2003-11-28 / Letters



Thanks PS 114

Dear Editor;

Due to the progressive leadership at P.S. 114, particularly Principal Brian O'Connell, a "collaborative classroom" was implemented.  I have a child in this wonderful classroom and I have seen a dramatic improvement in all areas.

My child is a more well-rounded individual because of this experience.  The teachers, Ms. Brady and Ms. O'Sullivan are doing a superb job. Thank you! 


Tree Removal on Drive

Dear Editor,

(The following letter was sent to Wave Environmental Columnists, Bernie Blum about the removal of trees on Beach 67 and Beach 68 street near Beach Channel Drive.)

Due to a much awaited and sorely needed Department of Design and Construction and Department of Environmental Protection sewer project, the Chinese and Siberian Elm trees (four total) are being removed. This project will alleviate the poor drainage system that has existed in the area for decades. The trees are in poor condition and will be replaced with new tress following the completion of the project. Many of the streets in the project will be widened between 10 and 20 feet, allowing the center medians to be enlisted in our Greenstreet program.

NYC Parks and Recreation takes a proactive approach to preserve trees during many construction projects throughout the city. We often transplant street and park trees to other streets or parks when project scopes requires tree removals. However, the aforementioned elms are in poor condition and have too large of a root base to transplant.


Pfeffer Defeats The Rats

Dear Editor,

(The following letter was sent to Assemblywoman Audrey Pfeffer.)

I just would like to take the time to say thank you all so much for your effort to clear up the rat problem that has been plaguing Rockaway for some time, and now we can all breathe a sigh of relief now that you did something about this.

Again, many thanks for your help and I will keep on plugging away for you Audrey, anytime you need me to do campaigning for you.


Arverne Give-Away

Dear Editor,

The plans for the 308 acres of the Arverne Urban Renewal Area have always envisioned an integrated optimal use of this very special oceanfront property situated within the borders of the nation's largest metropolis, a direct subway ride away from 8 million people.

Instead of awaiting an optimal integrated plan - which is not even sketched out yet - tackling all the environmental, esthetic, transportational, recreational, educational, water supply, sewage disposal, health care, policing, fire protection, budgetary, emergency/hurricane management and other ramifications of Arverne development, privateers are proceeding with the plans to build instant-slum habitation modules with a rush to make a quick killing, allowing them to disappear soon with their upfront lump-sum loot, leaving the banks and other lending institution to lean upon short-changed, surprised title takers for collections over the next decades. The thieves are aided and abetted in their seizure of this precious public land by NYC and State/Federal officials who have grown accustomed to giving gifts from public assets and who expect to get their piece of the action, if not now, then upon their retirement from visible public duty.

The corruption attached to the recent history of Arverne was manifested in June, July and August 2002 when one-half mile of an entire forest of dense, mature trees - the largest concentration of foliage on the entire southern side of the peninsula - was bulldozed down, wreaking havoc on habituated wildlife, eliminating natural flood and wind protection, but leaving a desired moonscape for the would-be land thieves, all without a penny's cost to the thieves. This writer attempted to get police from the 100 and 101 precincts to arrest, in the act, the bulldozer goons and those directing the death machines, in virtue of the standing law which sets a $4000 penalty for unapproved destruction of a tree (penalty even when the tree is on your own private property: how much more so when the destruction is of hundreds of trees on public property.) But of course police went up the chain of command to find that political protection of the destroyers prevented interference.

Terrified and annihilated were the squirrels, rabbits, turtles, frogs, small snakes, quail and other wildlife that were living happily in the gorgeous oxygen producing mid-peninsula Rockaway forest that can no longer delight the eyes and ears of the beholder. And the goons are not yet imprisoned.

