2003-11-07 / Letters



Flight 587 Memorial

Dear Editor,

I would like to respond to the letter last week from Yesenia Rivera entitled "Community is Not Fair." Ms. Rivera has it all wrong that we don't care that some of our neighbors died the day of the Flight 587 crash as well as people on the plane. The fact of the matter is that we all care very much. We not only had the plane crash but 9/11 impacted very much on our neighborhood, something Ms. Rivera may not know.

Rivera and many others feel the memorial should be on the exact spot where the accident happened. I don't agree for a few reasons. One reason being that to put a memorial in the middle of a residential area, in and of itself, is not right. It brings back too many memories to those still there and is not the appropriate place. Two: many memorials are not placed where the events happened. As an example, right here in Rockaway we have two monuments on the Boulevard and Beach 94 Street in memory of those men and women who died in the wars. There were no wars on 94 Street, but the monuments are there for all to see and honor. Go to Washington, D.C. and see the Iwo Jima, Vietnam, and Korean memorials, they are not where the events happened but are in a place where they can be seen by the most people and those brave people who died can be honored by all of us.

I think that a memorial on Beach Channel Drive and 131 Street would be more appropriate than on Newport Avenue. On Beach Channel Drive many people go by each day and would see the memorial. On Newport there not that many cars going by and a memorial would be lost.

One final note, Ms. Rivera, please don't bring an ethnic tone to your letter stating that, "after all, it was more Spanish people that died and perhaps they don't care." Yes, we do care. Most of the people on the ground who died were Irish. It should not make any difference what you were. All these brave people should be honored, but in the appropriate place.


Ferry 'Wake Turbulence'?

Dear Editor,

With my deepest sympathy and profound condolences to the victims of the recent Staten Island Ferry Boat Accident on Staten Island, but I was wondering, will the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) arrive at the same conclusion as they did with Flight 587, that the accident was caused by 'wake turbulence' left by the preceding ferry boat? Just wondering.



Dear Editor,

I am writing this letter to see if you will help me solve a problem that has been in existence for more than ten years in Dayton Towers, the development where I have been living with my family since 1981.

I just don't know what to do or where to turn to get an answer from them in order to resolve this problem. I've tried calling, writing letters, even holding back rent payments for the past few months and still no answer (I just don't want to end up being in the street for not paying rent.)

I also noticed from the damaged ceiling in the lobby that all these leaks from apartments including mine are affecting the structure of the building (I have pictures).

I am living with a huge opening in the wall over my terrace door where the leak exists. I haven't had any visitors since they came to my apartment and it has been the whole summer to date and I don't want to expose anyone to this health hazard. The annual inspection of my apartment was done by Richard Nardo, the manager of Dayton to whom I asked to please make a note of the damage in my apartment even though he was aware of the situation and to date nothing was done. Now, what I would like to know is what do they do with these inspection reports signed by tenants.

I have all kinds of documentation, pictures, copies of letters that I've sent with my rent and I've gotten no response. All I'm asking is for your help. I'm a good tenant, I followed their rules, never late for paying my rent. Now, I've gotten to a point where I can't anymore. No one deserves this kind of treatment and to live like this is inhuman if you ask me.


Parents Must Help

Dear Editor;

In last week's Wave, a parent in the west end of the peninsula protested that our kids get into trouble because there is nothing to do. This is a complaint that I have been hearing since I was a student in Far Rockaway High School.

However, I was too busy to get into trouble. In addition to my schoolwork, I was in a Girl Scout Troop and also the band belonging to the troop. That took up two evenings a week. My parents and I went out to dinner and to the movies together once a week. My son belonged to a Boy Scout Troop with his father as scoutmaster. That took up one evening plus frequent camping weekends. My grandson also was in a Scout troop with his father as scoutmaster. You will notice that in all of these activities, the adults in the family were involved. Where are the parents of the children who have nothing to do? One place they are not. They are not where the children are.

A couple of years ago the scout commissioner recruited 50 boys to start a
new troop here in the west end. They were all ready and eager to participate.

The only problem was that they could not find five adults to run it. I repeat, they could not find only five adults willing to give time for their own children's activities even though they would have had plenty of help from the commissioner, and the paid employees of scouting.

Young people do not need twenty-four hours supervision but they need some guidance and the best people to provide this guidance are their own parents.


The Glory Days Of BCHS

To the editor:

In a letter dated April 23, 1965 to James B. Donovan, President of the Board of Education, David Kraus wrote that a school of oceanography in Rockaway "...would be an outstanding example to the world of farsighted educational leadership and would reinforce our goals of quality education for all." Mr. Kraus was secretary of The Rockaway Academy of Science dedicated to "foster the development of youth in science." He was also the Science Department Chairman of Far Rockaway High School. The letter was initiated in response to the Board's plan to build a new high school in South Queens. Mr. Kraus emphasized that the school was not meant to specialize solely in oceanology, but rather incorporate other disciplines using the subject as a core.

