values, which remain in place today; families enjoy the view, children play in the sand while their parents grab a beer or virgin frozen drink, play volleyball and eat a hot dog.  The elk burger is gone, but in its place we offer the Motz Burger, the winner of the Burger Battle of the Boroughs Award in 2008.

Our Long Island City neighbors always receive free admission when a music event is being hosted and there is a ticket charge.  Also, during these ticketed events, we provide a large free section where volleyball is available and food and beverage services are provided.  We have never allowed our business to be exclusive and we enjoy welcoming people from all neighborhoods and walks of life.  Few businesses in the neighborhood, or the city for that matter, open their doors for the public just to relax and enjoy themselves.

            Despite expanding WTB/LIC in 2008, at the beginning of a major economic downturn, our business was able to thrive; so much so that Water Taxi Beach opened other destinations.  While news media outlets were reporting disheartening figures for employment and business, Water Taxi Beach was the rare silver lining in an otherwise dismal economic landscape.  We weren’t laying people off; we were posting job listings to increase our staff.

The original staff of roughly 15 men and women in 2005 has grown to 47 people in 2010.  All WTB/LIC staff earn above the State and Federal minimum wages.  Our employees are legally employed and pay taxes.  Because we hire as many local residents as possible, many of our employees are from the local neighborhood and almost all of our employees pay New York City taxes as well.

            The jobs created or sustained go well beyond those who are directly hired by Water Taxi Beach.  Consolidated Security, the firm that runs our security employed 35 men and women in 2010.  MRS, based in College Point Queens, is a local business that supplies our bakery goods. Because of Water Taxi Beach, we provide jobs for their call center as well as the delivery persons and the bakers.  Water Taxi Beach features Sixpoint beer, brewed locally in Brooklyn; that helps create additional jobs.

We have vendors in many different sectors creating countless jobs. USFoods, All Affairs, Multiflow Industries, US Mechanical, Corona Ice, Phoenix Beverage, Southern Wine, Pat Lafrieda, Stahl Meyer, Restaurant Depot, A&L Cesspool, Winn Depot, Imperial Bag and Paper, Empire Merchants, The Sherman Group, RPM Productions, Ace Natural, Eagle Pickles, J&J Chemical, OnBoard Bus Tours, Ace Tent, National Fence and New York Water Taxi; all of these companies provide services and labor to WTB/LIC.  The closure of Water Taxi Beach will result in job losses and countless reductions in service for these vendors. 

            Over the years Water Taxi Beach has established a partnership with Big City Volleyball to host weeknight volleyball league matches and weekend tournaments. From its humble beginnings years ago when Big City struggled to fill two nights a week with league games, the organization, working with Water Taxi Beach was able to expand to four nights a week in 2010 and hosted 4 weekend tournaments.  

Big City Volleyball staffs the leagues with coaches and referees; more jobs that will be lost if Water Taxi Beach is to close.  Also, the league games helped further expand our demographic and introduce Long Island City to more residents of New York City.  Not only were the players in the leagues coming from the Avalon, the Powerhouse, City Lights, but they were also coming from Manhattan and other boroughs. 

 

This fun, outdoor recreational destination is unique in Long Island City.  Losing it will mean these guests will look to other neighborhoods for summer activities.  Currently there is no replacement to the loss of Water Taxi Beach’s Volleyball Leagues in Long Island City.  The guests and business will simply move to another neighborhood.

            In 2010, Water Taxi Beach partnered with Onboard Bus Tours to provide free shuttle service between Water Taxi Beach, the 7 train at Vernon/Jackson, and PS1 (the MoMA museum located in Long Island City).  The service was a success, providing efficient, clean and safe transportation between the three locations.  Many residents of the local high rises would use the free service to return home from PS1, not just to go to Water Taxi Beach.  This service was not just beneficial to local residents and guests heading towards the 7 train, it also provided jobs for roughly a dozen men and women over the course of the 2010 season for Onboard Bus Tours.  Again, these are jobs with no replacement if Water Taxi Beach is to shut down immediately.

            Over the years, WTB/LIC has been proud to take part in many benefits and charity events within the community.  We have regularly donated water and soda to the 108th Precinct’s Annual Night Out on Crime.  This September 22nd we hosted a Lion’s Club fundraiser.  We have donated hot dogs and a cook to the annual LIC Bike Parade & Celebration in Queensbridge Park. 

We’ve hosted Emilia’s Kids, the Patti Fund, the Ronald McDonald House, SLE Lupus, Voices Unbroken, the FDNY Engine 248 Family BBQ, the Vietnam Veterans of America, and many more.  We have played host and donated beverages and food for multiple PS78 school trips and other local schools.  We have also donated food and staff to the annual Taste of Long Island City. 

These donations were done not to receive credit or recognition, but out of a spirit of assisting the community and being good neighbors.  Long Island City, its residents, its businesses, have all been generous to Water Taxi Beach and we are proud to be a part of this neighborhood.  We feel a sense of ownership and responsibility to insure the community is taken care of.  These charities and organizations will need to look to other venues in the future if Water Taxi Beach is closed.  Again, there is no replacement in Long Island City. 

No other business offers a large outdoor space with sand, sun, picnic tables, volleyball nets, a misting system to keep cool, a large tent, a sound system, and space for kids to throw a Frisbee or kick a soccer ball.  All this will be lost. 

            With the loss of Water Taxi Beach and no replacement in Long Island City, the business and the jobs will move to other neighborhoods.  Long Island City will further become a neighborhood of commuters where money is spent in other areas.  The young adults who came on weekends will go to Astoria to visit the Bohemian Beer Garden or Studio Square or leave the borough altogether to visit the many venues in Manhattan. The staff of Water Taxi Beach will join the millions of unemployed Americans and increase the competition for the limited number of jobs still available. 

This statement has been provided 4/18/2011 by:
Andy Towland, Manager of the LIC Water Taxi Beach location

 

A New York Life: Tom Fox from Angel Lenise on Vimeo.

 

Tom Fox points to the location where he has proposed a new Taxi Beach that has not been approved by NYCEDC
Proposed Plan for Water Taxi Beach for 2011 Season
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