2003-07-18 / Letters


Use Some Common Sense
Dear Editor;
Letters Use Some Common Sense

Use Some Common Sense

Dear Editor;

How unfortunate it was that the captain, Charles Talamo chose to fire
back at our community in The Wave. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. By choosing to break up a memorial fundraiser attended by some of Rockaways hardest working civic leaders, grandparents, children, grandchildren, etc. our good captain chose to ignore any common sense.

As a past president and Board member of the 100 Precinct Community council it has been my honor and pleasure to work with some wonderful men and women officers of our precinct. With that said, what occurred on July 4 on Beach 130 Street was disgraceful!!!! What started out as a family oriented memorial fundraiser for some of Rockaway’s immortals that perished on 9/11 and the plane crash turned into an out and out witch-hunt. The blame can only be placed on the back of Captain Talamo, causing a rift between he and our neighborhood that can only end with his transfer.

There was no, and I repeat no fireworks, disorderly conduct, or unreasonable noise on Bch 130 Street on July 4. The officers know it and unfortunately they had to follow orders.

As far as the number of officers that responded, let the captain count his way and we’ll count the old fashion way 1,2,3,4 etc. We won’t even address the so-called application for a permit.

"How did they raise money the captain asked", with generous donations
and the sale of memorial shirts, of which the captain was given one.

This incident was strictly payback for some obnoxious individuals who
were on the beach last year after all the families went home. Were there 50 people there last year, I don’t think so. If these individuals were so bad last year why weren’t they arrested and dealt with then.

For years the 100 Precinct has had a wonderful working relationship with our community. We have had men and women such as Jack King, Harold Rochelle, Liz Sulik, myself working hand and hand with past commanders such as Captains Higginson, Morley and Siricca with great success. Just look at our nights out against crime which are used as models by other councils and precincts. We live in one of the safest and lowest crime neighborhoods in the city. If the captain is looking to increase his numbers in summonses and arrests, let him go look and work elsewhere.


Change and An Apology

Dear Editor;

I was born in Brooklyn, summered in Rockaway until 1961 and then moved here with my parents and brothers. Why, you ask? We wanted to live in a beachfront community where in the summer you could go to the beach and swim. Where when my dad got off the train, he could come home, put on his bathing suit and go for a swim. Nobody looked at their watch. Common sense told you that you were swimming at your own risk if the lifeguard wasn’t on. If it was hot enough my mom would bring dinner to the beach and we would stay until we were ready for bed.

Wednesday nights were our favorite.

The fireworks boomed, and we would pretend we were soldiers with every loud boom and fall on the sand. With every beautiful display you could hear the oohs and ahhs. Afterwards, if you were lucky, you would go to Playland for your return at trying to grab the brass ring on the merry-go-round or you would go to Mc Governs candy store for your favorite ice cream cone.

Does anyone remember Duke and Dick? The summertime beat cops? They were our friends. They know the kids by name and if you wanted to talk to them you would. They cared.

Coolers on the beach? How else would you keep your sandwiches, Kool-Aid and beer cold? Yes, beer. Come on, people, let’s be honest. Beer on the beach isn’t new. It didn’t just happen last week or last year. Captain Talamo should wake up. Some of the people drinking may be cops, firemen, doctors or just someone’s grandfather enjoying their beachfront community. I am not just talking about just the people on 130 Street or just those on the fourth of July. Up and down our beautiful beachfront community everyday from Far Rockaway to Riis park even in Breezy Point!

We are not troublemakers. We do not have a history of causing problems and the Captain stating that we would use September 11 as an excuse for a party is about as low and stupid as anyone can get. An apology would be nice. What happened to general courtesy?

The laws regarding the beach, boardwalk, surfing, bike riding etc need to be changed. This happens every year, and I for one am tired of it.


Never A Cop

When You Need One

Dear Editor,

 I just read the Daily News and Newsday about the events of July 4 in our neighborhood.

Here is one that nobody will read about. My husband and I were woken up July 5 at 3:15 a.m., by cars racing down our block. When we went out on the porch there were 6 cars parking on the street. We counted 22 kids walking towards the beach with cases of beer, yelling and cursing. We also saw car after car going down towards the beach.

