The Laboz (Not Toussie) Fence


A storm damaged the Manhattan Beach Esplanade.   Morgan Presswater/Brookyln View

A storm damaged the Manhattan Beach Esplanade. Morgan Presswater/Brookyln View

By Edmund DeMarche

The New York Times inaccurately reported on Dec. 26, that the chain link fence in Manhattan Beach was constructed by Robert Toussie, whose son Isaac, was pardoned and then unpardoned by President George W. Bush two weeks ago.

According to the article, Robert Toussie built the fence a decade ago to keep “rabble-rousers” away from his shoreline property, which happens to be next to the promenade overlooking Breezy Point. The location offers one of the finest views from Brooklyn.

However, an investigation by the Brooklyn View learned that it was not Toussie who built the fence. It was Jack Laboz.

About 10 years ago, Laboz, a Manhattan Beach resident who died last year, owned one of the finest homes in the area, with spatial land and large windows. These windows, however, came with the joys of seeing expansive views of the Atlanitc Ocean, the Verrazano Inlet and the occasional stranger, peering into his dining room while his family ate dinner.

He, along with others who bought homes along the esplanade, were under the impression that the promenade was there’s. So Laboz proposed the idea of erecting a fence to keep out the people who would engage in sex and other raunchy activities late at night.

“Can you blame the man for putting up the fence?” asked Theresa Scavo, the president of Community Board 15. “How would you like it if every time you ate strangers would look in at you?”

Laboz, too keep members of Manhattan Beach happy, even offered them keys that would give each member access to the promenade.

However, the Manhattan Beach Community Group would have none of it. Some members fought hard to stymie the fence idea. There were legal proceedings and a hefty bill. 

Mike Geller, the male Democratic leader of the 45th Assembly District, was the president of the Manhattan Beach Community Group at the time and said it cost the group nearly $150,000 to fight Laboz who had deep pockets.

“We were going bankrupt,” said Geller. “I think some members forgot what they were fighting for.”

The appellate court eventually ruled in favor of Laboz and the fence was constructed and has been there ever since. 

“The ironic thing about this whole situation is that right after the court ruled in Laboz’s favor, a nor’easter hit and wiped out the esplanade,” said Geller.


One Response to “The Laboz (Not Toussie) Fence”

  1. Gerald Sacs Says:

    There is no mention of the defacto confiscation of public land. The esplanade always had been open to the public. Anyone who bought a house adjacent to it was aware of this. Curtains would have been a far simpler solution to keep stranger’s eyes from infringing on one’s privacy.
    It is unbelievable that the city would let such valuable land go. The city did not t have the funds to rebuild it after it was damaged in a storm. But they should not have given away public land.
    Should this be restored, it would add to an almost unbroken walking/jogging/bicycling path along the waterfront from the Manhattan Beach Promenade, all the way to the George Washington Bridge. The benefits to all communities along the way as well as the city would be enormous.

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