2003-07-18 / Columnists

On The Beach

With Beverly Baxter
On The Beach With Beverly Baxter

I must tell you how proud I was to stand with so many of you at the Rally last Wednesday night to protest these ludicrous beach rules. There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned protest—and Rockaway seems to have, unfortunately, acquired a real knack for this sort of thing—like no other place I’ve ever known! Yes, we tend to do a lot of bickering and arguing amongst ourselves; but that’s okay—after all, we’ve become a kind of big noisy extended family. But god forbid an entity dare to threaten, restrict, or impede upon our carefree way of life, and we will band together, take it on, and push and shove in the same (key word) direction. We have never been a community that becomes shuttered down in defeat. I happened to have over-heard a woman say, "There must be over a thousand people here; but will it really matter?" I say, yes! Our currency is our numbers—and it will get the attention of the "rule-makers" every time. And we had such wonderful help and coverage from many media outlets—who came to the party! One Eyewitness News Reporter admitted off-camera to me how much he actually enjoys coming here to cover us—and how we are such a unique lot!

Demonstrators came carrying bold placards, each exemplifying shared sentiments about the excessive enforcement of antiquated beach rules. Some came with fishing poles, surfboards, and snorkel gear. I was hoping one would have figured out how to get a jet ski there! (We can’t enjoy that activity either!). They came in beachwear and business suits with children in tow...And in the thick of it all was Lew-Mr. bullhorn himself-Simon—chanting like a Varsity Coach! Now I know some may find his style abrasively embarrassing; but when all forms of diplomacy have been exhausted, and the situation has become so incendiary, then you need the "roaring riot" to fan the flames and arouse attention. Lew wasted no time in exploiting the absence of Councilman Joe Addabbo, who Chairs the Parks Committee; and Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, who Chairs the Tourism Committee. It would have behooved them both to attend. It certainly didn’t put them in very good stead.

And what would a protest be without action? Many decided to break the rules and jump into the ocean past the curfew. I was rather disappointed that Lew didn’t manage to get himself arrested! Do you know, I finally realize why Lew has such a flat forehead! He himself will gleefully tell you that’s from many years of banging his head against a wall! And this time, he finally made a dent!

Perhaps the most poignant moment of the event was when Simon sez, "Everyone into the ocean!"; and as many raced toward the surf, a call came in and a shout went out, "It’s a job!" I’m told that’s "the call" of the Bravest. As they ran toward the ocean, these ordinary men who were there as "locals" and protestors, became Firemen as they rose to answer the call of "the job". It was extraordinary to watch as they ran, in their shorts and flip-flops, south down the beach and the boards to a fire in progress on the boulevard. True men—in every sense of the word.

***It was delightful to see and chat with Republican State Committeewoman Terry Ariola and Republican State Committeeman Ed O’Hare. What a dynamic duo they make! They told me of their plans to create more of a Republican presence in Rockaway. If anyone can do it, it’s Terry Ariola and Ed O’Hare. Ariola is always so gracious, warm, and what a smart great lady she is!

***Mary Dever Kelly wishes to extend her gratitude and thank our local parishes for all their prayers for her husband Jim. The Kelly’s were celebrating their first anniversary on an Alaskan cruise when Jim took seriously ill. The couple live by and believe in the power of prayer and I am happy to tell you that Jim is doing much better. The couple enjoy the many simple pleasures of living by the beach and they can often be seen taking evening walks on the boardwalk; but Mary is concerned about the new restrictions stating that if they are only selectively enforced, then law-abiding citizens like themselves are put in a position of breaking the law. She has a very good point.

***Get well wishes to Betty Marziliano of Bayside walk who recently endured a serious illness. I hope she will be up, out, and about—playing cards with the girls real soon!

***See you...On the Beach!  

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