Letters to the Editor
This is my first letter to The Wave. After I returned from the Lew Simon Rally on Beach 116 St. I felt sick to my stomach. As a Rockaway resident for many years I, like everyone else, enjoyed the beach and the boardwalk after working in Manhattan all day. But in the last 2 years I cannot come home and go to the beach for a "quick dip" to cool off. All of the Rockaway residents knew the beach was closed but we went into the water "under our own risk."
"Mr. Howard Beach" Addabbo as Chairman of the NYC Council on the Parks has had more than enough time to straighten out this problem in the last two years, but at this rally, he was a no-show. "Mr. Howard Beach" Addabbo should have straightened out this problem last winter, but like the services he's gotten from the City for the people and children of Rockaway - NOTHING!!!
"Mr. Howard Beach" Addabbo, you should have been at the rally to support the people who mistakenly elected you. If you were any kind of man, you would have gone for a swim after the rally to prove a point to the storm troopers of the 100 precinct.
If anyone in Rockaway believes that "Mr. Howard Beach" Addabbo cares about you, you are a fool. Where was "Mr. Howard Beach" Addabbo when he could have helped the Rockaway Action Committee on getting a pool in Riis Park? He should have fought Senator Schumer in public to keep his promise, but "Mr. Howard Beach" Addabbo was out of town. How come "Mr. Howard Beach" Addabbo can't do anything with the old LILCO (toxic) plant? "Mr. Howard Beach" Addabbo out of town again!!! Why can't "Mr. Howard Beach" Addabbo get an Olympic venue for the Rockaways? We have the "A" train and the ferry terminal. But once again "Mr. Howard Beach" must have been out of town.
"Mr. Howard Beach" Addabbo, if you want to do anything for the people of the Rockaways, you should resign and give all the money back to the people of New York you took it from. If you don't represent us, who needs you!!! "Mr. Howard Beach" Addabbo maybe you should stay out of the hair salons on Cross Bay Boulevard, and stop admiring your pinky rings with your John Gotti want-to-be friends.
Do all of the people of Rockaway a favor and quit and take all of the Addabbo Health Center Memorial Bricks out of the Rockaways and sell them to your John Gotti want-to-be friends.
Drinking In A Tuba Can Kill
The reports about the rally in Rockaway both by the newspapers and television stations gave the impression that all we are worried about is drinking beer.
The beer issue only arose after the differing treatment arose between
drinking on the beach and drinking at a concert in Central Park. The mayor trivialized this by saying that not many people were drowned in a tuba.
Drunks in Central Park can do quite a bit of damage, even kill other people. We are not a bunch of drunks looking to use the beach as our private drinking place. We want access to our beach. We want to walk on the beach, wade in the water, fish in the water, sit on the beach and then leave our chairs and towels there while we take a swim. The skilled and mature surfers want a place to continue enjoying the waves, which they were able to do until last summer, at a dedicated part of the beach. We also want to continue to use the boardwalk as an extension of our living rooms. There is little enough for resident's recreation here and the season is very short. This does not mean that we condone unsafe and disorderly behavior. A few neighbors visiting on the boardwalk late on a hot summer's night is not a criminal activity. If, and only if, it becomes rowdy and noisy and unruly, should it be stopped just as it would be if it took place on someone's front lawn or in Central Park.
We are not drunks. We are not lawbreakers. We pay taxes and get abominable transportation (which is one of the reasons we want the beach available later in the evening as we get home later that most commuters) and poor services in every way. We are a beach community who cannot use our beach sensibly without courting police crackdowns.
Give us back our beach.
SARA S. BERGER
Harassment On The Beach
After two weekends of harassment from beach Lt. John Rivera and Javier Rodriguez, I have never felt so compelled to write a letter.
What has happened to my family and friends at Beach 104 this summer is a disgrace.
