Clockwise: The crowd that gathered adjacent to the Trump on the Ocean development site; Donald Trump speaking to the crowd as Assembly member Dean Murray (to the far right) looks on; two of the handful of protesters at the rally and the construction site as it looks now
When Donald Trump — introduced as “the person that’s going to save Long Island and save New York” —
stepped up to the microphones today before a group of about 200 admiring supporters of his Nassau County Trump on the Ocean project plans, he began
with an ironic story. In 2005, he reminded everyone, he was presented with the “Master Builder” award by
the Long Island State Parks Department.
As the crowd standing in front of the flagpole on the Jones Beach boardwalk rallying for Trump’s Jones Beach 76,000-square-foot catering hall project was well aware, since then Trump has battled the
agency in court at least two separate times in order to obtain a permit and begin construction. Today, the Alliance to Revitalize Jones Beach, an activist group unaffiliated with Trump, staged a rally in support of the project and landed The Donald as its featured guest.
The Parks Department, which originally gave Trump and Long Island caterer Steve Carl the go-ahead to develop plans for what was slated to be $26 million catering hall and restaurant just a few feet from where the crowd was standing, has since refused to grant them a building permit for the two-level facility
with a basement. Preservationists have bemoaned the size of the project, government agencies have
voiced concerns over building a basement prone to flooding considering its proximity to the water and others have alleged that Trump got a “sweetheart deal” to develop the land.
But the supporters were concerned only with the jobs the project would bring to the Island. Trump said it
would bring 1,000 construction jobs and at least 500 permanent jobs.
The rally did not come without its opponents. Several people held “Dump Trump” signs and began jeering
as the developer spoke.
“There are hundreds and hundreds of people here and there are three protesters,” Trump said. “Most of the
media will give more publicity to the three people who are here in protest.”
Trump supporters, which included Wantagh Chamber of Commerce President Christopher Brown,
Nassau County Legis. Dennis Dunne and Assemblyman Dean Murray, all of whom spoke before the crowd as well, quickly drowned out the opponents with chants of, “We want jobs.”
Trump, who frequently deals in projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars, admitted the project was “not a big deal” him, but said it was important for Long Island, and especially Jones Beach, which has lacked dining options beyond a small snack shack since Robert Moses’ Boardwalk Restaurant — that Trump said also had a basement — closed in 2004.
But he did not sound optimistic about the project, noting how long it’s already taken to get nowhere.
“When Tiger Woods was hot [presumably in 2009, when the U.S. Open was in Long Island], he was going to have a party here,” Trump said. “That’s how long ago this was.”