2004-02-13 / Letters



Stop Complaining About Elitists

Dear Editor;

Regarding your January 30 article about the "new" parking restrictions on Rockaway Beach Boulevard in Belle Harbor: I don't know about every one else, but I'm getting bored with the endless carping over the parking restrictions in Belle Harbor. The countless hours of time wasted at civic meetings and the ink spilled in The Wave week after week. Let's face it-summer is coming and for three months out of the year, everybody within 50 miles of here wants to plunk down on that beautiful Belle Harbor sand (with their car parked as close as the law allows, of course) and spend the day complaining about how those lousy elitists in Belle Harbor try to stop everyone else from having a good time! That gorgeous sand, surf and sea breeze is not going away anytime soon. So the parking problem is not going away, either.

Notice, these visitors to our neighborhood don't plunk down on the Riis Park sand, where $5 a day buys you a nice legal parking spot and access to refreshments and a bathhouse. They also don't plunk down on the sand at the foot of Beach 116th Street, with ample municipal and private parking for those who arrive early. Oh no, they've got to come to Belle Harbor, because, in a perverse twist on the old Woody Allen line, we all love to be in a place that is exclusive-as long as it doesn't exclude us.

Perhaps residents of Rockaway should start complaining loudly that we can't get a reasonable parking spot within a parsec of the express train stations at Sheepshead Bay or Forest Hills, and are forced to shell out $15 to park in a private lot, or search for 20 minutes or more to find a spot on the street in those neighborhoods. Who asked the residents of Rockaway when the number of long-term spaces in the municipal lots across the water were reduced to almost none? You now have to arrive before 7:30 a.m. to get one of those. This is some way to encourage people to use mass transit!

Instead, we complain about the parking situation in our own neighborhood. Why don't residents of the west end just stop complaining and find a place for their cars? Why not do something novel, and park it in your driveway? Last time I checked, the vast majority of homes in Belle Harbor do have one, although many residents seem to prefer the convenience of parking on the street, given the choice. If you have a shared drive way, you paid less for your house because of that, so it is your burden to deal with the resulting inconvenience. If you are a renter and your landlord promised you parking when you moved in, you had better be sure to enforce that promise. The multi-story cooperative buildings in the neighborhood (I believe there are only two in Belle Harbor) both make private parking available for residents. If you are a renter and you don't have a promise of parking, you made a mistake in thinking the problem will take care of itself. It won't. Then there are the people who buy homes with long private driveways and build over the driveway to expand their house or add a swimming pool. They now have a palatial house, but a huge parking problem in the summer. So, they pave the front yard.

Kevin Boyle jokes about the people paving over their front yards for parking. As a columnist, it's his job to find the humor in things, but in my view, there is nothing amusing about this esthetic affront. The civic groups in Neponsit and Belle Harbor should have been far more aggressive in policing this type of thing when it first got started. In Arizona, condo associations have foreclosed and forced distress sales of units if the owners don't put their garbage cans in the right place. It seems to me that the homeowner's associations in New York City should have standing to sue under the zoning law if a front yard is paved, or an existing driveway is expanded, in a manner that is not in keeping with the character of the street.

We have the privilege to live in one of the last remaining residential jewels of New York City. If anything, this area needs more parking restrictions, not less. I speak as a resident of a beach block who has a narrow private driveway. It's no treat to jockey the cars around every day, but you get used to it. I treasure the winter quiet of the beach block, so this inconvenience is a small price to pay.

Why not make the commercial block of Beach 129 Street into a pedestrian mall? Why not add some benches so people can have a cup of cappuccino outside and visit with their neighbors? Oh, I guess we can't do that or the 100 precinct would lose $10,000 a month in parking ticket revenues. Furthermore, if people can't exercise their God-given right to double-park while buying smokes, a slice, or a sandwich, it seems certain that the merchants will all just fold up and go bankrupt. Doesn't anyone around here ever think of parking at the end of the block and walking in to the stores? It's so much safer (and more neighborly) than double-parking. Why don't the 129th Street merchants act collectively, and aggressively to encourage the construction of a small parking lot for customers to use while shopping? Or, at the least, encourage their em ployees to walk or get a ride to work so more customers can park on the street?

