2002-08-17 / Columnists


The recent spate of drownings and near-drownings on Rockaway beaches in the past week or two will probably impact on any compromise to open the beaches to surfers and those who love to fish off the Rockaway jetties. A meeting will be held this week between City Councilman Joe Addabbo, the chair of the Parks Committee, and city officials. The latest incidents will only make it harder for those who want to use the beach during hours that the lifeguards are not on duty.

Residents up and down the west end are becoming even angrier at the parking situation. One resident was so angry that his "No Parking" block was so crowded with cars that he called the 100 Precinct. A radio car arrived and an officer began to write tickets. As he did so, a beachgoer came and drove away before the cop got to his car. Just as he left, another car pulled into the spot. A woman got out, took beach paraphernalia out of her car and left for the beach, right in front of the cop. When the cop got to her car, however, he looked in the window and then passed it by. The resident went out later to look and, sure enough, there was an NYPD placard in the front window. Residents argue that they can't park on their own streets, but a cop who lives out of the area can. They wonder where the justice is in that kind of situation.

The RMAC's final Sunset Picnic Concert of the year will be held at Fort Tilden on Sunday, August 25 at 6 p.m. That concert will feature "A Tribute to Frank Sinatra."

Just a week after we mentioned in this spot that the parking signs on Beach 116 Street were missing, the signs reappeared. Remember that the meters are active seven days a week during the summer (up until November) and are not active on Sundays during the winter months (November to May).

The city is planning to build a state-of-the-art environmental center in Brookville Park in Rosedale to add to the one it already has in Brooklyn's Marine Park. We have continually argued for such a facility in the Arverne Urban Renewal Area and we have been told continually there that there is no city money available for such a facility. We have to wonder what James Sanders (the City Councilman for the east end as well as for Rosedale) is thinking by supporting the Rosedale facility with no thought of one for Rockaway as well.

Dennis Duggan did a nice piece about the "Graybeards" in last Sunday's Newsday and the columnist is right about everything he said. The organization, which began as a bunch of over-the-hill basketball players and beer-drinkers has quickly become one of the foremost resident-centered organizations on the peninsula. More than 60 years ago, there was a like organization on the peninsula called the SALCS (Social, Athletic, Literary Crap Shooters). It began as an organization for sports, drinking and fun, but quickly morphed into the Social, Athletic Literary and Cultural Society that did lots of good for Rockaway residents. Long-time Democratic Leader Freddy Kholreiter was one of the founders of the organization as was Stanley Schwach, the father of the present Wave Managing Editor, Howard Schwach.

The politically-correct New York Times did a quick interview with Marion Blakey, the woman who now heads the NTSB and will shortly head the FAA, two organization that impact greatly on Rockaway. The interview, which appeared in last week's magazine section, did not ask any of the hard questions about the crash of flight 587 or about airline safety in general. Instead, the interviewer asked her if she likes to fly (she does) and what seat she likes to sit in (the window seat). Much of the article focused on Blakey's propensity to ride motorcycles. You would think that Amy Barrett, who did the interview, would have found better things to talk about.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg might have ordered a cut in all of the city's agencies, but those cuts are not likely to affect the perks enjoyed by senior staff. Edwin Mendez-Santiago, the new commissioner of the Department For the Aging, has a brand new SUV for his use. A spokesperson for the agency says that he needs it in case there is an emergency affecting seniors. C'mon, what was the last emergency that the department of aging responded to?

The annual Arm-Wrestling tournament held on the Rockaway Boardwalk at Beach 116 Street was won this year by Rockaway resident Sean Ringgold, 24. More than 100 contestants line the boardwalk to take part in the event, competing in groups divided by weight, by gender and by age. Ringgold won the "open" category and was also named the tourney's MVP.

Rockaway restaurant owners are lining up to fight the Mayor's plan to ban smoking in all commercial buildings as well as in bars and restaurants - even those with a traditional "smoking area." The owners are sure that the ban will mean reduced revenues for their businesses, despite the fact that statistics show that business in many restaurants went up after the last smoking law was passed. The increased tax on cigarettes has impacted many small delis, bodegas and smoke shops. A quick and unscientific poll by The Wave shows that many will have to fold their businesses because people are now buying cigarettes on line, from Native American groups or taking the short trip to Nassau County to buy their cigarettes.

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