2001-01-06 / Columnists

On The Beach

Hope you all have a very happy, healthy, and safe New Year! With all this snow piling up outside, I'm in a St. Thomas state of mind! One of the redeeming aspects to the New Year's snowstorm is that we had no choice but to leave the car and get out walking in the winter wonderland; and in doing so, we had a chance to meet many of our neighbors whom we really don't get to see very often. We've certainly been very lucky these past several years with mild winters; but sometimes I just really enjoy a good old-fashioned snowstorm! It's a great equalizer in that it forces everything and everyone to just stop at the same time and abandon routine. There's something that I find very humbling in that!

It was nice to see Rabbi Weiss shopping in Waldbaum's on Sunday after the storm. In his 80’s, he is such an inspiring figure to so many. There he was pushing a heavy shopping cart on a day when most would merely pull the covers over their head and stay in bed! He is always so fit and gracious. I very much appreciate his presence in our community. My congratulations to Rabbi Joe on the birth of his grandson Houston Moses Weiss! (Please read Dr. Geraldine Chapey's column about this joyous event!)

Although the Sanitation Department did an exceptional job locally in clearing our streets, I cannot say the same about the Police Department in their choice to issue tickets the day after the storm when many cars were
still buried under snow. In an imperfect world where many seize opportunistic chance to "make a buck", you'd rather "expect" certain stores to take advantage and over-charge for necessary items like rock salt. However, there's something so disingenuous when the Police Department starts issuing tickets to buried cars the day after the storm. Although I didn't receive one, I would encourage those who did to write letters, take photographs, and fight it!

Rockaway and some of those who reside here were the subject featured in all three dailies. On the front page of the New York Times, and continued in the Metro section, there was a photograph of our seascape and an article about the frivolous and fun attempt by the Littoral Society of New York to make contact with their neighboring chapter in New Jersey. Every New Year's Day the organization's membership take a two mile stroll along the beach, and with makeshift reflectors, they try, and always to no avail, to make contact with those doing the same on the shore at Sandy Hook! They never expect to do so; but it's just a great excuse to get out and enjoy our fresh salt air and open spaces!

The New York Post had a photograph of a surfer "riding a tube" in Arverne. The article, entitled, "Will The Beach Have Its Day?" was about an area that "time--and the boom forgot." This most recent attempt by the city offers a portion of the 300 acres to developers as Requests For Proposals to build 1,000 market rate housing and create "Arverne-by-the Sea." The article questions whether this plan, along with a succession of so many others, will go headlong into the surf!

In its "Spotlight On Great People," The Daily News did a feature story on Dr. Geraldine D. Chapey. Dr. Chapey has long been a distinguished leader and revered member of our community. The article highlights her accomplished career as an educator, author, and Regent. Dr. Chapey was recently honored for her professional accomplishments by St. Joseph's College where she obtained her undergraduate degree. She attributes her education at St. Joseph's for having given her the "qualities of perseverance and persistence" that have served her well over the course of her career.

And quite a career it has been! Dr. Chapey holds a doctorate from Fordham, is world renown in the field of education, has published widely (and in several different languages) on speech pathology, is a professor in the CUNY system, and has been an assistant principal, principal, and community school board president.

Dr. Chapey was honored along with Sister Mary Florence Burns who is also an Alumni as well as vice president for academic affairs at the college. The article states that if "winning awards were a form of currency, Sister Mary Burns and Dr. Geraldine Chapey would have enough coins of the realm between them to buy a small country!" Among her many awards, Dr. Chapey has received a citation in the "International Who's Who of Intellectuals" as well as a papal appointment as a Dame in the Sovereign Military Order of the Knights and Dames of Malta.

I know her as being my friend Geraldine M. Chapey's mother, and a stunning role model for all women. Oh, and yes, I have to agree with Daily News writer Clem Richardson, Dr. Chapey is definitely that special kind of distinguished breed who can "invigorate a room!"

Special birthday wishes to Teresa Baxter and James Conway Sullivan!

See you...On the Beach!


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