While we're at it, why not add Jersey barriers along the length of Beach Channel Drive, and create 20 new cul-de-sacs? Would it take 20 years longer than it took to get the Cronston Barrier erected? It's a shame that we just got that settled, as you'd now have to make Cronston two-way and restrict some parking so you could turn around. But nothing increases the value of a home like being on a cul-de-sac. This would also make it possible for residents of these blocks to access their homes without the risk of being sideswiped or rear-ended by the "60-mile-an-hour set" on Beach Channel Drive who (I am told) use it as an alternate to avoid the Belt Parkway as they head to the Five Towns.

As to that beautiful stretch of Rock away Beach Boulevard in Belle Har bor, now graced by center malls, by all means write to Councilman Addabbo, as he suggests. Tell him you want parking restrictions from end to end, because it is safer that way and because that's the way the homeowners want Belle Harbor to look. Be sure to also mention that the second lane should be reserved for bicyclists, skaters, runners, stray kitties, and the occasional possum or raccoon, who although not traveling on four wheels, also deserve a chance to enjoy life and get to their destination safely.

When my husband and I looked at neighborhoods in which to buy a home in the early 1990's, we looked at Westchester, Connecticut, and other parts of the five boroughs, but I was attracted to the Rockaways by the beautiful sea breeze, picturesque tree-lined streets, and the almost completely residential nature of the Belle Harbor community. Before we bought our home here, I had lived in 6 different states, including Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsyl vania, Virginia, as well as Washing ton, D.C. and 4 of the 5 boroughs of the City of New York. I had never seen a place like Belle Harbor. Although it's not as picturesque or "cool" as Santa Cruz, California, at least we don't have earthquakes. I plan to stay here, so I want to see that it remains beautiful, safe, green and clean-for my future grandchildren. I hope other like-minded neigh bors will support me in this quest.


Cold Mountain A Masterpiece

Dear Editor,

(The following letter was written to Robert Snyder, the Wave's Movie Columnist)

Your comparison of "Gone With the Wind" and "Cold Mountain" is ludicrous - one was the story of the well to do of the South and the other has to do with the poor, illiterate mountain people.

How could you not think that a man walking 300 miles through the mountains would not meet the variety that Jude Law's character ran into? This was an age of illiterate & poor mountain people and the scum of the earth that posed as soldiers for the two sides. To believe these horrible people did not exist is stupid. This was a true story of a young man who walked 300 miles (sick of war) to get back home. (Just like Scarlet, but she was fiction.)

Don't get me wrong; I loved "Gone With the Wind".

To worry about where it was filmed (as most pictures are filmed somewhere else) is ridiculous and not worthy of note.

Maybe this will give you food for thought about a very sad time in our history and the people who lived there.


Do The Right Thing

Dear Editor:

What happens when a mom/pop store or even a larger firm overcharges its clients?

They areA0brought up on charges, lose their licenses, close up or are forced to reimburse the overcharges (see McDonaldA0for their 1/4 lb. whop p ers and H&R BlockA0for their overcharging their clients).

WhatA0happens when a big corporation overcharges our boys and girls in combat zone on the gasoline needed to propel the war machinery or even on their meals?A0 The fattening of their wallets at the expense of boys and girls giving their lives should be a sacred cause not only to remove the responsible accomplicesA0from their positions in WashingtonA0but also, and more importantly,A0they should beA0brought to trial for a treason against the people. As aA0matter of fact, the trialA0shouldn't evenA0be necessary. With their reimbursement of 16 million dollarsA0and 11 million dollars so far,A0they have admitted guilt,A0theirA0luridA0maneuvering.A0But that is not good enough. The decent, hard working, loving people of this country demand nothingA0but a big punishment.A0 In any otherA0countryA0of the world, for a crime of that magnitude, they would be stoned to death.

To the responsible ones, stopA0throw ingA0junk.

Bring our children back home, where they belong, with their loved ones.


Keep DFD's Off Our Beaches

Dear Editor:

We are a homeowner family in Belle Harbor and I strongly support the new parking ban.A0 As a tax-payer I am not concerned as to the problems this will create for the few renters in the neighborhood.

