2001-08-18 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes by Howard Schwach

Sometimes you hang around, waiting for a meeting to start and you get a great story just for being in the right place at the right time. I was hanging around Pier 92, awaiting Freddie Ferrer and Dan Tubridy, the owner of the restaurant told me a great story. Seems that he was one of The Wave’s first delivery boys, beginning with a route in Broad Channel that coincided with his "Tablet" route. That was in 1961 – more than 40 years ago. Since that time, there has been a Tubridy child or a cousin from the Mills or Flynn families that took over the route when the last family member dropped off for college or real life. The present Wave deliverer is Mark Flynn, Dan’s great-nephew.

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Fernando "Freddie" Ferrer was the guest speaker at a forum held at Pier 92 by The Wave and the Chamber of Commerce last Monday. I have to say that the candidate impressed me by his demeanor and his knowledge of Rockaway’s problems. Ferrer was candid. "Rockaway is unfortunately part of the ‘other New York City,’ and that is why it does not get the services it needs." Perhaps there is one Democrat who I could vote for.

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If you like kites, get ready for a great weekend. If the Chamber of Commerce has its way, there will be kites from one end of the peninsula to the other on Saturday, September 1. The major event of the day will be held at the beach in front of the Riis Park bathhouse. Organizers of the event told me that they had to use that beach because it was the only one big enough to hold the "house-sized kites" that will be presented there. The plan, however, is to take some of the smaller kites to Beach 116 Street. Keep tuned for times and further information.

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Some of the residents on Holland Avenue in the area where a new apartment building will be constructed were angry that Lew Simon took over their demonstration against the project last week. It seems that Simon called a meeting with the developer and invited a few of the residents from the area to join him. Many others, however, felt that they had been left out of the process and that it was clear to them that Simon had become an "apologist" for the developer rather than an advocate for their beliefs.

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I was at a christening in Broad Channel last weekend and the house where the party was taking place was right on one of the numerous canals running into the bay that delineate the channel. It was low tide and there was a dark green tinge to the water. I saw dead fish floating on the surface. I thought that it might be the algae attacking the bottom. The next morning, however, I got a call from a angry Broad Channel resident who tells me that the storm the other night forced several of the sewage plants that surround the bay to discharge raw sewage. "I have never seen anything like it," my caller said. "The wildlife is dying. There are blackfish floating on the surface of the water. That has never happened before." He says that there is a 48-inch pipe in the local sewage plant that is in disrepair and that it cannot be fixed nor replaced.

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I have said before that we could put a fence around our beaches and that somebody would climb the fence to go swimming off-hours and drown. Well, just that thing happened last week when a young man climbed the fence at a city swimming pool in Brooklyn after midnight, jumped into the water and was found later by his friends, floating on the surface. Once again, you have "community activists" blaming the city for the accident. It is time for people, even young people, to take responsibility for their own actions. Did a 16-year-old kid know that it was dangerous to swim in the closed pool in the early morning hours? Of course he did. That was part of the excitement. That he died is a tragedy, but the only one who could have stopped it was the child himself or his parents, who had to wonder what he was doing out of the house at 1 a.m. on a weeknight.

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John Baxter has the Independence Party line in the upcoming city council election and Joann Ariola wants it to add on to her Republican Party line. Both of them should remember that the party leader and its recent Presidential candidate recently is Lenora Fulani. Why does that name sound familiar? Because she is the woman who wanted "weighted voting," so that the votes of minorities would count more than the votes of non-minority voters. She is the woman who praised Louis Farrakhan. Does Baxter accept her as his party’s leader? Does Ariola accept her as her leader and ideal? I don’t think so. By the way, just to keep it fair, it should be noted that Mike Bloomberg also has the Independence Party line.

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My daughter’s friends threw her a surprise bridal shower at Harbor Light on Beach 130 Street last weekend, and I have to tell you that I was delighted with the way the owner went out of his way to take care of the young partygoers. The food was superb, the service was magnificent and the price was reasonable. I just want to say "thanks" to the ownership of Harbor Light for a job well done.

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The Far Rockaway Mall is once again targeted for revitalization, according to a story in last weekend’s Newsday. Where have I heard that song before? The Wave has been covering that story for the past ten years and, during that time, the Stark family, who own the mall, have allowed it to deteriorate to the point that is now the biggest eyesore in Queens, bar none. The problem is that the family does not want the stores in the mall to succeed, does not want any revitalization of the mall. Why? You’d have to ask them, but it is clear after all this time that they would rather see it go to seed.

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Now that the NYPD impound plan is dead at Riis Park, activists can switch their focus to the plan to get the Coast Guard out of Gateway. That should be an interesting fight.

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Lew Simon has been known to stick his foot in his mouth, but he really outdid himself at a political forum on the mainland recently. Reportedly, Lew said something like "I am not running on my dead father’s reputation," a statement targeted at candidate Joe Addabbo, Jr., whose father was a Congressman. The crowd started booing and did not stop until Simon left the stage. I have been told that Simon got more strident and belligerent the more he was booed.

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That’s it for this week. Remember top send comments, complaints and story tips to editor@rockawave. Have a good week, and safe home.


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