2002-07-27 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Ten years ago this week, The Wave featured a story on a wide-ranging survey that it did among its readers. One of the questions the paper asked concerned the summer parking regulations on the west end of the peninsula. At that time, 64 percent of those who responded said that they would like to see the restrictions ended. We wonder what the numbers would look like today.

A New York bound Concorde jet was forced to return to London last week when it experienced engine problems about 11 miles above the Atlantic on a flight to JFK airport. The plane landed without problems on three of its four engines. Those who watch the majestic plane take off over Rockaway a couple of times each day have to wonder when it's literally going to "drop in" on the peninsula. The Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) tells The Wave that the Concorde is the one plane that cannot be rerouted elsewhere due to safety and fuel considerations.

The Rockaway Music And Arts Council (RMAC) will host the Long Island Pops orchestra at its next รข018Sunset Picnic Concert," to be held on Sunday, July 28 at 6 p.m. As always, the concerts will be held at Fort Tilden.

Now that the mayor is refusing campaign contributions, many of the members of the city council seem to be racking up record contributions. One of the more troubling contributions to council members comes from the owners of the private bus companies, which continue to get massive subsidies at a time when their service record is being questioned. According to recent disclosure records, for example, executives of the six bus companies have donated almost $25 thousand to council members this year.

The new AirTrain that will tie JFK Airport with the Jamaica rail terminus and with Howard Beach will be completed by next summer, according to officials of the Port Authority.

A 27-year-old visitor to Coney Island was killed last week when a raging tide carried him out to sea. The young man was in the surf at 7 a.m., long before the lifeguards came on duty. This is just another warning to stay out of the water when there are no lifeguards on duty.

The highly-successful Beach 129 Street Bagel shop will soon open up a new operation on Beach 116 Street, in the store that was previously occupied by Dunkin Donuts. When will that shop reopen at its new location? That seems to be a secret more highly guarded that the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden.

Speaking of openings, look for the grand opening of Five Towns Chrysler, which has moved from it previous location in Hewlett to Burnside Avenue in Inwood, right over the city line.

Now that Arverne By The Sea is really underway (there was a groundbreaking ceremony last week and homes are promised sometime after the summer), there is once again a move underway to do away with the tolls on the Cross Bay Bridge. Many local businesspeople are concerned that the new commercial ventures connected with Arverne will falter should residents of Howard Beach and other parts of Queens and Brooklyn have to pay a $3.50 round-trip toll to get to the peninsula. While residents of Rockaway and Broad Channel (at least, those who have EZ-Pass) have been exempt from the toll since 1998, everybody else coming to the peninsula to shop or to work at a job here still have to pay the freight.

At least in private, it seems that the Democrats have literally given up on taking the Governor's seat away from George Pataki. Their private polls reportedly show that Pataki is more than 30 points ahead of both Democratic challengers.

There is no doubt that, as far as the city is concerned, Coney Island is in and Rockaway is out. All of the city's development money and energies are being expended west of our little peninsula. Now, there is talk that the Walt Disney Company is trying to put together enough land to develop a "major project" on Coney Island. Perhaps it is time for our Chamber of Commerce to contact Disney and point to the eastern end of the Arverne Urban Renewal Area. Wouldn't that be a great place for Mickey and Minnie to land?

We can understand the need for the police to keep order and we certainly understand the need for rules to be enforced, but those needs have to be tempered in some way so that those who use the ocean and the bay for recreation may do so without undue impediments. The latest controversy about surfing is just a battle in the long war between those who want unfettered access to the water and those who want to insure that those who do use the water will be safe and that they will not harm the environment. Of course, there are the more jaded among us who believe that the police are ticketing surfers simply because the city needs more money to balance its books. In any case, many of those who live in Rockaway do so because it is nearby the water. Our legislators and the city need to work out a compromise quickly, because the prime surfing season is almost upon us.

A reminder to those who enjoy chasing a little white ball around a large park, the Chamber of Commerce is once again sponsoring a golf outing for Rockaway businesses. The event will be held on Friday, August 16 at the Marine Park Golf Course. To reserve your place, contact the Chamber of Commerce office at 634-1300 during regular office hours.

The Seventh Annual Sand Castle Contest, sponsored by Barbara Morris of West End Realty, will be held at Beach 116 Street on Sunday, July 28. This is one of the most enjoyable events of the summer season and, if you don't want to make a sandcastle, at least come down and take a look at the great creations made by Rockaway residents. Registration ends at noon and the contest begins at 1 p.m.

Word from the United States Postal Service (USPS) is that all of the relay boxes, those ubiquitous green mailboxes that line our boulevards, will soon be removed from Rockaway's streets. The boxes are no longer needed because every route on the peninsula is now a "mobile route" that has a truck to carry all of the mail for that day's delivery.


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