I called the 100 Precinct. A woman answered and I told her what we had seen, she said this was the first phone call she received.

A male officer then got on the phone and I gave all the information again and gave him my name. He said he would send a car.

Well, surprise, surprise the car never came. I couldn’t go back to sleep, so I was out on the porch reading when they all came stumbling back around 4:30 a.m. Now the show began, lets just say they did not pull away as soon as they got in the cars.    

Captain Talamo and Community Affairs Officer Kenny Beecher, what kind of quality of life is this?

The violations you could have rack­ed up that night were numerous, park­ing illegally, underage drinking, open containers, littering, DWI and the big one, on the beach after 10:00 pm. We went for a walk the next morning and the garbage left behind was disgusting.

Where was the 100 Precinct?


Talamo Must Go

To the Editor:

I’d like to thank Captain Talamo for demonstrating in last week’s Wave that he is unfit to lead the 100 Prec­inct.

More than anything else, leadership demands integrity. Talamo’s assertion that the citizens of Beach 130 Street used 9/11 to "justify their behavior retroactively" is such a bald-faced lie that he forfeits any credibility. The police knew in advance about the fundraiser. That’s undeniable. People celebrating Independence Day and remembering loved ones lost don’t need to justify their behavior. They are not criminals, just as the citizens who swim after work, run the boards in the morning or surf are not criminals... despite the ticket assault Talamo has ordered against them.

Captain Talamo has pitted his officers against citizens in what is traditionally a very low-crime, pro-police neighbor­hood. He has attacked our way of life and caused a rift in our com­munity. Now he is using lies to hide his own despicable actions. That’s not the leadership our police need.

I am sure Captain Talamo had a successful career before he came to the 100 Precinct. I hope he soon continues his career pursuits elsewhere so we can repair the damage he has caused.


Rockaway Is Treated


Dear Editor;

Why is everyone surprised about the daily bombardment in the daily newspapers about the incident, which happened on Beach 130 Street in Rock­away Beach on July 4? It’s a clear examp­le of the double standards being used in the policies of the Bloomberg administration. Sure the police were in the right as far as the law is concerned when they issued summonses and made a few arrests for drinking beer on the beach. Did they use discretion? Of course they did not. It just goes to show you how Rockaway is treated differently than other areas.

It’s common knowledge that Rock­away has been and is being used as a dumping ground for all the ills of New York City. We here in Rockaway are only five percent of the population of Queens and in that five percent, we have 65 percent of all public housing in Queens. We have 80 percent of all the nursing homes in Queens. We are saturated with health-related facilities, and we have the highest rate of unemployment in the country at 28 percent. Was it right that the police stormed a fundraiser party for the victims of the world trade center? I don’t think so. But it’s just another story about Rockaway being used. It’s an­other example of gain for some at the expense of others.

I believe the Police captain played a major role in what happened at the beach fundraiser. After all, he was reportedly standing a few yards away during the Beach 130 Street invasion, in order to ensure that the officer’s discretion was not used but that his orders were followed. When someone tells you it’s not about money, it’s about money. You have to follow the money. It’s been the belief of many people in Rockaway that the 100 Precinct has been and is being used as a stepping-stone for captains to get promoted. And maybe that’s where it all starts. In order for the captain to show a good record he has to show masses amounts of summonses. And surely the records will show that Rockaway Beach is blitzed with tickets every day of the week, winter and summer.

According to an article in the local newspaper, The Wave, the captain stated that there were almost 40 summonses given out on Beach 116 Street the same day that a few summonses were given out at the fundraiser on Beach 130 Street. The people in the area of Beach 130 Street were well aware that the summonses were going on in the poorer areas, but they choose to ignore them because it wasn’t in their backyards. For years they were well aware that the police set up lifeguard chairs on the boardwalk around Beach 116 Street and have police officers sit in the chairs with binoculars scanning the beach for summons-writing opportunities. Captains are chang­ed in the Rockaway Beach 100 Prec­inct more often than some change their underwear.