No Parking areas create clear sight lines.A0 This will improve the ease at which our children can cross the streets andA0 allow emergency service vehicles better access to our streets.

As far as congestion is concerned the DFD's (down-for-the-days) will realize that parking is NOT available and they will no longer be able to litter our beaches.A0 Riis Park should be their destination.

The center malls beautify our community and add to our property value.A0 Clear streets are safer to cross for young and old alike.A0 For once my tax dollars are being used for my best interests. Perhaps if we actually obey ed the speed limit and respected the occasional red lights the reckless driving the opposition is concerned with will not be an issue.


BPOHA Is Right

The following letter was sent to City Councilman Joseph Addabbo in ans wer to a story in last week's Wave.

Dear Mr. Addabbo:

I SUPPORT parking restrictions on the Rockaway Beach Boulevard!

The Belle Harbor Property Owners' Association is correct inA0taking this position for the following reasons:

Allowing parking on the Boulevard leaves one lane for traffic, including buses and SUVs. This is a safety hazard for anyone accessing or exiting vehicles.

There would be many left rear view mirrors knocked offA0parked vehicles by buses and SUVs!


Beach 116 Parking

Dear Editor,

It is outrageous that the parking units on 116 Street were not cleared of snow after the recent snowstorms. It is difficult enough to get to the ticket machine even in clear weather, let alone trying to walk through snow, ice and even garbage to obtain a ticket which we have to pay for.

We are warned to clear our sidewalks in front of our homes under the penalty of a summons (good idea), but the city either cannot or will not keep our shopping area clear and clean and safe. It's just another indication that Rockaway is a neglected community.

It's time that our legislators, community activists, stores, businesses, etc. do all they can alleviate this situation. Perhaps then, more residents would shop here, and not travel to the Five Towns where they can shop in comfort.

And can anything be done to rid the sidewalks of loiterers and panhandlers, who add to the garbage problem?


Say No To Parking Ban

Dear Editor:

Here We Go Again!

First, a Mall running on Rockaway Beach BoulevardA0from Beach 126 Street to Beach 139 Street. Now NO PARKING on the Blvd. from Beach 126 to Beach 139 Streets.

We have often wondered how many residents truly were in favor of this Mall. Could it be this NO PARKING proposal was always a part of the long range plan? The reason being to create the Neponsit image.

It seems to us the saying regarding "squeaky wheels being oiled" along with who you know is a realty in Rockaway, regardless of opposition, inconvenience and total lack of consideration of others.

As Palmer Doyle stated the outcome will beA0people parking toward the Bay where there willA0 not be enough spots for everyone. Also to mention the Blvd. below 126th St. will be taken by those above 126th St. Simply stated insufficient parking areas.

Families on the Beach Blocks withA0two orA0three cars often park one vehicle on the street,A0The Blvd. is an option for parking. This new NO PARKING will create difficulty year round. All living in this area can find May 15th thru Sept. 30th at times a challenge for parking. Another possibility to consider why notA0May 15th thru Labor Day.

During the summer when homeowners and renters have friends and family visit it is often necessary to make arrangements for parking. Is it really necessary to make it even more difficult in order to appease those who squeak loudly.

OurA0Councilman, Joseph Addabbo Jr., said there is no significant opposition to the plan. I believe Council man Addabbo, if by significant opposition he means residents have not joined in opposition. The only way to be a squeaky wheel in need of oiling is to join together in a significant number to stop this proposal and have the delivery of signs canceled.

I would suggest our representative Councilman Addabbo send a mailing out regarding this matter, to the area that would be affected. In order to represent all his constituents, it may be necessary for him to inquire if there is a significant opposition be fore we see NO PARKING AT ANY TIME signs from Beach 126A0 Street to Beach 139 Street.


Where Are The Old Signs?

Dear editor;

City councilman Addabbo says "NO PARKING ANYTIME " signs will be put up as soon as they get them.

How about the signs on Newport avenue that were taken down for the construction. The street construction has been finished for quite a while but there are no street signs!!

Also, on page 25, Kevin Boyle, a local resident claims the center malls on the boulevard in Belle Har bor look good and we have more parking! Will he say that after the new signs go up?


