2003-04-19 / Columnists



A 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves came to our office during the week to complain about the fact that we printed the letter to the editor from Stephen Wohl about the men and women fighting in the Gulf as well as our coverage of the support our troops rally that was held two weeks ago. We address his complaints about Wohl in our editorial this week. As for our coverage of the rally, he says that we should not show people wearing the flag as clothing. While he is legally right about using the flag in that way, the people who did it did so for a positive reason, not to demean the flag. In addition, he believed that we intimated with one picture that there was only one veteran present at the rally, when there were really dozens. We asked the man to write us a letter to the editor so that we could publish his ideas, but he calls himself "one of the silent majority." Where have we heard that song before?

A few months back, there was a car accident on Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 121 Street. It was a minor accident as those things go, but it did topple one of the stones, a memorial to a serviceman who had died in World War II, that sat on the Memorial Circle. The woman who reported this to The Wave says that she has contacted everybody she can think of, including all of our local politicians, and nothing has been done. "The stone is on its side and it looks like a cinderblock now," she reported. "Especially in light of what is going on in the world, you would think that somebody would be interested in restoring the memorial."

On Tuesday, May 6, there will be an "evening of celebration" in honor of Matthew Bromme for his "leadership and dedication to Community District 27." As you all know, Bromme is presently a senior assistant to the chancellor, in charge of compliance with the "No Child Left Behind Law."

Four State Senators from Queens are co-sponsoring legislation to create a scholarship fund to benefit the immediate family members of victims killed when American Airlines Flight 587 crashed into Belle Harbor in November of 2001. The bill would provide financial assistance up to the cost of a state university education to any eligible family member who attends college in New York State. Among those who proposed the law is Senator Malcolm Smith, who represents all of Rockaway.

A number of readers have called to find out how they can get a copy of "Between Ocean and City: The Transformation of Rockaway, New York," which was reviewed in last week’s From the Editor’s Desk. The book, which is a good recital of what happened to Rockaway in the last few decades, is available now directly from Columbia University Press or at its website,ww.Columbia.edu/cu/cup. The book will be available at Internet book sites and from some large book dealers beginning on May 15. We would suggest the book to anybody who has in interest in Rockaway history and certainly to those who remember Rockaway when Playland was alive and kicking and you could sleep on the beach with no problems. By the way, the editor got a few calls to remind him that he was wrong about one thing in his column. The "New Theater" was indeed in the Hammel area, at about Beach 78 or 79 Street. One woman, now 82, called to say that it was called the "itch theater" at the end because it was in such disrepair.

How can a mayor who says that he must cut firehouses, teacher aids, library hours and the like turn around and spend millions to hand out free nicotine patches and to hire inspectors who will go around and make sure that people are not smoking in local bars. When budget cuts are necessary, the mayor should do two things: cut from the top and stop all programs that mean little to anybody with the exception of himself and a small number of activists.

We enjoyed meeting Brian O’Connell, the man who will take over PS 114 in Belle Harbor after the spring vacation. He has a self-depreciating humor that might play well with the parents in that community. "After reading The Wave the last few weeks, I thought that I would have to wear a flak vest tonight," he told a large audience. We like his style and welcome him to the community. In addition, the community owes its thanks to Kathleen Cashin, the new supervising administrator for our district. She responded quickly to parent complaints and that is something that has not been done in a while.

The Joseph P. Addabbo Family Heath Center is looking for some help in building their new facility at 6200 Beach Channel Drive. The health center is selling bricks for $250 that can be used to honor or memorialize a loved one. Those interested can call Zandra Meyers at the center.

The word from a recent Chamber of Commerce meeting is that New York Waterway will run ferry service from Rockaway to Manhattan during the summer months. The service will be available to Rockaway riders from June 14 to September 1 only on Saturdays and Sundays and, additionally, on Labor Day. This is obviously not the commuter ferry Rockaway so desperately needs and that residents sick of the A Train have been clammoring for. The weekend ferry service will run from Riis Landing (the old Coast Guard Station in Fort Tilden) to East 90 Street, East 34 Street and Pier 11 at the South Street Seaport. Details such as cost have yet to be worked out. Sounds like it might be fun for a day out in Manhattan, and perhaps the ferry service will realize how much Rockaway needs a commuter ferry and will give that a try as well. The summer would certainly be the time to try out such a service.

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