2001-08-25 / Columnists


This past year, Temple Beth-El in Rockaway Park entered its 81st year in service to the community and its Rabbi, Allan Blaine, entered his 32nd year in service to the synagogue.

Peter Vallone is still pushing a bill that he proposed that would ban smoking in all restaurants and in bars connected to restaurants. There are a number of bar in restaurant owners in Rockaway who are gearing up to fight the bill. Dan Tubridy, the owner of Pier 92, has always been on the forefront of the battle against a ban on smoking.

Sarah Berger and Ken Leif, both of Rockaway, were the only two persons who correctly identified Gustive and Mae Hartman in response to a picture of Mae that we ran two weeks ago. Gustive Hartman was a chief judge of the New York State Supreme Court and Mae ran the Israel Orphan Home in what is now a park at the end of Mott Avenue in Bayswater. The picture she holds in the Wave’s picture was of an artist’s rendering of the home. She was pictured with the city’s commissioner of Buildings.

Not everybody thinks of New York City as kid-friendly. A recent survey by the Zero Population Growth people, however, rank New York City fourth (behind Portland, Seattle andd Minneapolis) in terms of being just that. The study grades children’s quality of life in 239 American cities.

The focus is again falling on the Far Rockaway Shopping Mall, which has fallen into complete disarray. At one time, the mall was full of thriving businesses and restaurants. Now, only two or three remain. A number of politicians and activists have been working for years to clean up the mall’s act, but its owners would rather not. The Stark family, which has owned the property from the beginning, refuses to fix it up, clean it up, rent to new tenants, or to sell it to somebody who will. Why? That is a question that nobody seems to be able to answer, least of all, the Stark family.

The city has announced that 60 new two-family homes are being offered between Beach 59 and Beach 62 Streets, a portion of the Arverne Urban Renewal Area. The applicants for the $300 thousand homes will be chosen from among those who apply by lottery. Current Rockaway residents will get priority on about a third of the new homes and police officers on about five percent of the new homes. A minimum family income of $40 a year is required. Those who are interested should contact the Briarwood Organization in Bayside. The deadline for applications is August 31.

The latest polls show that Mark Green has increased his lead for the Democratic nomination for mayor with 36 percent of those polled. Alan Hevesi has risen to 19 percent, Peter Vallone to 17 percent and Fernando Ferrer has dropped to 14 percent. A candidate needs 40 percent to win the September 11th primary outright and it looks as if none of the candidates will get that 40 percent. If not, there will be a runoff between the two top vote getters two weeks later.

New York Post political pundit Bob Hardt took some time off from his day job to judge a Rockaway Beach bikini contest held at Connolly’s recently. Jeff Aquilante, the brother of Post rock critic, Dan Aquilante, hosted the affair.

If you crave kosher chicken, you have two places to go: the new Belle Harbor Deli on Beach 116 Street and the K Empire Roasters on Columbia Avenue in Cedarhurst. Both feature both eat-in and take-out menus and both cater to Rockaway residents.

Classes will begin on September 10 at the Long Island Gymnastics Academy in Cedarhurst. The facility has been training Rockaway youngsters for more than 20 years.

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