Federal interest in Arverne dates from the early 1960's, when federal money helped assemble the tract. And in the past dozen years at least, Washington disbursed $11 million per year for supposed "lot cleaning" in Arverne. You have always looked upon Arverne as a whole single entity, and all of your papers over the past 40 years. You were aiming your cleaning money at an undeveloped entirety. How, then, in June 2002, did physical action by the land thieves begin at the site, breaking the wholeness of Arverne's condition, without a reduction of your $11 million per year of unaudited slush-fund inflow to NYC's Department of Sanitation/Lot Cleaning Division? Long before impact statements and the entire Arverne picture becomes clear, how are private parties, with no responsibility to the wants and needs of the 8 million owners of Arverne, being permitted to scar and alter the land, foreclosing all future options except those that the thieves dictate?

I have pointed out in other submissions that at least in monetary terms - as if the value of a summer's pleasure or a childhood ocean experience can be qualified - the Arverne 308 acres have to be appraised at minimally, 1000 million dollars. Not only are comparable sums not being deposited by the land thieves into the treasury of the City of New York, but NYC is expected to gift perhaps $200 million in other forms of support to the thieves, in addition to the free land, penny pro-forma transferences notwithstanding. This is embezzlement. You are morally and legally required to do all in your power to obstruct the embezzlement.


Worried About Intersection

Dear Editor;

I have been very concerned with the traffic light that is located at the intersection of Beach Channel Drive and Beach 116 Street.  I have witnessed many near misses while people are crossing the street from both sides.  We all know we should wait for the "Walk" light to go on before we cross but many people look up at the lights, see they are both red and cross the street.  

Unfortunately, there is a delayed red on the westbound side of the street.  You have no way of knowing that the cars will be driving through what you think is a red light.  Many children cross at this intersection to go to Wendy's and the other shops.  This is a disaster waiting to happen.  This matter will only get worse when the memorial park opens, I can just see kids running across or an elderly person walking slowly and being run over.

On many levels, this entire intersection needs to be re-evaluated, but this problem is scaring me to death.


Cashin Can Do It

Dear Editor:

We have been asking and praying for someone to revitalize education in the Rockaways - now our prayers are being answered by Kathleen Cashin. 

We owe it to our children to support this plan and to support the families who have children that will be directly affected in September, 2004.  If we all work together, support the plan and get involved it will be a win- win for all - especially our children.  If we don't do it now we may never get the opportunity again.

Ms. Cashin has the drive to make this work but she can't do it alone.


Questions Simon

Dear Editor;

This letter is in response to Lew Simon's column in last week's Wave.

Lew states at the very end of his endorsement of Howard Dean, "This may help us understand Howard Dean's strong effort to avail unnecessary wars."

On September 11, 2001, citizens of our country weere murdered. The following policy to fight and prevent other such acts, brought the war against terrorists and their supporters to a prominent place in our political discord. Anti war! If the world today existed as John Lennon's "Imagine" maybe we could live in a world of no evil, but we live in the world of today, as products of our evolutionary progress. We all share hopes for a non violent tomorrow!

President George W. Bush, decided not to turn the other cheek, he stood firm for us and the citizens of the world, so we and our children might never have to relive such murderous attacks. Regardless, which political party was in office after September 11, they would have had to follow the same path, although others might have taken more bends and curves along the route? We pray it's the curves and bends and not the path that is the issue within the Democratic Party. Howard Dean and his bad back, ski bum, deferment type are not the men who were the liberators of the concentration camps of Germany. Howard Dean can't even stand along side the dissenters, people like Mohammad Ali who took a stand and expressed his opposition to the war. Men who take a stand early in life are the ones that climbed the stairs of the World Trade Center that day.

"Unnecessary wars', would Lew support the United States total disassociation both financially and militarily with Israel, if in doing so, we could avoid war.

I would hope not! I applaud Lew Simon for his community service. But his and the left leaning Anti war crowd seem to forget the adage "No Peace Till Victory"

The Party of my youth, the Kennedy's, Martin Luther King, the poor, the working middle, fighting for balance, middle ground, what happened! Speaking to friends that, like my self, are registered democrat's, our assumption is that the middle and right, voices of our party have been brought to a whisper.

After forty years, letting go of something, which no longer fits, is difficult for familiarity and association with the majority is a comforting position.

"Some men change their Party for the sake of their principles others change their principles for the sake of their party" Winston Churchill.

