1999-09-18 / Columnists

Simon Says….

by Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

On Tuesday evening, Community Board 14 had an informational presentation from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on a ferry feasibility study. George L. Cancro addressed the board members, elected officials and members of the public discussing ferry landings, route characteristics, commuter market, past ferry services, New York Harbor ferry services and the benefits of ferries. The Regency Fishing corporation ran a boat from Rockaway Point to Pier 11 in lower Manhattan. The cost was seven dollars round trip and the running time was 50 minutes. Service was started in March 1987 and suspended in September 1897.

Manhattan Express Marine Service provided service from Beach 116 street and Rockaway Point to Pier 11 for seven dollars. The trip took 65 minutes and 50 minutes. Service started in September 1987 and ended in September 1989. Metro Marine provided service from Inwood (Roger avenue off Bayview avenue) via Rockaway Point to Pier 11 and East 34 street. Traveling time was 65 minutes and 35 minutes to Pier 11 and 80 minutes and 50 minutes to East 34 street. The fare was seven dollars. Daily parking in their parking lot was as much as the fare.

Board members pointed out a number of problems with the study. 1990 census figures were used although we know there have been substantial increases in many parts of the peninsula. The communities of Breezy Point, Rockaway Point, Roxbury and Broad Channel were ignored. Noreen Schram pointed out that there are more than 2800 homes in Breezy Point. Joe Hartigan, who is a real ferry expert, stated that ferry service from JFK to Manhattan could subsidize Rockaway commuters and keep the fares more reasonable.

We feel that the only way to have a successful ferry service is a subsidized ferry people can use to get to work every day. We want to know how service will be provided when the bay is frozen and during snowstorms, noreasters and hurricanes. What will be the cost of fare and parking and the running time from each location? When will the RFP process begin to choose a ferry operator. When I questioned George Cancro as to whether there was a commitment from the Port Authority or any ferry operator, he said it was just a study., Is this just another way to study Rockaway again and again and waste taxpayer's money?

Just one example of the unprofessional methods used by he Port Authority staff was the statement by George Cancro that his staff couldn't through the gates in Breezy Point. I and many board members were appalled. If he would have gone to the Breezy Point Cooperative office and introduced himself with credentials they would have been more than happy to admit them and help them to collect the facts they sought. Shame, shame on the Port Authority for not doing the right thing for our community.

Last week we attended the Roxbury annual Mardi Gras. We marched around the usual route and had a wonderful time. The people were thanking me for coming and said this could be a family day for me. My response was that you are my family.

On Monday we attended the annual Mardi Gras in Broad Channel. The weather was great and all went well. We were interviewed on our walk by a Daily News reporter who asked if we expected any problems. My response was this was a patriotic, middle class working community, I am very proud to represent them. We don't damn a community for what a handful did last year. This year's Mardi Gras was sponsored by the Broad Channel Athletic Club. It went smoothly and a good time was had by all.

Marching in solidarity were Congressman Anthony Weiner, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, Senator Ada Smith, and District Leaders Augie Agate and myself. Noticeably absent were Councilman Al Stabile and the female Republican leader Joann Guarino.

After leaving we went to the annual Labor Day barbecue at the West End Temple. At this event Rabbi Weiss, one of our most respected rabbis, wished everyone a healthy and happy New Year.

On Friday afternoon VFW Post 8540 had their annual women's luncheon and card party, which is always held on the first Friday after Labor Day. The event was chaired by Kay Kinnane and Catherine Hibbits. This is one of the best social events of the year. I always have the pleasure of sitting in the company of the charming, dynamic duo who lead the committee, Kay and Catherine.

When I sat at the tables one of the ladies said she had a dream. "For two nights I dreamt of you and Hillary Clinton walking into the luncheon and having to throw you out because I don't like Hillary Clinton." I responded not to worry, I'm here by myself.

A number of people have been stating their dissatisfaction with both U.S. Senate candidates from the Democratic and Republican parties. As I go from place to place and meeting to meeting I constantly hear the grumbling of unhappy voters. I said to this woman, "Would you like to run?" She smiled and said,, "God help us. "

At this luncheon we won a number of great gifts. Also at our table was our great Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer who also won a gift or two.

Once again with the outbreak of St. Louis encephalitis, the city has used its infinite wisdom to spray the Rockaway peninsula. Why does it take death to rectify problems in our great city? For years our great community leaders, Sarah Colson and Maizele Morris of Arverne, and Gloria Warshofsky of Bayswater have been screaming for the city to get rid of the mosquitoes.

Bernard Blum, president of Friends of Rockaway, who is often ignored by city officials, happens to be well versed and knowledgeable about environmental issues. He has stated that the Army Corps of Engineers should get rid of standing water by restoring the tidal flow on creeks blocked by filling and old bulkheads. This allows mosquito eating killi fish to swim in with the tide and feed on larvae and eggs. He also wants the Sanitation Department to mow weeds instead of bulldozing vacant lots and picking up topsoil making holes which collect stagnant water. Sanitation should regularly pick up used tires which are dumped on parts of our peninsula. Pick up should be by hands not by bulldozers which create holes.

We would also like to give a heartfelt appreciation to our Sanitation Commissioner, Kevin Farrell. After making one call about a number of tires with stagnant water sitting in a lot in Far Rockaway near the Atlantic Beach Bridge to Commissioner Farrell, the job was done. A gentleman who lived across the street told me he had called numerous elected officials and agencies without a proper response. This was prior to our knowledge of St. Louis encephalitis. God Bless you commissioner. You are doing a fine job.

At the same time we would like to recognize Joseph O'Hare, sanitation supervisor of the Rockaway District on Beach 72 street and Amstel boulevard. Joe is always available when we call, always responsive and gets the job done. We know one day he'll make a fine commissioner. We thank him for all he does for the Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy Point communities.

We want to wish the best of luck to Rowena and Dan Intyre who have been lifelong members of the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department and great neighbors in Broad Channel. They are moving to the great state of Tennessee. Their gain is our loss. At a dinner given by the BCVFD the Mclntyres each got a shirt that read life member of the BCVFD which brought tears to Rowena's eyes. God bless the Mclntyres. We love and will miss you.

Congratulations to Harold Rochelle, newly elected president of the RAC. Harold is a dynamic, energetic community leader. Everything he touches turns to gold. We are saddened by the loss of another great community leader, Janet Fash, who moved out of th e Rockaways.

Janet, who was gung ho fighting SRO's and for our Rockaway Be Beach line, was a magnificent friend to the Rockaway community. With two young children and the plague of problem houses on her block, she was forced out of our community.

Janet, we love you. We wish you all the best and hope one day you will be able to return to Rockaway.

It was brought to our attention that the Port Authority was forced to stop pile driving for the Airtrain near the Howard Beach station at Coleman Square. Joe Addabbo, jr. is chair of the Board 10 committee which informs the Port Authority about problems caused by their construction.

If you have a street light, pothole, or blocked sewer please do not hesitate to call my office. If I am not available, my answer machine is on. I am listed under Lew Simon.

Our next Atlantic City trip will be this Saturday, September 18. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 8 a.m. We have eight hours at the Trump Marina. The cost is $23 with $15 returned. Call now for a seat. The next trip will be on October 16.


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