What Went Wrong?

Dear Editor,

How does one begin to express sadness, frustration, anger and total disgust over the Public School situation in our community?

Not so long ago, we had options - one being - for my location - P.S. 114Q, feeding into J.H.S. 180, feeding into Beach Channel High School.

Certainly, people were free to choose gifted or private schools out of the area - this choice is everyone's right, yet, is it not our right to maintain a choice for local, safe schools?

What has happened in this area is inexcusable! Choice has been taken away, replaced by a forced exodus to District 21 in Brooklyn or private education - if you want a safe school.

My personal experience as a parent began at 114, progressed to 180 and concluded at Beach Channel High School. It was wonderful!

Please, no one dare play the race card. 180 always provided a very well integrated school experience. The majority of the students and parents saw no color barriers.

For the most part, every child and every parent, tried to work well together for the common goals - an education in academics and lifestyle.

Beach Channel High School is so beautifully equipped - talk about location - can you beat an open area, bay views and a fantastic athletic space? This came as a perk, combined with wonderful academics and a school of racial and ethnic mix. Again, at Beach Channel, students and parents worked hard for the good of the common goal - preparation for life with respect for all. It was color blind with no "white flight."

Why flee from a pristine experience? Most of us did not want to leave85so what happened?

Did this mess begin with a personal vendetta within the school board? Did zones get swung around for personalities - caring for no student or parent? Did certain other feeder schools to J.H.S. 180 suddenly go from Kindergarten to sixth grade to K-8 for a particular reason? Did other feeder schools rezone for the same particular reason?

I do not know the answers, but I do know it was not done to best serve the children or the community.

Some groups have a personal agenda, known only to themselves, and now an entire community is paying a very high price.

We had something great - viable education, integration, all local and parent friendly. Parents knew each other - we know our kid's friends. Who do we really know in Brooklyn, Flushing or wherever else we ship our children? It will never compare to what we had here. Why did this happen? Whose bright idea caused this divided community? Are they proud of this?

Parents - take a good look at what was. Ask around if you were not here to experience it. Then look at what is. You'll have to ask how did this happen?

Maybe then, we can figure out how to get it back. One person cannot do it - it will take group action.

The bottom line is that we had it, we lost, and we should want it back. Our community owes more to its children. The neighborhoods haven't changed in student population - our backbones have been broken. By whom? How? Why?


Only To Reduce Parking

Dear Editor;

The Rockaway Park Homeowners & Residents, Inc. held various general meetings attended by Assembly woman Pheffer and Community Board 14 District Manager Gaska in 1999 through 2002 and witnessed a unanimous vote against the building center medians from blocks Beach 139th Street through 130th Street (Belle Harbor) and Beach 129th Street through Beach 126th Street (Rockaway Park).A0 Whereby residents and homeowners raised many precautionary reasons, not only the loss of 170 parking spaces, but as well as sacrificing the width of our widest street.A0 Below please find the three-page petition of implications sent Feb ruary 13, 2001 to Monsignor Geraghty (St. Francis de Sales Par ish), Mr. McLaughlin (RPA), Mr. King (BHPO), District Manager Gaska, Assemblywoman Pheffer, and DOT Commissioner Canissi Queens):

Dear Assemblywoman Pheffer:

Thank you for attending our general meeting last night at The Belle Harbor Yacht Club.

Below, please find a list of the implications regarding the Center Median project within Rockaway Park, which we discussed at last night's meeting.

Once again a small number of community members are trying to divide homeowners and residents within Rockaway Park by promoting center medians from Beach 129 to Beach 126 Streets.A0 Our association encompasses Beach 129 Street through Beach 117 Street, which means building those medians will place a permanent, physical divide in our community.A0 As a community and a strong civic association, we must unite, not divide.

Why do neighbors want the medians?A0 The only reason discussed is that they are pretty.A0 However, they are only pretty if they are maintain ed.

