2002-01-12 / Columnists

Beachcomber

The New York City Police Department has a new method of following up on what they term "quality of life" conditions. Those people who are experiencing an ongoing condition that lessens their quality of life – a parking condition, a noise condition, problems with kids hanging around their home late at night, etc. – should call a new toll-free number, 1-888-677-5433. This number is not for emergency conditions. Those who have genuine emergencies that require a quick response should continue to call 911.

Mike Bloomberg’s mention of Rockaway in his inaugural speech last week was no impulse; at least newly elected city councilman Joe Addabbo does not think so. "I got to Bloomberg’s home early for a cocktail party he was hosting for new council members on December 2," Addabbo told The Wave. I told him that he didn’t come for the crash and he didn’t come during the campaign and that he owed something to Rockaway." "We went over the details of what Rockaway needs and the emotional need to do something for Rockaway—something positive," he added. "We are beginning to turn the corner in Rockaway and we need his help to continue." In his speech, Bloomberg mentioned Rockaway first as one of the communities that makes New York City so great.

There is a battle developing between the New York City Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) over last year’s crime statistics. The FBI is planning to list victims of the World Trade Center attack as homicide victims, which would add greatly to the city’s numbers and make this the murder capital of the world once again. The NYPD sees the attack as an act of war rather than a mass murder. In that case, the deaths would not count as homicides. That might seem like a trite argument to those who lost loved ones in the attack, but it has meaning for the city and its police.

Many Rockaway residents have been touting the joys of the Empire Buffet on Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach as the best Chinese food buffet in the area. Those who eat there regularly point to the variety and taste of the food, as restaurant’s the big pluses.

The Board of Education will offer new teacher recruits coming from other professions cut-rate apartments near ground zero in Battery Park City. Even with the discounts, however, the apartments go for $1,800 a month for a one-bedroom and $2,150 for a two bedroom and it is hard to see anybody earning the starting teacher’s salary of $28 thousand a year paying that kind of rent.

The elderly Rockaway man who was mauled by a pack of wild dogs a few weeks ago has been moved from Jamaica Hospital to a hospital in Staten Island. He is still considered to be in guarded condition.

The Wave received a few E-Mail from people who were unhappy that we included movie and other entertainment stars in our "We Mourn in 2001" story in last week’s paper. "How dare you include Dale Evans in with people who were lost at the World Trade Center," one such person wrote. We apologize to anybody who was offended by adding other names, such as those locals who died in the crash of Flight 587, local activists and religious leaders and major entertainment figures to our list. We believe that it is an appropriate way to celebrate the lives of those who brightened our lives over the years.

The remains and personal effects of two other Rockaway men who died at the World Trade Center have been found at the site. Charles Heeren, who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald and firefighter Joseph Agnello, from Ladder 18 have been recovered. While memorial services have already been held for the two men, it is expected that funeral services for both will be held soon.

The Chamber of Commerce will host its annual dinner at the Washington Hotel this Saturday night, January 12 at 7 p.m. Being honored by the organization this year are Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, activist Margaret DeMatteis, Beach Channel High School Principal Bernard Gassaway, RDRC head Curtis Archer, activist Mario Russo and the Aearo Company, an out-of-state firm that assisted in the World Trade Center recovery. Those interested in attending should call 634-1300 for information and reservations.

Mike Bloomberg has continued the Giuliani tradition in calling for the end of community school boards. He says, "They have outlived their usefulness to the community." That is not really true, however. Although the local board has lost much of its power, they still serve a function that they have served from the beginning – they are a conduit for information in both directions between parents and the central board. Our local board has done a particularly good job in this regard and they will be missed should they go. The word is that many of the members on that board will not run again should the institution survive when the next elections are held in May. That would be a shame.

It was a nice touch for Joe Addabbo to hold his swearing in ceremony at the bridge that bears his father’s name. We have a good feeling about both of our new council members – Addabbo and Jim Sanders, Jr. We wish them both luck and we offer to them the assistance of this paper in any way we can in the revitalization or our community.

Those who are interested in finding out more about the crash of Flight 587 might want to access the National Transportation Safety Board’s website, which can be found at www.ntsb.gov. The identification number for the accident is DCA02MA001.


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