East Beach Road, one of the streets that lead to Prybil Beach, was closed earlier this month due to dangerous potholes, city officials said. The decision, and the efforts to repair East Beach are shared by the Village of Lattingtown and Glen Cove, who share an interest in its rehabilitation.
The decision to shut down the road — which ultimately fell to Mayor Tim Tenke — was made at the urging of the Glen Cove Police and the Department of Public Works, as well as Parks and Recreation. Citing “public safety,” Mayor Tenke said in a press release, “The current road conditions present a great hazard to drivers.”
The problem, according to Manny Grella, DPW’s general foreman, is a persistent one. “It’s a thaw-and-freeze effect that creates these potholes,” Grella said, noting that frequent flooding, and more recently, snow accumulations, make it more challenging than other areas to fix. He added, “You can’t repair potholes under water.”
Darcy Belyea, director of the Parks and Rec. Department, said that East Beach Road has been a problem since she took her post 23 years ago. “That road has always had issues,” she said. “Every year, we end up with some sort of situation that causes us to close the road.”
She cited flooding and heavy snow. According to Belyea, potholes force the city to close the road for repairs about every six years.
At the moment, Belyea’s top priority is re-opening the road. “Short term, the goal is to get those potholes repaired so we can get the road passable without liabilities.” But, she added, everyone involved is exploring longer term solutions to this ongoing problem.
One fix could be to replace the troubled asphalt areas with concrete. “We have a concrete patch there that was put in by the village [of Lattingtown] about 5 years ago,” she said, “and that seems to have held up really well.” That’s because concrete isn’t as porous, Belyea said.
Another problem that leads to frequent flooding on East Beach is the drainage system — at least, the lack of a sufficiently functional one. “There’s a drainage system in place that was built at the turn of the 19th century,” Belyea explained. But over time, she said, “The piping under the road has collapsed.”
Grella said that right now he, Belyea and their counterparts at the Village of Lattingtown are “working on an emergency plan,” to get the road re-opened. He added that they are in the preliminary phases when it comes to a permanent solution.
The only building that fronts on East Beach Road is a house operated by St. Josaphat's Monastery, a 119 acre estate occupied by a Ukrainian religious order, where people can book retreats for prayer, meditation, and religious seclusion, according to Father Superior Eugine.
“I know there was always a problem,” Eugine said. “There was one point on that road that would always get flooded, and that was maybe, right before you enter the beach.”
Eugine said that the road was entirely closed, from Lattington Road down, though Duryea said the closure is past the retreat house. There is indeed, one closure sign at the intersection, with enough room to bypass it. Farther down, as Duryea said, additional signs form a complete roadblock.
While this reporter was on-scene reporting this story during the afternoon of Jan. 27, several cars began to turn down East Beach Road, but made an immediate U-turn once they saw the sign. One car, carrying passenger Joan Campbell, on her way to feed birds at the beach, rolled down her window to ask whether the road was really closed, and why.
“That’s a real shame,” she said, adding, “This is the first warm day we’ve had in a while, I was really looking forward to it.”