1999-09-18 / Columnists

From the G-Man

by Gary G. Toms

By Gary G. Toms

Hey people! I’ve been a Far Rockaway resident for the last 24 years, and I have seen many changes take place. Early Rockaway was a bustling town. It was full of shops, restaurants, sporting goods stores and specialty stores. Nowadays, much has changed, and none of it is for the better. However, despite the years, sections outside of the Rockaways remain beautifully intact. I dare say that these areas have even gotten better. Allow me to draw a few comparisons.

Let’s start with the supermarkets in Inwood, Lawrence, Cedarhurst and the other neighboring towns. You walk into these places, and you can practically eat off the floor. The managers and cashiers often greet you with a smile, and it is never really a problem for them to service you. The shelves are nicely stacked. The meat is nice, juicy red and the chickens are plump. The fruit looks as though it was polished, and everything is fresh.

Now those who have shopped in Far Rockaway for a number of years know what you get when you walk into these markets. You’re lucky if your shoe doesn’t get stuck to the floor from some nasty guck. The carts always have a defective wheel that makes you struggle to keep the cart straight. Most, not all, of the store personnel act as though you are bothering them when you ask a question. Underneath some of the aisles, you can spot mousetraps or some type of poison. I’m not making this up! The meat is often brown in color, and the puny chickens would make the Perdue guy barf. The fruit is straight up nasty looking, and I could’ve sworn that someone took a bite out of several pieces and put them back. The freshest things in these stores are the stock boys, who make countless passes at my girlfriend and female friends close to me. Take note managers…this is pathetic!

Clothing stores are another example. Outside of Far Rockaway, you have a wide selection of clothes and styles. The material is quality and the prices are often reasonable. In Far Rockaway, my choices are narrowed down to Karl Kani, Pelle, Timberlands and sportswear. Sorry, but I have no desire to walk around like a 36 year old hip-hop artist. Neither do many other men in Far Rockaway. So much emphasis is placed on youth, but not only youth live here. Ladies, I know you can relate too. Take note storeowners.…this is pathetic!

Another comparison between the neighborhoods is how you are guaranteed to find the three following items in Far Rockaway, in a five block radius, as compared to the other areas; bodegas, Chinese restaurants and liquor stores. Why can’t we have several nice restaurants like everybody else? Why must we be faced with the prospect of shoving grease and fat down our throats from places like White Castle or McDonald’s all the time? Take note planning boards .…this is pathetic!

The roads and streets outside of Far Rockaway are nice, smooth and well paved. When’s the last time you drove down a street in Far Rockaway without breaking an axle or hitting a damn pothole? This is especially true along the streets of Gipson and Mott. These construction crews come in, tear up the roads, and leave after doing a half ass job of repairing them. This doesn’t happen in Inwood or Cedarhurst.

Parking meters in Lawrence and Cedarhurst are unbelievable. They have 8 to 12 hour meters! This is great for people who work in the city. They can just leave their car in the parking lot all day, and they pay 25 cents for a whole hour. Ten quarters sets you up for the whole day. You only get 30 minutes per quarter on an hour meter in Far Rockaway, and that’s if you’re lucky enough to find a stupid meter. Heaven help you if your time expires because tickets show up pretty quickly. Pathetic!

Far Rockaway can really be a nice place to live, shop and explore if people and representatives put a little more effort into it. You want to build affordable housing, that’s fine, but it takes more than housing to make a community strong, sound and forever beautiful. We should have quality goods and services too.

Be cool everybody, and I’ll see you next week


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