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Thursday, January 29, 2015
It's time to talk about the Bridge
John Maher

When I woke to a call from my editor on the morning of Aug. 23, I can’t say I expected him to ask me to snap shots of a murder scene. Reporting in Rockville Centre usually doesn’t involve these kinds of cases.

But as soon as he asked, I already had a hunch as to where the death took place — didn’t know how, or why, but I knew a bridge was involved.

The Bridge. How many times have I heard these words said with meaningful inflection? During my South Side Middle School years, it was spoken of in hushed tones in the hallways and at the lunch table while plans were made to sneak Bailey’s from some unsuspecting mom’s liquor cabinet. In high school, the cool kids would dismiss it, turn it to a subject of derision — but everybody knew that come nightfall every Friday, the flasks would be out in full force.

Rockville Centre has two major underage drinking hotspots colloquially called “the Bridge.” One of these spans Peninsula Blvd., connecting N. Village Ave. with Hempstead Lake State Park. The other, crossing Merrick Road by Mill River Park, we know all too well now.

Teens gather there at night, in the bushes by the side of the road, where dim light makes it difficult to spot them. There, they drink, sometimes do drugs, occasionally graffiti, and generally engage in behaviors their parents often pretend their kids would never be involved in.

I’ve known about the Bridge since I was in sixth grade, in 2001. So why is it that, until now, nothing has been done?

This is certainly not an issue that has consistently been ignored. Every once in a while, an incident occurs and the town flares up. The Roxen Road assault case from two years ago is a perfect example: neighbors called neighbors, residents flooded the Village Board meeting, and Mayor Murray wrote a Letter to the Editor of this paper claiming that he was “infuriated that such a thing could happen in our village.”

But apparently too few of us were infuriated enough to take measures that could have prevented what happened to Lauren Daverin-Gresham two weeks ago.

The facts on the murder of Daverin-Gresham are still not in. But the facts about the Bridge have been on our radar for years. Why haven’t we done anything?

Comments

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mwhiteq

This is a good article John Maher. There are other things for teens to do. There are many activities besides the ones you mention in the article. Teens can get involved in school or community activities. They can go to open gym at the Rec. I believe parents need to be more involved. Teens should not be allowed out unless their parents know where they are and what they are doing. This involves communicating with other parents and checking in with them until they come home. A strong police presence at the bridge wouldn't hurt either.

Thursday, September 5, 2013 | Report this
FedUpRealist

Does anyone remember Detective Don Fidou(sic)???

Friday, September 6, 2013 | Report this
babysladkaya

Great article that highlights an important issue-there is a lack of parental guidance and a lack of safe places where kids can congregate, but they do exist. Oceanside JCC runs a teen night ulimited every other Saturday, one does not have to be a member to attend, it's a small fee, like 10 bucks. There is bowling, billiards, roller skating, ice skating, all open in the evening. I don't mean to be judgemental, but such tragedies usually happen in what we call in my former country "dark places", meaning, obscure from public view, back alleys, forgotten corner in the park, combined with lack of discipline from parents. Personal example-across the street from my school for gifted and talented kids with a focus on math and science, there was a park where some of my schoolmates would go to smoke, drink, maybe have sex, there were no drugs in the Soviet Union back then, in the 80's. I never went. Never even was curious to see what was going on, so great was my fear for personal safety instilled by my parents.

Monday, September 9, 2013 | Report this
barbaraweiss

NOTHING WILL EVER BE DONE BECAUSE DRINKING IS CONDONED IN THIS TOWN. BUT ACTUALLY IN THIS CASE, THEY DID DO SOMETHING. THEY CUT DOWN THE TREES AND GROWTH. THAT SHOULD SURELY BE WHAT IS NEEDED. WHY DIDN'T SOME ROCKET SCIENTIST THINK OF THAT YEARS AGO. THAT WILL TAKE CARE OF THE PROBLEM. THE PROBLEM IS THAT THE PARENTS AND DON'T THINK ANYTHING IS WRONG WITH THIS UNTIL SOMETHING SO TRAGIC HAPPENS. ABOUT 4 YEARS AGO MY HUSBAND AND I ATTENDED AN EVENING WITH KATHLEEN RICE REGARDING UNDERAGE DRINKING, PRESCRIPTION DRUGS AND GANGS IN THIS NEIGHVBORHOOD. IF THERE WERE 50 PEOPLE THERE THAT WAS A LOT. AT THAT TIME,I SPECIFICALLY ASKED MS. RICE AND TOWN AUTHORITIES WHY THE DRINING IS ALLOWED JUST OVER THE FOODBRIDGE INTO HEMPSTEAD LAKE PARK. I WAS TOLD THAT THIS IS NOT MONITORED OR UNDER THE GUISE OF RVC POLICE DEPARTMENT BUT UNDER THE STATE POLICE. APPARENTLY THE STATE POLICE DOES NOT MONITOR THIS SECTION OF THE PARK AND DO NOT HAVE THE MANPOWERE TO DO ON THE WEEKENDS. SO THE PROBLEM IS STILL THERE WITH KIDS BING DRINKING, BEING TAKEN TO MERCY HOSPITAL, FIGHTS BREAK OUT AND NO ONE DOES ANYTHING ABOUT IT. THE SAME THING GOES ON FOR HALLOWEEN . YES FOR THAT THEY ADD EXTRA SECURITY WHATEVER THAT MEANS. SO IT WILL CONTINUE AND CONTINUE UNTIL SOMETHING TRAGIC WILL HAPPEN AND THEN NOTHING WILL STILL BE DONE. BASICALLY BECAUSE NO ONE CARES . MOST PEOPLE WHO LIVE HERE ARE SO ENTITLED THAT THEY REALLY BELIEVE NOTHING LIKE THAT WILL HAPPEN TO THEM AND IF IT DOES, THEY WILL GET A GOOD LAWYER AND GET AWAY WITH IT. THIS TOWN NEEDS AN ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT AND IT STARTS WITH THE PARENTS. I AM SO FED UP I WANT OUT OF THIS PLACE. IT IS REALLY GOING DOWN THE DRAIN. I AM SORRY TO SAY , MR. MAHER, THIS WILL STILL BE GOING ON WHEN YOUR CHILDREN ARE IN THE MIDDLE SCHOOL BECAUSE EVERYONE TURNS A BLIND EYE TO ALL OF IT. THEY WOULD RATHER FOCUS ON THE KID SMOKING A MARIJUANA CIGARETTE MINDING HIS OR HER OWN BUSINESS. THAT WILL LMAKE THE NEWS. THIS TOWN WILL ALWAYS BE THE DRINKING TOWN AND IT IS ENCOURAGED. .

Thursday, October 17, 2013 | Report this
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