Giving New Meaning To The Name ‘Rock’away
Giving New Meaning To The Name 'Rock'away
When Theresa Ingui and her husband moved to the Rockaways from Jamaica Estates, they did so because they wanted to be close to the beach and to be part of the enormous growth that is taking place. The couple purchased their home from Bill Mahoney, a member of the Knights of Columbus' Rockaway chapter, and in the relatively short time they have lived here, which has been close to 18 months, they have managed to make friends and establish a sense of pride about their home and community. However, during the last several weeks, the couple has been wondering if they should consider moving out of the Rockaway area as a result of an unpleasant and dangerous situation.
As recently as last week, Ingui claims that Beach Channel High School kids have been throwing large rocks from the Beach 90 Street train station platform, which is adjacent to the Ingui home, after the school day ends. Many of the rocks have become lodged in the side of the house. Others have come dangerously close to actually breaking windows.
"I am so scared. I see these kids throwing the rocks from the platform, and at times it looks like the rocks are going to come right through my window," said Ingui.
"If I happen to be walking around in my house, me or my husband could get hit and seriously injured by the rocks or flying glass."
Ingui told The Wave that on several occasions she has actually chased several kids away from the area, but they often return to throw more rocks. She stated that she has contacted the MTA, local precincts, and City Councilman Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. to try and have the problem addressed, but nothing was ever done.
"I called the MTA, they said it was an NYPD matter. I called the NYPD, they said it was an MTA matter. I don't know what to do anymore."
The angry resident claimed that the situation had only gotten worse when she met with The Wave last week.
"At first, it was just the after-school kids throwing rocks. Now, I have to deal with the kids who are playing 'hooky' as well. They go right up on the platform and use my house for target practice. I am sick of it!"
Ingui noted that although she is concerned about the safety of her and her husband, she is equally concerned about kids that are actually climbing down onto the tracks, near the third rail, to throw rocks at her house.
"This is just as dangerous for them. I'm afraid that one day somebody is going to get killed up there on the tracks."
The Wave placed calls to the 100 Precinct to get their assessment of the situation, and Community Affairs Officer Pete Rahaniotis offered the following comments.
"We are aware of the complaints made by Mrs. Ingui, and Captain Talamo has taken measures to address the problem. A year ago, due to complaints from other residents in that area, the captain moved a "safe corridor post" (a safe route set up to protect kids and citizens from being attacked or robbed) from Beach 101 Street to Beach 90 Street. From the hours of 2-4 p.m., an officer is posted to prevent anything from taking place. We sympathize with Mrs. Ingui, and we are doing our best to help her and other residents with similar complaints."
Calls were then placed to Transit District 23, located in the Waldbaum's Shopping Center on Beach 116 Street, and Captain Watbenberg provided The Wave with some substantial information.
"We are very aware of the problems at the Beach 90 (Holland) Street station, and in March of 2001, we conducted a Crime Prevention Survey at that station," said the captain.
"Recommendations were made to the MTA that were supposed to address several concerns we had about the site, such as fencing off certain areas and the placement of cameras. In November of 2001, the MTA submitted a report, at the request of Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, which indicated that the MTA could not justify a cost of $15,000 to make corrections at the Beach 90 Street station."
Watbenberg informed The Wave that there have been ongoing directed patrols of the area, and that school coordinators have been placed in the immediate vicinity of the Holland, Seaview, and old Playland station.
"We have issued 80 summonses and made various arrest in and around that area," said Watbenberg.
The captain added that on October 24 of this year, two kids were arrested at the Seaside station for throwing rocks, but they were eventually released because they were juveniles.
City Councilman Joe Addabbo, Jr. contacted The Wave this week to relay information he received about the Ingui's situation.
"As per Joe Raskin at the MTA, fencing will be put up on the standing platform within three to four weeks," said the councilman.
"However, the fencing will not do anything to stop kids who climb down on the tracks to throw rocks. You can't put fencing around those areas because you may have to evacuate people from the train or allow emergency personnel to enter the train. If kids are climbing down the ladder onto the tracks, they are trespassing and can be arrested."
Addabbo said that the MTA told him they would work to insure there is a heavier police presence on the platforms.
"I hope they do something really soon. My husband and me are at the point where we are ready to pack up and leave. We would hate to do that. We really like Rockaway," said Ingui.