2000-07-15 / Columnists

Simon Says….

by Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

We had a wonderful Fourth of July this year. The weather was beautiful and the parties were great.

The first party we attended was at the Kerry Hills Club, which is owned by businessman Jimmy O’Sullivan. Jimmy donates a lot of money to the Rockaway community. Although I don’t drink, we do stop by occasionally for a soda. It is a family establishment with no minors being served. Many community neighbors visit and spend time cooling off, and watching the big screen TV or listening to the jukebox.

Jimmy and his lovely wife Carmel hosted a beautiful barbecue on their back patio, which is decorated with tables with umbrellas and old fashioned Lily Langtry lights.

Everyone can enjoy the atmosphere as well as the fine service and friendly greetings of many Rockaway residents. We wish Jimmy and Carmel continued success in their fine establishment. We look forward to Jimmy selling hot food.

We later attended a great Fourth of July blast at the apartment of Barbara Leahy. Barbara is a great community activist who has a heart of gold. She lives on the seventh floor with a terrace that faces the beach. Talk about beautiful views. Barbara’s apartment is one of the largest and most beautiful I’ve seen on the boardwalk. Her neat meticulous decorations should qualify her to be a decorator.

Some of the people at the party were Maureen McGee, president of the St. Francis Golden Age Club, and her husband Andy, my cameraman; Ann Leahy; Sissy Bennett and her boyfriend Joe Valenti; Mary McClernon and her daughter Cathy; Pat McNamara; Bea Quinn; and Marion McCarthy.

Bea Quinn is always there for all Irish causes in our community. Joe Valenti is grand knight of the Knights of Columbus. Marion had us laughing with many good jokes. Margaret McDermott sang the "Wind Beneath My Wings."

Numerous merchants have asked me to visit their stores on Beach 116 street to discuss the boardwalk flea market that started last week. These merchants, as well as merchants on Beach Channel drive and Rockaway Beach boulevard, have to pay rent 12 months a year, utilities and property taxes, while people on the boardwalk rent their spots for the weekend and have no cost for lighting, air conditioning, or insurance.

In speaking to one vendor, I asked if they needed a consumer affairs permit to operate. He said they do, but known was shown. I asked him how business was and he told me he hadn’t made a sale all day.

It’s great to have a flea market sale for a day or weekend, but unfair for a full summer. If the Parks Department would like to go back to the days of old they could rent concessions for an ice cream parlor, food court, games, knishes, and clothing, as in Atlantic City. The plans should be discussed and properly advertised. They should not be sprung on us!

With the boardwalk in disrepair, trash baskets missing, water fountains inoperative, sprinklers broken, and lacking lifeguards, something is wrong. My suggestion is to collect a dollar from each non-resident who uses the beach. The money would be used for boardwalk and beach improvements. Until this is done, Parks Commissioner Henry Stern should bury his head in the sand because it is apparent he doesn’t give a damn about Rockaway.

After I received one phone call from Mary Kamil that Dancing Under the Stars no longer existed, we immediately reached out to Esther Rabinowitz, who runs the program. She told us how much it costs and we secured a check for the full amount from Rockaway resident Marvin Eisenstadt, owner of Cumberland Sweet ‘N Low. God bless Marvin and his wife Barbara for their leadership in keeping music and art in Rockaway.

On Thursday we received a call from my "adopted" grandmother, Mitzi Scolnick, that her beloved husband Earl had passed in the night. I was very proud to call Earl my "grandfather". For over 25 years he has been a best friend, confidant, advisor, and mentor. As we were both Leos, we sometimes bumped heads.

Earl always fought for the community first. He helped found two parades in Far Rockaway in 1978 and 1991 during Desert Storm. He helped to raise money to construct Michael J. Sessa Square. He gave tirelessly to the community as executive vice president of the Seaview Towers Tenants Association, running weekly bingo games. He was active in Congregation Shaare Zedek, an active member of the Roy Reuther Senior Center and vice president of the Good Government Democratic Club.

A man with a kind heart of gold, he was married for almost 70 years to his lovely bride Mitzi. They spent most weekends traveling on busses to Green Acres or Kings Plaza for enjoyment. We ask everyone to keep Mitzi in their prayers. We know its going to be hard Mitzi, but we will be there for you.

The community cruise of the 100 Precinct Community Council to raise money for the fireworks on the Night Out Against Crime is the highlight of the year. We salute the community leaders who pulled off this event: Liz Sulik, Jate and Sandee Doremus, Nancy Woods, Debbie Horan, Bernadette and Harold Rochelle, Palmer Doyle, and Joanne Greenberg. Of course, I was selling raffles. The Lewettes -- Mary Martinez of Waldbaum’s, Janet Brady of Hammel’s Senior Center, and Debbie Horan of RAC, joined me in singing my theme song "Ain’t No Stopping Us Now." We had a great time!

Our next trip to Atlantic City will be on Saturday, July 22 at 5:30 p.m. The cost is $25 with $12.50 returned. Call my office for reservations.

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