2002-09-14 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Over the past weekend, many of the daily papers published specials dedicated to those who were killed in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center last year. At least three of them had a list of the names of those who died. When a Wave editor checked those names against The Wave's list, he found that the lists were inconsistent. Some people were on one list and not on another, some people were listed as Rockaway residents on one list and as New Jersey residents on another. It will be a long time before a standard, errorless list can be published.

The Queens County Overall Development Corporation publishes a monthly newsletter. This month's issue focuses on Rockaway. The newsletter says that transportation is the key to revitalizing Rockaway and that high-speed ferry service between the peninsula and Manhattan is necessary if development is to take place. Where have we heard that before?

Ten years ago this week, the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) assured then Congressman Charles Schumer that it will phase out all of its noisy aircraft in the near future and that fewer flights would depart the airport over the Rockaway peninsula.

On August 24 of 1904, The Wave published new rules for the beach that were established by Captain Louis Kreuscher of the NYPD. Included in those rules were the following: "No person or persons shall be allowed to sit on the sand under the boardwalk after dark; As the beach is a public place, kissing is strictly forbidden; No hand-holding allowed; Hugging is strictly forbidden and the beach is for the use of bathers and is not to be used as a trysting place." In July of 1939, the new rule book for the beaches included: No bikes; No swimming after dark and No jaywalking. In 1940, new rules were added: Fishing allowed only between Beach 19 and Beach 22 Streets and the stricture that "improper attire would draw fines." Thanks to Wave historian Emil Lucev for the research.

You will notice that The Wave will no longer publish the Police Blotter from the 100 Precinct in Rockaway Beach. The precinct's commanding officer, Captain Charles Talamo, angered by The Wave's continuing articles and editorials about wave of tickets that have been given out by his officers for "infractions" on the beach such as surfing, fishing and leaving one's beach blanket unattended, has gained the captain's ire, and he has apparently decided to no longer cooperate with this paper. We would urge that anybody who has been impacted by the captain's enforcement blitz attend the next meeting of the 100 Precinct Community Council at the Knight's of Columbus Hall on Wednesday, September 25 to voice their anger.

The Saturday, September 7 issue of The Wave was the largest edition ever published. The editors of The Wave would like to thank those who participated in the success of the issue by sending in their memories of September 11, 2001 and telling us how that day had affected their communities.

We would like to wish Ed Williams, President of the Far Rockaway chapter of the NAACP, a speedy recovery. Williams was recovering from an illness at St. John's Episcopal Hospital South Shore, and has since been transferred to Long Island Jewish Hospital for further evaluation. He is a strong voice for people in the Black community in Rockaway, and The Wave offers its support to Williams and his family during this difficult time.

A number of Rockaway residents, aviation experts and Wave contributor Vic Trombettas spoke before the City Council's Transportation Committee last week about the NTSB's investigation of Flight 587. The council then passed a resolution calling on Congress to intervene in the NTSB investigation of the crash and to investigate the safety of the Airbus A300-600. Among those who spoke were Trombettas, Stan Molin (the father of the plane's pilot, Sten Molin), American Airlines pilot Todd Wissing and witnesses John Power and Tom Lynch.

Those people who are bothered by those ubiquitous news racks that dot our streets can take heart. The City Council has passed legislation regulating the bothersome boxes. The provisions of the law specify where boxes can and cannot be place. For example, the newspaper boxes cannot be in crosswalks, driveways, bus stops, street corners, nor can they block fire hydrants nor sit on property lines. Many of the news boxes in Rockaway are now sited in those areas and will have to be moved. The law empowers the city to seize scofflaw boxes and to sell them for scrap.

The American Legion will host local firefighters, police officers and emergency medical technicians at its annual Awards Night to be held at the American Legion Hall on September 21.

The Graybeards will be hosting a blood drive at St. Francis de Sales Church on Beach 129 Street on Sunday, September 15, from 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Blood is once again in short supply, so those who live in Rockaway and want to donate should find a way to make it to the church on time this Sunday.

Remember that this Tuesday, September 17, will feature the groundbreaking for the new "Tribute Park" on the bayfront at Beach 116 Street. The ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. and it is hoped that many local residents will show up to evidence their support for the new park.

Rumor has it that the owners of the Beach Club will soon close the beachfront restaurant and turn it into a state-of-the-art catering facility. The Good family, which owns both the Beach Club and the Sunset Diner, have done so much for Rockaway that we wish them luck even though we will miss the Beach Club.

Parents in the west end are wondering what happened to Beach Channel High School principal Bernard Gassaway. So are we. In early August, we heard that he was leaving the public school system to take a job as a dean at an unnamed college. We reached out to the school, to the central board of education, to Queens High Schools for information and confirmation. Nobody has ever called us back. Just another indication that everything is a big secret when it comes to your school system.


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