First, our beach at Beach 104 was closed at the beginning of the summer (as well as beach 101, 102, and 103). Whoever made that decision should be terminated. How do you close ALL 4 beaches directly across from 6 complexes full of LOCAL families?? If they were really as shorthanded as they say they were they should have closed only every other beach. But even that excuse they gave us was not true because local lifeguards hired told us they were being sent to Coney Island because Rockaway had ENOUGH lifeguards!! Whoever made this decision had NO REGARD for OUR COMMUNITY. I sat on the beach with my family and watched Park Employees on an ATV (speeding and almost hitting children) harass me and my neighbors! Their explanation to us was that the beach would be open on July 4 and that is it! Whatever happened to swim at your own risk? Meanwhile they made everyone from these four beaches ALL go into the water at 105 st. It was a nightmare. It was so overcrowded. It was a hazard having all those people on ONE beach. Then comes July 4. Just when you thought the nightmare was over-all the harassment etc. Now they tell us we cannot boogie board. Why not? The reasons vary. They say it is up to the lieutenant's discretion? It seems to me it depends on how the Lt. feels that day. Where is this written? I could not get anyone to show me this in writing! All the reasons they give are NOT legitimate! On one occasion they told me to be thankful we were able to use our boogie boards until 3:30 p.m. If anything a boogie board with a leash will save your life. I know this for a FACT. Three of my very good friends (Mark, Paul and Tommy Wade) saved 6 people's lives after lifeguard hours(it was printed in the Wave too!). And do you know how they did it? WITH THEIR BOOGIE BOARDS! What better example than that. As one of our neighbors on the beach told Lt. Rivera, who was harassing us-"We are all families here and we all look out for each other." Their selective enforcement is so frustrating. While a lieutenant is coming in the water to personally remove me and my daughter-adjacent beaches have boogie boarders they choose to ignore. I know for a fact that this is being selectively enforced. My neighbors tell my how they visit relatives on other beaches in Rockaway and this is NOT enforced.
On Sunday July 13, Lt. John Rivera came in the water twice at B. 104 Street to remove me and my daughter with our boogie boards. Then we have him on videotape going in the water with his family on company time and ignoring the boogie boarder who is right behind him! While focusing on the boogie boards -there was a near drowning on B.105 and the chair on 104 was left unattended. One of my friends (Tommy Wade) had to rescue a little girl on Beach 104 Street. When we reported the incident about Lt. John Rivera to the Chief on duty that day, he was spoken to on the boardwalk by the chief and then he and his family packed up and left. We were then told by the chief that we could boogie board. We thought that would be the end of it.
On Saturday July 19, at approximately 3.30 p.m., Lt. John Rivera, along with Javier Rodriguez, showed up at Beach 104 and instructed the lifeguards to remove the boogie boarders and then left. When we confronted the lifeguards and demanded to speak to him-he returned. Again, same story. He could not provide us anything in writing about the boogie boarding rule. He could not provide a legitimate reason. Selective enforcement again! We were boogie boarding until 3.30pm and then Lt. Rodriguez showed up and FORCED everyone out of the water or face a fine! He advised us we can boogie board on Beach 87 or 127 St. This makes no sense. Again I see people on other beaches boogie boarding. The lifeguard chair on B.104 was again left unattended for 15 minutes. Shouldn't Lt. Rivera be more concerned with that than boogie boarders? Why did they assign a police officer to patrol ONLY BEACH 104 on Saturday July 19 for boogie boarders? This has become harassment. The children in Rockaway have no movie theater, no ice-skating rink, etc. They look forward to their boogie boarding in the summer. two months of great fun right at home. Now they want to take that away? Not without a fight they won't. If we all stick together I know we can make a difference. For the better of ALL of OUR FAMILIES and COMMUNITY!
Thanks to Lew Simon for returning my call on Saturday July 19 and delivering the petitions to me at my home.
Disturbed Over News Reports
I am very disturbed by the news reports covering the fourth of July party and the rally last night. The network news stations and the NY Daily News coverage makes it seem as if the issue bothering Rockaway Residents is that we can't drink on the beach. Some news accounts reported that the rally was taking place as a direct result of the July 4 events when we know that it was planned weeks before July 4 as reported in the Wave.
Does it bother me that there is double standard when it comes to drinking on the beach and drinking in the park while listening to the philharmonic?
