Patti Smith, Resilience of a Dreamer (detail)
Fort Tilden Beach, Rockaway Queens.
Hurricane Sandy occurred nearly 2 years ago, tearing up the East Coast and ravaging the Rockaway Peninsula of New York City. What began as a tropical wave in the Caribbean quickly turned into a tropical storm then raged up the coast, An uncharacteristic turn near the Carolinas redirected the storm straight into New York Harbor. Sea water rose fourteen feet higher than normal low tides. That night’s full moon created an additional foot of surge.
Thousands of homes were lost in the deluge and subsequent fire. The boardwalk was pushed off its foundation. Much of the natural sand dunes, sitting at the tip of the Rockaways, were washed away. Dangerous debris was left in the storm’s wake, keeping the popular Fort Tilden Beach closed until this summer.
To recognize the ongoing recovery of the Rockaways, and celebrate the reopening of Fort Tilden, MoMA has sponsored Rockaway! an arts and performance event running until September 1st.
The stone pictured above is carved with the poignant words of Walt Whitman and is part of a large installation Resilience of the Dreamer conceived by musician, writer, and Rockaway resident, Patti Smith. One of five placed around the park, this stone is found near the shore, next to one of Fort Tilden’s many decommissioned military buildings, also pictured above.
Whitman was a naturalist, poet, and longtime New York City resident. The Rockaway! opening began with an incredible reading of his poetry by Smith and the actor James Franco.