2002-03-30 / Columnists

Simon Says…. From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

Simon Says….
From the Desk of Lew M. Simon,
Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

We’d like to start off by wishing all of the Jewish constituents, friends and neighbors, a healthy and happy Passover and to all the Catholic members, friends and neighbors, a joyous Easter.

This week on Monday evening, we attended a meeting at the Saint Camillus School auditorium. The topic of discussion was the new Bayview one-family homes being built on Beach 102nd Street and Seaside Avenue between Beach Channel Drive and the freeway. The builders are Rockaway Housing Corporation. We found out the land owned by Catholic Charities was donated to Rockaway Housing Corporation which is really Catholic Charities. Do you smell a rat??!!

The new residential development will consist of 46 affordable family homes. These row homes are pre-fabricated. They are being built with funding assistance from Catholic Charities.

To qualify for 95% financing and only 5% down payment, you will need an income ranging from $59,000 to $62,000, either alone or a with a co-applicant. The prices of the homes range from $195,000 to $209,500. Total cash needed will be about $23,000.

A number of questions came up about first priority for Rockaway residents. When the sales agent got up speak, she stated that applications had already been mailed out to people who had applied for houses in other boroughs. Rockaway residents in the room asked why the residents were not getting priority. She stated that Rockaway residents would get priority if their applications where received by April 30, 2002.

We were very much appalled that Catholic Charities built these ugly row houses that do not meet the standards of the Rockaway Park Community. Rockaway Park Estates, which was built by Jonathan Miller, has received architectural praise and community acceptance. These two story box houses are inappropriate for our community. Why would someone pay close to or even over $200,000 for these one-family homes near Beach Channel High school, Junior High School 180 and the famous sewage stink plant??

It would have been nice if detached houses, with a terrace, garden and a backyard were built, instead of over building on the lot and looking to make a fortune. They could have built fewer homes and made them two family. We are looking to rezone any vacant parcels to avoid this occurring again.

Thursday evening we had a town hall meeting at the Good Government Regular Democratic Club. DOT Commissioner, Iris Weinshall was represented by 1st Deputy Commissioner Judy Bertain and Queens Commissioner Joe Cannese. The packed meeting was so overcrowded you could not move up and down the stairs.

Virginia Carson Smith, President of the Rockaway Park Homeowners and Residents Association asked that the malls be stopped at Beach 130th Street and not extended down to Beach 126th Street because of parking and difficulty for the school buses going to and from Saint Francis. She was told that Community Board 14 and Audrey Pheffer has strongly supported these malls.

Our members asked why we couldn’t get a ferry when Brooklyn, Staten Island and New Jersey was able to obtain one. Tom Palladino and Mary Sorrentino, owners of the boat, Elsie K. Princess, said it would take 1¼ hours to 1½ hours to get o Manhattan using that boat. Pete McGuire, manager of Riis Landing, said the ferry slips, bathrooms and parking area are ready for passengers and transportation service.

Commissioner Joe Cannese said 1¼ hours to 1½ hours ferry transportation service was not an answer to our problems.

SeaStreak which would make the run in 28-32 minutes was not available because of high costs.

The Port Authority was given $100,000,000 for emergency transit improvements. Once again, the Port Authority has forgotten Rockaway. Joe Hartigan reminded the DOT that the Port Authority has proposed a ferry, free from the airport to Manhattan. The boats could be used to transport passengers during peak hours. The freight service could subsidize the transportation of passengers.

A number of residents on Rockaway Boulevard and Newport Avenue told the DOT that when gas mains were installed the contractor broke recently completed sidewalks. The homeowners are now receiving violations from the DOT. We should be able to fight to help all those who received these violations. I will appreciate hearing from all affected so we may include you in our letter.

Our next Atlantic City trip to the Trump Marina will be on Saturday, April 13th. We will leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 8:00 a.m. The cost is $25 with $16 returned. Call my office, 945-1216, for reservations.

Congratulations to John and Dorothy Nash, the proud grandparents of Shane Patrick O’Connor, born on March 4, 2002 at 7:07 p.m., weighing in at 9 lbs., 4 oz. The son of Daniel and Tracey O’Connor, brother of Danielle O’Connor and Carlos. Congratulations to the family on this wonderful bundle of joy. Special note to John Nash: Thank you for always being there to coordinate my election campaign. We could not have done it without you. We expect to double your salary.

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