Break Out The Suntan Lotion, It's New Years Day
And you thought all the kooks were on Beach 116th Street.
Although the competition was fierce, Kevin Redden was widely regarded as the whitest guy on the beach when seventy-five or so lunatics plunged into the ocean on New Year's Day. As for the widest, there were just too many candidates.
There was also some competition to determine who was the smartest person but the 125 people who kept their clothes decided to share the award.
The tradition started by Owen Quinn and Peter Brady more than twenty years ago gets more popular with every turn of the calendar and has spawned a couple of imitators (the sincerest form of flattery, of course). Kevin Lunny, Danny Marzano, Steve Brennan and some other lunatics from Beach 126th jump in the cold blue sea around 10 in the morning. At Beach 141st Street, Steve Stathis (AKA, Papa Graybeard), Kevin Kelleher, and Tom McVeigh and others go for major shrinkage around 11. The big splash comes at noon on Beach 146th Street.
Bill Nolan was seen going solo (really the only dignified way of doing this)---though he did have a spotter (somebody to call the ambulance) standing near the beach wall.
Johnny MacNamara, equipped with a resuscitator mask, says this is the last time he's doing anything this crazy. Count on him forgetting how insane it is by next year. Or he'll do like other 50-ish year old men: he'll give in to peer pressure. But count on it; he'll be there.
I gotta tell ya, there's nothing quite as naked as people in bathing suits on New Year's Day. I hope the tradition continues forever.
**Kudos to Marty Andresen, Jim McKeon, Ted Marshall, Joe Mingino and Jumping Jack Bender for going above and beyond to make the St. Francis Christmas Basketball tourney a big success. I know there are a good many other folks who did yeoman's work and I will salute them as soon as my usual amnesia subsides.
** That's not a contortionist, that's Flip Mullen. Since becoming a hot yoga devotee, the Flipster has shed some poundage and developed the flexibility of a ballerina---though Flip, take it easy, you don't look good in that tutu. Rumor has it he'll be showing off that triangle pose on the slopes of Hunter Mountain this weekend.
**I didn't bang pots on New Year's Eve but I will when Osama bin Laden is killed. I find myself saying the darndest things these days: but I don't care. I will bang pots if I'm home when I get the news. (Maybe I'll jump in the ocean ..nah.).
** Though I read in the Bag of Mail, from time to time, that I engage in childish humor (no kidding!) and that I'm mean to the Democratic District Leader (guilty!) I can't change my ways--- certainly not now. When you get a paragraph in Chatting With Chapey extolling your journalistic flare .well, there's no where to go but downhill from there. When Geraldine exaggerated about me in her column, my mother was so pleased she offered to cook my favorite dinner. I politely declined. Anyway, getting a plug in Geraldine's column ain't easy. You've usually got to be a judge, senator, pope, or king. And certainly a democrat.
Anyway, if you wanna boycott the paper because I-think-I'm-funny-and-I'm not, just do an ever other week boycott. It looks like my childish rants will run on alternate weeks.
**Gimme a slice. As someone who eats pizza three times day (one reason I wouldn't be seen in a bathing suit on New Year's Day) I hope the rumor of a new pizza parlor on 129th turns out to be a fact. Somebody floated the brilliant idea of calling the place, "American Pie," but I don't know if that's a possibility (I think Papa's Pizza might the frontrunner). In any event, the idea makes me hungry.
**Pssst .Shhhh .The Graybeards are throwing a party February 2. Sure hope original members got their tickets before this hot-ticket event goes public. Look for more details in two weeks.
**Howie Schwach does a good really job with the paper, but I wish his column Rockaway Short Takes would make a comeback. Loved it or hated it, most readers turned to it first.
**Molloy High School has a storied hoops history and thanks to the contributions of a couple of locals, the girls' program is on its way to prominence. Jen Kelleher and Maureen Hartigan, just sophomores, get major minutes for a good Molloy squad. Kelleher, good on the low post, grabbed 16 boards against nationally ranked Christ the King and Hartigan has a good-as-gold jumper.
On the boys' side Rockaway's own Brian Kelly plays for the powerhouse varsity and younger bro, Kenny Kelly, is a key player on the freshmen team.
But back to the ladies for a sec. Nancy Lieberman, Grace Kelly, Alana Basmagy, Janelle McManus, The Tubridys, Clare Droesch are among the greats who established Rockaway as lady hoops hotbed. Looks like the tradition will live on. The grapevine tells me some eighth grade girls are going to make some high school coaches happy. Jill Brady, Corrine Howley, and Samantha Swensen, Christy Moore are names I keep hearing. I think Katie Pastina and Martina Featherston might be future stars, toobut my hearing's going, so if I missed anyone it's probably because I have wax build-up.
**Some local eyewitnesses who say they saw Flight 587 explode before it came apart were featured on Channel 9 a few days ago and in the New York Post. I hope they continue to make noise---it's simply outrageous that the NTSB hasn't asked for their accounts. You know what will happen---after the NTSB does nothing one of their dweebs will say that too time has elapsed for eyewitness accounts to be credible. It's no easy feat feeling more patriotic than ever and feeling more cynical than ever at the same time.
** Keep an eye on the Beach Channel boys basketball team---they're 9-1.
** There are more collect calls on this day than any other: Father's Day. (Guess it's a grown kids way of saying: Give a dollar?)