After signing the voter registration form to change Parties, it stood for two weeks before I could place in the mailbox. Zell Miller and Andrew Cuomo you're a day late and a dollar short!


A Most Sinister Act

Dear Editor;

For the past seven years, I have displayed the United States flag and the flag of Ireland on the front porch of my home on Rockaway Beach Blvd.

But, on the evening of Friday, November 21, some depraved individual(s) decided to help themselves to my Irish flag. Unfortunately for them, through the wonders of electronic surveillance, I know who you are. So save yourself a lot of further embarrassment and return my flag and nothing more will be said. If not, I fully intend on prosecuting you for this most sinister act.


More On Memorial

Dear Editor:

In reference to "No question on 587 Memorial (Wave, 11/22) please, Mr. Mills, don' t bring in the "race card" We have enough problems without it. We have political problems with our Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Congressman Anthony Weiner. So we don't need your insinuations. But if you insist, then I have to tell you that this tragic event has been spread for two years only because Latinos were involved. I am sorry for the occurrence and we have demonstrated it many times. We cried with you that day and we are still crying now. We gave you sympathy, we opened our doors, we gave you our hearts.  With their kiddy wagons, our children gave you water, cookies and blankets.

A show of solidarity never seen before. That day, race, religion, nationality didn't matter. We saw only humans suffering. Only a few days ago, on the 2nd anniversary, we closed our streets to give you more freedom to the "Wall."  Police were there for protection; the Red Cross did a magnificent job, offering water, sodas, blankets and  medicines. We, again, came to console you, to show our sympathies. Many residents embraced your crying people and comforted them.  Don't be ungrateful; don't bring in the race card. Your assumption that if it were Jewish or Irish, the tragic event would have been treated differently is right.

If the people who died were Irish or Jewish, or any other nationality, they would treasure the memory of the loved ones forever, but the debates, the tragic exposure would have been closed long time ago.  After 2 years of proven compassion, we don' t need your insinuations, they are unjustified and offensive to our loving community. Some of your people have said "They want built a house in a cemetery." Since when is Belle Harbor a cemetery. For your information I direct you to the Webster's Dictionary. A cemetery "is a burying place, a place for interment, a graveyard," Beach 130 St. and Newport Avenue is neither one of them. 

The Wave finds another proposal "interesting," that a small park with a playground and benches be built on one of the lots, with a small sign denoting it, "The Flight 587 Memorial Playground. I can hear the cries already loud and clear, "Shame on you, how dare you find interesting a playground in a cemetery".

When they would come to the Memorial Playground  for mourning, where would they park their cars, specially in the Summer time, with our Summer Parking Restriction Rules? 

Would the children stop playing, being noisy, singing and playing "tic - tac - toe" on "their sacred soil," or would they keep on playing and disturbing the mourners? If they did, would they be "inconsiderate ones" and thus prone for a little fight? or would the children leave "their" playground as a respect? I am a little lost on this proposal.  No, Mr. Mills, race, religion and color didn't matter that day, two years ago, and it doesn't matter to day.

We don't deserve your  insinuations, your innuendos.

As far as the Wave' s Internet poll on the subject, please give us a better choice.

Two choices remind me of the " compassionate" killer.  He told his designed victim: "If you run, I will shoot you; If you stop I will knife you". Thanks for the offer.


Business As Usual

Dear Editor;

I have an old newspaper article that I read with my class each year. "NY public schools in shambles!" reads the headlines. "Teachers afraid to walk the halls....Ask Mayor to intervene!" "Wolfpacks terrorizing NY public schools!" These articles were written not written yesterday, they were written in the 1950s.

What has changed in the last 50 years?  Not much. The perpetuation of dysfunction families throughout the generations is alive and flourishing in the NYC school system. Educrats are so afraid to address the most important  change necessary for a turnaround: the accountability of parents & students of their responsibilities. Horrendous behavior is readily tolerated. Barely 20% of parents bother to meet their child's teachers on open school night.

Teachers want to teach. It's is the school system & administrations' job to offer a safe, civilized place for teachers to work their craft. They have failed miserably. With 23 years teaching experience, it makes me angry that young, energetic, hopeful teachers transfer out of my school in Brooklyn each year out of disgust and frustration.

