JFK’s Bayswater Park Padlocked Due to Budget Cuts
As had been feared for months, New York State budget cuts have finally brought an end to one of the staple planespotting locations for NY-area enthusiasts. Bayswater Point State Park in the Rockaway section of Queens was padlocked this afternoon, as park officials ushered fishermen and aviation aficionados off the premises, then planting a “Park Closed” sign at its gate.
Bayswater has never been a “beautiful” park, and it is quite small relative to other state parks, making one wonder how much maintenance is required to begin with. But its grand views offer photo opportunities of the New York City skyline as a backdrop behind aircraft operating on JFK‘s runway 4/22, which has lately been seeing even more action than usual because of the closure of the airport’s primary runway. This park has been enjoyed by thousands who enjoy some fun, sun and airplanes, although visitor Al Roker may be the park’s only who walked away unimpressed.
The popular park fell victim to unfortunate and baffling budget cuts. The $6.3 million that is to be saved by shuttering 55 parks and historical sites throughout the state barely is drop in the bucket compared to the $8 billion deficit that New York faces. The Daily News recently reported that closing Bayswater will save a grand total of $5,500 annually. While parks are closed that people everywhere frequent, one wonders why the better part of a million dollars is going into a conjugal visit facility in Seneca County?
The park was originally expected to close on April 1st with the passage of the new state budget, but as is customary in dysfunctional Albany, it is now six weeks late, leaving many agencies in a state of limbo and unable to carry out many of their duties, including the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. A parks official tells NYCAviation that if the budget is amended to include funding for the parks, Bayswater could reopen, but nothing is certain at this time. NYCAviation even made an offer to host a fundraiser to adopt the park during the interim, but the State is not allowed to receive private funds for such facilities.
How can you help? Easy. You can email, write or call NY State Senator Malcolm A. Smith, who represents Far Rockaway and southeastern Queens. The more people that contact him, the more he will know how valued this park is to the aviation community.
Mail to District Office:
Office of New York State Senator Malcolm A. Smith
205-19 Linden Boulevard
St. Albans, NY 11412
Phone: (718) 528-4290
If you live in New York, also contact your own state senator and demand they reinstate park funding in the new budget. Check out this district map to find your state senator and his/her contact info.