2000-07-15 / Columnists

From The G-Man...by Gary Toms

From The G-Man

Far Rock Merchants Deserve Praise

Hey people! Numerous awards have been given out to large community-based businesses, organizations and their leaders, within Far Rockaway over the years. After speaking to area residents, over the course of 25 years or so, some feel that these awards amount to nothing more than political favoritism, and others believe that the small "mom and pop" businesses never receive the credit they deserve. I dedicate this week’s column to mom and pop.

While Far Rockaway has evolved into a virtual ghost town, "Casperville USA", there are a few businesses that have chosen to stay and provide exceptional service to the community. Louie’s Flat Fix is a good example. Located at 20-14 Cornaga avenue, the corner of Beach 21 street, they specialize in tire replacement and repair. They have been operating, at this same location, for over 30 years, seven days a week! During the mid to late 70’s, it was under the ownership of the Arroyo family. I had the pleasure of knowing Eddie, Linda and Debbie Arroyo during my high school years, and I would stop by the shop to hang out with Eddie from time to time. It was a family business in every since of the word, and they took great pride in their Latino heritage. In my mind, I can still here the sounds of Tito Puente playing on the radio whenever I drive by.

Luis Mena is the current owner, and he goes the extra mile to make sure his customers are satisfied. He states, "If you’re happy with the service, then I’m happy." He has several attendants that help him to maintain the Arroyo tradition of quality service. Dawin Dias, one of the attendants, reminded me of my friend Eddie because he has a quick wit, and he is a man of character. I hope that they will continue to service the Far Rock area for another 30 years or more. Great job guys!

Although they may be at different locations in Far Rockaway now, there are some resident barbers, and beauticians, that deserve just as much praise. People like Toby, Pepe, Pierre, Carlton, Vernita and Beverly have managed to survive the onslaught of youth oriented shops in the area. Again, these stellar examples have remained because of their commitment to the community. They could’ve packed up a long time ago, after they saw the first tumbleweed, but they decided to stay, and this town is a little better because they did.

The clothing store merchants, Mr. Kim and Mr. Lee, are other outstanding examples. Back in my disco days, I used to buy all of my bellbottoms, disco belts, shirts and suits from Mr. Lee. I had money in my pockets and "Night Fever" running through my mind. I was a "Saturday Night Fever" fool! I was "The Mack", you hear me? Okay, you can stop laughing now! So what if I was called "Disco Danny" or "Gary Manero". At any rate, Mr. Lee is still around selling his merchandise, and so is Mr. Kim. They could’ve bolted and kicked the dust off their heels a long time ago, like many businesses did, but they didn’t. That says a lot about them.

Now I’m sure I left out some people that I might not be aware of, but take note that I would like to include you in this grouping. I’ve seen so many changes in "The Rock" since arriving here in 1975, but some things have remained constant. Committees, organizations, precinct captains, and local "sorryticians" have all changed up to this point, and I find it simply amazing that the people I praised have been able to stand the test of time.

You would think with all of the awards being tossed around, to those who don’t deserve anything, something might go to those I’ve acknowledged. These are people of character, poise, sincerity and sheer dedication. They have always provided more than a service. Some of them provided guidance, employment and hope to many when I was growing up in this town, and they still do. Surely, something can be done to illustrate how much they mean to the community. So, to the political reps of Far Rock, why not see what you can do to make this happen? You can start by using this article as a point of reference.

Okay, this last segment is very important, so listen up. I had some car trouble two weeks ago. I ran into an enormous pothole at the entrance of Beach 76 street. There was nothing covering it, and the only way you can avoid it is to veer left or right, into direct traffic, under the el. Thankfully, I wasn’t injured, but "Gracie" will probably need some axle work thanks to the stupid people at the Department of Transportation. Officer Glenn, from the 100 Precinct, arrived on the scene to help me. He told me complaints had been put in three weeks prior to my accident. So, I guess if I had hit the column, or crashed into oncoming traffic and died, that’s when they would’ve done something to cover the damn thing. I’m not done with the DOT by a long shot! My heartfelt thanks to Officer Glenn for his assistance, and sense of humor, during a stressful time. You rule dude! You truly are one of New York’s Finest. Please watch out for that pothole folks!

I’m at

Mapel2000@aol.com. if you need me. See you next week!


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