Why can’t there be a civil service test for captains to move up the ladder in­stead of the political games being play­ed in the promotion process? What is wrong with the most qualified being chosen for any job? It’s not fair to the rest of the precinct who remain after the captain’s promotion. They will be the ones the people will remember when all they were doing was following orders. There wasn’t a single police officer below the rank of captain according to reports who favored the beach raid.

Hopefully, all the commotion will bring a change for the better.



Just Say Thanks

Dear Editor;

Just want to say thanks to Lew Simon and Howie Schwach, Lew for the voice of the people of Rockaway and Howie for the great coverage in the Wave "Take Back The Beach Rally." Now is the time for our elected officials such as Councilmember Joe Addabbo Jr. to hear the voice of the people of Rockaway.


Real Reason Lost By Media

Dear Editor;

I thought it was a great thing that the Take Back the Beach Rally got so much media attention. Unfortunately, it seems that the real reason behind the rally has been lost in the shuffle.

This rally was scheduled prior to the incidents that took place on Beach 130 Street on July 4. The original intention was to get the beach access laws chang­ed. The new signs posted all over the beach and boardwalk list num­erous rules or laws that just don’t fit a beach community. 

We’re not allowed to take a walk or a run on the boardwalk or sit on a bench after 10 p.m. and before 6 a.m. We’re not allowed to swim or surf before 10 AM and after 6 PM.  We can’t have our dogs on the beach or boardwalk at all, not even on a leash. People have been issued summons for all these "violations."

People in Rockaway have paid and are paying exorbitant prices for houses, with the intention of being able to relax and/or exercise on the beach. Cap­tain Talamo of the 100th precinct has decided to enforce these laws. For some reason he has a personal vendetta against Belle Harbor. People are get­ting slapped with tickets for anything and everything.

If you go for a swim, while the lifeguards are on duty and leave your blan­ket unattended, there may be a cop waiting for you when you return.  That’s a ticket. Unattended beach blan­ket. You think I’m kidding? I’m not.

 Swapping cars in your driveway?  Leave one in the street while you go to pull the other one out?  That’s two tickets. Illegal parking and leaving an un­attended vehicle running in the street. That is, of course, if you made the mistake of leaving it running for the 30 seconds you were gone. Oh yeah, that’s a criminal court summons.

Moving your car from near Wald­baum’s to near Citibank in the same parking lot? Hope you didn’t forget to buckle up. BANG! Ticket! Wake up early to get some waves?-BANG! Come home from work in the sweltering city and jump in the ocean?-BANG!

We all know you’re not allowed to drink beer on the beach. Never have been. In Belle Harbor, it’s usually not a problem. On Beach 116 st. where the buses and trains let out, it is a problem. Fair’s fair. You can’t drink on the beach. The media has made this into a "We want to drink on the beach" issue. That is not the case. We want to be able to use the beach. We want the Beach Access Laws changed. We want Captain Talamo to lighten up or move on.

Selective enforcement of alcohol rules in city parks and beaches is a problem but it’s not the problem at hand. It’s not the reason for the Take Back the Beach Rally.

It’s all a liability issue. Mayor Bloom­berg says 6 people have drowned in Rock­away waters and drinking and swimming is not safe. The last six drownings in Rockaway have had ZERO alcohol involved. 

Whatever happened to "Swim at your own Risk?"


The Issue is Beach Use

Dear Editor;

It’s sad that beer has become the focal point for the list of draconian rules being enforced on the locals. Al­cohol on the beach is way down
the list of importance.

Most important are the rights of surfers to surf anytime on their
designated beaches.

Most important is the rights of our kids to boogie board all day during life­guard hours.

Most important is the right of locals to take a dip between 6-8 p.m. or 8-10 a.m.

Most important is that the boardwalk should return to the 1 a.m. curfew.

Don’t lessen our fight behind a 6-pack. The last thing we need in Rock­apulco is free- for-all drinking on the beach. It would be a disaster to allow day-trippers that access. Locals know how to be discreet. Then police would use their judgment. Unfortunately, the drinking law was only a tool to wreak havoc at the July 4 fundraiser. It’s funny; I’ve read many more stories in the last 2 years about drunken police driving and killing people than drunken swimmers drowning in Rock­away.


