National Geographic : 1979 Jul
help relieve the high unemployment among New York City youth. In a special program Gateway arranges visits to the park by groups of handicapped, senior citizens, and others who might not otherwise be able to get there. Rangers spe cially trained to work with the handicapped pushed excited New Yorkers in wheelchairs to the edge of the Atlantic last summer, car rying some into the surf, where tears of joy mixed with salty water. An entire beach facility with picnic and play areas is being designed for the handi capped at Fort Tilden. Also, in the Breezy Point Unit, rubble from demolished, never completed buildings will be shaped into hills with walking trails. The old military facilities at Fort Han cock on Sandy Hook and Floyd Bennett Field will eventually be converted into year-round activity centers offering inter pretive programs dealing with man and his environment. Energetic Dr. Rene Dubos, a member of the Gateway Citizens Committee, which has been influential in planning the park, envisions a "Gateway to Gateway" at Floyd Bennett Field to help orient visitors. They would be led from audiovisual presentations about nature in the old hangars to land scaped, seminatural environments around the landing strips, and finally to the marshes and fields of Jamaica Bay. Gateway's color-coded plans, five years in the making, are beautiful, but Superin tendent Herbert Cables hasn't yet iced the champagne for a grand-opening party. "Transportation is crucial. We have to get people from the inner city to the park, but lo cal residents don't want new bus routes An explosive end comes to unfinished condominiums near Fort Tilden, winning cheers from citizens who fought and won the battle to clear the site for parkland.