I Must Defend Myself
During my tenure as a Rockaway resident for 70 years, I have never run into anyone that loves Robert (Pharaoh) Moses as much as Mr. Peter Stubben, who, with all due respects, sounds like a Johnny-Come-Lately to the new Rockaways!
I have a bad habit of doing my homework, and not doing or saying anything, or about any subject, unless I have something to hang my hat on!
Historians must learn to read in between the lines, make logical assertions, speak out, and take the heat!
It sounds to me that Mr. Stubben has not read the Bible on Moses, called "The Power Broker," by Robert Caro. This is the book that Moses did not want published, because Caro found hidden records.
I do not give a hoot what Moses did for the rest of the late great city, however, I do care about what the pharaoh did to the Rockaways, what he wanted to do to the Rockaways, and most importantly, what he didn't do for the Rockaways!
If old Bob had had his way, do you realize that there would have been nowhere in Rockaway to send your letter! No one would be living here or in Broad Channel, an area which, relatively speaking, hated the man's guts for many years.
And by the way, do you know that in the days of the old Long Island Railroad it only took thirty-five minutes to get to Penn Station from the Rockaways?
Back near the second quarter of the twentieth century, the Long Island Railroad was willing to sell its Rockaway line for a subway to the beach. The city always cried 'broke,' so the line was never purchased. The city authorities, in their infinite wisdom, improved subway lines to Coney Island, and built new lines in Queens, from west to east. When Moses planned the Van Wyck Expressway, he was asked to have a rapid transit line along side or over it, for north/ south travel in Queens! The answer was again was no! I wonder why?
During the early 1930s, a monorail line to the heart of Manhattan from Rockaway was brought up, to replace the Long Island Railroad line - still up for sale! Once again Moses said no!
When the ugly "el" was built by Moses to prevent railroad crossing accidents, the roadway under it got the name of "suicide Drive." Then, the bay line was filled in and Moses got his bird sanctuary, with ponds as part of a deal.
An extension of Van Wyck Boulevard, over the bay to Edgemere, was also wanted at one time, but Moses had Idlewild Airport (JFK) on his mind. For this project he dredged out the bay bottom, as he did for a wider Crossbay Road and his bay park (Jones Beach II), as well as the other dredging for the never-ending bay port project.
Crossbay Road brought more autos and parking problems to the Rockaways, as did the Marine Parkway/Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge. And it is even suspected that Moses wanted to extend the Brooklyn subway line from Flatbush and Nostrand Avenue, down to the bridge and over to (his) Riis Park, and then go east to Beach 116 Street.
Did you also know that Moe stole sand from the deep off Rockaway to fill Orchard Beach? And that the boardwalk was to run from Riis Park to Beach Second Street, Shorefront Parkway was to run from Beach 169 Street to the Atlantic Beach Bridge?
All of his projects were aimed to flatter and destroy the amusement section of the Rockaways, and build his ego highway to eastern long Island through the peninsula. He partially succeeded, and when opposed by those more powerful, he backed off, and tried again at a later date!
All of his projects needed a lot of land, especially for hi-rise houses. Moses built a lot of them here, and his plan for the Atlantic Towers hi-rise city at Rockaway Point was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, and he denied any involvement. Read the book, Mr. Stubben, and talk to the people who have to pay tolls to get out of the Rockaways, on the bridges that Moses built. He started the tolls, which have skyrocketed since the 1930s.
The legacy of Robert Moses in the Rockaway area, is a dying Jamaica Bay caused by over-dredging; he destroyed a place that people came to by the thousands for a swim, fun, and entertainment; he and the city always did favor Coney Island (and the city still does); we have an airport that never should have been built here. We have a center lift span bridge over Rockaway Inlet that rarely opens, and a beach that we can't seem to hold onto.
Mr. Stubben also states that Moses was the one and only person around to build what he built. Well, with some rich and powerful friends, other people's money/unlimited funds, and the know how to bully some politicians who haven't the knowledge or education I have... watch my smoke!
