2000-03-04 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes


by Howard Schwach

Crews will soon begin construction on the much-needed Doppler radar unit to be sited at Floyd Bennett Field. It is now only about time, it is past time for the life-saving radar to begin its on-line life. There are still some who say that the radar unit is dangerous (that has been proven to all rational minds to be untrue). They say that it is an eyesore (beauty is in the eyes of the beholder). They say that it does not belong in a National Park (it is on a site that was never part of the Gateway National Park. It was owned by the Coast Guard and used for a helicopter pad. It is now used by the NYPD for the same purpose). I have as much at stake as the next person. I live across the water from the site, I pass by it each day and part of my history is tied up with Floyd Bennett Field. I did my Navy boot camp and was part of VR-831, the Navy’s air transport squadron, at the field for three years. The field has always been tied up with aviation and the Doppler radar is a proper use for the site. The lawsuit propagated by the politicians to stop the Doppler is being heard later this week. Let’s hope that the court throws it out. Let’s get it done!

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Speaking of planes, a number of the Rockaway schools will be soundproofed thanks to a federal program through the Port Authority. Those schools will get new windows and insulation that should make them less prone to intrusion by airplane noise. The schools that will benefit from the program are Middle School 180, Middle School 198 and Beach Channel High School. The program will reduce heating costs and cut aircraft noise about half, according to experts.

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The cops reacted quickly to a near riot at Beach Channel High School two weeks ago. The building had been rented to a group that was to hold a All Star Talent Show, an anti-violence rap show (an oxymoron if I ever heard one). The show was oversold and those who could not get in became restive. In addition, many expected a free show and decided that the 10-buck entrance fee was too steep. They began to get violent and reportedly threw things at the cops who were there to keep order. A level one mobilization was called and the budding riot was quelled. While it was not the school’s fault, perhaps the school should be careful whom they rent the facility to in the future. We need less violence in Rockaway, but we probably also needs one less rap show.

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I spoke with Al Stabile at the Broad Channel Volunteer’s annual dinner last week and he assures one and all that he is doing better. Although Al and I do not see eye to eye on many local issues, I want to wish him well and hope that his latest episode was the last of his medical problems. The dinner, by the way, was a blast and was well attended. Tony Weiner made an appearance, as did volunteers from many other local units. Al assured the crowd that he was in the race for borough president to stay and that he did not have his eye on any other city positions.

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While it is highly unusual for me to do so, I have to congratulate Lew Simon for getting the Broad Channel Volies a new (previously used by the NYFD) fire engine. While the "new" engine is a decade old, it is a decade newer than the one they now use.

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The word on the street is that the new XO of the 100 Precinct (a fast-mover) is more interested in ticket numbers than he is in "community" and in seeing the West End shopping areas survive. Somebody has to tell him that this is not Manhattan and that the owners on Beach 116 and Beach 129 live on the business of those who park for a short time to "grab" something that they need. If the ticket blitz continues, there is a danger that shoppers will leave the shopping streets and go to the malls with their major parking areas and lack of $45 tickets. I do not condone breaking the parking laws, but somebody has to see the need for flexibility.

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If you get a chance, grab the kids and go off to see the new Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History. We joined another Rockaway couple and made the trek to "the city" last week and it was well worth the $14 tickets (I am a senior citizen now), the $25 lunch (Roy Schieder of "Jaws" fame was sitting at the next table in the Museum cafeteria) and the $30 parking tab. The Planetarium show is both entertaining and humbling (do you really know how small the Earth is in relation to the entire universe?) and the "Hall of the Universe" is eye opening. By the way, the Willamette Meteorite is a major part of the Hall of the Universe. The Indian tribe on whose land it landed more than 10,000 years ago is suing to get it back on the grounds that it is a "religious object." It has been in private hands for more than 100 years and the Clackamas Indians have not lived nearby the meteorite since 1855. Somehow, I think that more people will see and enjoy it in New York City than will in small-town Oregon.

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Went with my makatunim to Le Cisterna Restaurant in Mineola during the holiday week and found not only some great Italian food but some live light opera as well. Chef Angelo Morinelli, the owner, holds an evening of dinner and opera the last Wednesday of each month. There was a soprano and a tenor and they each sang a number of individual arias as well as three duets. For $60 per person you get a four-course dinner and all the opera you care to hear on a nice relaxed evening. The food, by the way, was superb.

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The special election to fill the state senate seat held by Al Waldon will be held on March 28. Mal Smith will win the election because the Democrats have anointed him and they never lose these kinds of elections. Cynthia Jenkins and Jo Ann Shapiro have also made noises about running, but neither has a real chance. Jenkins has been on the outs with the party for years and they will go to any length to push her out the door. The word is that the Shapiro, the nupshleper for Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, has lost the backing of the Orthodox Jews, a group that was expected to be her core constituency (as it has been Pheffer’s). Candidates had to file petitions with 3,000 names of registered voters by February 29 in order to be eligible.

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One of The Wave’s most popular features (after my columns, of course) is the Police Blotter. Nobody seems to be opposed to the feature except for those who regularly appear in that space. There is a movement in a small corner of Connecticut to cut the police blotter out of their local paper, however. Readers of the Shore Line Times in Madison, Connecticut want the city to stop the paper from printing the blotter. Mostly teenagers, who seem to be disproportionally represented in the column, back the move more than the adult population. "It could effect your reputation in school and at work," says one of those opposed to the blotter’s publication. So far, nobody is passing petitions to get The Wave’s version of the popular column cut from its pages.

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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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