I'd love to see the Daily News editorial staff, Eva Moskowitz and all the other cronies on these education committees come and teach in my school for a week. They wouldn't last a day.  (and I don't want to see any more photo -ops of Bloomberg & Klein reading Dr. Suess to a kindergarten class. Let them come to a special-ed class in a Brooklyn middle school and do that. That video I'd love to see!)

I'm all for removing bad teachers. The last thing I want is a horrible teacher with no control in the room next to me. But listen carefully Mayor: YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR! Remove bad teachers to replace them with what? That's the teacher pool that's available. Sadly, you're not even keeping many of the good ones due to stress & frustration. Poor work conditions and lousy pay does not warrant our brightest college graduates to wait in line to be abused by 13 year-olds.

School disciplinary strategies were never addressed in the week-long staff developments before school started this year. I brought up the issue of what strategies  the administration has in place to address control, tone and discipline  of the school. I said that if we didn't have something in place by the first day, we will lose the school by Thanksgiving. I was branded a negative influence for placing fear in the new teachers' minds. Well nothing was in place. It's Thanksgiving. A few new teachers quit. Some have been assaulted, and the hallways are filled with students who should be in class.

Business as usual.


Felt Moved To Write

Dear Editor;

I am a former Rockaway resident. I grew up on Beach 92 Street, near the entrance to the Cross Bay Bridge, attended St. Rose of Lima Elementary School and Beach Channel H.S. and moved to Suffolk County when I married in 1986.    I sometimes look  at the Wave online to stay in touch.  For the first time, I feel moved enough to write.

In the Wave' s November 7 edition, online, Sharon Gabriel wrote a letter reacting to a letter from Yesenia Rivera, printed in October 31st's issue of the Wave.

I do not know Ms. Gabriel, nor do I know Ms. Rivera, nor did I know any of the passengers, nor do I have any 'unknown' details about the crash of flight 587.  However, the letter from Ms. Gabriel struck me as unnecessarily harsh - in tone and in content.  I realize that this incident touched many in the community, perhaps Ms. Gabriel included, quite personally.   

The letter published on November 7 makes reference to Yesenia Rivera's letter 'entitled'  "Community is not Fair".  Did Ms. Rivera include those words in her letter, or were those words used by the Wave to capture(?) the (apparent) essence  of the letter?

Ms. Gabriel's letter goes on to mention that the September 11, 2001 attack 'impacted very much on our neighborhood, something Ms. Rivera may not know."  Yes, Rockaway suffered a great loss that day.   Our government has assigned blame to Osama bin Ladin and his Al Quaida organization.  The investigation continues.........

The crash of flight 587 occurred shortly thereafter.  Does the close proximity time-wise mean that Ms. Rivera should grieve less than she does?  It has been only two years.  There is no official explanation and there is so far no culpability.  The investigation continues................

On September 6 this year, my family and I were at the Harbor Light to celebrate the 90th birthday of my grandmother.  Diagonally across the street was the memorial for those who died in the crash of flight 587.  I cried, again, that day, as I looked over two sets of memorial photographs and tributes, one group remembered in a Rockaway 'fixture' as firefighters and Rockaway residents, the other group remembered only by their families in weather worn photographs, written prayers and burned candles on a chain link fence.   Has this small, non-private memorial been torn down already?

Ms. Gabriel, and Rockaway, please show some empathy for your fellow members of the human race.  The loss of a loved one is heartbreaking, and even more so when there is no explanation.  Please carve out a small piece of Newport Avenue to give our fellow men and women a place where they may feel at peace. 

Isn't that what Rockaway is about?


Nurse Firings at St. John's

Dear Editor,

On Friday November 14, 2003, St. John's Episcopal Hospital management announced a vicious plan that can endanger the quality of care given to patients and families who visit and use the hospital-based clinic. Management's decision is to remove all but one of the registered professional nurses currently employed at the clinic effective January 1. Their nurses perform the essential tasks of patient assessment, patient teachings, treatment and follow-up care. Removing them means that the quality of care that residents in the community are accustomed to receive at this facility will be severely compromised, putting patient safety in danger.

