2000-01-08 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes


by Howard Schwach

First of all, it is time once again for the yearly disclaimer. This editorial column consists of my opinions on issues of community interest. For those of you who do not understand the difference between a news story and an editorial column, there is a simple explanation. A news story cannot provide the writer’s opinion. It has to be balanced, fair and objective. A column, on the other hand, needs be none of those things. It has only to be factual, not malicious and has to convey the opinion of the writer. Hope this clarifies things for those of you who write and say that I don’t provide both sides of an issue.

* * * * *

I have to start the year by apologizing to Jon Gaska, the district manager for Community Board 14. I have made him the butt of my ire over the new project planned for Beach 24 street and I was wrong. I have now met with Gaska, toured the area, did some more homework (a vacation will allow you to do that) and have come to the conclusion that Gaska is right and I was wrong. I should have suspected that those who oppose the project were leading me down a garden path. Gaska has always been truthful and forthright with me and with the community and I should have figured that he was not lying this time. Seen under the glare of daylight, the project now appears to be a good one for the community – more moderate income than low income. In addition, I took a hard look at the property surrounding the new project. The crumbling bungalows look more like Calcutta than anything else I have ever seen. It is Tobacco road, and some of it is owned by those who oppose the development of a project that requires those who live there to earn more than $25 thousand a year. By the time the project opens in January of 2001, a family who takes a one-bedroom apartment will have to earn $25,700 a year, while those who take a two-bedroom will have to earn $29,664 a year. That is not low-income by any stretch of the imagination. The fact is that the people who live in the surrounding bungalows that are owned by the opposition will not be able to live in the new buildings because they are all on public assistance of one (or more) form or another. It is those in opposition who seem to be keeping "undesirable families" in Rockaway, not the Goldfarb family (the project’s developers) and the Margert Corporation. Jon also cleared up the question of why there were no minutes indicating the approval of the project. There is no conspiracy. The plan was approved in late 1995 or early 1996. Members of the board who were present at the time corroborated this for me. The board’s minutes are kept only for a three-year period. Hence, those minutes no longer exist. What does exist is the 1997 letter restating the support. I am sorry for the angst I caused Jon and for being taken in by the opposition. It happens, and it will probably happen again sometime. For now, however, the project has my support and it should have the support of the entire community.

* * * * *

Chadwick’s Restaurant in the Rockville Center railroad plaza is becoming one of my favorite eateries. Over the holiday I met with friends at Chadwick’s and once again had a great price-fixed meal that included an appetizer, a delicious main course and dessert and coffee. The food and service can’t be beat and the price is akin to many less desirable places to eat. Give it a try.

* * * * *

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to wipe out notice of past transgressions of some of my favorite targets. I will not write this year about Lew Simon’s past lies, about his faked teacher’s license, about Gerry Chapey’s numerous abstentions, about Jack King’s fight to keep dunes out of Rockaway. I will try and stay away from the past transgressions of others. Of course, if any of them do something worthy of note this year, I will be forced to comment and if any of them run for public office then all bets are off.

* * * * *

The Wave has entered the 21 Century. The picture of the firefighters on the front page of last week’s paper was taken with a Mavica digital camera and e-mailed to the printer. Modern technology is wonderful.

* * * * *

I has been pointed out to me that I write often of the CK girl’s basketball team and the Rockaway residents who play for the team and that I neglect to write about Rockaway’s own Stella Maris team. That team just won the St. Joseph’s College Holiday Tournament and it is replete with Rockaway residents. The tourney MVP was Terri McElroy with 15 points in 10 rebounds in the final game. Katlin Raphael had 13 and Kerry Feeney added 11 points and 18 rebounds in that game. EJ McElroy and Maggie Allen round out the team, which is 6-2 so far this year.