Maintenance includes watering and mowing and eliminating dog refuse.A0 How will these medians be maintained?A0 Where is the water coming from?A0 Who is paying for it?A0 Who is being billed for it?A0 Who is being billed for the mowing?A0 How many years down the road is this maintenance agreement good for?A0 Who will pay after that?A0 What if the per son/company reneges, is there money being held in an escrow account by the Assemblywoman's office with years of maintenance deposited in it?A0 How much will it cost to maintain each median?A0 This project cannot continue until the answers to all of these questions are answered.A0

We have the right to know about the medians because we live here.A0 We would like to go on record here and now that we will not and cannot take financial responsibility for the medians because we do not have the funds in our treasury now, nor do we expect to in the near future.

Let's examine some of the reasons why we are against the center medians.A0 They will eliminate 57 year-round parking spaces in perpetuity, they will create hardships for homeowners with more than one car, tenant parking and further divide the Tri-community area, they will make bike riding impossible the entire length of the Rockaway Beach Boule vard, they will make weekend church parking for masses and functions impossible, as well as school functions, they will eliminate commercially zoned parking where buses line up without providing an alternative site for buses to park.

Will they increase property values?A0 Barbara Morris, Brian Heffernan and Joan Mettler - all local realtors agree that medians below 130 Street will not increase property value.A0 Anyone looking to live in Belle Harbor now and for years request only to be shown houses above 130 Street.
Medians are not going to change this attitude.A0 Our upper blocks will never be held in the same esteem as the upper streets of Belle Harbor or Neponsit.A0 Property values in our neigh borhood have increased significantly despite not having center medians.A0 And, adding medians to our upper streets will do more harm to our entire association by dividing it.

Building the center medians will eliminate 57 parking spaces in perpetuity. Who uses these spaces?A0Home owners with more than one vehicle, tenants of the many two-family, three-family and multi-family dwell ings within Rockaway Park, teachers and parishioners of St. Francis de Sales, Parents of children attending St. Francis de Sales, school buses dropping off and picking up St. Francis de Sales students, company and people using our beaches in the summer.

Parkers from multiple dwellings on the first blocks will be forced to
use the second block for parking placing an undo hardship and start a chain reaction making it harder for all to park.A0 In summation, everyone wishing parking will be forced to park two and three blocks away from their homes, their church and their school.A0 The blocks in question now burden other blocks north and east from them.A0 Furthermore, with the loss of 170 year-round parking spaces in total, there will be a significant amount of locating a parking space entirely creating a stream of drive-by cars polluting our air.

Waiting and boarding school buses can no longer park on the Boule vard, which is the only space that is zoned commercially at this time.

They also cannot wait on the beach blocks for there is no ample space for
them to turn around as well as the second blocks will have no free spaces.

What about the parents of the 754 students currently registered at St.
Francis de Sales School, where will they drop off and pick them up from
school? There is certainly not enough room in the parking lot/school yard. Where will they meet their children?A0 If they line up on the beach block of 129 Street, this presents a hardship for the homeowners on B.129.

As previously stated, constructing medians from 130 to 126 will physically divide our community and weaken our organization.A0 Those members who live below 126 Street will be left out, as are those who live below 122 Street who are forced to send their children to PS225 instead of PS114.

We must correct all of these wrongs foisted on our community and stand
together to accomplish our goals.

Bicycle riding is a big part of our community for individuals and
entire families.A0 Newport Avenue with its single lane and parking makes bike riding there dangerous.A0 Rock away Beach Boulevard between 125 and 116 is a single lane and with buses and all, extremely dangerous.A0 The only route families have been able to take has been the Boulevard above 125 Street.A0 The medians will not only eliminate parking on the Boulevard but will make the entire Boulevard dangerous for family cycling.

Exercising as a family is a big deal in this neighborhood.A0 It is difficult
to understand how Belle Harbor residents aren't up in arms about losing
their cycling access to Riis Park and points west.

Church parking for parishioners on weekends - Saturday evenings and
Sundays - will be difficult to impossible.A0 Like the teachers during the
week, parishioners will be resigned to park three or more blocks away to
attend mass, if they can find parking at all.A0 We have too many elderly
parishioners to eliminate their parking. What's more important here,
worship or medians?