Not that I am bragging, Mr. Stubben, but as an historian here I did have my so-called fifteen minutes a few times. The closing of Shorefront Parkway for bicycles, roller-skates, etc: was my idea brought forth to the chair of the community board, when he wanted to know what I would do to make Rockaways attractive to residents and visitors alike. When this was done, it was a hit until those who opposed were appeased!
I also suggested in a Wave editorial, that getaway should begin to build an air history museum at Floyd Bennett Field... to cover both military and civilian accomplishments in this field. It is being done, slowly and surely!
Hurricane damage and storm water height possibilities were also done by yours truly... with a map of same for all Wave readers. After this appeared, evacuation route signs to high ground were posted.
However, contrary to your beliefs, I do like some things that Moses did! He always made sure that there was money available for the maintenance and upkeep of his projects. The grass was always out so as not to hinder the visibility of drivers at interchanges, and the junk, garbage and auto parts and old times were cleaned up - instead of being left to accumulate!
I do hope that I have enlightened you, Mr. Stubben, as to how the pharaoh destroyed the Rockaways with his public improvements.
Love old Moses all you want, that is your right. But I would and do prefer to be politically right all the time...not politically correct!
Thank you for your letter.
EMIL R. LUCEV, SR.
Wave Misrepresents Buildings
Love the Wave though I do in the three years since I've decided to relocate to the Rockaways, I regret to tell you that the three storage sheds,
photographed on page 14 in the issue of September 19 ("A Tree-Cutting Mystery in Arverne") and described as "a recycling plant of some sort," actually contain books and furniture of mine that will be moved into my house, also in your picture, as soon as it is available for occupancy. The only "recycling" likely to happen on this premises is my words as a professional writer.
Since my site was photographed through a visible open door, I wondered if your "reporter" asked the contractor who must have been working there at the time, whose name and telephone number appear on the surrounding construction wall, what was going up? Speak English I can assure you he and his workers can. Do I now have reason to wonder what else utterly fictitious appears in the Wave?
Need I add that, not yet resident in the Rock, I had nothing to do with cutting down the Beach 68 Street trees, which my neighbors there tell me reflects a City plan to install new sewers and raise the level of the sinking street. Didn't your reporter ask any of them? Fantasies about the "massive Arverne-by-the-Sea project" notwithstanding, did he or she notice that six two-family units (apart from mine) were recently constructed on this one block of 68 Street, some of them visibly for sale, and that perhaps the infrastructure upgrade reflects their presence?
Incidentally, isn't the name on the two signs on the park adjacent to my
property spelled differently from what you wrote? Check 'em out. Who's correct? The Wave or the City?
Cooper Is Wrong
To The Editor:
I cannot help but reply to Mr. Stephen A. Cooper and his bashing of President Bush. I agree with him that he has every right to do it, however, I have every right to answer.
First, I note that he gives out with the usual party blather about "Tax Cuts for the Rich". This can be answered in two ways. The first is the people who pay the taxes are the only ones who get a tax cut. Yet even those who pay no taxes got the benefit of additional money for their children. Secondly, I have yet to hear any Democrat explain how raising taxes would spur the economy. If you can do that Mr. Cooper I would agree with you. When I taught elementary Economics, the government could do two things to spur on the economy. It could lower taxes in order to put more money into the hands of investors and spenders and it could create jobs by government building projects. The trickle down effect of both of these methods is in use by the Bush administration. Democrats prefer giveaways, and don't talk about cutting expenses.
You complain about a quagmire in Afghanistan and Iran. Did you complain about the Democratic created quagmire in Vietnam? Most Democrats don't like to admit it, but Vietnam was a Kennedy-Johnson baby. Incidentally, another Democratic apologist, Walter Cronkite did more to help us lose that war than anyone else did. In addition do you complain about Kosovo and Bosnia? Or are you not aware that troops have been there for seven years. I guess you can blame President Bush for that too. However, in that war the UN let too many people die before President Clinton finally took any action.
