2003-03-01 / Letters

A Ferry For Rockaway

Dear Editor:

In a recent Wave article, Councilman Joe Addabbo, Jr. proposed an idea for a ferry service shuttle between Riis Landing and Sheepshead Bay. My initial reaction, upon reading of this suggestion, was "Say it ain't so, Joe!"

At the very least, this route would add 20 minutes to the Rockaway ferry commute due to the slow speed restrictions (6mph) in the Sheepshead Bay area between Kingsboro CC and the dock area. Furthermore, additional commuting time would also be added because of the need to wait for a connecting Manhattan bound ferry.

I write to underscore my request that Congressman Weiner explore a Rockaway ferry service, for all of the Rockaways, once and for all. For the record, I made such a request some four years ago, to no avail. Even at that time, Congressman Weiner wanted to introduce such a mode of transportation in Sheepshead Bay. Frankly speaking, I am very tired of hearing about improved transportation ideas for Sheepshead Bay, and not for Rockaway. My concern, pure and simple, is for improved, efficient, and cost effective ferry service from the Rock-away peninsula into Manhattan.

I sense, however, that Both Weiner and Addabbo are engaging in economic, political and racial profiling by not including all of the Rockaways for this transportation improvement initiative.

Allow me to elaborate. Weiner is obviously concerned about his constituents in Sheepshead Bay more so than the residents of Rockaway. This sentiment was most obvious during the impending transit strike when plans for ferry service was scheduled to include Sheepshead Bay instead of including a stop at Riis Landing, which is adjacent to a 9,000 car parking lot. Floyd Bennett Field could have been another logical stop. Commuters from South Brooklyn, Howard Beach, Southern Queens and Long Island, for example, could have parked and boarded ferries at these sites with no difficulty. Instead, the Sheepshead Bay site would have meant little or no parking for this new group of commuters. I really wonder if the restaurants and store merchants in Sheep-shead Bay would have appreciated parking spaces tied up all day long with ferry commuter cars.

Even if regular ferry service were started from Sheepshead Bay, parking spaces will be tied up for 10- 11 hours every day. Again, not a good situation for the merchants. Conversely, if ferry service were introduced at Riis Landing or Floyd Bennett Field, commuter parking would not be a problem.

By establishing a route from the west end of Rockaway and then on to Sheepshead Bay, it is quite evident that Weiner and Addabbo are creating a "white man's ferry commute" which in this diverse city cannot be tolerated. Both of our elected officials need to be told, loud and clear, that there is only one Rockaway- a community that is in desperate need for improved transportation. The last time I checked, Sheepshead Bay has ample means of transportation into Manhattan.

The middle of Rockaway would get an economic boost by the creation of this 35- 40 minute commute. After all, I am certain that the numerous new homeowners from Far Rockaway to Rockaway Beach would applaud and appreciate an improved commute into the city. This type of transportation could benefit workers and students alike.

On the topic of tourism, consider the following fact: American's top tourist destination is the beach. This industry contributes over $640 billion to the U.S. economy (85% of all U.S. tourist revenue on an annual basis) What would a half hour commute into Averne by the Sea for example contribute to the economic successes of this new business area?

Here are a few facts to consider: The September 11th fund earmarked $80 million for ferry service in and around the city. Where is our share? The current ferry service from Long Island City is subsidized ($350,000 per month). Again, nothing for Rockaway. Councilman Addabbo lost last year's ferry service subsidy. Why? Where is this year's allocation? When it began, the Bush Army ferry service into Man-hattan was free and parking was also provided. Obviously a good idea, especially after Sept. 11th. The Staten Isl-and Ferry service is free and has an annual operating budget of approximately $190 million and a capital improvement budget of $200 million. The tolls collected at the Gil Hodges and Cross Bay bridges generate 50 cents of every dollar for mass transit. So, why can't Councilman Addabbo get us our money back from the income derived from these two tolls?

Every time you receive your E-Z Pass statement, note that half of your payment goes towards supporting mass transit.

For Councilman Addabbo to suggest that an express bus might work to improve transportation is ill conceived. Today, the Green Bus Line is not on schedule 77% of the time. Add this to the dismal record of the Jamaica Bus Co. which is "not on time" 93% of the time! (source- the 1999 DOT survey). Last year the city gave private bus companies approximately $110 million in subsidies and another $40 million was given to these companies by the State. Where is Audrey Pheffer when it comes to obtaining ferry subsidies from NY State for our community?

