1999-10-30 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes


by Howard Schwach

There are really two classes of environmentalists active in Rockaway. By "dissing" one of those groups, I inadvertently tarred the other with the same brush. I therefore want to apologize to Mickey Cohen, a Bayswater resident and the caretaker of Bayswater Point Park. Mickey is really one of the two environmentalists that I really respect. In case your interested, the other is Don Riepe, who hails from Broad Channel. Both of those men are highly respected both by their respective communities and by their peers. When I rail against environmentalists, they are not the ones I am writing about. They do not appear on cable television in the Environmental Follies of 1999, nor do they claim that some nefarious force is methodically stealing Rockaway’s topsoil. They do not urge that JFK Airport be closed down because the planes are annoying the seagulls and they do not argue that the Doppler radar scheduled for Brooklyn will fry Rockaway residents. The other class of environmentalist such as Bernie Blum, Steve Wohl and their ilk makes those charges. I know firsthand that Mickey has done a great job at Bayswater Point, but he is only one person (although he is aided by his able wife, Barbara) and when he moves off the Rockaway scene the park will probably go the way of Dubois Point to become a dumping ground and a hatchery for all sorts of malevolent insects.

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Rockaway artists will soon have a chance to take advantage of the First Annual Fine Arts Exhibit and Sale. The RMAC, which is sponsoring the event and will be the recipient of the money it raises, has announced that it will be held at St. Rose of Lima Church (Beach 84 street and Rockaway Beach boulevard) on November 20 and 21. Rockaway artists may submit up to five pieces of artwork for exhibit and sale. The public will then be invited to view the exhibit and to purchase the artwork. This is a first for Rockaway and everybody should get on board to make it an annual event.

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Sushi is not my thing because I prefer my fish fried, but I have been hearing lots of good things about the new All You Can Eat Sushi Bar at the Oriental Restaurant on Beach 116 street. Those who like that kind of thing and who have tried it say that it rivals the best that Manhattan has to offer.

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The World Series might well be over by the time you read this, but I have to make a last comment on the baseball season. First of all, it seems like old times. When I was growing up in Wavecrest Gardens in the 1950’s, the only sure things were death, taxes and the fact that the Yankees would be in the World Series. With three entries in the past four years, it is getting back to those days. I can’t forget the Mets, however. They made a good run this year, even if they did fall a walk short in Game 6. The races in both leagues have rekindled my earlier rabid interest in baseball and I don’t think that my interest will wane for a long time.

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I’m probably going to get lots of letters for writing this, but I have to believe that a 79-year-old man has no business driving a school bus no matter what his driving record looked like. The man ran a red light and was hit by a truck crossing legally through the intersection. One woman whose grandson was on the bus summed up my feelings. "I really think that there comes a time that you need to put up the car keys," she said. "With a busload of children, you need to step aside."

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Rockaway residents are not the only ones who are unhappy with the way they are being represented by Councilman Al Stabile. The controversy over the building of the new IS 137 on the mainland has become a saga and Stabile seems to be right in the middle of it. The school was planned by the School Construction Agency to take over the land presently occupied by the American Bowling Lanes and its neighbor, a White Castle. Many were opposed to the site because it is in a high traffic area. The school is badly needed, however, and the school board went along with the plan. Enter Al Stabile. Stabile reportedly met with the powers that be and the site was suddenly changed to an area behind the proposed site. It would not take out the bowling alley or the White Castle and it was off the street, but two little league fields presently occupy the land, which is owned by Con Ed. The fact is that Stabile is the president of the Ozone Howard Little League and those fields were used by it rival, the Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Wakefield Little League. Stabile has been quiet in public about the move, but one mainland weekly ran a headline that said "Stabile gives up kids for food." Even I wouldn’t run a headline like that. The people who run the league believe that many of their players will leave to play with Ozone Howard because they lack fields and they believe that Stabile wants that to happen. The local school board has asked that the site be shifted so those two fields can be saved. Meanwhile, everybody waits for Stabile to speak out. If Rockaway issues are any gauge, they will have a long time to wait. By the way, Stabile highlighted two things that he did in last week’s paper. One was road improvements that are planned for every community and are then routed to the city council person so that he or she can take credit for it by making the announcement. The other event he trumpeted is his letter demanding hearings on the airport traffic issue and demanding that the city council hold hearings. It might as well hold hearings on US relations with Mars. That’s how much the FAA will listen to the city council. They did not even listen to a member of the US House of Representatives who wanted to keep a radar site out of the district. It makes for good ink, but that is all it is and a city council person should do more than issue good ink.

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Speaking of politicians, I know that Al Waldon is awaiting his appointment as a judge (it is being held up by the Republicans) but he can do one more mitzvah before he goes. The West Hamilton Beach Vollies just got a refurbished New York City Fire Department truck purchased by a grant given by State Senator Serf Maltese. The $65,000 grant paid for most of the truck. A new one would cost anywhere between $150 and $250 thousand. Why doesn’t Waldon match Maltese’s gift with a truck for the Broad Channel Vollies, or, better yet, by getting them a $65 thousand grant for the building of their new firehouse on Cross Bay boulevard. It would be greatly appreciated and it would be the best going-away present he could give any of the communities he presently represents.

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Websites of the Week: At one time, the Encyclopedia Britannica was the Cadillac of encyclopedias. It was also the costliest at about $1,250 a set. Now, you can get it all for free. Log into the site at www.britannica.com and get more information than you need on any given subject. By the way, the company’s move to make its book available on the web is an indication of the change in society. The company refused to put out its work on CD, arguing that its position was firm. That decision almost closed the company down and the new site is a move to get it back to profitability by selling advertising on the site. The site, by the way, got millions of hits on the first day of operation and had to shut down for awhile. If you want to relive the games of your youth (stick ball, Johnny on a Pony, etc.) log onto the Urban Games site at www.streetplay.com. You can add your own memories and game rules to the database and it all is lots of fun. There are a number of sites that available to play your own upcoming gala, for a birthday or perhaps to celebrate the millennium. The three sites are at www.iparty.com, www.Birthdayexpress.com, and www.birthdayinabox.com. Finally, if you want to help the hungry around the work get some food, log into the Hunger Site at the United Nations. Every time you visit the site (you’re only allowed to hit it once each day), the corporate sponsors of the program will reportedly donate food to a needy nation. The hunger site can be found at www.thehungersite.com. That’s it for this week. Send comments and complaints to newsie42@aol.com. Have a good week and safe home.

 

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