2001-02-17 / Columnists

Short Takes

Short Takes

The National Park Service has apparently taken Rockaway off the map when it comes to ferry travel. You will remember all of the photo ops and political statements about building a ferry slip at Gateway National Park that would facilitate commuter ferry travel to Manhattan. Now we know where we stand. The NPS is a major sponsor of a study that would provide for a 25-stop ferry loop that would "link Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn and New Jersey with a fleet of 99 passenger vessels." According to the NPS and the other sponsors of the plan, this is the "comprehensive" ferry plan that would tie everything together. Is something missing? Sure, something is missing. Rockaway (and all of Queens for that matter) is missing. No Breezy Point. No JFK Airport. The stop that is furthest south according to the plan would be at Fort Wadsworth, just north of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. The planners do admit that subsidies will be necessary to get the price to the point where it would be affordable and that it will be difficult to get subsidies. They are counting on the NPS to bring federal money to the mix. What happened to the ferry at Breezy Point? Why was it not included in the new plan? Certainly, the NPS knew all about it, sponsored it, agreed that it was necessary for "special events at Gateway." The fact that our stop and the stop at JFK were omitted speaks volumes. Manhattan interests rule and we are at the far end of the table.

* * * * *

I was crossing Beach Channel drive at Beach 115 street last weekend, waiting for the traffic to pass, and I read the sign attached to the dead plantings along the median. The Parks Department sign calls the mall the "Astor Place" plantings and says that the "Village Circle Civic Association" will maintain them. Who are those people and why are they mentioned on our sign? Probably because the Parks Department was too cheap to make a new sign that would actually represent Rockaway interests. Either that or they figured that nobody would ever read the sign. They were almost right.

* * * * *

A few years ago, the New York Times Magazine ran a story about a young Latino girl who was holding together a gang while her boyfriend (with whom she had recently had a child) was in prison. The article treated the girl as something of a hero for holding together her gang "family" under adverse conditions. I could not believe that the paper would run such an article and that editorial focus was one of the reasons I stopped reading the paper on a regular basis. Last week the same magazine ran a cover story entitle "Ecstasy," and it came out as a paean to the drug. I am sure that the myriad of women who have been raped after unknowingly ingesting the drug would disagree and so do I. Lots of people disagreed. One reader wrote, "perhaps I am being over sensitive because among the article’s readers was my 14-year-old son, who read it before I did. Had I seen it first, I would have hidden the magazine." She would have been right to do so. The article employed words to describe the use of the drug such as "euphoria," "empathy," "epiphany," and "enlightenment." Those are not words that kids should see in connection with any dangerous drug and the Times should know better.

* * * * *

I cannot believe the reaction to the news that the New York Giant under Leo the Lip found a way to "cheat" by stealing the catcher’s signals to the pitcher and relaying that news to the batters. Believe me folks, stealing signs is a valid old baseball tradition and it goes on today. Otherwise, why would the catcher give a myriad of signals before he gave the real sign? The proof in the pudding is that the Giants used the sign-stealing procedure only at home and the team won 14 of its last 18 road games. Today there are rules against stealing signs by "mechanical means." There were no such rules in 1951. I am not sure whether a telescope and a buzzer would be thought of as mechanical means today. In any case, forget the 40-year-old cheating scandal. The Giants made the largest comeback in sport’s history and the team won fair and square and that’s what history should remember.

* * * * *

Al Stabile and Juanita Watkins, who want to overturn the votes of the electorate just so they can continue to draw a paycheck, had a setback this week. They cannot repeal the term limit laws without the approval of the Justice Department and it is hardly likely that Justice would allow such a move in light of the fact that the limits will allow for an increased minority participation in government.

* * * * *

The new president of Hunter College is Jennifer Raab. She chairs the Landmarks Preservation Commission for Giuliani. She has no educational qualifications for the job. Her only qualification is her work for the mayor and the fact that her husband, Michael Goodwin, was, until recently, the executive editor for the Daily News. Her selection was obviously a patronage one and Giuliani reacted in typical fashion when asked by reporters why she was chosen. "Oh, my God, a non-educator," the mayor wailed. "A non-educators going to gun a school!" He then went on to speculate whether that would allow her to do a better job. So much for what the mayor thinks of educators.

* * * * *

If the politically correct have their way, we will soon have another state holiday. This one will be on March 10 and it will commemorate the death (the honoree’s birth date is unknown) of Harriet Tubman, who is known as the most famous "conductor" on the Underground Railroad. If the holiday passes muster, it will the first honoring a woman of any color.

* * * * *

It is time for Henry Stern to move along. His Parks Department has just done too many things that are wrong if not illegal for him to remain in office. It shook down individuals. It shook down organizations. It held back minorities at the same time it promoted younger and less experienced workers from "elite" colleges. It set up a private foundation to take its shakedown money and then spent the money as he saw fit. He is considered to be a "character" and to be "eccentric," but the fact is, he is a tyrant who runs the department for his own ego gratification and for the benefit of his and the mayor’s friends. He has helped to destroy our beaches with his policies on lifeguards, on wastebasket and on beachside bathrooms. It has been years since he genuinely addressed the needs of the communities the department serves and it is time for him to go.

* * * * *

Rockaway resident Claire Droesch (who is headed for Boston College next year) once again helped CK beat the top team in the Philadelphia Catholic League by scoring 36 points in a 52-44 win over Cardinal O’Hara High School.

* * * * *

Al Hevesi was my favorite candidate for mayor. I use the past tense because I am no longer sure that I want to vote for him. First, he supported the move to do away with term limits. "Al thinks that it is a bad idea to throw everybody out at the same time," a Hevesi spokesperson said. Then he reached out to Al Sharpton by going to his King Day ceremonies. Hevesi said that he had "learned a lesson from Sharpton" "I didn’t get it, I got it late," he said of the Black anger over the Diallo case. That did not help him much, because he was later heckled in the Bronx at a pro-Diallo rally. He eventually had to leave the stage. This all seems to me to be pandering and I will not vote for a candidate who panders.

* * * * *

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.


Return to top


Email Us
Contact Us

Copyright 1999 - 2014 Wave Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved

Neighborhoods | History

 

 

Check Out News Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Riding the Wave with Mark Healey on BlogTalkRadio