President Clinton had chances to take Bin Laden and sat on his hands. When the Cole was attacked he bombed an Aspirin Factory. He did that to get every body's mind off his exemplary behavior with a young intern.
I also wonder about the Invasion of Iraq. I wonder how the Democrats campaigning for President can suddenly deny the war. Did they not vote to approve the war? Did not the UN have sanctions and resolutions piled up to the ceiling of the International Hash House and do nothing. When money was given in the Food for Oil program where did it go? Its obvious now that it did not go to the people of Iraq.
If it were up to you the people of Iraq would still be being gassed, tortured, and imprisoned while the wonderful UN would do nothing. Iraq and Hussein thumbed its nose at the UN for twelve long years and nothing happened until President Bush took action.
Yes, there are casualties in Iraq, and although the cost in lives is never pleasant, the cost of the whole Middle East, including Israel is at stake. The mid-east must be stabilized, without it we will always live in fear. By the way, have there been any terrorist bombings in the United States since we went after the terrorists in their home countries? You may not feel safer but many Americans, including me, do. You cannot cut and run at the first shot.
Finally, you do not have to bash President Bush, he gets enough bashing from the mainstream press especially the NY Times, WABC-TV, WNBC-TV, WCBS-TV, the Clinton News Network, the Hollywood crowd, Senator Chappaquidic Kennedy, Grand Kleagle Byrd, and all the Democratic candidates for President. They all spread enough blather to go around for everybody. Finally I'm glad people like you were not around in Korea, because I probably would have been abandoned after you ran.
HARRY J. MORPURGO
Not worried About An Accident
Lew Simon stated in his September 26 column that he thought that the State Legislature's proposed ban on drivers smoking with children in the car is "ridiculous, ludicrous and idiotic" and didn't "understand how a cigarette can cause an accident". I don't think it's an accident they are worried
about. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people (especially in the summer) with their windows rolled up in their air conditioned, gas guzzling SUV's puffing away while their children are in the backseat inhaling poison.
Sometimes, I just want to pull the driver over and slap some sense into them.
Ditto for drivers who still don't put children in car safety seats and still allow their small children to ride in the front, where they can be killed by an inflated airbag. Unfortunately you have to pass a test to get a license to drive, but any dope can raise a child.
Parking Ticket Quotas?
On the evening of September 22, about 10:40 p.m. my friend Peggy and I had pulled up in front of my residence, 90-08 Rockaway Beach Boulevard. I had my house keys in my hand and the passenger side door slightly opened because I was about to get out of her mini-van but was listening to something my friend was saying. As she was saying goodnight I noticed a police officer on the driver's side writing a ticket and the other officer on the passenger side was standing with his hand on his hip as if he would be going for his gun. Both Peggy and I are elderly and this was very upsetting for both of us.
When we asked the officer why he gave her a ticket, he said we could not park where we were although I live in the apartment upstairs.
Everyday my family and I have seen many cars parked so the person can either go to the post office or the deli, but do not receive a ticket.
Can it be because it's near the end of the month and they must fill their quotas?
I am very upset over this incident.
MRS. MILDRED WILLIAMS
The Dog Police
At the height of Hurricane Isabel I was at the water's edge with my dog when I was summoned by New York Finest to the boardwalk. After being questioned by the officers as to my identity, the Officer commented, "all you dog owners are breaking my chops," whereupon I was issued a citation for a violation of park rules.
At that instant, a young attractive female with her unleashed pooch, walked on the beach and the two exchanged familiar greetings. My neighbor commented, "You know the dogcatcher is not going to give her a summons."
Meanwhile, surfing in the treacherous Atlantic Ocean were 4 young teens swimming and surfing to no concern to the policeman.
One wonders, is the interest in dogs on the beach more of a concern than the woes of our teenagers?