2000-05-27 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes


by Howard Schwach

It’s time for musical cars once again and I still do not think that it is fair that residents have to pay exorbitant fees to park in private driveways or be forced to park blocks away from their homes. I checked with some experts in the field and they tell me that there is a capability for a hand-held scanner that would read the EZ- Pass tags placed in car windows. Given that capability, why not try an experiment on a couple of streets. Residents (as evidenced by their EZ-Pass) would be allowed to park while an aggressive DOT force would ticket visitors. I took a walk last weekend and counted cars that had the pass in relation to those that did not. My findings: on three streets from bay to beach, 83 percent of the cars had an EZ-Pass in its window. It seems to me that this is worth an experiment and that it should be used all over the west end if it is successful in the experimental phase.

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It has been a long time since Rockaway had movies under the stars. I remember that when I was a kid there was an open-air movie on the boardwalk that was destroyed by a hurricane. Perhaps Emil Lucev or some reader out there can help me to remember where it was located and when it was destroyed. In any case, the movies are back. There will be open-air movies at Fort Tilden on June 9 and June 10. The movies, sponsored by the Rockaway Artists Alliance and Gateway, will include the Marx Brother’s hit "Horsefeathers" and the hit musical, "West Side Story." Movies will begin at 8:30 p.m. Let’s hope that this is the beginning of a great relationship.

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Why is it that whenever somebody writes negatively about Jack King, the president of the Belle Harbor Property Owners Association (no renters wanted), his son, Paul, attacks the writer? I know that sons are supposed to have loyalty to their fathers, but can’t Jack speak for himself? Jack has been wrong on so many issues in the past few years, from purging renters from the association, to dunes, to beachfront signs, that he has become a legitimate target of those genuinely interested in the community. Rather than attacking anybody who writes negatively about his dad, Paul should be working with his dad to remedy some of those mistakes.

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The Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation recently held a dinner dedicated to the "Rockaway Means Business," awards. I wrote that there were a number of things that bothered me about the dinner, one being that it was held in Howard Beach. The organization’s executive director took me to task on a number of issues and said that there was no place in Rockaway large enough to house his dinner. I did some checking and found the following: The Bayswater Jewish Center in Far Rockaway can hold dinners for up to 350 participants. The White Shul in Far Rockaway can hold 400 diners. The Washington Hotel in Belle Harbor (Yes, Jack, it is in Belle Harbor) can hold 300 in its main hall. Any one of those venues would have been big enough for the RDRC dinner. Whey then, Curtis, Howard Beach?

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Although I was not at the RDRC dinner, I understand from those who were that Pauline Cummings publicly asked if I were present to berate me for my comments that neither she nor the organization had done anything to either revitalize or develop Rockaway. I understand that Cummings has given a chunk of money to the schools and I thank her for that, but I have been in Rockaway more than 55 years and I have a good feel for what goes on here. The last time I looked (several years ago, before Archer came on board), more than 75 percent of the grant money that comes in to RDRC goes out in the form of salaries. If that is no longer true, Curtis, let me know and I will print the correct figure. If it is still true, then everybody knows what the organization is truly dedicated to doing. In the meantime, both you and Cummings should submit a list of all you have done for the community. I am sure that our readers would be interested in reading the list and I would be as well.

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Last week I wrote that some of the ferry sites slated for Manhattan were being fought by the local community. I have now been advised that those sites are on the upper East Side of Manhattan and have more to do with the ferries from lower Manhattan to the ritzy areas of the upper East Side than with the ferry service from Rockaway. I stand corrected. It is strange, however, that the Port Authority has been so concerned with moving wealthy people from Wall Street to their condos on the upper East Side that the organization has no time or money for moving less affluent people from Rockaway to their jobs in Manhattan.

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With Mayor Giuliani out of the race for both medical and personal reasons, it looks more and more like Hillary will be a shoo-in for the Senate slot. Rick Lazio will run and he will make Hillary’s status as a carpetbagger a major campaign issue, but that will not work in the city. According to the most recent polls, Clinton has a 13 point lead on Lazio – 45.7 percent to 32.2 percent. Lazio’s only hope is that there are a significant number of people who hate both Clinton and Giuliani and will vote for Lazio simply to have somebody else to vote for.

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The way that New Yorkers feel about education can be found in the controversy in Maspeth. The Board of Education wants to build a school that would alleviate crowding in a number of elementary schools. Many of those in the community are fighting for a Staples supply store. The more people you isolate from public education by pushing charter schools, vouchers, parochial school education, etc., the more you isolate public education from the public. When few people believe they have a stake in public education, you get Maspeth, where envelopes and scotch tape become more important than classrooms. We have met the enemy and he is us!

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I like the new plan for realigning major league baseball. The Yankees would wind up in a division with three other teams: Baltimore, Boston and Toronto. The Yanks would play those teams most often and that would just make for greater rivalries than already exist. The Mets would be in a division with Montreal, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Do you notice somebody missing? That’s right, no Atlanta. They would be in a division with Cincinnati, Florida and Tampa Bay. The realignment would certainly make it easier for the Mets to get into the playoffs. With some luck, the new plan should begin next season.

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If you want to see how many violations your favorite restaurant has been hit with over the past year, you can log into the city’s Health Department’s new website at www.nyclick.org/health.

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That’s it for this week. Remember to send comments and complaints to Newsie42@aol.com or to hschwach@ msn.com. Have a good week and safe home.

 

 


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