1999-07-17 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes

by Howard Schwach


For the past few weeks I have been wondering why the litter baskets have disappeared from the boardwalk. Now, I know. The Parks Commissioner didn’t want his trucks on the boardwalk to pick up the baskets, so he ordered them to be removed. That’s really stupid. Why not place the baskets on the boards nearby the ramps that go to the beach. That way, when his trucks go down the beach at 7 a.m. each morning, they can stop at the ramp. A worker can walk up onto the boardwalk, take the trash basket down to the beach, empty it into the truck and then put it back on the boardwalk. Isn’t that simple? C’mon, Commissioner Stern, put ‘em back the way they was.

* * * * *

Planning for one of Rockaway’s premier events is coming to fruition. The Rockaway Irish Festival will be held for the eighteenth consecutive year on July 24 and 25, from Noon until 9 p.m. This year the committee, headed by the able Marina Callaghan, will honor Congressman Tony Weiner, Bobbie Hart, Frank Harnisher and the Rockaway Rockies. As usual, the festival will be held on Mickey Carton way (Beach 108 street) in the old "Irishtown" section. This year’s entertainment includes "Black 47," Gerald Blair, Pat Roper, Andy Cooney, the Moran Brothers, "Raglan Road," and many others. Food and beer will be in abundance, as will Irish wares. It is one of the year’s events that makes Rockaway what it is. It is a must see for everybody.

* * * * *

I knew that my comments and The Wave editorial on parking in the West End would draw some comment. It always does. Dblekelly@aol.com e-mailed me with an opposing viewpoint. Dblekelly (I don’t know whether that is a male or a female) says "the only people negatively affected seem to be apartment dwellers. It is an issue they need to take up with their landlords, not their neighbors." That is an attitude that pervades the West End, that renters are somehow inferior to owners and that their problems do not really count. They cannot take it up with their landlords, because their landlord’s hands are tied by the law (if a law dictating the parking regulations does in fact exist). Renters are people too and they have the right not to walk ten blocks and pay $75 to $100 a month to park during the summer. Many landlords have space for only their own cars, leaving the tenants in the cold. I often see elderly trudging blocks on the boardwalk or on the boulevard because they cannot park nearby where they live. The person also says that he or she agrees with changing the timing, but that "I wouldn’t go around changing signs just for the sake of a couple of weeks, so leave it be." That "couple of weeks," might mean little to somebody with a driveway, but they might mean a lot to the elderly or infirm (or even the strong of body) who have to play by the silly and restrictive rules. There is also little understanding of what the rules mean to many people. The correspondent says "why does anybody wait until the last minute to move the car anyway? If you know the parking rule is going into effect, move the car at a reasonable hour. Let me tell you a story. When I lived on Beach 134, I had two cars and the landlord had two. They came home late in the evening, long after I was in. On Monday morning, I would often have to move three cars before I could get out to go to work. It was easier to wait until after midnight on Sunday night (although I had to get up early on Monday) to move the cars into the street to save me that ten minutes in the morning. I suspect that dblekelly never had to do anything like that. I still think the rules should be changed. Fair is fair and our renters are getting the short end of the stick.

* * * * *

Sydocent sends a cute joke. He says that starting Monday, everybody should adopt the Jewish Calendar. The year will then be 5760 and we will all have 240 years more to worry about the Y2K problem. Or, Sydocent sends, we can simply wander into the desert.

* * * * *

The accident that killed two young jet ski riders only reinforces the notion that those who take both boats and jet skis into public waters should be licensed and insured. Those licenses should be checked by an increased police and Coast Guard presence in the bay. Those who speed and otherwise break the law should be ticketed and earn points just as they would in a car. Too many points and the license should be suspended. It won’t stop stupid people from doing stupid things, but it is a start.

* * * * *

Gary Toms (Mr. G.) will anger lots of people with his column last week, but he is generally right on target. Let’s hope we hear more from him on educational matters.

