2001-05-19 / Columnists

Short Takes

Short Takes

Perhaps the new call for a Request For Proposal (RFP) for a sports complex in two of the crumbling hangers at Floyd Bennett Field is the back door to the Olympic-sized swimming pool that Rockaway residents have been hunting all these years. Floyd Flake first promised the pool at Riis Park to Rockaway and then Chuck Schumer did the same. It seems to me it was one of the promises Tony Weiner made as well, but the millions needed for the proposal were never forthcoming and probably never will be. A small amount of money was budgeted this year for the "box" that the pool will sit in, but we are a long way from a competitive meet. The sports complex might be the answer. Add an ice-skating rink, a roller-hockey rink, a championship basketball court, a roller-blade venue, some batting cages, an indoor golf driving range and some other amenities and you have something that Rockaway can use to its resident’s advantage. If you want to see what can be done in a rather small area, drive down West Street in Manhattan to the Chelsea Piers and take a look around.

* * * * *

OK, so I blew it last week. The Kosher Deli on Beach 116 Street will really open this Sunday. I must have been so hungry that I was blinded by my desire for a kosher frankfurter.

* * * * *

One correspondent recently E-mailed me to ask a question that I could not answer. The writer wanted to know why there are no ramps to the boardwalk from Beach 90 Street to Beach 110 Street. "Long Beach and the West End of Rockaway have ramps, but we do not," she says, and she is right. "Without the ramps, it makes it difficult for people with small children and carriages and people with wheelchairs to get to the beach." She adds, "Since there are a number of residences being added to the area with the building of new homes, there is a real need for the ramps." She is right and I have to add that to the list of things that I have to ask Henry Stern next time I see him.

* * * * *

Stern and his Department of Parks are no friends of Rockaway. The department continually fails to hire enough lifeguards to staff our beaches, refuses to put much-needed garbage cans on the boardwalk, leaves the beach looking like the parade grounds at Woodstock after each beach weekend, refuses to open the bathrooms on the boardwalk during the boardwalk runs such as the Ocean Run, shakes down residents for allowing them to do things to their homes that they should be able to do "by right," charges exorbitant amounts to allow local groups to hold fundraisers in their own parks and beaches and that is only the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps it is time for Stern to make plans to leave along with his benefactor, Rudy Giuliani, who thinks that he can do no wrong.

* * * * *

I want to remind everybody that the 100 Precinct explorer group will hold a cocktail party fundraiser at the Washington Hotel this Sunday, May 20, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. There will be a DJ and lots of dancing. Tickets will be available at the door. This is a really worthy cause and attendance will go a long way towards helping young people become productive adults.

* * * * *

The Green Bus Line has been zonked again by a city report that says that it missed four of its six performance standards indicators on the last test. If it were a school, Giuliani would be calling for privatization, but because the bus lines give lots of loot to local pols, they remain in the game ten years after bids were supposed to be put out for the routes. It is time for the mayor and Noach Dear (the chair of the council transportation committee) to put the routes up for bids. In this case, competition is all and the service will not improve until the Green Bus and Jamaica Bus lines have something to lose. The private lines, by the way, get $138 million a year in public subsidies and you can see why they give chunks of it back in the form of campaign contributions.

* * * * *

There are those who argue against bringing the 2012 Olympic games to New York City. They complain about the usual things, the crowds, the lack of public transportation, the cost in terms of public money to build the infrastructure necessary to snare the rights to the games. I can understand some of their concerns, but then I look at the artist’s rendering of the $24 million marina slated for Breezy Point, designed to hold the 125 boats that will take part in the sailing races and I think about what that can become when the three-week long games are over and what that can mean to Rockaway’s economy, and I dream that it might really come to fruition.

* * * * *

Queens Democratic pols are betting that party boss Tom Manton will back Audrey Pheffer for the borough president slot. They say that it is all politics. Follow the bouncing ball: Shelly Silver wants Pheffer and Silver will get a huge say on the redistricting – he is the Assembly speaker. Manton wants to have his input and he needs to do Silver a favor – such as backing Pheffer. Of course, he may not. He may back Helen Marshall, the Black candidate so that he can gain some power with the Black Caucus. It’s the politics, stupid! By the way, the word is that Manton wanted Marshall to drop out of the race and he promised her his backing for Public Advocate, but she turned him down.

* * * * *

It probably will do little good, but if you want your voice heard on the redistricting coming to your home town shortly, show up at Queens Borough Hall on Friday, June 1 from 1 to 10 p.m. If you want to speak, you have to register in advance with the task force that is gleaning public input. You can reach them at 212-618-1100. While it is probably a done deal even at this early date, it can’t hurt to be heard.

* * * * *

I have heard for years that we cannot build market rate housing in Arverne because nobody would buy it. The naysayers argued that the housing projects would be a deterrent to middle and upper class people buying beachfront property in Rockaway. Well, Brighton Beach is not so different from Rockaway. It has a high Russian population, but it also has housing projects and it borders Coney Island, which has as many housing projects as we do. That did not deter buyers from snatching up condos in Brighton Beach that begin at $300 thousand and range up to $1.2 million. The first two buildings sold out from floor plans in less than a year and the two oceanfront buildings that are completed are almost fully occupied. The difference, of course, is that the land in Rockaway is publicly owned and has become a political and community football, while the property in Brooklyn was privately owned. Perhaps it is time to tell our elected officials to stop playing football and to give Rockaway what we need to revitalize the peninsula, and that is market rate housing.

* * * * *

If cleaning up the beach is your forte, meet today (Saturday, May 12) with the Rockaway Park Association and the Belle Harbor Property Owners Association at Beach 130 Street at 10:30. Bring your enthusiasm. Everything else will be supplied by the Parks Department.

* * * * *

That’s it for this week. Remember to send comments, complaints and story tips to newsie42@aol.com or
to my new address, hschwach @nyc.rr.com. You can also reach me at editor@rockawave.com.


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