2003-08-29 / Columnists



The Rockaway Kite Festival was once again a major success, drawing thousands of people to Riis Park both on Saturday and Sunday. For most of the kids present, the highlight of the festival was the kite-making workshop, which allowed kids to make their own kites and then go out and fly them on the green. There was also good music and a puppet show that kept the older kids riveted. All in all, kudos to the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce and Gateway National Recreation Center for putting the event together.

The closing of the East River ferry service for lack of ridership is another blow to Rockaway’s desire for a commuter ferry service of its own. New York Waterway, the company that recently stopped the service, was the only company to evidence any interest at all in a Rockaway ferry, and that was more than a year ago. While another service, New York Water Taxi, has announced that it will pick up the service, it is unclear whether it can survive given the price of a round trip and the lack of ridership.

The City Council has adopted a bill that would allow New Yorkers to adopt a park. The park sponsor must choose one park, playground, beach, pool, ball field, greenspace, or recreation center to adopt. The sponsor, which can be an individual or an organization, will then work with the city to raise money to take care of the adopted piece of land. Specific details have yet to be worked out, but we expect to hear soon just how a person or organization goes about adopting a park.

Rockaway’s beaches were closed for a day last week as a result of a release of waste from a Manhattan water treatment plant. The plant, which discharged the polluted water into the harbor because of the blackout a week ago Thursday, caused beaches throughout the area to close. The Rockaway beaches, the furthest from the spill, were the first to open on Saturday.

The 1972 and 1973 graduating classes from Far Rockaway High School will soon be holding a reunion at the JFK Holiday Inn nearby JFK Airport in Jamaica. The event, which will be held on Saturday, September 20, promises to be a major Rockaway event, though many of the ex-students no longer live on the peninsula. Those interested in further information should contact Diane at 516-484-1470.

The Daily News has once again revisited the Neponsit Health Care Center story in a recent edition. The bottom line seems to be the same as it was 1n 1998, when the center was summarily closed and its patients shipped to various facilities around the city. That bottom line is that nothing is going to be done quickly with either the land or the buildings that now stand on that land. The new article dances around the truth, that then Mayor Giuliani wanted to give the land to a local developer (a Republican friend) for a hotel and it would have happened had not the deed on the land specify that it had to be either a health care facility or a park.

The RMAC’s last Sunset Picnic of the season honored Wave publisher Leon Locke. His wife, Susan, who is the present publisher, was presented with a beautiful plaque by the U.S. Post Office and with flowers from the organization. Leon Locke was instrumental in developing the organization’s fall festival and was active with the RMAC for many years. The concert featured "Ball In The House," an apacella group.

Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer will be honored by the South Queens Democratic Club at a dinner on October 21 at Russo’s On The Bay. Also being honored at the dinner will be Vito Turso, the Deputy Commissioner for the New York City Sanitation Department and Jonah Cohen, the Deputy Chief of the West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department.

New York City residents can donate five dollars to the Special Olympics program at St. Camillus and take a chance at winning lots of money and prizes as well. The donation brings with it a "cool little racing duck" that will be entered in a race to be run between the Brooklyn Bridge and the South Street Seaport on September 17. Those interested in adopting a duck should contact thewww.specialolympicsnewyork. org. Then, click on "Adopt A Duck" and then on "Select A Team." Choose St. Camillus Special Olympics. The St. Camillus team has already taken in more than $1,000 in donations and is in fourth place in this fundraising drive.

The advertisement that Carson Tours put into last week’s Wave offering express bus service to Manhattan reportedly brought a torrent of phone calls to the company. Many of those who called were looking for a service that would go directly to Manhattan from their particular community, with no stops in-between. It is an indication of the poor service offered by the present private, subsidized bus companies that a new private service that is not subsidized should draw so many calls.

On Saturday, November 22, the Rockaway Music and Arts Council (RMAC) will present the original Broadway cast of "Bettlemania" at Beach Channel High School. Orchestra tickets for the event are $30, while balcony seats go for $20. At the same time, the RMAC is going full steam ahead with its annual Fall Festival, which will once again be held at Riis Park on September 20 and 21.

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