* * * * *

Thomas Reppetto is the head of a watchdog Citizen’s Crime Commission (I wonder who elected him). He often attacks the cops. He was recently quoted on the topic of a raising murder rate in our city. "It is troubling that this increase has continued for six months," he says. "I don’t think that anyone can give a definitive answer as to why. There’s been a double-digit decrease in murders for several years." I can tell him. When cops get blasted by people like Reppetto for shooting a rampaging bull running loose in our streets and when people like Reppetto say that cops are killers when they make what was a terrible mistake, then the cops stop backing off from sticky situations. That is why our murder rate is up and it will continue to go up until cops are allowed to do the job we pay them for.

* * * * *

Pier 92 has morphed nicely into Kelly’s Waterfront. Chef Howie Yaegar and his staff still do wonders with all sorts of meat and seafood. Look at the Tuesday night buffet. It is well worth the time and effort and the small amount of money that it will cost you. It is a must see!

* * * * *

I hate mosquitoes more than anything else I can think of. When I lived in Bayswater, I was constantly under attack. Now that I live in the west end, high in an apartment building, my living is easier. I can still feel for those in Bayswater, Edgemere and Arverne who face the mosquito threat each day in the summer months. Life is a trade-off and it is a trade off that is hurting those citizens who face the mosquito menace. The Jamaica bay is much cleaner today than it was 30 years ago. Fish and birds are back. That is largely because we stopped dumping raw sewage into the bay and because we stopped using DDT. Of course, the demise of DDT allowed the mosquitoes to multiply without stop. There is one other problem. When the Friends of Rockaway and the Audibon Society took over DuBois Point, they made a big story out of it. They saved the ecosystem. Except that they turned it over to the Parks Department, who hasn’t cleaned it in several years. That’s where the bugs grow. I fear the same will happen to Bayswater Park and the other wetlands turned over to environmental groups. They want the land, but don’t know what to do with it once they have it.

* * * * *

What is the worst subway in New York City? The "A" Train, of course. The Straphanger’s Campaign recently rated the various subway lines that ply our city. The Number 7 was the best, the "B" Train, the "A" Train and the "M" Train tied for the worst. The report says that The A, which runs from Rockaway to 207 Street at the northern tip of Manhattan, has "gaps in service, frequent breakdowns and delays and too many dirty cars." I have a feeling you don’t have to tell that to anybody who rides the train on a regular basis.

* * * * *

Here’s a surprise. Ridership on the Gil Hodges Marine Parkway Bridge is down. In 1968, more than 8.7 million cars crossed the bridge. In 1998, that number was reduced to 7.8 million. Could it have anything to do with the fact that locals no longer pay a toll on the Cross Bay Bridge? How about that?

* * * * *

Howard Golden is an idiot when it comes to baseball. The Brooklyn borough president recently said "Our borough is being forced to accept a bottom rung team…this is an insult to 2.5 million people who call Brooklyn home." What Golden does not understand is that minor league baseball is more exciting that major league baseball and a lot more affordable. If Golden doesn’t want the team, build a field in Arverne and bring it to Rockaway. I could think of no better place for a ball field that right on the ocean in the Arverne Urban Renewal Area. Think about it!

* * * * *

Websites of the Week: Two new sites this week. There is lots of free things on the web and one of the best sites is at www.drugstore.com/gifts. You can get $15 worth of stuff for free and three additional items for one cent each. All you pay is three bucks for shipping. Another site that gives lots of free stuff like advice and information is the U.S. Federal Government Agencies Directory at www.lib.lsu.edu/gov/fedgov. Html. Don’t print off the home page, because it is 30 pages long. You can find just about any information you want about the Federal government, however, and it is a good resource for school kids and adults who want to address the government. That’s it for this week. Send comments and complaints to hschwach@-hotmail.com. Have a good week, and safe home.

 

Return to top


Email Us
Contact Us

Copyright 1999 - 2014 Wave Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved

Neighborhoods | History