1999-11-27 / Editorial/Opinion

Just What Rockaway Needs

It looks like more low-income housing is heading our way. With houses being constructed and sold throughout the peninsula as quick as you can blink an eye, it was believed that the days of low-income buildings were out the window. Real estate brokers and developers have been trying to market Rockaway as a place for middle class families, from Far Rockaway to Edgemere to Rockaway Park, and have been succeeding. All of a sudden, Community Board 14 and local politicians have brought us back to the dark ages by supporting a 122 unit building to be constructed at Wavecrest Gardens in Far Rockaway.

Disturbing to most, though, is how the community board tried to pass it off as "garden apartments." Asked if this was how the developer proposed it to the community board, District Manager Jonathan Gaska simply said, "I don’t remember how it was presented." When asked if the community board ever voted in support of the low-income plan, something several members said never happened, Gaska couldn’t recall if it went for a vote or before a committee.

Maybe our elected officials can claim they were misled, but Mr. Goldfarb, owner of Wavecrest Gardens, made it clear in several documents that the development was for low-income. The involvement of Margert Community Center, a community-based housing organization, should have hinted to this as well.

We are not disputing that Wavecrest Gardens has been a good neighbors. The Goldfarbs have done a good job in providing a clean and safe environment. The problem is in the mixed message the community board and elected officials give. Rockaway is on its way back, but low-income housing should not be in the plans. That has been part of the problem, not the solution. We are oversaturated, and we cannot let private developers or the city think they can use Rockaway to "corner the market" in low-income housing. It does not bring the revitalization that Rockaway so desperately needs. It just shows the public that we are repeating the same errors of the past.

Thanksgiving Everyday

Right about now the only reminder of Thanksgiving you probably have is the extra pounds you gained. The hype over Thanksgiving Day, and its meaning, seems to be reserved for the few weeks before, but quiets and soon becomes silent only hours after the last desserts are served. That shouldn’t be because Thanksgiving is a holiday we should celebrate everyday.

You might say, "I have nothing to be thankful for. Everything in my life is going wrong." Well, the first thing you should be thankful for is that you have a life for things to go wrong in. Life is the most splendid thing given to us, and no matter what challenge, obstacle or pain we endure, nothing can overpower life itself.

Next time you start feeling less thankful than you should, just keep something Helen Keller said in mind, "So much has been given to me, I have no time to ponder over that which has been denied." A blind and deaf woman said this…just think about that…

So, today, tomorrow, the next day and a day two weeks from now are all Thanksgiving. Days that we should be thankful for what has been given to us, the lessons learned, the people we knew, the people we know and the love we share.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyday!



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