Protect NYC's queer beach

Protect NYC's queer beach

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Desiree LaVecchia started this petition to Parks Commissioner Margaret Nelson

On the far eastern end of Jacob Riis Beach in NYC, there is a famous LGBTQIA+ community beach and landmark, sheltered by the former Neponsit Beach Hospital. Generations of queer beachgoers, including black, brown, and working class queers from across New York City have flocked to this corner of Riis since at least the 1940s. The stretch of beach is an affirming, body-positive, safe and magical place for queer, trans, black and brown folks, for whom there are very few public outdoor places where we are relatively safe to be ourselves. 

Our corner of the beach is under threat. It is confirmed that NYC Health & Hospitals plans to demolish the structures (the former Neponsit Beach Hospital) behind the queer section of Riis, likely by late 2022. The buildings slated to be demolished function as a vital privacy barrier, offering physical protection that allows the beach to remain safe for our community. The removal of these structures will leave Riis exposed, and will effectively open the door for our community of beachgoers to be harassed. 

We, the LGBTQIA+ community, are organizing to have a say in the timeline for demolition and in what subsequently happens to the vacant space, owned by the NYC Parks Department. The City has not involved our community in initial discussions, or demonstrated an intent to center the queer history of this important site. That the initial planning process for the demolition of buildings at a queer beach has not included queer community echoes the process for the Christopher Street Pier, which disregarded the black and brown, queer and trans community. We are determined to ensure that history does not repeat itself, and are organizing to protect our community from displacement.

We want to find ways to preserve our beach as a queer space, and to propose new solutions for what happens to the land the buildings are currently on. We need you to accomplish this! Let’s decide together how to best serve our community. Please sign now, get the word out, and join in our next steps to protect queer Riis Beach! 

photo credit: Chris Bernsten

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!