2003-05-02 / Columnists



With the beach season rapidly getting nearer each day, residents are once again reminded that swimming when there are no lifeguards on duty is not only illegal, it might be life-threatening. Having said that, we want to add our hopes to those of many residents that this beach season will not bring the wave of tickets that were the bane of last year’s beach season. The Wave received a letter recently detailing the fact that a local woman was ticketed by local police officers for walking her dog on the boardwalk (yes, the dog was on a leash). That does not bode well for the coming season.

Now that the Concorde is scheduled to make its last flight into JFK in October, everybody is jumping on board, claiming that they were the catalyst for the end of the service. Among those who have taken some credit so far are Congressman Anthony Weiner, Lew Simon and ex-Assemblywoman Carol Berman. Who will join them? The list will probably get longer day by day, but the fact is that it was an economic decision on the part of both British Airways and Air France. The flights got so expensive and money became so tight, that the service, the pride of the foreign fleets, just died under its own economic weight.

Mayor Bloomberg’s approval rating has fallen to its lowest level since he took office. Nearly 6 out of 10 voters who were asked how he was doing responded by saying that he was not doing very well. In March, only four out of ten voters responded in that way. His quick drop might be a lesson for the Political Science textbooks. Silly things sometimes drop a political figure. Mayor Lindsay almost dropped an election because he was slow to remove the snow from Queens thirty years ago. Could the smoking fiasco be the equivalent of Bloomberg’s snowfall? We’ll have to wait for the next election to really be sure. By the way, seven in ten New Yorker’s who were polled recently said that the mayor does not understand the pain that his cuts will bring.

The Wave tested the city’s new 311 system last week when a dead cat was spotted nearby our offices. The 311 operator asked for a description of the problem, and then forwarded our call to the appropriate city agency. We described the problem, gave the street address to the Sanitation Department, and the cat was gone the next day. New York City’s 311 telephone system is for non-emergency government services.

According to officials of the Port Authority (PA), that organization hopes to facilitate a ferry service between JFK Airport and lower Manhattan by 2005. The PA says that the ferry service will create an "interim connection between the airport and Manhattan." Perhaps, if our local politicians can get active on the question, that ferry could include a stop at Riis Landing, right across Jamaica Bay from the airport. The airport destination, tied in with Rockaway, would make for a commercially viable service. The Wave has been arguing that point for at least three years, but nobody seems to be listening.

City Councilman James Sanders is working on a plan that would honor two women who did big things for the east end of the peninsula, Gloria
Warshofsky and former Assemblywoman Pauline Rhodd-Cummings. Both would be honored with streets named in their honor. Warshofsky was the long-time president of the Bayswater Civic Association.

Part of the reason the city is in financial trouble is its propensity to pay off on lawsuits without a fight. About a year ago, the city paid millions to a man who, while trying to rob another man, was chased by police and fell onto the tracks, where a subway train hit him. The fact that he was running from the police after an armed robbery attempt did not seem to matter to the city’s lawyers. Now, the city is paying $10 thousand to a woman who was arrested for going topless at the Brooklyn’s Cyclone’s Stadium during the Coney Island Mermaid’s Parade. A city lawyer told reporters that the city often made such "business decisions."

While none of the subway tollbooths in Rockaway are due to be shut down under a new plan, there are a number off the peninsula that will impact on Rockaway subway riders. The toll booth at Rockaway Boulevard on the A Line is only one example. And the MTA has still not completed the track work that makes riders take an A shuttle train from the Rockaways to Rockaway Boulevard in Ozone Park. That trackwork from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. has been in effect since last year and now will continue at least to May 30 and perhaps beyond. Hey MTA, when will it end?

Now that Al Sharpton has become an official candidate for President (yes, of the United States), perhaps he should file the disclosure documents that he was supposed to file last month. It is going to be interesting to see how the other candidates will respond to him. Will they question his about Tawana Brawley and the Rockaway Five, or will they let him slide because they do not want to seem tough on a minority candidate, especially one who has not a chance of winning it all.

There has been some concern in the Rockaway Beach community that developers were buying up the beautiful, old homes on the beach blocks between Beach 90 Street and Beach 110 Street in order to tear them down to build condos and homes on the sites. "The can buy up the property for $400 thousand and then build five homes that they can turn around and sell for $500 thousand each," one local complained to The Wave. Those who live in the area worry that the new homes will price them out of the market. Some of the new homeowners in the area are charging up to $1,500 a month for a 2-bedroom apartment, something that was unheard of in Rockaway even a year ago.

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