2003-03-29 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Beachcomber

People are nervous. On Saturday, police received a call over the 911 system that two "suspicious middle-eastern looking men" had put something into a boat nearby the North Channel Bridge and headed across the bay for JFK Airport. NYPD dispatched some aviation units and police motor patrols tracked the boat from the Rockaway shore. When Aviation 14 caught up with the boat, it told its occupants to halt. Harbor units from the Park Police, NYPD and PAPD finally boarded the boat and ascertained that the two men aboard were simply out fishing on a warm evening. They were, however, asked to get out of the area nearby the airport, which is now an exclusion zone.

Angel Quiles is a Beach Channel High School graduate who is now serving with the U.S. Marines somewhere in either Kuwait or Iraq. His mother, Haydee Quiles is not sure, but she would like to see his old classmates and the Rockaway community support her son. She is collecting letters and email to send to him and asks that those who would like to get involved to send him an email at hvny@yahoo.com. She would like to send him at least 100 messages by next week.

A combination store that houses both Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins Ice Cream has opened at the northern end of Beach 116 Street. The grand opening, on Sunday, drew lots of people who have missed the two local shops in the time that they both were missing from the street.

The Learning Channel will be airing a BBC documentary on the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 in Belle Harbor. No airdate has been set, but station officials say that it probably will not be before the middle of April.

There will soon be a peninsula-wide effort to support our troops now fighting in Iraq. The Rockaway Beach Civic Association, who started the movement, wants all of the civic associations on the peninsula to supervise the tying of yellow ribbons on trees in support of our troops. Those who planned the event say that, no matter how a resident feels about the war, he or she should support our troops.

There have been a number of reports of vandalism on the west end, with windows being broken and doors being smashed by rocks thrown from the street. A woman on Beach 136 and Newport called to say that a "huge" rock was thrown through her window nearby where her three kids were getting ready for bed. Another report came from the beach block of Beach 137 and yet another from Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 133 Street. The police of the 100 Precinct suspect kids out looking for something to do.

State Senator Malcolm Smith has been named as the ranking democrat on the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee. Congratulations, Malcolm.

A Congressional resolution to support our troops fighting in Iraq passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 392 to 11, with 22 abstentions. One of those casting a "present" vote was Congressman Greg Meeks. A "present" vote is, in fact, an abstention.

A number of PS 114 parents have called The Wave to complain that their children will no longer receive busing to the school despite the fact that they live several blocks away from the school. "That bus has always been there," one parent complained, "but now they have taken it away from us."

A new study done by a transportation consultant says that ferries are the most important form of transportation from suburban area to Manhattan. Unfortunately, Rockaway is not considered a suburban area and was not part of the study. The study says that it would "cost far less" for new ferry service than it would to build new subway or railroad infrastructure. Speaking of a ferry, Congressman Anthony Weiner has announced more funding for Riis Landing, Rockaway’s own ferry landing. Another $400 thousand will be spent for the construction of the ferry landing and a seawall at the old Coast Guard Station across from Fort Tilden. Nearly $2 million has been spent on that site over the past three years. Locals might ask, however, what good it all does without a ferry service to utilize the landing?

Only one Rockaway resident still stands in post-season basketball tournaments. Claire Droesch tipped back the ball that gave her teammate a shot at a three-point toss that won the game for Boston College and pushed the team into the next round by beating Old Dominion on its own court. Tricia Tubridy, despite her sharpshooting from the three-point range, could not help her Harvard team beat a bigger and faster Kansas State team.

Experts are trying to figure out if the Tribute Park site at Beach 116 Street and Beach Channel Drive is at least a half-acre in space. If so, then the new Duane Reade sign is not legal. If it is smaller, as many believe, then the sign is ok under current zoning regulations.

Pier 92 Restaurant is open for the season once again, serving up some of the best food and the best bayfront views in Rockaway. The restaurant, which is right behind McDonald’s on Beach 92 Street and Beach Channel Drive, once again features a Tuesday night buffet for $5.95 and early bird specials.

Nearly 250 people crammed into the corner of Beach 92 Street and Holland Avenue on Saturday to honor Firefighter Steve Belson, who died on September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center. Belson, who was called "Bells" by his Rockaway friends, was honored by many of his former colleagues, his friends and family. "Bells had three families," one firefighter said. "He had his mom and brother, his brother firefighters and the Rockaway community. He once said that he would never leave Rockaway."


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