2002-03-16 / Columnists


The big event – the light display that memorializes the World Trade Center – was something of a bust in Rockaway. Dozens of people crowded the window tables at the Sunset Diner and stood along the bayfront at Beach 116 Street, but all they saw was a single white haze darting up from the Manhattan skyline slightly to the left of the Empire State Building. "Is that all there is," one of the onlookers asked. That's all there is. Rockaway is probably slightly outside of the 20-mile radius in which the blue twin laser light can be seen clearly and with definition.

Two Rockaway residents are going to the "Big Dance," the NCAA Tournament. Clare Droesch plays for Boston College. The Freshman standout plays her first tournament game this Friday against Mississippi State at Lubbock, Texas. Her BC team is seeded fifth in the West in the women's tournament. Kevin Fitzgerald plays for Boston University. His team is seeded sixteenth in the West in the men's bracket. BU plays top-seeded Cincinnati in the first round on Friday.

The Rockaway Rotary 24th Annual Ocean Run is scheduled for Sunday, April 28 at 10:30 a.m. The race, sponsored once again by Sweet n' Low, has become the premier boardwalk race of the season. The race will once again begin and end at Beach 116 Street and Ocean Promenade (a fancy name for the boardwalk).

On September 11, the day Rockaway hosted an NYPD minute of silence in honor of those lost on September 11, and the day Firefighter Richie Allen, another victim of the attack on the World Trade Center, was finally laid to rest, the apparatus for Engine 55 was reportedly finally dug from the rubble that was the Twin Towers. On that truck was Rockaway Firefighter Stephen Russell. Surviving members of the company recently visited the landfill on Staten Island, looking for their ruined rig. Little did they know that it was still buried beneath what remains of the rubble of the two buildings.

There are a couple of dates that you should be saving. Although they are still in the future, it is never too soon to pencil them into your calendar. On April 11, the Chamber of Commerce will once again be hosting its "Bravest and Finest" luncheon at Russo's On The Bay in Howard Beach. The chamber's tribute to our emergency response services has become so big that it had to move this year to a larger facility. This is a "don't-miss" affair, particularly in this year of September 11. There will be two major events in Rockaway on the weekend of June 8 and 9. The first is ArtFrenzy, which is coming to Rockaway for the first time. The other is the Cancer Walk For Life, which debuted in Rockaway last year and was perhaps the most successful event of its kind in the nation. There will be much more about all of these events in this space in future issues.

The city was obviously too optimistic when it thought that it could close the Belt Parkway around Guy Brewer Boulevard without causing disruptions and traffic delays. Those who were on the Belt on Sunday night tell horror stories of hour-long backups with no traffic agents in sight.

The Governor has finally moved off dead center and has announced a special election for the assembly seat left vacant by the untimely death of Pauline Rhodd-Cummings. The election, to be held April 16, will probably draw a dozen candidates or so on the Democratic side and at least a couple on the Republican side of the ticket. The Wave would like to be fair to all of those candidates, the known and the unknown. Anybody seriously considering running for the open seat and desiring some ink in The Wave should contact Gary Toms at 718-634-4000 or by Email at editor@rockawave.com.

Both Rockaway police precincts hosted a memorial moment of silence last Monday morning, the six-month anniversary of September 11. They were moving ceremonies, attended by FDNY personnel and members of the community as well as by NYPD personnel. Coming on the heels of the moving and terrifying documentary about the attack that was on Channel 2 last Sunday night, there wasn't a dry eye in either of the Rockaway venues.

The Buckley to Kennedy Run, scheduled for May 19, might not be the most prestigious run of the year, but it certainly throws the biggest and best post-race party. The race begins at Buckley's Restaurant in Brooklyn, comes across the Marine Parkway Bridge (if it is open in time) and then to Riis Park, where the party is held. It's a great day and an interesting race.

James Sanders Jr., the councilman for District 31, toured sections of the Rockaway area last week with the Deputy Mayor of Economic Development, Dan Doctoroff. The two later joined a number of elected officials, supporters, and community members at Patrick's Caribbean Restaurant. The deputy mayor expressed a serious interest in obtaining the Far Rockaway Shopping Mall area, and looking into the possibility of bringing the Olympics to the Gateway Recreational facility. "Rockaway is a huge asset to the city, and we must find ways to work together to insure its prosperity," said Doctoroff. The fact that a major player in economic development came out to Rockaway is a big plus, and it was a coup on the part of Sanders. So far, both Sanders and Addabbo are taking steps to prove that they are not going to forget the people of Rockaway.

The NAACP will be sponsoring a community-wide meeting on March 19 at the Macedonia Baptist Church, located on Beach 67 Street. The meeting will feature a discussion on the Queens Narcotics Division, and members of the NAACP and police department are slated to attend. The meeting was prompted by two front-page stories that appeared in The Wave and a number of complaints about alleged abuse against community members. The starting time is scheduled for 7 p.m. All are urged to attend this important meeting.

Pier 92 restaurant is open once again, with a Tuesday night buffet and early-bird specials Wednesday through Friday. Once again, the food is ample and the price is reasonable. In addition, the restaurant features a Sunday morning breakfast buffet that can't be touched for price or eatability anywhere on the peninsula.

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