2000-06-10 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes


by Howard Schwach

Those who own stores on Beach 116 street are predicting problems this summer. The new muni-meters allow for four-hour parking and many people are taking the spaces for the full four hours, going to the beach and coming back to renew their parking stub for another four-hour tour. That allows them to park for eight hours for just four bucks. And, it leaves little room for residents who want to park for a few minutes just to pick up some bread, some milk or the Sunday papers. Those who want to stop "just for a minute" have been parking at the curb and they are getting parking tickets. Perhaps the solution is to allow 10 or 15 minute parking at the curb during the summer months, particularly on the weekends. We have special rules for parking during the summer all over the west end in the summer, why not allow a couple of minutes on the curb for those who really want to shop on the shopping streets. The storeowners would appreciate it, and so would the motorists.

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A number of correspondents e-mailed me to let me know that the open-air movie theater on the boardwalk was at Beach 67 street. Thanks for the tip. I remember that I enjoyed going there as a kid and that it was destroyed by a hurricane. I remember little else about the theater and help from those who wrote with the location gratifies me.

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The Parks Department has dumped on Rockaway once again. The litany of mistakes the city department has made in Rockaway is legend. At one time we had Walter Ward to protect us. He was the longest serving member of the city council and the chair of its Parks Committee. Rockaway got whatever it needed. Now, instead, we have Al Stabile, who has not even maintained an office in Rockaway for the past few years. We have had the debacle of removing all of the garbage pails from the boardwalk. We have had shakedowns of residents who were made to give money to the private Parks Foundation before work could be completed. We have had the ridiculous specter of the department refusing to place street location signs that would beautify the beachfront in place because the leader of the local homeowners association is obdurate (I can’t call the organization a civic organization because it does not allow all residents to join). We have had the bad fortune to run a major event – the Rockaway Ocean Run—in a place where the department holds sway. It refused to open the bathrooms to runners and then failed to clean up the course. Now comes the fact that, for the second year in a row, the department has failed to recruit the necessary number of lifeguards to adequately man the Rockaway beaches. Why a beach community has to put up with all of this foolishness and why our local city council people do not do something about it is beyond belief.

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I do not like the Air Train idea and I have been against it from the start even though I knew that it was a done deal from the beginning because it had the support of the unions and therefore of the local politicians. Even though I oppose the project, I also have to decry the behavior of the person or persons who protested the project by burning down a construction crane worth $1.8 million dollars. In addition, the perps put the firefighters who rushed to the scene in danger. Terrorism is never the right way to get a political point heard by others.

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Now the truth can be told. After a long and expensive study (probably done at public expense) scientists from the Acoustics Society have found that candy wrappers make as much noise if you unwrap them slowly as they do when you rip the wrapper from the candy. In addition, they found that slowly unwrapping the candy just makes the noise last longer. Their suggestion: unwrap quickly.

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There is no doubt that the Arab nations, through OPEC, are playing with our economy. Even though OPEC promised to increase oil production, they have failed to do so and prices at the gas pump continue to rise. Senator Chuck Schumer says that the price will probably be a whopping $2 bucks and beyond by summer. Chuck wants the president to push some of our oil reserves into the pipeline to increase the supply and thereby reduce the cost. That would anger the Arabs, however, and Clinton does not want to do that. This will shortly become a campaign issue, as everything does. Hillary will try and justify her husband’s failure to release the reserves and Lazio will point out that the candidate’s husband is the one responsible for the high cost of gasoline and heating oil. Or, Clinton could release the reserves at the right time and Hillary can take credit for it, gaining some extra votes. How knows what evil lurks in the minds of politicians?

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Newsweek Magazine recently detailed the things that we have come to count on that will soon be obsolescent. Among them: VHS tapes and tape machines, floppy disks, CD-Roms, fax machines, phone companies, cable TV, and photocopiers. Those things that will survive despite being retrograde: PC, film, newspapers, fountain pens and Rolodex cards.

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I am obviously opposed to violence in the school yard, but I think the school that suspended three kindergarten kids for three days because they were playing "cops and robbers" during recess was taking things too far. The school said that it does not have a "zero tolerance policy" against violence, but the kids were suspended because they were pointing their fingers at each other like they were guns and were saying, "I killed you." There has to be some common sense in this race to keep violence from our schoolrooms.

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Add to that stupidity the fact that some parents in London are trying to ban the game of "musical chairs" in their children’s schools because "children learn from games like musical chairs that the strongest or the fastest one who pushes the others out of the way win the game." Well, isn’t that what life is all about anyway?

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Quote without comment from columnist Thomas Sowell: "The promotion of ‘self-esteem’ in our schools has been so successful that people feel free to spout off about all sorts of things – and see no reasons why their opinions should not be taken as seriously as the views of people who actually know what they are talking about."

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I haven’t really read Jimmy Breslin in a long time, but a friend directed me to his latest column and it was very interesting. Breslin, reacting to the fact that Nassau County bars city residents from its parks, thinks that we ought to put a fence along the border between Queens and Nassau and keep all those suburban residents out. No jobs in the city, no restaurants, no theater, no sports events, no anything. Breslin thinks that Nassau would dry up and blow away with the city being so nearby and so accessible. Interesting idea. I wonder what would happen if it were every carried to fruition?

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Boating in the bay should be safer with the new law that mandates that jet-ski riders take a state safety course and become licensed before they can ride their jet skis in New York waters. This law was in response to the accident last July 4 that killed two Queens men who crashed into the North Channel Bridge as they were riding their jet skis at more than 60 MPH. It will certainly make it quieter as well for those who access the bayfront restaurants and walkways.

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That’s it for this week. Remember to send comments and complaints toNewsie42@aol.com. Have a good week and safe home.

 


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