Yes it does, but it also bothers me that are double standards regarding all of the beach regulations posted in Rockaway. Go to Brighton Beach Boardwalk after 10:00 p.m. and you will see plenty of people and none of them are getting ticketed. I've also never seen anyone get a ticket for walking their dog on the boardwalk in Brighton Beach or Coney Island. They don't seem to get tickets for fishing in Brighton and Coney Island either. How about a little closer to home? One Neponsit resident I know told me with regard to the rally "They (the cops) don't bother us up here, we can walk our dogs on the beach and go swimming when we want, but I'm going to the rally to show my solidarity to the community".
Mayor Bloomberg has a problem with drinking and swimming because he assumes everyone who has a drink on the beach is going to go for a dip. What about drinking and driving? Does he honestly believe that all of the people drinking in the park while the listening to the Philharmonic took public transportation? Some nights I'd like to come home from work, grab a blanket, some wine and cheese and head to the beach to enjoy the sound of the surf while I look at the stars. I could do that with no problem if I went to Central Park, but on Rockaway Beach it could turn into the most expensive bottle of wine that I ever had.
Addabbo's office told me the dogs aren't allowed on the boardwalk from May through October, because the boardwalk is crowded and not everyone picks up after their dogs. Well the beach is crowded and not everyone disposes of their trash properly, does this mean that next year we won't be allowed on the beach?
I was brought up in Rockaway back in the 60's and 70's. I moved to Florida in 1980.
I lived on 115 Street and as a child use to go to P.S 225, under the name of Theresa Roberts. My parents were Frank and Frances Roberts who both lived and passed away in Rockaway. They had six children, me being the youngest. My two brothers are Frankie Roberts and Tommy Roberts, Tommy Roberts just recently passed away in April of 2002. I remember Rockaway as a tight community, The bingo hall on 116th, Danny's Place pub who Kaye Wood used to own. The Jewish restaurant down by Woolworth's. These are the things I miss. I just recently was up there in May and basically my family is still there, most have moved out to the Island. My brother-in-law, Jessey Spencer, is a retired fire fighter and my sister Sharon, who is married to him, used to work at St. John's Home for Boy's. I'm sure you have heard many stories of how people grew up in Rockaway, I remember the Fire Works every Wednesday night during the summer and the performances St. John's used to have before the fire works started. The whole neighborhood would come out and it was all a free event. We used to stop and get ice cream on the boardwalk by 116th before the fire works started, and sit on the beach to watch the show. This is the way Rockaway use to be and this is the way we need to have it back. I don't live there any more but do visit. I think this issue with the beaches should be addressed, As citizens of Rockaway they are the community, residents shop there, live there, work there. People should be able to sit on the beach at night with our loved one to watch the stars and listen to the ocean. We should be able to walk and play with our dogs. The beach is a place of freedom away from a day of hard work to be enjoyed by all. The community of Rockaway pays for it. So let me be one to say even though I don't live there any more it breaks my heart to know that they have taken so much freedom away. I hope the people of Rockaway get through to the politicians to change things back to the way the were in the 60's and 70's or we just won't vote for them and get them out of office.
The things I miss that I know will be gone forever are: Woolworth's Ice Cream Sandwiches and Snow Cones.
The Saturday Matinees at the old theater, the city people who use to come down each summer and stay at the Bed Breakfast places on 115 and 114. Playland, The Rockaway parades they would have every summer and have the little leagues march in them. The big mountain of snow they would pile up during the winter time on 116 Street to ride our sleds down it. Making money shoveling snow for the store fronts, Shining shoes, Selling the Daily News at 9 p.m. you can by 10 papers for 10 cents go to all the pubs and they will give you a quarter (great candy money).
Sand Sifting, And most of all selling seashells down by the seashore. Good luck I'll be praying for all of you wonderful people of Rockaway. Enjoy the beach it is a gift from God and noone has the right to take it from us.
Give Police A Break
I would like to give a different twist to the people who have trouble with rules and regulations. If you want a law changed then go get involved and accomplish the project. But...
Giving the police a hard time for doing their job is wrong. You are not only wrong, but you are giving the children and youth of the area a very bad example in regard to the law and police.
This is serious - do not criticize a system like the police in front of your children. The need for alcohol to have a good time is not a good example for your children.
Just something for you to think about.
