2003-12-05 / Columnists



It was very strange that the owners of Duane Reade decided to erect their new sign at night, when nobody was looking. While the new sign is farther back on the building (away from Tribute Park) and smaller than the previous sign, some still wonder why it is necessary to have a sign atop a store that is so large on its site that everybody already knows that it is there.

Steve Stathis, the president of The Graybeards called to pass on their congratulations to the Rockaway Irish Boys (RIB’s), who recently ran a very successful food drive on the west end.

According to a recent poll, New Yorkers like anyone for mayor with the exception of the present mayor, Michael Bloomberg. The poll, run by highly-respected Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, shows that only 37 percent of the city residents polled think that Bloomberg is doing a good job as mayor. Most of the people who answered the poll said that they would not like to have Thanksgiving dinner with the mayor. "That’s good," the mayor quipped on hearing the news. "I have plans with my family on Thursday anyway."

The worst dead zone for cell phones in the city is midtown Manhattan. Where is the best cell phone service? In Queens, with Rockaway scoring high marks, with the exception of Breezy Point, Wavecrest and Belle Harbor.

If you’re old enough to remember "Spahn and Sain and pray for rain," then you’ll mourn the loss of pitcher Warren Spahn, who died last week. Spahn, 82, won more games than any other left-handed pitcher in the history of baseball. He broke into baseball in 1942 for Casey Stengel and the Boston Braves. He soon went to war, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge and winning both the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. He won 20 or more games in 13 of his 18 seasons in the big leagues. He went 363-245 in his career. He will be missed.

One indication of the inherent weakness of the city council in relation to the mayor is the fact that mayoral assistants and commissioners all but ignore the council when they are asked to come and testify before council committees. "Council members are getting tired of the mayor engaging in or condoning in this sort of behavior and are left wondering what the administration is trying to hide," one high council official said. City officials say that they are too busy doing their jobs to respond to questions from the council.

December 6 will be an exciting and interesting day in Rockaway because a number of events are scheduled for that Saturday. On that morning, there will be two sessions of "Breakfast With Santa," at the Beach Club, sponsored by the 100 Precinct Community Council. At 1 p.m., Beach 105 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard will be renamed for James Conway Sullivan, the Irish activist who passed away more than a year ago. At 6 p.m., there will be a lighting ceremony at 144-03 Neponsit Avenue for this year’s version of the "Little North Pole." At the same time, Fairfield University, with Rockaway star Janelle McManus leading the team, will play St. John’s in basketball at the St. John’s field house.

Word has come through the grapevine that Mayor Mike Bloomberg is inserting himself in the decision of a permanent memorial for the victims of American Airlines Flight 587. Now that the locals have invited the victim’s families to join them in the Tribute Park on Beach 116 Street and Beach Channel Drive, can another memorial at the site (there are already two – one for all the locals who died at the World Trade Center and another for all of the firefighters who died that day) be far behind?

The Broad Channel volies are beginning to sell memorial bricks for their new firehouse, which will be located on Cross Bay Boulevard, nearby the American Legion Hall. Those interested in helping the volies or memorializing a loved one can contact the BCVFD at their Noel Road firehouse.

The borrow pits that were dug in the bottom of Jamaica Bay to get clean fill for the runway expansion program at JFK Airport are back on the radar once again. A number of times over the past several years, the feds have proposed filling those deep holes with toxic waste dredged from New York Harbor. Local politicians have resisted the move and the dumping was always put off to a later time. This may be the later time. The proposal is back on the table and it seems that the feds are going to do it this time for real. The states DEC says that there is no life in the borrow pits and that the toxic material will be covered with clean material. We don’t believe either of those things. We have seen video of the borrow pits and they are teaming with life and we understand that there is no guarantee that the toxic material will not leach out into the bay. It is a bad deal for Rockaway all around.

The reconstruction of both Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Newport Avenue west of Beach 116 Street has been completed, but there are still many road and street signs missing. The DOT has been notified, but putting back the signs they took down does not seem to be any kind of priority for the city agency.

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