Sea Gate, with its 850 homes on Coney Island’s western tip, is not an ordinary neighborhood. It is a 113-year-old private, gated community, where the razor-wire-topped fences and armed security checkpoints that keep outsiders from its streets, beaches and parks serve as a constant reminder that the residents of this community have chosen to live somewhat apart. Once the gilded retreat of the Vanderbilt family, Sea Gate, like other gated communities in New York, preserved its exclusivity with the promise that the residents would assume the costs of community upkeep, maintaining their own streets, parks and sewer systems and even fielding the distinct Sea Gate Police Department. The special status endured, through occasional controversy and political efforts to open the streets to the public, because of the community’s self-sufficiency.

The residents of Sea Gate and another gated community in New York want the same public that they bar from their private streets and beaches to help pay to restore their "communal infrastructure," a.k.a. those private streets and beaches. Oh, and their "private" seawall, too. I think New York City should offer to pay and help rebuild Sea Gate—on the condition that the gates, razor wire, and armed security checkpoints all come down.