ROCKAWAY BEACH — What's in a letter?
A plan to spell out “ROCKAWAY” in giant letters on the new concrete boardwalk as a way to highlight the peninsula to planes overhead may be missing the “R” for up to a year since the stretch of street it will sit on is being built later than that which holds the rest of the word, according to city officials.
The new boardwalk will spell out “OCKAWAY” at first since construction on the street where the "R" will be placed won’t start until the fall. It's not expected to finish until Memorial Day 2016, officials said.
“'Ockaway' is in phases 1 and 2 — so it will say 'ockaway' by July 4th of next year,” said Deputy Parks Commissioner Liam Kavanagh at a community board meeting Monday night.
“I can’t tell you right now when the ‘R’ is going to go in, but I can guarantee we’re going to get it in as quickly as we can.”
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The letters will be spaced every three blocks, starting at Beach 108th Street and going east. They will be about as tall as the width of the boardwalk and be part of pre-cast sections of concrete.
Construction on Beach 108th Street, which will contains the letter "R" and will stretch to Beach 126th Street, is part of phase 3 of the more than $250 million boardwalk project.
"Phase III is scheduled to start later this year, and the “R” in the ROCKAWAY marquee will be put in as part of that work," said a parks department spokesman in a statement.
"Each section of the boardwalk is being constructed to have it completed as quickly and with as little disruption as possible."
Phase 1, which covers Beach 84th to Beach 97th streets, began in April and should be open by next Memorial Day.
Phase 2, which covers Beach 97th Streets to 107th Street, began in June and is projected to be completed on July 4, 2015.
So far, demolition work has been done, but installation of the planks is not planned until near the end of the work for both phases.
The "ROCKAWAY" feature was culled from suggestions made at community “visioning sessions” for the future boardwalk, which was partially destroyed during Hurricane Sandy.
Residents wanted to show off the peninsula to the planes that fly overhead before landing at JFK Airport. It was approved by the community board last winter along with other features including a baffle wall for protection.
The new boardwalk will be made out of concrete, with a darker gray section designating a bike path.
The “ROCKAWAY” sign, when completed, will be built in a different shade of gray, according to an official who presented the plan.
The entire boardwalk project is slated for completion in 2017.