Police Above Law?

Dear Editor,

I notice the uproar over Rockaway beach people being ticketed for alcohol consumption on the beach. Now, although I agree, alcohol should not be consumed in public, I remember about four years ago while passing the Memorial Circle, I saw about six off-duty police officers drinking beer in plain sight of the 100 precinct. No tickets were given to them. If they had not been police officers how fast would they have been ticketed?


It’s A Beach Community

Dear Editor;

I just bought a home in Rockaway and haven’t even moved in yet and have spent every summer for 30 years and lived in Rockaway year round and I can’t believe the new restrictive beach and boardwalk rules.

The beach and boardwalk should be open to visitors and residents alike with­out fear of being ticketed. If rowdy or dangerous behavior occurs— ticket that — but we should be able to enjoy our beach, just as Manhattan­ites get to enjoy Central Park without harassment. I don’t get home from work until after 7 p.m. – and I should be able to walk along the beach, and enjoy a swim before and after work – that’s why I bought a home in Rock­away and that’s why I have been go­ing to Rockaway my entire life. The rules should be changed immediately. We want to surf, to fish, to swim and walk and ride our bicycles on the boardwalk – it’s a BEACH community!


Who Are ‘They?’

Dear Editor;

I am writing in response to the comments made by Captain Talamo in your July 11 edition.

To say that "it is despicable the way "they" are using 9/11 to justify their
behavior" and to directly question the motives of our community by saying "how did ‘they’ raise money (for charity)" is insulting.  I believe the Captain is using some revisionist history of his own to justify his perhaps lack of judgment and sensitivity. To imply that the event was not a planned fund­raiser is just plain ridiculous. In addition, all money raised was strictly by donation. I ask the Captain to find someone who felt coerced into don­ating.

I am sorry to hear that the Captain considers our community as "they".  We are not the enemy, we are here to help you.

The Captain needs to be reminded of how hard it has been for our community of the past 2 years and how we all need and will always need each other to heal. All of us (not "they") have lost too much. 

I for one am glad to live in a community in which people actually care about their neighbors and are willing to help each other out. I was there
im­mediately when the plane crashed and saw my neighbors attempt to help in any way possible. Whether by trying to search adjacent homes for neighbors, helping the fire department or just by offering the rescue workers a place to use the bath­room. Our community showed true its character. We (not "they") were portrayed by the city and the national media as models of what a community should be.

What happened? A few beers at a plann­ed fundraiser and now "they" are all out of control? 

Captain please understand that many among us (not "they") have fam­ily and friends who are police officers and we as a community have a high regard and respect for the hard and dangerous work that you do.  To expect a little understanding in ret­urn is not too much to ask.


Get The Story Right

The following letter was sent to Radio 1010 WINS.

Dear Editor;

Each morning, I log onto 1010wins. com and read the news. This morning I logged on to find an article printed that was not only completely wrong, but slanderous. The article is titled "Fight For The Right To Party."

I am a lifelong resident of Rockaway Beach and attended the rally mentioned in your article. Your article stat­es that "the Wednesday night prot­est came after the Daily News pub­lished photographs of concertgoers drinking wine while listening to the New York Philharmonic at city parks."

This is entirely inaccurate. The rally was not staged to protest the ar­rests and tickets issued at the July 4th gathering where police confiscated coolers. The proof of that is the fact that the rally was planned prior to that event is a story about the rally that was actually printed in the July 4th edition of Rockaway’s local paper, The Wave. In that article, there isn’t a single mention of this rally being a re­quest for folks to consume alcohol on the beach, which is what your article goes on to say. 

What happened at that July 4th par­ty was basically that the group was unfairly targeted and these voices were heard at the rally, as they have a right to be.  Public drinking is public drinking. Fine, we get it. How­ever, random arbitrary ticketing of pub­lic drinkers is unfair and we WILL speak out against it. The rally held on July 9 included those voices.

