1999-06-05 / Columnists

From The G-Man

Where Are You Pols?
By Gary G. Toms

As I walked around the neighborhood the other day, I reached a noteworthy conclusion. Far Rockaway is starting to look like an abandoned slum. Many of the area stores are going out of business or relocating to other vicinities. I can’t say that I blame them at all for packing it in, and it is quite clear as to why some of the major stores, such as Genovese, Pathmark or PEP Boys, will not set shop in Far Rockaway. They view it as a virtual ghost town with no opportunity for financial growth or success.

With all of this talk about the Technodome, there is a strong possibility that this situation would improve dramatically. The Technodome would mean a total overhaul of certain segments of Far Rockaway, and this would attract a host of prominent store chains to the area. I happen to think this is screwed up because why do we have to wait for a residential "facelift" to take place before some positive elements are introduced. People that I’ve spoken to want to patronize local stores, but they feel that the stores lack in quality and service when compared to the larger stores outside of Far Rockaway. It does not have to be this way.

I’ve been hearing so much about how local politicians are being given awards. My question is....for what? As far as I can tell, the only person deserving of anything is Audrey Pheffer. This woman busts her hump for her district, and they have something to show for it. Many tell me of how she works tirelessly to get things done, and that she is a woman who gets results. When you look at how her district has improved over the years, it is hard to argue that she has not done her job. Unlike those who happen to represent Far Rockaway. I’ve been here a good number of years, and nothing has changed; especially for the better.

I don’t see any new businesses, or business opportunities, for people in Far Rockaway to take advantage of. I don’t see any type of trade schools around that might offer hope to many of the kids getting into trouble on the streets. I don’t see any crime prevention programs or cultural centers. I could go on and on, but to think I’ve made my point. I think it’s a big, fat "diss" to the people of the community when these politicians are given an award for community service, but the people in the community have fewer services and opportunities.

If you think I’m full of it, just ask some of the residents of the aforementioned area. I guarantee you that nine out of 10 people will tell you that no significant change has taken place there in the last 10 years. Some might say longer. That’s pretty pathetic if you ask me, and I hope things change quickly. There are opportunities here for many businesses to thrive, but it all starts with our elected officials opening their mouths. Why do people have to travel to Five Towns, Jamaica avenue, Valley Stream and Manhattan just to get quality goods and services? We should have them right in the area. Put a roundtable together, with a few entrepreneurs and major store owners, and make something happen. The residents of Far Rockaway deserve better.

See you next week.


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