1999-06-11 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes

by Howard Schwach


Last week I wrote in this space that The Waterview Diner in Howard Beach had failed four out of eight health inspections over the past two years. I was in error. In fact, the Daily News report which I relied on said the restaurant had eight inspections between 1994 and 1998. On the six inspections from 1994-1997, Water-view passed three of the six. On its two inspections in 1998, it passed one and failed one. I want to apologize to the Waterview’s management for any problems the report caused them.

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I’ll bet you did not know that there is a "Rockaway Chat" every Tuesday night at 9 p.m. Last week I hooked up with a person I have not "spoken with" since we were Boy Scouts at PS 104. It can be found at Talk City. Go to www.farrockaway.com and then click on "chat." You’ll have to register, but it’s free and it’s also lots of fun. Last week there were a dozen ex-Rockaway residents as well as current residents on line for the full hour. You can register early at registration@corp.talkcity.com.

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Part of the reason for the large crowds on the west end beaches is the fact that Riis Park, funded by the Feds, will not officially open until next weekend. There are no lifeguards at Riis Park and there is no regular cleaning schedule.

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Harold Ickes has a problem. He is on the city payroll, collecting a couple of grand each month as the Washington lobbyist for the city council. At the same time, he has become the chief strategist for Hillary Clinton. Do you think that Giuliani will graciously take a city employee working for his major opponent-to-be? I don’t think so. Bet on Ickes getting his walking papers any day now.

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While the Senate race between Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani will be the focus of both national and local interest, a local race between Joanne Ariola and Joe Addabbo, Jr., will be just as contentious, if less global. The fact is, however, that neither of these races might come off as advertised. Giuliani faces a stiff challenge from Nassau County favorite Rick Lazio for the Republican nod and Hillary might not even choose to run (sure, aha!). In the local race, Addabbo is probably a shoo-in for the nod, but there are lots of rumors that George Russo is also interested in the Republican slot. Some pundits say that Guarino and Stabile split over Al’s predilection for Russo as his successor, but all parties are denying that possibility. It should be an interesting election season.

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Broad Channel residents are gearing up for another battle with our city fathers. For years, the Broad Channel Athletic Club (BCAC) has been using the athletic field on Cross Bay boulevard. It has put in stands and lights and has greatly improved the land. It runs a small food stand to raise money for its programs. Now, according to sources in the community, the city wants to reclaim the land, turn it over to the Parks Department, and have the BCAC rent it back from them. In addition, it wants the organization to bid on the right to sell food at its own games, charging them a percentage to allow them to do what they have been doing for years. There is also the possibility that the franchise will be granted to somebody else as a profit-making deal and the organization will lose a vital fund-raising tool. Al Stabile walked away from the community in its last hour of need and took Joanne Guarino with him. Let’s hope that he gets active and kills this harebrained scheme before it gains legs. The BCAC says it is willing to purchase the land from the city or do whatever it takes to keep it in the family.

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Al McGuire, one of the best basketball players ever to come from the Rockaways (along with his brother, Dick), has written a book entitled "You Can Call Me Al." The major focus of the early part of the book is Irishtown and his parents’ bar in the building that is now "Snug Harbor." It is must reading for all Rockaway residents interested in roundball or in that period of Rockaway history. During the summer doldrums, when nothing ever happens in Rockaway, I will try and provide portions of the book in this space.

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Jack King resigned from a leadership position in the 100 Precinct Community Council some months ago. Why then was he standing in line with the other dignitaries at the opening ceremony for the precinct’s school Olympics? It must have been embarrassing for him when Al Stabile, making the introductions, passed him by. Jack, either you’re in or you’re out. It can’t be both ways.

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I usually walk to the end of the boardwalk at Beach 126 street, and I was greatly impressed with the new beach entrance recently erected at the beach end of the street. Seems that the Belle Harbor Alliance paid for the concrete and the Parks Department did the work. Planting will be done in the fall. I would like to see other west end blocks similarly done.

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Westhampton, on the eastern end of Long Island, has been upgrading one of their many beaches, adding lots of amenities and 100 parking spaces. They were, until a pair of piping plovers plopped down on the beach. Now, it will be closed until the eggs hatch and the birds move away. The eggs, which were laid sometime in late May or early April, are expected to hatch this week. The birds are expected to move on sometime in three or four weeks. Sound familiar? I think that our birds seem to hang around longer.

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Think about it. John and Mary and their two kids get off the plane at JFK, heading for a week in the Big Apple. They have a couple of choices. They can take a cab directly to their hotel for about $35 bucks, spending an hour or so in the trip. They can take an airport bus, less comfortable, but about $25 for the hour and a half ride. Or, they can lug their bags to the airtrain and take it to Jamaica. There, they can lug their bags off the train to the subway or to the LIRR. whene they get to Manhattan, they can then hail a cab to take them to their hotel. Total cost? Who knows! What would you do?

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I have a question for you. Why would Audrey Pheffer, whose constituents all live in Rockaway and environs, hold a fund-raiser in Albany? Seems that Audrey, who was hosting lots of lobbyist-type people with money to donate, couldn’t even do that right. According to published sources (I seldom go to Albany if I can help it), her "supporters" began gathering in front of an Albany restaurant that was empty and locked. The article says that an aide went to get the place open while the lobbyists went to a local bar to wait. While fund raising is banned during the legislative session in many states, in our fair state, it’s hunting season and what the legislators are hunting is money. What the lobbyists get for their money is anybody guess, but remember that Audrey was one of those who voted to repeal the commuter tax. One do wonder, don’t one? By the way, both Ada Smith and Al Waldon have Albany fund raisers scheduled as well. I’m sure that there will be lots of local constituents at those fund-raisers as well.

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There was a melee on the boardwalk at Beach 116 street last week and I hope that it is not a harbinger of things to come this summer season. Two gangs of teenagers turned to fighting on the boardwalk and one kid was badly hurt by a swinging tire iron. When I walk the boardwalk, I often see groups of kids fooling around, smoking pot, drinking from brown bags and generally bothering the "citizens" who walk by. The cops in the summer detail should be used to move these kids along. The boardwalk is a place to sit and look at the horizon, but it is not a place to "hang out" and bother the locals.

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That’s it for this week. Send your comments and complaints to hschwach@hotmail.com. Have a good week and safe home.

 

 

 

 

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