Mayor Bloomberg was quoted as saying, "The truth of the matter is half dozen people have died drowned off the Rockaways,’’ Bloomberg said. ‘’I don’t know of anybody that’s drown­ed in a tuba recently.’’ Gee, I wonder if anyone died while driving home after drinking and listening to a tuba? Or perhaps the Mayor is absolutely sure that everyone that attended the Phil­har­monic concerts in city parks was walking?

I find it reprehensible that you print­ed that arrogant remark made by Mayor Bloomberg at the end of an article that portrays Rockaway as a community of people who stage rallies to fight for the right to drink alcohol on the beach. We rally for quality of life issues such as new beach rules prohibiting residents from enjoying their own environment.

I strongly suggest you consider print­ing another article accurately
reporting the FACTS, the residents of Rockaway deserve it.

I have attached the article from the Wave re: "Take Back The Beach Rally Set for July 9" so you will have the FACTS regarding the rally your rep­orted on at your fingertips.


Beer Not The Issue

Dear Editor;

I was anxious to attend the "Take Back The Beach" Rally last night, but from the minute Lew Simon opened his mouth I found myself sorely disappointed at the way the event was handled, and the priorities he focused upon.

Lew began his speech by yelling out to the crowd that we should all be allow­ed to drink beer on the beach.  From that point onward it seemed as if the other issues were merely along for the ride. I am not sure if "beer on the beach" is actually Lew’s priority, or if he just rode that slogan because of the recent publicity created when the 9/11 Fund Raiser Beach Party was busted up a few days ago.  

Unfortunately, Lew continued to foc­us on the wrong things, and lost in his tirade was our desire to simply be able to stroll on the boardwalk during late summer evenings, to be able to ride bicycles on it like they do on other boardwalks, to be able to be accompanied by our dogs, to be able to fish and to surf, and to basically enjoy the things we all live in Rockaway to do.  Lew blindly handed the megaphone to anyone who wanted it. Including an idiot who bashed NYC police who were at the WTC on 9/11! I am sure that this is not what we were there to portray. In spite of Capt. Talamo’s mis­handling of Rockaway Beach protocol, this has always been a community that has supported our police force. I think this is one reason we feel so betrayed when they needlessly persecute beach and boardwalk users.

I am not the only person who came away from the rally misunderstanding the reasons for the gathering. The major newspaper and network news reporters also thought this was about beer! The result of this reporting in the media was not flattering to Rockaway or it’s residents. Mayor Bloom­berg continues to be out of touch, making flip comments to the media about "no one drowning in a tuba" to make his point about why we shouldn’t be allowed to have a cold beer at the beach. But why shouldn’t the mayor be out of touch when our own representatives didn’t even care enough about their constituents to show up? This perpetuates my "Cin­der­el­la Rockaway" theory. Rockaway is like the beautiful, neglected, and mis­understood stepchild in NYC. The bigger, less graceful communities get all the attention from the city leaders, and money from the city coffers. What we need in Rockaway is a true "Prince Charming", someone who will see that under the dirty streets here there lies a beautiful beachfront community that deserves to be treated fairly.

We should not have to deal with a curfew on our most popular boulevard, our Boardwalk. We should be able to surf the waves, have a place to fish, be able to toss a Frisbee to our dog, and have a moonlight stroll, with­out having to be looking over our shoulders fearing that we might see a patrol car looming up the Boards.


116 Street Is Changing

Dear Editor;

I’ve decided to come out of retirement; at least as far as my letter writing goes. There is a saying- "Times, they are a changing".

My sister has informed me that a luxury building is going up on the old Curley’s lot. I went to 116 street and the boardwalk and sure enough, she was right. But now I ask, who is going to pay $300,000 for an apartment half a block away from an adult home?

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great. Little by little, 116 street is turning around. The Good family started the ball rolling. What about those old hotels? Has anyone notice that the Lawrence Hotel is growing a beard? Look up sometime. You’ll see what I mean. Is this the beginning of the end for the adult home, Baxters, Rockaway Park and the beard growing Lawrence? I guess we will all just have to wait and see.


Graffiti Idiots

Dear Editor,

Those two graffiti idiots should be made to spend the rest of the summer weekends cleaning up any graffiti found in the Rockaway area.


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