2000-11-11 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes

by Howard Schwach

I was thinking about the Arverne Urban Renewal Area last week as I cruised westward on Edgemere avenue. It seems to me that it is even more important now to find something to develop there that will do two things for Rockaway: Bring real jobs and bring middle class money. The only thing that fills that bill is an outlet mall. I believe that 100 stores on the site will bring more than a 1,000 jobs on a regular basis. You have people to work in the stores, two shifts a day. You have security people and cleaners. You have food service people and managers. Look at Tanger Mall in Riverhead or at the Liberty Belle Mall in Philadelphia, Freeport, Maine or some of the upstate malls and tell me that a mall does not bring jobs, restaurants, hotels and money. It is just what we need, not a miniature golf course. Get busy, people. It might be our last chance.

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The Community Board’s support for Claire Shulman’s plan for a mix of housing and recreation (including a nine-hole golf course) on the site raised the question again of "who is community?" Shulman maintains that the community supports her, but is the community board really the community. They are, in reality 50 handpicked people. Claire Shulman, Audrey Pheffer and Pauline Cummings handpick them. They are often chosen more for their political correctness and their allegiance to the politicians than they are for their community savvy or their dedication to community. In many cases, members are not reappointed because they mention something that Shulman or Pheffer do not like. Are they the representatives or our community? We do not elect them and we have no recall right. What kind of representatives can they be?

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If, as The Wave reported on its front page last week, the Big Al’s Topless Bar sign was all a joke, why did Lew Simon personally take credit for stopping the project in its tracks. I guess that is just Lew being Lew, taking credit for everything, but I have to say that it wears after a while.

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Speaking of new development on Beach 116 street, there are rumors all over the west end that the diner will soon be closed and will become a "TGIF Fridays," and that the old Seaport site will not become Big Al’s but instead will be a triplex movie theater. If only it were true.

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It is interesting to note that all but one of the major candidates in local elections placed last minute ads in The Wave in order to inform or to bamboozle Rockaway readers. The one who did not place an ad was Tony Weiner. I wondered if Weiner purposely ignored The Wave’s readers because the paper endorsed his opponent, but then I looked in the mainland papers that had endorsed Weiner and noticed that he did not advertise in any of them either. I guess he figured that he had it won and did not have to spend the money.

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There are a number of new DOT camera’s that automatically take a picture of a car’s license plate as it passes through a red light. The ticket is a $75 one and you can’t beat it. Look for the cameras where Rockaway Boulevard crosses Brookville Blvd. (better known as Snake Road). Also look for the camera while traveling on Flatbush Avenue in front of Toys R’ Us.

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Two weeks ago I drove out to Sunken Meadows State Park on the North Shore to watch the USAF’s crack team, the Thunderbirds, roar around the sky for a half an hour or so. The long ride and the cold, windy weather on the boardwalk there were worth the while, however, it was quite a show. It was also the only performance in New York State this year by the team. Since the Blue Angels (the Navy equivalent of the Thunderbirds) has shut down due to an accident that killed some of its members, it is the only game in town. As I stood on the boardwalk looking out at the small beach and the Long Island Sound beyond, I had to wonder why Rockaway couldn’t host such an event. While Coney Island usually hosts the Blue Angels on July 4, why not the Thunderbirds for Rockaway? True, I would much rather have the Navy’s F-18’s rather than the Air Force’s F-16’s (truthfully, I would rather see the F-14’s or the older F-4’s), but I could live with it. Perhaps it is something for our locals pols and activists to pursue. We could have a military air show in the afternoon and fireworks at night in August in Rockaway. Sounds good to me.

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Al Stabile (Big Al, himself) wants to be borough president and he believes that he can win it. I’m not sure. There will be an awful lot of out of work city council people seeking the position, including Tony Seminerio. It is going to be an interesting election and a wide-open one. Some of the names often thought to be leaning towards running for the open seat are Lew Simon, Geraldine Chapey and others.

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It was not a good day for local high school football. Both Far Rockaway High School and Beach Channel High School lost their games. Springfield Gardens beat the Dolphins by a 16-6 score while the Seahorses lost to Long Island City HS by a 26-0 score. That pretty much takes the two schools out of the playoff picture for this year, but both had winning seasons.

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Now that the Subway Series is over and we had two New York City Teams vying for the top prize in Baseball, we might turn towards the possibility that two New York City teams (although they are not really New York City Teams) might vie for the top prize in football – the Super Bowl. After the Jet’s loss this week, the possibility became dimmer but it could stall happen.

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The Army Corps of Engineers will probably spend more than three million dollars to pour one and a half million cubic yards of sand onto Rockaway beaches. That is money thrown away. Sure, the beaches need to be replenished. They need sand. All of our sand moves west to Breezy Point and to Coney Island. Our loss is their gain. The sand that is pumped from the ocean bottom now, however will probably wind up back on the ocean bottom by the end of the storm season this year or next. It never stays. What we really need are berms and jetties that really keep the sand from moving westward. Until we get those more permanent sand keepers, we are doing nothing but throwing money into the ocean. Most of the sand will be pumped on the beaches between Beach 30 and Beach 40 streets, where the ocean often ends up under the boardwalk.

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That’s it for this week. Remember to send comments, complaints and story tips to newsie42@aol.com. Have a good week and safe home.


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