Some Internet Wisdom
Our Congressman, Anthony Weiner has cosponsored a bill to create an independent commission to investigate whether the Bush Administration manipulated and distorted evidence to take the country to war in Iraq. And yet many Rockaway residents consider asking such a question to be proof of a lack of patriotism.
There are too many questions for us to not ask them. Here are some of the issues that concern me and some sites on the Internet where I got some further information.
During the build-up to war, British and U.S. officials cited letters indicating Iraq had attempted to obtain nuclear material from the central African country of Niger. On March 7, shortly before the war began, Mohamed ElBaradei, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, declared the documents had proven to be forgeries.
The C.I.A. had debunked the Niger documents long before Bush began using them as evidence. The agency urged the State Department not to cite the forged letters when challenging Iraq's weapons declaration in December.
In a March 17 letter to President Bush, U.S. Representative Henry Waxman called upon the President to explain the situation. As he said, "The two most obvious explanations - knowing deception or unfathomable incompetence - both have immediate and serious implications."
We owe it to our children to keep asking these questions.
Keep Police Blotter
We would like to thank The Wave for resuming the police blotter. On the week that it resumed I found that a resident of my cooperative had been arrested for robbery. A floor captain was notified so that all concerned could take precautions.
While publicity for my co-op or myself is not desirable, you may use this note if pressure to censure the police blotter resumes.
Thanks Captain Talamo
Thank God for Captain Talamo! We have an on-going problem on our street with noisy, disrespectful people and their friends who don't live here. Everyone said nothing can be done but one call to Captain Talamo and things seem better already. He responded swiftly and right on target. He is concerned and truly interested in making things right. He has acted above and beyond his duty and for that we are very grateful. Our prayers are for God's help to help him do his work without all the scorn being put on him now.
HUGH FLOOD AND WIFE
Petition For MTA Buses
Dear Wave Editor,
I am a twelve year old boy. Recently, I have begun to ride the Green Bus Lines, or should I say I've begun to wait for the Green Bus Lines.
Their rude drivers and late buses, which come every forty minutes instead of every fifteen minutes, especially the Q21, already have me appalled. We are deprived of good bus service here in the Rockaways.
I want the residents of both the Rockaways and Broad Channel to petition the Green Bus Lines(718-995-4700). Also, I wish for residents to petition Joseph Addabbo to get the MTA's city buses here.
I plead for you to print this letter in your newspaper!!!
The following letter was written to Commissioner Adrian Benepe of the city's Department of Parks and Recreation:
Dear Commissioner Benepe,
I am writing to clarify that there are people in Rockaway who have the interests of the community at heart and, like me, would rarely waste time writing to City officials, but the need this time is there. After reading an article in this weeks The Wave, I am compelled to respond to your request for letters which seems very much like putting as many obstacles as possible in the way of changing ridiculous rules, which are costly to the community and the City. I am concerned with the rule prohibiting "abandoning" one's blanket and the rules pertaining to quite restrictive use of the beach and boardwalk.
Laws are supposed to be enforced because of safety and with distributive justice. Since Rockaway is still a city park and the 100th precinct is still part of the City, I fail to see why there is selective enforcement. The boardwalk is a city thoroughfare also known as Ocean Promenade. City streets are not closed at 10 o'clock, nor are any other boardwalks in the city. If they should be, and are not, according to the law, then there should be the same concern for justice and safety accorded to the users of the boardwalks in other boroughs and the 101st precinct as well. Prohibiting use of the boardwalk and the beach after an arbitrary hour makes no sense. Certainly if studies would show there is good reason to restrict use of these areas between specific times, no one would argue. For example, keeping the ocean clear of bathers after dark would not be unreasonable. But issuing summonses for use of a local resource or for "abandoning" a blanket while going in the water or for a walk is absurd, especially since the intent is to return.
All of these goings-on are much ado about nothing. Common sense must prevail. Waiting for the silent majority to speak up is another insulting ploy to do nothing. There was a community rally, which spoke volumes. The issue is fair use of our neighborhood. Very many people have expressed themselves by their presence, signing petitions and telephone calls. Making us repeat our efforts just serves to create enmity and harden our impressions of the city officials to whom we have given authority.