* * * * *

One of my holiday presents was "The October 12," by Phil Rizzuto and Tom Horton. It is about the 12 men who played all of the championship seasons between 1949 and 1953. I went to my first Yankee game in 1949, when I was just about 10 years old, so I saw many of the players the authors write about. After reading the book, I began to think about those teams as against this championship team and the modern team does not match up very well. Take a look and see if you agree with me. Catching was Yogi Berra. I really don’t think that either Joe Girardi or Jose Posada can match Yogi, so it is 1-0 for the 50’s team. I like Tino Martinez, but his competition is the tandem of Johnny Mize and Joe Collins; two-zip for the 50’s team. Chuck Knobloch is no Gerry Coleman (even without his Marine combat missions counted in), so it is three-zip for the 1950’s. At shortstop we have Derek Jeter (who perhaps will be the best middle-infielder anywhere) against Phil Rizzuto. At the best, let’s hope that Jeter will be better than Rizzuto ever was and call it even. That makes the score 3-0-1. At third base we have Bobby Brown against Scott Brosius. Brown was one of the best hitting infielders in Yankee history and is now the president of the American League. Brown hit .439 in one World Series to help win it for the Yankees. We can, however, give it to the 1990’s team and make the score 3-1-1. Take a look at the outfield as a whole unit. The 1990’s team has Chad Curtis, Tim Raines, Shane Spencer, Paul O’Neal and Bernie Williams. The teams of the 1950’s had Gene Woodling, Cliff Mapes, Joe Dimaggio, Hank Bauer and Johnny Lindell. Mantle joined them at the end. As a group, the 50’s had it all over today’s team. Even man to man, can Williams match up with DiMaggio? Can O’Neal match up to Hank Bauer? Make the score 4-1-1. Now, for the pitching. The Yankee pitching was great last year what with El Duque and the others. They cannot match up for records or durability, however, to Allie Reynolds (who threw two no-hitters in one year), Vic Raschi, Eddie Lopat and Whitey Ford. Even though the Yankees have the best closer in the league, the 1950’s team had the first and prototype of the reliever, Joe Paige. I know that you cannot match players of one era with another, but that is what makes the "hot stove" league so great. Give it to the 1950’s 5-1-1. I’m waiting to hear your comments.

* * * * *

If a community could sue an author for defamation of character, then Rockaway should be able to sue Samuel M. Katz, the author of "Anytime, Anywhere: On Patrol With the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit." In his book, he terms the Rockaways as "…a now crime-infested series of shacks and projects that is, according to one NYPD detective, "the rectum of the world." So much for Sam Katz. I would like to invite him to see the real Rockaway. Give me a call, Sam. You know where to find me.

* * * * *

Private bus companies such as our own Green Bus have long had exclusive contracts with the city to run specific routes. Many call these companies a "protected monopoly," and they are right. The bus routes were supposed to be put up for bid seven years ago, but the city kept extending their contracts. In the middle of last year, the city announced that they were finally going to put the routes up for open bid and that the deed would be done by February of 2001. This week, the city announced that it would be renew the contracts without taking bids from any outside companies. It is no wonder, since the several private companies that now have the contracts reportedly contribute more than $100 thousand to city officials. The companies get $150 million a year in subsidies from the city. The extension will run for one year, but who is counting?

* * * * *

Chuck Schumer is a liberal by anybody’s definition. The New York Post is the most conservative paper in the city. For the Post to do a glowing editorial about Schumer’s first year in office is unheard of, but that is just what happened. Congratulations, Chuck.

* * * * *

Gordie Howe, the top hockey player of all time (if you don’t count Gretzky) has played a shift during a professional hockey game each decade since 1946, when he was a star for the Detroit Red Wings. He played for that team in the 50’s and 60’s as well. He "retired" in 1971 and moved to the AHL, where he played for the Houston Aeros and the Hartford Whalers. He played for the Whalers until they entered the NHL in 1980. During the 1990’s he played one shift with the Detroit Vipers, Now, he wants to play a shift for that team once again despite the fact that he just underwent surgery. At 71 years of age, he definitely would be the oldest player ever to play in a professional game and the only one to play during seven decades.

* * * * *

That’s it for this week. Send comments, Yankee arguments and complaints to newsie42@aol.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

 

 

Check Out News Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Riding the Wave with Mark Healey on BlogTalkRadio