2003-09-19 / Columnists



Patrick Clark, the artist who designed the glass cupola that will serve as a memorial to those Rockaway residents who died in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 says that he hopes that the site will be ready for its dedication on October 26. "We have to take a look each day to see the progress we are making," Clark told The Wave at the flag raising at the site last week. "We really won’t know for a few weeks if we are going to make that deadline."

Clark’s studio is in Rockaway and artisans are hard at work completing the cupola.

A company called Moon Handbooks has just published a handbook about New York State, written by Christine Bird, an ex-New York City resident who left to go to Yale and never returned. In her guide, Bird writes of Rockaway, "South of Howard Beach stretches Jamaica Bay and the 10-mile-long Rockaway peninsula. Once a playground for the rich and then for the middle class, the Rockaways are now sadly abandoned, a dumping ground for the city’s poor." I am sure that those who just paid anywhere from $300 thousand to $800 thousand for a house on the peninsula would be glad to hear that.

The Rockaway Museum, which is housed in The Wave Building on Beach 88 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, is planning on mounting a retrospective of Playland. As part of that retrospective, museum officials are seeking remembrances of the amusement park. That includes written pieces, pictures, movies, newspaper articles, etc. Those interested in participating may contact the museum through The Wave, at 88-08 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Rockaway Beach, New York 11693, by fax at 718-945-0913 or by email at editor@rockawave.com.

Although Monsignor Geraghty, the pastor at St. Francis de Sales Church on Belle Harbor, assured us earlier in the year that the new meditation garden being built across the street from the church was not a memorial for anybody, there are now reports that the meditation garden will include a memorial to all of those St. Francis de Sales parishioners who died on September 11, 2001 and in the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 two months and a day later. That memorial will reportedly list the names of those parishioners who died in the two events This is a fitting memorial for those who worship at St. Francis, but probably will still not satisfy the families of the passengers who died on flight 587 and who want a memorial of their own in Rockaway.

Marilyn Grossman, who lives in Arverne, found a dead bird nearby her home, so she did what she was supposed to do. She called the city’s Department of Health to pick the bird up, and they said that they would do so. They did not, and a few weeks later, she got a letter from the DOH telling her, "Only a sample of dead birds that meet specific criteria will be tested for the West Nile virus." The letter urges her to use gloves to put the dead bird into the trash. So much for following up on dead birds in Rockaway.

An exhibit at Nassau Community College has lots of individuals and veteran’s groups up in arms. The art exhibit, focusing on the American Flag, requires visitors who want to sign the guest book to stand on an actual American Flag. The work by artist "Dred Scott," called "What is the Proper Way To Display The American Flag," has drawn opposition in other venues as well. We understand that there is freedom of expression in American, but "Scott" will not even use his real name. Any student of history will tell you that Dred Scott was the name of the slave in the famous Supreme Court case that was decided by Chief Justice Roger Taney, who said that slaves were not people, but property and therefore had no standing before the court. Our question is, why would an institution funded by public money want to do such a controversial thing?

More than 24 tons of steel from the World Trade Center will be used this week to form the bow-stem of a new U.S. Navy vessel, the USS New York (LPD-21) The ship is a San Antonio Class amphibious transport dock ship that is used to transport U.S. Marines to a war zone and to get them ashore where they are needed.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars this weekend for the Rockaway Music And Arts Council (RMAC) Fall Festival, which will once again be held at Riis Park on both Saturday and Sunday. The festival features fine art, crafts, food and entertainment. Look for The Rockaway Museum Table at the festival to donate towards keeping a viable museum in Rockaway.

Saudi Arabia’s religious police have issued a dictum that Barbie Dolls are no longer allowed in the country. The government agency says that the "revealing clothes" on the "Jewish toy" are offensive to Islam. This is our main Moslem ally in the Middle East. Sure!!!

Tomorrow, on Saturday at 11 p.m., there will be a street naming ceremony at Beach 69 Street and Bayfield Avenue in Arverne in memory of Steve Russell, a firefighter who was killed on September 11, 2001. Russell lived all of his life on that street and could see the World Trade Center buildings across the bay from his bedroom.

The Rita Daly run will be held this year on the boardwalk beginning at Beach 84 Street on Saturday, September 27 at 11 a.m.

Rockaway residents who attended the U.S. Open at Arthur Asche Stadium in Flushing two weeks ago did not expect to see a local resident playing. While Patrick Featherston, a Captain in the FDNY, never made center court, he did play between championship matches against NYPD players.

Unions for the Green Bus Company and Triboro Bus are telling riders who complain about the lack of service in recent days have bee told to contact the mayor, because it is the city’s fault that the expanded winter service has not yet begun. The union says that the increase in ridership caused by the opening of school and the end of the vacation period will cause long delays. A recent announcement by the city that it may not take over the heavilly-subsidized services will only exacerbate the problem.

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