When Beach Channel High School opened in September 1973 the faculty that greeted the first classes of enthusiastic kids was composed of a number of creative teachers and administrators second to none in their fields. Those first students and those that followed were treated to a curriculum designed specifically for Beach Channel High School based on its location and what the Rockaways had to offer: a beach, an ocean, and a bay-perfect for a curriculum called "Interdisciplinary Oceanography." The curriculum made up three volumes and was written by a select group of those creative teachers knowledgeable in their respective subject areas: math, science, communication arts, social studies, art, etc. This writing process was accomplished over many hours during the summer months prior to the school's opening.

For the first few years the school received applications from all over the city and a committee, reviewing the applications, selected students based on their academic interests and school records in general. As a result of this process the school's population consisting of zoned and out-of-zone students was, for the most part, among the best in the city with two or more kids coming from as far away as Staten Island and the Bronx specifically drawn to the unique program that BCHS had to offer.

During these "glory" years classes were taken out on Jamaica Bay in motorized boats for exploration and research on the salt marshes. Overnight camp-outs on the bay islands gave the participants a new experience. One BCHS student traveled on a Coast Guard Ice Breaker to the Arctic and classes visited NOAA oceanographic research vessels which docked at BCHS' 'back door' to learn of their operations. Behind-the-scenes trips to the aquarium were arranged, and students performed research on an oceanographic research vessel called the "Pisces" captained by a teacher who taught in the Ocean­ography Department. The 200-gallon aquaria on the first floor were popular attractions and the BCHS Oceanography Museum played host to hundreds of visiting elementary, middle, and high school classes. BCHS students were able to select such classes as boat maintenance, medical laboratory techniques, limnology, astronomy, life drawing, marine biology, piano, scuba diving, and scientific and technical illustration to name a few.

The faculty was exceptional, the students were fabulous, and the school's location was perfect. So what happened? Why is this once proud school, a school with a future that would have made it unique in this city, having problems? The answer is simple: the then Board of Education and political correctness. Some six years after its doors opened BCHS was told to end its selection process and accept the top, middle, and bottom third students equally in addition to the zoned students. The school was also mandated to make all classes heterogeneous, which meant that any student, capable or otherwise, could be placed in selected classes. The latter resulted in a watering-down of these specialized classes with one or two subsequently eliminated. Over the following years there was a constant turnover of principals, which continues to this day and a number of poorly qualified, low performing teachers were dumped on the school. In time many of the original talented teachers became exasperated and either transferred or left the system.

At a town hall meeting in PS 114 some months ago Kathleen Cashin, Region Five Superintendent, said, in reply to questions about BCHS' problems, that she hopes to bring the school back to its former self as well as improve the district's other schools. I sincerely wish her the best of luck and she, and the present principal of the school, should know that somewhere in BCHS there is a unique three-volume curriculum called "Inter­disciplinary Oceanography" collecting dust. It can easily be cleaned off, studied and, if need be, revised by today's creative teachers. Such a curriculum can be expanded for the kids in this district to utilize the pond at Fort Tilden (my students conducted research at that pond for a number of years) as well as the area's marine forest and sand dunes. Together with the GNRA Jamaica Bay Refuge we have a treasure here, which can only benefit education. The program can be adapted to the elementary and middle schools in our district to allow for a continuum from elementary through high school-no need for the daily exodus and return of students to another district-and such a continuum can, as Mr. Kraus so aptly wrote, "...reinforce our goals of quality education for all."


"Enough Already!"

Dear Editor,

Last April, Congressman Anthony Weiner stated that all the flights departing JFK airport would fly up the bay. In no way is that statement true; the FAA instead changed their minds since last summer. Night and day and even at this moment flights are flying over the Dayton Housing complex with no let up. Yes, the Concorde. No loss has departed. But we still wonder what has happened to the new flight patterns up the bay.

Give us a break. We have been conned long enough.


Politicians: Help Far Rock

Dear Editor,

I have been a resident of Far Rockaway since I was a little girl. I am now a senior citizen. I have seen Rockaway go down, down, down. All the politicians do is talk, talk, talk and nothing in Far Rockaway gets any better.

When it comes to the areas of Belle Harbor, Neponsit and Breezy Point all you hear is they need this done, or that needs to improve, etc. All these politicians do is worry about the big money areas.

What about our filthy streets here in Far Rockaway - poor shopping - miserable bus service - filthy buses - a vacant beach front that the city was going to build on more than 35 years ago.

In general I am tired of hearing about the area from 116 Street and up. What about us?

As for our coming elections, I really don't know at this point who to vote for, with the exception of D.A. Richard Brown who is really on the ball. I think all the politicians are the same - they talk, talk, and talk.


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