Growing up in my neighborhood of Coney Island, I have seen it undergo many physical changes in appearance but few in the character of those who live here. I view my hometown as an up-and-coming attraction. It has long been a place famous for the original Nathan’s and Astroland Park but also infamous for being at times unsafe. Many positive changes have been made both physically as well as for families but some factors remain unchanged in the lifestyles of residents.
Once a community limited to tall buildings and empty lots has now incorporated two-family homes, gardens, and tourist attractions. Few abandoned buildings exist as they have been swept out for places of entertainment such as the famous Luna Park, bars, MCU baseball field and restaurants. The recreational aspect has had a positive outcome as parks have been improved under Obama’s plan to preserve them, mainly Kaiser park where many youth engage in sports. The beach and boardwalks have slowly been improved and cleaned as well. Streets and sidewalks have been maintained and transportation of buses and trains are very accessible, especially for the handicapped. We have two police departments as well as a fire department post-office and hospital, all easy to reach. More and more cultures have meshed in with the majority of African-American and Hispanic races.
Unfortunately with all of these improvements, many who live here do not compliment the environment that the state is trying to create. Gang violence is all too frequent, young lives are taken regularly. Drugs are not hard to come across especially in the younger crowds. Teen pregnancy has its peaks with young girls not yet fit to be mothers and no steady family environments for the newborns to grow up in. Many schools exist but the young minds that attend them are mostly influenced by the decisions they make outside of school. What is a tourist’s attraction by day is not always the safest place to be by night.
Healthcare and crime are the main focuses that need to be addressed according to what I‘ve witnessed and what has been recorded. With drug abuse and teen pregnancies come transfers of STDs and HIV, it is becoming an epidemic that nurses definitely address on a regular basis especially in these neighborhood facilities. They teach the youth the importance of contraception and their own personal health. Medicaid is the most popular form of health insurance used by the families here for children who are receiving adequate care. Community youth centers exist and sports are encouraged for the children. However, as long as unstable homes remain with a wide range of unsafe conditions and people outdoors, total change cannot occur.
Michelle Gellar, RN, MSN, MPH
NYC College of Technology
Nursing Department, Pearl 505
300 Jay Street
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