2002-05-18 / Columnists

On The Beach… With Beverly Baxter

On The Beach.....With Beverly Baxter

Greetings to all my readership! As many of you know, I just returned from a wonderful trip to the west coast where I fall in love each time with "God's country" where I visited friends, went to a spa, and just felt something so much bigger than myself. Although I love Rockaway, I very often need to "disappear" and be in a place where nobody knows me and I can enjoy some anonymity and retreat into myself. C'est tres importante!
  Upon my return, I attended the regular monthly meeting of Community Planning Board 14. However, I didn't attend merely as a columnist covering the agenda, but rather for very personal reasons. The Ad-Hoc Memorial Committee was to present to the general board its recommendations for street renamings in memory of some very special people who have enhanced our community. I attended in support and to speak on behalf of the renaming of a portion of Rockaway Beach Boulevard in memory of my beloved friend James Conway Sullivan. The committee, Chaired by the very beautiful Zandra Myers, voted on a slate of names and all were unanimously approved by the general board.

The following streets, playgrounds, and parks will be renamed to memorialize the following people: Beach 92nd Street and the Boardwalk will be renamed Bell's Beach after FF Steve Belson who so much enjoyed the Rockaway surf and who perished in the World Trade Center attack. Shore Front Parkway West between Beach 108 and Beach 109 Street will be renamed for John (Jack) Fitzgerald, who for many generations was the proprietor of the successful and renowned Fitzgerald's Pub. Father Francis J. McGee will be remembered when the children whom he loved come to play at the playground along Shore Front Parkway at Beach 84 Street. The playground is located directly across from Saint Rose of Lima Church where Father McGee served as its Priest for thirty-six years. Shore Front Parkway at Beach 106 to Beach 107 Street will be renamed McGuire Park in memory of Rockaway Basketball legend Al McGuire and the McGuire family. FF Stephen P. Russell, who also killed in the attack on the World Trade Center, will be remembered on a section of Bayfield Avenue from Beach 65 to Beach 72nd Street where he was raised. Beach 91 Street between Beach Channel Drive and the Rockaway Freeway will be renamed for Howard Santamore for his sense of community and commitment to his neighborhood for more than sixty years.

Rabbi Weiss, the much beloved spiritual leader of West End Temple in Neponsit for fifty years will be remembered for his commitment to building bridges between our myriad of spiritual communities. Beach 147 to Beach 149 Street on Newport Avenue will be named for Rabbi Weiss. Rockaway Beach Boulevard between Beach 102 and Beach 105 Street will be renamed James Conway Sullivan Way. Jimmy Sullivan was an icon in the Irish community. He lived and died in the town he loved so well.

This tribute to his memory is most appropriate as it runs along the route of the Saint Patrick's Day Parade, which he founded twenty-seven years
ago and of which he was most proud. Among those who spoke so passionately on Jimmy's behalf during public speaking time were Jimmy's life-long friend FF Tom Touhey, his brother, Danny, his uncle Joe Burns, his girlfriend Ellen Peppard, myself, Sister Mary Beatta, Kathryn Kash, Grace McCloskey, Barbara J. Morris, D. Brian Heffernan, and Eugene Pasternak who read an eloquent statement on behalf of himself and his wife Democratic District Leader Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the general assembly of the planning board for voting in favor of these street name changes. Most of all I am most grateful to Zandra Myers, who shares with me such a deep love for this most loving man. I am honored to somehow be obliged to you Zandra, and I look foward to continuing in a mission that you and Jimmy shared in helping those who are less advantaged. And to Lew M. Simon, thank you, thank you, thank you for all you've done with the petitions and letters to ensure that the street renaming for Jimmy becomes a reality. Anybody who ever knew Jimmy, lingers with and feels the blessing for having known him...even for such a too short of a time.

Mary Dever knows just how important it is to support our local merchants. That's why she and fiancé Jim Kelly will be using only local services for their up-coming nuptials. The glowing Bride-to-be has been working out diligently with her personal trainer at Cyberzone. Mary enthusiastically praises its staff and says that she has tried other gyms, but Cyberzone is absolutely the best gym she has ever worked out in. In addition to having their Rehearsal Dinner at The Atlantis Room, their Reception at The Silver Gull, they will use other local businesses such as A&J Jewelers for their rings, JKS Printers for their invitations, Serenity Travel for their honeymoon arrangements as well as future travel plans, and local DJ Tim Tubridy will provide the music for the couple's wedding. When Mary's husband, Jerry Dever succumbed to Melanoma four years ago, Mary wondered if she could ever move forward and love again. Both she and Jim Kelly are very much role models to those who have experienced deep pain and loss of a loved one. Mary and Jim will be hosting and offering their services at an Open House at the Taber Retreat House in Oceanside on May 19. All are invited. My congratulations to you both and may you have many years of wedded bliss.
   See you...On the Beach!

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