1999-07-10 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes

by Howard Schwach


First, a gripe. Last Sunday the NYPD Mounted Unit was on Beach 116 street. Now, I like the horses just about as well as the next person, and I usually don’t complain about the cops. On two occasions, however, (Beach 118 street and Beach 121 street) the horses dropped a massive load on the boardwalk and it was not cleaned up for more than 24 hours. Can you imagine what it looked and smelled like in that heat? Can you imagine people walking barefoot on the boardwalk coming on the mess? The horses have a place in crowd and riot situations, but not on the boardwalk on a peaceful Sunday. Not unless somebody can clean up after themselves. If that had been a dog walker who left the mess, a large fine would have been in order. Keep the horses off the boardwalk.

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For the second week in a row, the New York Times Sunday edition had a positive story about Rockaway. The study dealing with a ferry service for the peninsula is in and it looks good for a service that would start in the west end of Rockaway and stop at Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn on the way to Manhattan. Al Stabile, who called for the study and Tony Weiner, who says that he can get Federal money to subsidize the service, are both positive. I remember the last ferry service that ran from Inwood to Manhattan. I rode it once and it was fun. It was also expensive and it tore up the shoreline infrastructure along the bay. It lasted a short time. I hope this one, if it comes, lasts longer. Those in the know say that it could be done for $3 bucks each way and that it would take about 40 minutes. If that can be done, people would use it. The story says that Beach 116 street is the prime location for the ferry terminal, tied in with a new pier and gambling boat complex. Sure! Where is everybody going to park? I would rather see it on Beach 92 street on the property that was once earmarked for a motel, across from the old courthouse. There is lots of parking space there and room to grow. Another site would be the old Coast Guard facility just west of the Gil Hodges Bridge. There is a big parking lot there as well, but that site would not benefit the peninsula as much as sites further east would.

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In the New York Times article, Councilman Stabile is quoted as saying residents on the peninsula "feel like they have been forgotten." He is right, and he is the one who has forgotten them. One has to wonder if Stabile’s pal, John Ariola, who owns the Beach 92 street plot, will benefit from the sudden interest in a ferry terminal in the area?

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It took The Wave editorial board about two years to catch up to me on the question of parking on the west end, but their input is welcome nevertheless. Here’s how to reform the system so that it is fair to all residents. First of all, reduce the time factor in two ways. Instead of May 15 to September 15, limit the no parking to a period from Memorial Day to Labor day. There is no reason to have the restrictions either earlier or later. Then, change the time frame from all day and night to a time frame of 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. That would serve the purpose as well and would keep residents from running around in the middle of night playing car musical chairs. Finally, provide resident parking stickers so that those who live in the area can park in front of their abodes. That is fair and it is just, but it is not political and it probably will not be done.

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One of the best food bargains on the peninsula can be found at the Oriental House on Beach 116 street. For less than six bucks there is an all-you-can-eat buffet that rival the best of the mainland’s buffet places. Give it a try.

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A friend e-mailed me to tell me that it is the Parks Department, not the Sanitation Department, that is responsible for the litter baskets on the boardwalk. Still no word on why they were removed, but their removal creates a hardship for those who regularly walk the boards. It is no big thing, but just another annoyance to add to the list.

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Politics keeps rolling along, and so does the Green Bus company. This was supposed to be the year that new companies were explored for the lucrative Queens private bus routes. Green Bus reportedly does such a bad job that gypsy vans have taken most of their ridership away. Yet the company continues to get millions in public subsidies. The city, however, has granted the bus companies another year. When will the city get around to finding new companies that would do a better job? Probably never, because those companies give lots of money to local politicians.

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I know that I’m getting old. A young man was discussing watching the new movie, "The Wild Wild West." I asked him how it compared to the television show and he looked puzzled. "Was it ever a television show?" he asked. Then he asked me who the black man was that played the lead role on the TV show. When I told him that it was Robert Conrad who played the lead part, he said that he had never heard of him. Time goes by.

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A couple of new polls show that Hillary has a shot at winning in New York. A Quinnipiac College poll shows that Clinton was ahead with all state voters by 46 percent to 44 percent. When just New York City voters are factored in, however, the First Lady is ahead by 63 percent to 29 percent. Is it possible that the mayor will not be able to hold his own city? Think about it. A Daily News poll, taken a week earlier, shows about the same thing. Having said that, however, the First Lady’s husband may have caused her some problems. He recently said that Palestinians should "be free to live wherever they want." That might sound good in Washington and in Gaza, but it won’t play in New York, where the Jewish vote turns out in large numbers for Democratic candidates. We’ll have to wait and see how much damage it does to Hillary and her campaign.

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Spike Lee seems to be an apologist for those who riot and steal. In a recent New York Times interview, Lee said to the looting during the 1977 blackout, "…everyone was saying like it’s Christmas in July. Pampers were a big item, Pampers and Puma sneakers…that might sound horrible, but people were having a good time. It wasn’t done out of anger; it was just like "the lights are out and I need some pampers. And I always liked that sofa in the window." That certainly is a responsible black voice speaking.

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Want to see something different in a ball game? Both Fort Tilden and Edgemere Park host their share of cricket games. It looks a little like baseball, but it is very different and it is fun once you get the hang of what is going on. I found that there is always somebody around to explain the confusing rules to a newcomer. Watch for those sticky wickets.

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It’s too hot to mess around with a computer this week, and my AOL does not like the humidity (I keep getting messages that I have done something illegal and my program will be shut down), so there will be no Websites of the Week. Send comments and complaints to hschwach@hotmail.com. Have a good week and safe home.

 

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