2001-12-08 / Columnists

Beachcomber

When Marc Berman attended Beach Channel High School in the early 1980’s he decided that he wanted to become a sports writer. He began by covering the Dolphins on the pages of The Wave. Marc went on to graduate from the State University at Albany and eventually wound up covering the New York Knicks for the Post, a position he has held for three years. Berman credits both Harry Gross, his English teacher and the advisor for the BCHS newspaper and Bernie Walder of The Wave for helping him get his start. Berman was the sports editor of the high school paper. Now, Berman has written a new book that covers the 2000-2001 Knicks season. It is called "Living Without Ew," and it is widely available.

Talk about a story that won’t go away. Many credible witnesses, including retired police and firefighters have called The Wave to say that they know an explosion when they see one and that the rear end of Flight 587 did explode in the air prior to the engines and the tail coming off the aircraft. While the official line is that the evidence shows that there was no explosion on the craft, it is hard to simply ignore what was seen by people who have lived with emergency situations all of their adult lives.

It was really nice of Congressman Anthony Weiner and AOL-Time Warner to host a special showing of "Harry Potter" for Belle Harbor kids in the wake of the plane crash in their community, but it has also engendered some animosity. A number of parents at PS 225 called to say that their kids live in the neighborhood as well as the kids who attend St. Francis, St. Camillus and PS 114 (where the tickets were distributed, according to a Weiner staffer). In addition, some PS 114 parents called to say that they were never notified about the special showing and that their children were not chosen to receive tickets. They want to know why, and I don’t blame them. This once again proves the old adage that "no good deed goes unpunished."

FUJI-TV in Japan has a television show called, believe it or not, "27 Minutes." It is billed as the Japanese equivalent of "60 Minutes," and we were going to joke with the producer who called The Wave for assistance in setting up interviews that it was probably only "half as good as 60 Minutes," but I don’t think that she would have picked up the joke. In any case, a team is coming from Japan to Rockaway to film a segment about the WTC attack and the plane crash in relation to the community. Should be interesting. Anybody out there speak Japanese?

The fact that many regular customers could not get to East Meets West, the Chinese restaurant on Beach 129, because it was in the frozen zone proclaimed by the NTSB, put some local residents into withdrawal. The eatery has become one of the more popular destinations for take-out food on the peninsula.

Resident Martha Makins, who lives at 711C Seagirt Avenue, in the Roy Reuther Houses, called to say that she wanted to credit the building’s maintenance workers with making the complex a great place to live.

The Ranger Station at the main entrance to Floyd Bennett Field will be open Friday through Monday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., according to a recent announcement by Gateway. Visitors who want to purchase fishing or other permits must do so during those hours. The Ryan Visitor’s Center located on Hanger Row, will continue to be open seven days a week for general information.

Last week, one of our columnists wrote about frivolous lawsuits. This week, the city announced that suing the city remains a growth industry that costs taxpayers more that $400 million each year. In fact, the total payout during 2000 was $459 million.

The sudden death of long-time Irish activist James Conway Sullivan has saddened the Rockaway Irish community. Jimmy was one of the founders of the Rockaway St Patrick’s Day Parade and many other Irish events. For many years, he served with Community School Board 27 and was a Wave columnist. He will be missed.

When firefighters responded to a truck fire on West and Noel Road in Broad Channel on Saturday at 2 a.m., they did not expect to find a dead body in the truck. When they did put out the fire, however, they found the body of John McCarthy, 35. The Medical Examiner’s Office is conducting an autopsy to find out the cause of death. That will determine the direction police investigations will take in the case.

The Jewish Week newspaper did two extensive stories on the Jewish community in Belle Harbor and how they were affected by the crash of Flight 587. The articles made an interesting counterpoint to the mainstream media, which hardly mentioned that there were Jews living in the area.

The flatbed truck that formed a memorial to those who lost their lives on the plane that crashed into Rockaway is gone, but the new stop sign on the corner of Beach 131 Street and Newport Avenue, right across the street from where the flatbed once stood, remains. City officials say that the stop sign was put up to safeguard the many construction and clean-up people working in the area. There are those in the neighborhood who say, however, that the city had a right to warn residents that the sign was in place prior to ticketing those who passed the sign by. They believe that the city simply wants to make more money off the suffering of those who live in Belle Harbor.


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