2001-12-01 / Columnists


Talk about insensitivity on the part of the city. A resident of the 200 block of Beach 131 Street, a street that has now become world famous because a plane dropped in on it, E-mailed us to say that she was shocked that their "Do Not Enter Against One Way," sign that was posted on the corner of Beach 131 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard has now become a "Dead End" sign. "It took my breath away," the resident said. "The Department of Transportation has chosen the wrong words at the wrong time." The resident and others on the block have contacted the DOT asking the agency to remove the offensive and insensitive sign.

The only school in Belle Harbor that was in session when Flight 587 crashed onto Beach 131 Street was the Yeshiva Mercaz Hatorah on Beach 129 and Cronston Avenue. The engine that landed in the gas station on Beach 129 came down about 200 feet from the school. The Yeshiva kids went onto the street and offered food and drink to those responding to the crash. They eventually set up a table outside their building to offer food to those who wanted it.

Lost in the adulation for firefighters and other emergency responders is the work being done by the ironworkers at Ground Zero. Working under dangerous conditions, these volunteers work day after day to find further victims of the terrorist attack and to clear the site. They deserve accolades for a job well done.

While their loss is not as severe as those who lost their lives in the crash of Flight 587, those who lost their homes and everything in them also deserve the community’s backing in this time of need. They lost not only their homes, but their photographic memories of loved ones who have passes on, their mementoes, their personal belongings and all of their papers. When the community begins to come together to honor those who lost their lives, they should also think of those who lost everything but their lives.

A local environmentalist called last week to tell us that he had spotted a flock of pheasants at Beach 59 Street. That is an unusual sight for Rockaway.

Parenting.com has come out with this year’s top 100 baby names, based on Social Security records. The ten top girl’s names: Emily, Hannah, Madison, Samantha, Ashley, Sarah, Elizabeth, Kayla and Alexis. The top boy’s names are much more biblical. They are: Jacob, Michael, Joshua, Matthew, Andrew, Joseph, Nicholas, Anthony, Tyler and Daniel. Just thought you’d like to know.

The hit and run accident during the school’s dismissal on November 5 has spurred Bernard Gassaway, the principal of Beach Channel High School, to ask the Department of Transportation (DOT) to enforce more stringent traffic rules around the school during the morning entry to school and during the afternoon dismissal time. Gassaway asks for a reduction of the speed limit on Beach Channel Drive from 30 to 20 during those times and that a "Queens Boulevard Type" median be built from Beach 98 Street to Beach 101 Street. The DOT has yet to respond to Gassaway’s request.

Those who park regularly on Beach 116 should know by now that they do not have to pay for parking on the shopping strip on Sunday’s from November to April. The signs were changed a few months ago, as noted on the front page of The Wave at the time, but many people are still not aware of the change.

The 100 Precinct Community Council will host a "Breakfast With Santa" at the Ocean Room at the Beach Club on Saturday, December 8. According to the organization, there will be two seatings, one at 9 a.m. and the other at 11:30 a.m. All children must be accompanied by an adult. The cost is $12 for adults and $5 for children under three years of age. Tickets must be purchased in advance at the Beach Club. All of the proceeds will go to Fireworks 2002.

Hofstra University has hosted the annual football game between the NYPD and FDNY for several years. The game between the "Finest" and the "Bravest" has often been contentious, but has never gotten out of hand. This year, however, when the game is needed most to relieve the tension and grief in those two groups, Hofstra has decided not to allow the game. Why? Nobody is sure. All that the two organizations were told in a letter was, "After careful consideration, we have concluded that we are unable to host the event this year." Those in the know think that Hofstra is afraid that it will turn into a slugfest, but that is not going to happen – not now. Not after September 11 and not after what happened at Ground Zero two months later.

The crash site at Beach 131 Street and Newport Avenue has become something of a tourist attraction. We passed by several times this weekend and each time we did, we noted a dozen or so people standing around, peering through the fence that has been erected around the area and even placing memorials on the flatbed truck that stands at the site. We also noticed people walking from the Beach 116 Street subway station to the site, holding flowers and candles to place at the memorial.

Tickets are going to be distributed in local schools (we are still not sure which local schools) this week to a special free showing of "Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone" at the King’s Plaza Mall on Sunday, December 2. This special showing for Rockaway students is being sponsored by Congressman Anthony Weiner and AOL-Time Warner. Children will be admitted only with a ticket and an adult. Adults must have tickets as well and none will be sold at the box office for this special showing.

Thanks to $20 thousand from KeySpan Energy, there will be holiday lights up and downs the peninsula this holiday season. Responding to a request from the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce, the company agreed that Rockaway needs a "merrier" holiday season this year and that the lighting would help. All of the business districts, from Far Rockaway to Beach 129 Street, will be lit thanks to the grant money.

The Briarwood Organization, one of the major builders in the city, has made a tentative offer to rebuild any homes destroyed by the crash of Flight 587 into Belle Harbor. The offer, made to Community Board 14 on behalf of those who lost their homes, would allow the builder to rebuild the homes at cost. Briarwood would make no profit on the home building project. Those interested in taking the organization up on the deal should contact Jonathon Gaska at Community Board 14.

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