2004-01-09 / Columnists



Far Rockaway High School had the dubious honor of being named one of the 12 most dangerous schools in the city by the mayor. That means more police and more services for the school. FRHS was the only school in Queens to make the list of 10 high schools and two middle schools.

Some Surfside residents are beep-beep-beeping annoyed by the dredge work has been going on nearby, day and night, for weeks. The tractors that are used to push around sand and heavy equipment make the beeping sound when they are going in reverse.

Rockaway has been without a kosher delicatessen ever since the feds closed the Belle Harbor Deli because its owners allegedly were involved in a drug gang. A new Glat Kosher Deli has opened within shooting distance of Rockaway, however. The former Epstein’s in the Lawrence Shopping Center (at the corner of Rockaway Turnpike and Burnside Avenue) recently was reincarnated as the Five Towns Kosher Delicatessen. For those who need Glat Kosher food, or those who enjoy a good corned beef or pastrami sandwich, this might be a good destination.

The number of homicides in New York City stayed below 600 for the second year in a row. That kept the city at levels that have not been seen since the early 1960’s. It seems that Far Rockaway is not part of that welcome equation, however. Only an hour after the New Year began, a man was shot in the chest at 14-80 Beach Channel Drive. Then, just two days later, three youths were shot at Beach 15 Street and New Haven Avenue. One of the young men was DOA at the scene and the second died a short time later at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital.

Caroline Kennedy raised $156 million in private money for city schools last year. That’s the good news. The bad news is that $100 million of that total is not going to be used directly in public schools. $55 million went the new leadership academy, which is designed to train new principals. $40 million went to set up new charter schools. The remainder went to set up 67 small high schools broken off from larger organizations. There has to be a question of whether some of that money could have been used, for example, for improving reading scores.

It sounds like Congressman Anthony Weiner has started his campaign for Mayor of New York City. In a recent statement, Weiner said, "He’s [Bloomberg] is going to lose in ’05. All of the visits to the boroughs in the world is not going to change the fact that there is almost a spiritual divide between [Bloomberg] and those that he’s governing."

Many locals were unhappy over Channel Two’s airing of the Michael Jackson special in light of the charges of sexual molestation that have been lodged against him. It surely seems to many that CBS aired the special and even sweetened the pot to the tune of an extra million dollars in return for the exclusive interview given by Jackson to "60 Minutes" two weeks ago. News organizations are not supposed to pay for interviews, and CBS denies the payoff, but it certainly looks as if there was a quid pro quo in this case.

Parking on the west end, particularly in the summer, has been a problem for those who rent apartments ever since the restrictive parking rules were put in place decades ago. The Wave has often been excoriated by locals for recommending that resident parking permits be given to those who live in the area but do not have a driveway to park in. We now find out (thanks to the New York Times) that a number of cities, including large municipalities such as Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. use such a system of resident parking permits. Boston’s permits are free, but Washington charges $15 annually. Philadelphia charges $35. Nobody in New York would mind a $50 charge to be able to park nearby his or her apartment. Many now pay more than $100 to rent a driveway far from where they live. There is no justice in that, when there are plenty of empty parking spaces on the street that cannot be used because of the DOT’s rules.

A number of local parents called to say that they thought that the selection process for the newly-formed Parent Education Councils was a "sham." In fact, a number of them used that word directly when discussing the plan, which allows three people in each school (the PA’s president, secretary and treasurer) to vote for members of the councils. "That selection process is too restrictive," one local woman told us. "This is going to become a popularity contest, pure and simple." Another person, who serves on a peninsula PA as treasurer, said, "I am probably one of the most active parents in the school, but I am going to have to resign my position to be eligible for the council. Somehow, that is not fair." Even the politicians who invented the plan now admit that it is flawed.

There were two "Polar Bear" events on the west end at the same time on New Year’s Day. About 30 people showed up on Beach 119 Street at noon and took to the surf at the same time as approximately 150 people did the same at Beach 146 Street. That’s typical of Rockaway. We have to wonder why the two groups don’t get together and hold a really big show at one location.

Congressman Greg Meeks and State Senator Malcolm Smith are visiting India to "cultivate an international market for small business in the local area." Sounds like a jaunt to us,

The Beach Channel High School Marching Band is looking to go to Disney World. The band has been invited to give a concert on February 17 at the Florida theme park, but doesn’t have the funds to get there. The school will hold a fundraiser on January 12 in order to get the money to take 40 students and five parents on the trip. Tickets for the concert are $12, and can be purchased at the offices of Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, City Councilman Joe Addabbo and at The Wave office.

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