The ravages of Hurricane Sandy are extensive as is the human misery. I've blogged about how the federal government is directly responsible for the nightmare because it subsidized massive growth in areas highly susceptible to devastating storm and hurricanes.
Hurricanes, Sandy, Federal Flood Insurance and the Environment
Along comes, lo and behold, the New York Times with an article documenting that the Federal government and local government officials encouraged and subsidized the development of nursing homes and public housing projects for the poor in Rockaway Beach, NY. The Rockaways were especially hard hit by Hurricane Sandy, here.
Why So Many Nursing Homes in the Rockaways?
The recent devastation wrought on the Rockaway Beach peninsula in Queens by Hurricane Sandy made me wonder: Why is there such a huge concentration of nursing homes in the Rockaways?Welcome to government central planning! It's deadly and dangerous. Putting the poor, the old and the sick on a beach and in the path of storms and hurricanes is so liberal, so statist, so totalitarian and undoubtedly very profitable for the politically connected real estate developers who made fortunes off of these taxpayer funded projects.
The urban renewal programs of the 1950s and 1960s are a big part of the story.
“Blessed with the Atlantic Ocean to the south and Jamaica Bay to the north, the Rockaways became a popular resort area of elegant hotels and fine houses in the 1830s,” Julia Vitullo-Martin, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, wrote in 2008. “The coming of the railroad in the 1880s encouraged more intensive development, including playlands, amusement parks and a few apartment buildings. Attractive beachfront communities were developed, such as Belle Harbor, Neponsit and Arverne. The opening of the Cross Bay Bridge in 1925 and the Marine Parkway Bridge in 1937 made the Rockaways convenient for middle- and working-class households, who bought the bungalows.”
After World War II, more highways and air travel changed vacation habits, and property values declined. The urban renewal program of slum clearance, a federal program begun in 1949 and locally controlled by Robert Moses, used eminent domain to acquire and destroy thousands of the remaining bungalows. “Many had already been converted into substandard welfare housing,” Jack Eichenbaum, the Queens borough historian, said. In their place went swaths of public housing projects.
Ms. Vitullo-Martin wrote, “The city also used federal and state financing to support the development of dozens of nursing homes.”
One reason for building housing projects in the Rockaways was that their residents were thought not to need easy access to the city’s job centers. The same reasoning made the peninsula a logical choice for nursing homes. As with much of urban renewal, it seemed like a good idea at the time.