Management's action strike at the heart of quality care in your community. You and your families deserve the best care you can possibly receive. The bottom line in management is putting profits before patients and we cannot allow this to happen.


Let Us All Move Forward

Dear Editor;

Our family has lived in the Rockaway's for over four generations and have always been active in the community since we moved here in the 1920's. Not only was this community hit hard, but our family was especially affected.

On Nov. 12, 2001, AA Flight 587 pummeled into the ground landing on our relatives' home and killing members of our family. Since that time we have tried to remain private in our opinions and feelings on the matter of a memorial.

For those people who lost members of their family, we know how you feel, yet you are not the ones that have to live and face the empty plot of land day in and day out. Empty land that once was your family's beautiful home, that welcomed new babies and celebrations of all kinds. You do not have to pass the site every day, you can drive here, spend a quiet moment and leave when you are done.

There should be a memorial somewhere on the peninsula, yet from the standpoint of our family, it should not be placed at the site. The horrible tragedy of having a plane hit there is enough to stand out in our minds without a physical memorial.

What about our family members and the Rockaway residents who worked helping put out the terrible fires, and covered bodies in the hope of finding a living soul beneath the rubble. What about them? What about the Lawler, Concannon and Pomponio families, who lost their loved ones as well as their home, memories and belongings. Has anyone asked them what they would like to see done to their property? I can tell you what they would like to see on their property - new homes with children playing outside, not a memorial of a day we will never forget.

This tight-knit community needs to re-build and go back to the way it was, with children being able to grow up like those families who owned the homes. Rebuilding homes will enable our community though deeply scarred to look forward to moving on in the future.

Yes, all of the people that were lost that day should be remembered, yet it should not be in the middle of a community that is trying so hard to heal.


Not A Cemetery

Dear Editor:

I am a Belle Harbor resident who has been living in Rockaway for many years. Each day, I jog in the evening past the crash site at Beach 131 Street and Newport Avenue.

I really have empathy for the relatives of those who died on the plane. I have lost a relative in an accident and I know how it feels when one leaves us too young and too soon.

At first, I marveled at the wall that stood at the corner, with all of its pictures, poems and personal sayings. It seemed to me that it was a genuine outpouring of grief and that placing those items at the site would help them to heal and to diminish the pain that they felt in their loss.

After the first anniversary last year, however, my feelings for the wall began to change, or, at least my attitude changed.

I began to wonder how long the healing process could take.

The relative of mine who died in a car accident many years ago on Beach Channel Drive was one of my favorite people. At first, I wandered nearby where she was killed once a week or so to say a silent prayer for her memory.

I never place flowers or her picture at the site. It never would have dawned on me to do that, because it was in the years before those types of personal memorials began to proliferate.

After a few months, my visits to the site where she died diminished. I drove by there often and most times I thought of her, but the thought was passing.

I grieved her death, however, in my annual trips to the cemetery, where she is buried alongside my parents.

I understand that many of the families of the victims of flight 587 do not have remains to bury, although I did read in the media that there are a couple of sites in mind in Washington Heights for burying the unidentified remains from the plane.

That is the proper place to grieve, not in a residential community.

Many people in the Belle Harbor community remain traumatized by the accident. Little kids and adults alike still look up when a plane passes directly overhead. They don't need to be reminded of the crash, as bad as it was, every day for the rest of their lives by having a mausoleum on the block.

The plaque that was recently placed by Mayor Bloomberg and Borough President Marshall at the site (I could have done without their names on the plaque) is appropriate to the neighborhood. That should be enough for the families as well.

The Tribute Park should remain only for those who died in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Those who want to mourn their loved ones can do so at the cemetery or wherever the unidentified remains are laid to rest.

I understand that they will come back to Belle Harbor each Mother's Day and Father's Day and the anniversary of the crash. There is no stopping that and that is fine.

What is not fine is that the community should have a concrete reminder of the crash the other 362 days a year.


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