2003-07-25 / Columnists



There is a crime wave developing in Prospect Park. You know Prospect Park. That’s the place where you can drink alcohol while you can’t at Rockaway’s beaches. You can’t drink at Rockaway because Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe says it is dangerous, while parks such as Central Park and Prospect Park are safe. Recently, there was a daylight attack at the park, something we seldom find on the beach. The union that represents the parks enforcement police say that the problem is too few of its officers on duty. Seems they’ve all been sent to the really dangerous places – like Rockaway Beach.

The predictions that there would soon be a major accident at Beach 116 Street and Beach Channel Drive due to the new Duane Reade parking lot came true on last Sunday morning at about 8 a.m., when there was a multi-car accident that brought a number of ambulances to the scene. We have witnessed several motorists ignoring the new signs that require a right turn out of the parking lot, rather going straight onto Beach 116 Street or making a left onto Beach Channel Drive. While DOT believes that it has solved the problem with its new signs, the area is still a danger to both motorists and to those crossing the street inside the long diagonal crosswalk that runs from the southwest corner of Beach Channel drive to its northeast corner.

Those who buy this week’s issue of The Wave will also get, free of charge, our 110th Anniversary Issue. After this week, however, the special issue will be on sale only at the offices of The Wave for $5. This issue is a collector’s item that every Rockaway resident should put away for his or her grandchildren.

We know that City Councilman Joe Addabbo has been telling Rockaway residents to go on doing what they have been doing in the past on our beaches, but that advice is leading to some tickets and lots of heartache. Nancy Herman, for example, has been boogie boarding with her kids on Beach 104 Street for many years. Now, however, it seems that a Parks Enforcement Police Lieutenant has made her and her family a favorite target, forcing them from the water every chance he gets when they are boogie-boarding. Herman argues that there are others using boogie boards all up and down the beach that never get bothered by the PEP, while she and her family are constantly harassed.

Michael Mossa is the Republican running for Joe Addabbo’s city council seat. Mossa was on the boardwalk for the massive demonstration two weeks ago, handing out cards and generally making himself known to Rockaway voters. Mossa says, "The beach is Rockaway and Rockaway is the beach." "The police force should not be used as another form of taxation," Mossa says. He is calling for a complete review of all of the current beach rules, with some input from Rockaway residents. "Let’s use some common sense and allow Rockaway residents to use the beach that they pay for," he concludes.

There were two more shootings in the 101 Precinct in Far Rockaway over the past weekend. Gun crime continues to grow after a long period of dormancy. There are those who believe that the rebirth of gun crime is a direct result of the deletion of special NYPD units that were concerned with taking guns off the street. Granted, those units sometimes made mistakes, sometime tragic mistakes, but there is no denying that they did their job. When those units were active, gun confiscations went up and shootings went down. Now, with those specialized units gone or cowed, the opposite is happening.

The new date for the opening of the Rockaway Tribute Park on Beach 116 Street and Beach Channel Drive has not yet been set, according to Chamber of Commerce sources. Those who take a look at the site, which has yet to bee graded and prepared for Patrick Clark’s "Glass Chuppa" believe that it might be well into the end of the year before the site is ready for visitors. According to the chamber, the plan calls for the greenery surrounding the statue to be put in place sometime in October, with the walkways and the memorial itself due shortly thereafter.

A reminder to all, particularly those with children, that the annual sandcastle contest sponsored by Barbara Morris and West End Realty, will be held this Sunday, July 27 at the beach at Beach 116 Street. Let’s hope that the police do not start ticketing the kids for "excavating" the beach. In any case, there are three categories: Adults; children-adult teams and children working alone. All registered contestants will receive a free hat. There are also trophies for the winning children and cash for the winning adults. Registration begins at 12 noon, with the contest running from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m.

Sometimes a small story becomes an intriguing story for the staff. The story about the Far Rockaway High School prom that never happened because of the Vietnam War 34 years ago, but has been rescheduled for next year, is one of those stories. Anybody who graduated from FRHS during the years 1965 to 1972 and who is interested in attending the upcoming prom, should contact Shari Horne via the Internet at obythsea@aol.com.

All runners should remember the Graybeards Family Run, which will take place tonight (July 25) on the boardwalk from Beach 126 Street. Registration will be held at that site from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. this evening.

In an effort to save $75,000 this year, the city’s Department of Transportation has turned out the decorative lights on four Manhattan bridges. The MTA, however, must not have received the memo—some of Rockaway’s subway platforms, like the one on Beach 88 Street, are even lit during the day.

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