To summarize, it is obvious that the Rockaway peninsula does not get its fair share. It is about time that we get our fair share. When can we expect to get the attention of our elected officials? Or is it time to send them our message of disapproval at election time?


A Home, Not A Memorial

Dear Editor:
You should also ask if the voter resides in Rockaway or not. Who do you think wants the memorial put on the grounds of the Concannon's, Lawler's and Pomponio' s home?

When I pass the lot that was once my sister Kathie Lawler's home, I'm filled with deep sadness. Seeing a memorial put there would only deepen that loss. My hope is for people to rebuild and for another family to grow and enjoy the space the way all three of the families did. My sister was so proud of her home, not only for it's furnishings, far more because it was the one place our very large family ALL felt at home. She and Tom and their kids always made everyone at ease and welcome.

I understand how others who have lost relatives on Flt. 587 feel. They want a place to go to. My father passed away very suddenly while in the hospital. I don't go back to NYU Hospital to remember him, I go to the cemetery or more often, take a walk on the beach.

Our lost one's live on in our hearts forever. The greatest compliment we could do for them is to allow other families to continue living in peace and happiness as well, without the constant reminder of what happened to us on November 12. Beach 130 Street is not the place for our memorial. I feel it should l have been incorporated into the plans of the Memorial Park now under construction at 116 Street.


Subjects That Concern Me

Dear Editor:
It's unfortunate that the G-man is no longer with your newspaper. Most people don't realize what they have until it's gone. I have been visiting the Rock-aways for at least 18 years. I moved here almost three years ago, I began buying the paper because of Gary Toms. He spoke about subjects that concerned me and should have interested most that buy/subscribe to your paper. People forget: WE CAN AGREE TO DISAGREE.

I've discovered living In Rockaway that if I want information pertaining to people of African decent, I have to travel far for such news. That's pretty unfair. I find that people take more interest in reading and reporting stories of criminal content. And that reporting focuses largely on people of African decent, as though we are the only ones committing crimes. But I ask myself who's doing the reporting? And I'm consistently shown what "others" deem newsworthy and that's what's reported.

In this English speaking country several newspapers, not in English, are displayed and sold and most folks don't even know what the heck is being reported. No one sees the unfairness of that.

For those of you that were uncomfortable with Mr. Toms and subjects he touched on, you couldn't deal with - to damn bad for you. You've caused a big deficiency in the sale of the WAVE.


Faithful Have Forum

Dear Editor:
Thank you for attending our first informational night on January 29. Your presence demonstrated your love and concern for our Church.

One of the main reasons for our meeting was to provide a forum for your voice to be heard. We regret that did not happen. Due to the ongoing sexual abuse scandal rocking our institutional church, the faithful need a gathering place to share their pain and to support one another. This will be provided at our next meeting.

Some of the views expressed were not the sentiments of the Voice of the Faithful. In spite of that, we hope you went away with a clear understanding of our objectives. We pray for your continued support to have the ban on meeting in our churches lifted and to build a vibrant Kingdom of God here in Rockaway.

Our next meeting will be March 26 at the American Legion Hall. We will mail you a letter about the topic to be discussed that night. We particularly invite those who may have disagreed with any of our speakers to come and share their own views.

Rockaway Voice of the Faithful

Visit Before You Vote

Dear Editor:
Before the City Council votes on a Peace Declaration I suggest they go to the hole where the World Trade Center stood and read the names of the 3000 dead. After they do that they should come to Rockaway and march in the St Patrick's Day parade and explain their reasoning. In addition, they might drop into the Harbor Light and explain to the mothers and fathers of the dead boys from Rockaway why they did it.

I believe that the City Council made up of almost all Democrats are just trying to get even with President Bush for being legally elected. Do they and their ilk realize what they are doing to our troops in the Middle East?

I also pledge that I will never watch another Martin Sheen movie or television show, especially the West (Left) wing.


Lew Simon To The Rescue!

Dear Editor:
I had a problem. My water pipe in the street froze. When the sewer was replaced in the early 1990's, mine was not buried below the ice line. After being without water for a week, Mr. Lew Simon came to my rescue. I would like to publicly thank him for his role on my behalf. I am told that the D.E.P. or maintenance departments will permanently repair the water pipe sometime in the spring. I hope they do.


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