ERNEST HOROWITZ M.D.
Run, Don't Walk
If you haven't seen the Rockaway Theatre Company production of "Fiddler on the Roof," run, don't walk, to the Post Theatre in Ft. Tilden to get your tickets. Better yet, call and reserve them because the night I was there, the theatre was full.
I have seen many productions of this wonderful play and our own RTC is one of the best. The fiddler fiddles on the roof, literally, and Tevye stomps around like he was Zero Mostel. One of the best Tevye's I've seen. Motle the tailor, Lazar the butcher, and all of the cast are just fabulous. The costuming is right on target and the orchestra was terrific and some of them were costumed as well. You're sure to leave the theatre with a tear in your eye.
Kudos to John Gilleece and all the members of the company, they get better and better year after year. If you can't afford Broadway, you can afford the RTC and you won't be disappointed.
Beach Garbage Is Appalling
I believe I have discovered why the city is trying to keep the residents off the beach.
I took an illegal walk on the beach with my dogs and the garbage that is washing up is appalling!!!!! Plastics! Chip bags, cigarette wrapping, bottle caps, bags, tags, disgusting amounts of plastics!! The entire shore from Beach 92 Street to Beach 72 Street GARBAGE! GARBAGE! GARBAGE!
Maybe the Wave could do some investigative reporting to find out who is dumping off-shore. These are not things that fly off boats in a breeze, this is organized dumping! Residents know this garbage is washing up-visitors would see it as a "dirty beach!" It has not happened in years-and this weekend Jersey had medical waste.
On two separate occasions I have witnessed those criminal surfers with big black bags, some with rakes cleaning the beaches! Kudos to you all!
There should be enforcement of littering on the beach. Some days the visitors are better than others-but some days it is a horrible sight.
Maybe the Parks Department could invest in large dumpster-like containers with tops so everyone must go to a central location to dump their day's trash-one at each bay. The seagulls could not get to it and it should be large enough to hold everything.
The shoreline is a sinful sight with the garbage washing up!
It's that time of the year again when we get together and celebrate our memories of the good times we shared individually and collectively while growing up and living in Rockaway during the 50s, 60s and 70s.
In spite of the fact that we will not be able to BBQ in Bayswater Park, we will gather, as we have for the
last two years, sharing food, laughs and memories.
People will come from near and far to see friends, family, neighbors and even one-time enemies (smile).
We will dance with people we haven't seen in decades and hear names called of people that might have been forgotten.
All are welcome to the event. Pass the word. Bring your pre-prepared food, good vibes and be ready to unpack those packed away memories.
This year, in conjunction with The Wave, one of our co-sponsors, we will be awarding certain individuals for their long time commitments to Rockaway.
Especially those individuals who fought for the community when it was the right and decent thing to do
and not when it became the politically expedient thing to do. I mean, way back in the days before we had two voting districts.
Also, we will honor our Rockaway ancestors and friends who are no longer among us.
That's this Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m. at Bayswater Park for the "Third Annual Function at the Junction Reunion!" Be there or be square.
Suddenly, some of the tabloids in our city are taking notice of the current form of political boss rule. This kind of rule represents, clearly, the government of the insiders, by the insiders and for the insiders. Perhaps it is a bit harder to continue with government like this when the federal government seems intent in bringing open democratic government to every other country on the planet.
The tabloids seemingly concerned about boss rule-wasn't that supposed to have ended some time ago?-were not at all interested in seeing how the Dayton Seaside property tax manipulation was a function of government by insiders. Certainly no elected official was willing to get to the truth at Dayton Seaside, but why would officials who accept government by insiders have been interested in the truth?
I still believe, of course, that the truth will yet emerge, and possibly to end talk of certain major Democratic and Republican personalities as presidential prospects.
But I mentioned Dayton Seaside here because one local politician, not elected to public office, was willing to speak the truth about Dayton Seaside, even if no one was willing to listen, and to give a forum to all parties affected, not just insiders. I refer, as I have previously to Lew Simon. I again salute his commitment to fair process as indicated because of certain harsh comments recently directed at Lew. AS to the alleged comment, who is really being insulted when a leader is called a rabble-rouser?