2001-08-18 / Columnists


One of the best-kept secrets on the peninsula are the Riis Landing Cruises that sortie from the old Coast Guard Station in Fort Tilden each Friday night to see the fireworks at Coney Island. The cruise line will also run 3 hour Statue of Liberty cruises every Wednesday night for the remainder of the summer. The cost is low and the fun quotient is high.

I have stood in front of 6200 Beach Channel Drive a number of times over the past ten or twelve years and listened to various plans to revitalize the building. Each plan was more elaborate than the last and promised that the building would be used as, variously, a trade school, a school for troubled youth, a training center for the Job Corps, a community center, a K-8 school. Last Monday, I stood in front of the building again as plans were announced to turn it into a comprehensive health and training center. Why is this plan different from all the rest? It seems as if there is money to back up this plan while there were only ideas in the past. Let’s hope that it gets done, because a school that would train local residents for jobs in the airline industry at JFK is something that is badly needed here in Rockaway.

The National Night Out Against Crime activities on both Beach 44 Street and Beach 116 Street were well-attended and well-received. It is a shame that a shooting on the peninsula marred the spirit of the event, which is dedicated to the community taking back their streets from crime.

We should be seeing the Concorde’s return to JFK Airport sometime in late September or early November. It is expected that a number of local groups, both in Rockaway and on the mainland, will be forming soon to fight the return of the noisy, polluting, deadly aircraft.

Approximately 45 residents showed up for a protest demonstration on Holland Avenue last Thursday night. They were protesting the development of three-story rental units in their community. According to the protestors, the new development will bring excess traffic and noise to their quiet streets and will harm their property values. The developer, however, may build the housing units "as of right," because they fall within the zoning regulations now in effect.

Rockaway residents can face off against the candidates for City Council at a forum hosted by the Queens Civic Congress. The Rockaway "Community Conversation" will be held at Beach Channel High School on Monday, August 20 at 7 p.m. The candidates from both the 31st and 32nd councilmanic districts have been invited to participate.

The plan to house autos impounded by the NYPD at Riis Park is now a dead issue, according to published reports. Rockaway organizations geared up to fight the plan might now switch their focus to a more-recent plan for the park to take over the Coast Guard Station Rockaway, which would completely remove the organization’s presence from the Rockaway waters.

Joann Ariola, who has the Republican line all to herself in the upcoming city council election, has utilized the little-used "Opportunity to Ballot" clause in the election law to challenge John Baxter for the right to the Independence Party line. The primary election will be held on September 11.

The agreement that allowed the Doppler radar to remain in Gateway National Park brought $180 thousand in funds to the part rather than the $180 million previously reported. Congressman Anthony Weiner is still pondering taking his battle against the Doppler to the Supreme Court.

Local activists, who have not given up on their determination to close the Golden Video, see some hope in the new rules proposed by the City Planning Commission. Those rules would do away with the "60-40" rules that allows Golden Video and other shops around the city that sell pornographic material to operate in local communities. Under the proposed rules, inspectors could take into account not only the mathematical ratio, but also such factors as the prominence of display of the sexually related materials.

The city is not only facing a shortage of teachers, but of police officers as well. The problem facing the two groups are similar in nature: low pay, little respect, and little chance to do the job they were hired to do because of political and politically-correct pressure to not do so.

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