We, as an association want it on the record that we will not tolerate
buses or cars making U-turns and lining up on our upper beach blocks.A0 We have pre-school age children playing there and escaping the onslaught of such traffic is precisely the reason homeowners bought their homes on the beach blocks in the first place.

In speaking with DOT Commiss ioner of Queens, Canissi, he told one of our members, "The only reason he could see for the medians is to eliminate the parking."

Vanity is no reason to develop medians when it drives a divisive wedge through our community's heart.A0 Construction of the medians would eliminate over 170 parking spaces in all. It is rumored by a reliable source that a single person, representing the Rockaway Park Association ("RPA"), gave a check to the DOT underwriting the financial support of the Center Malls within Rockaway Park.A0 It is our position that this person does not have the status nor does he have the right to speak for our organization or the RPA in that not owning a home in the area disqualifies him from membership in the organization he professes to lead.A0 Learning this person may have given the money to DOT for the project and signed off on the project makes this organization very uncomfortable.A0 Our leadership and membership strongly feel that promoting and financing the center malls should not and must not be attributed to a rumor.A0 The truth must be known and it must be known in writing about the signatures and financial responsibilities of the medians. We further feel that since the malls serve no constructive purpose, and should not be constructed in Rockaway Park at all.

Please re-pave Rockaway Beach Boulevard, include markings for bike
lanes on both sides of the street and eliminate the center median.A0 If
possible, why not take the financing that would be left over when the
medians are not built and support the construction and maintenance of a community center to give our adolescents and teens a decent place to
congregate, study and play?A0 That definitely is the issue upon which all
residents of the Tri-community agree.


Too Many Tickets

Is there anything the 100 Precinct won't do to issue tickets?

In the morning at 8:15 a.m., a patrol car can often be seen sitting, idling on the taxpayers' dime, on Beach 108 Street. What he is doing is waiting for the clock to hit 8:30 on alternate side of the street days so he can drive over and ticket cars whose owners have not moved them fast enough. I have observed this myself while running to get to my car before 8:30 am. These cars are owned by people who live in Dayton Seaside apartment buildings, who often cannot afford the monthly parking lot fees, which have now gone up to $50 or $55 per month.

Now, a patrol car with three taxpayer salaried police officers has been directed to sit in the parking lot of the Sunset diner on Beach Channel Drive and Beach 116th Street and "observe traffic" in the evening. After going to Wendy's late Wednesday night as I was hungry after work, I was on my way home and was pulled over, not for a traffic violation, or reckless driving, but because they were evidently "teaching" a rookie cop who was sitting in the back seat of the patrol car.

The officer who came to my car refused to answer me when I asked, "Is there a problem officer?" He only asked for my license and registration, which I gave him and when he could find nothing wrong with that, said, "I'll be right back." He came over with some kind of tool and "measured" my window tints. He then started quoting percentages of light and wrote me a $90 ticket.

When I called the 100 Precinct this Thursday morning at 9:45 a.m., I was passed through to a lieutenant who told me that the patrol cars have been directed to sit in areas such as the Sunset Diner parking lot and observe traffic and that there was nothing wrong with them stopping me for no other reason than to measure window tints at 11 o'clock at night.

The way I see it, there are two problems here. One, is this a huge waste of taxpayer money, especially if you consider that all patrol cars are overstaffed and/or sitting around doing nothing. The other is three officers sitting in a car with nothing to do are going to eventually "find" something to do. This means harassment of normal, working, residents of the community. With the summer beach harassment season just a few months off, I am seriously considering not renewing my lease in June and moving to another area. I am disgusted.


Not A Sop

A0Dear Editor;

The assertion that the malls on the Boulevard were builtA0 "as a sop to the egos of the Belle Harbor residents whoA0 wanted their community to look more like theA0 prestgious Neponsit aerea" is hot air and not even funny. Belle Harbor didn' t need the malls to look prestigious; Belle Harbor was prestigious without the malls and still is forA0its A0"neighborly" atmosphere.

Lets not create another controversy, we have enough of them on this side of Rockaway.

Anyway, this is not the topic of this letter. My topic A0today is the parking on the Boulevard between Beach 125 to Beach 140 Streets. What is the problem? Don't we have enough parking problems in the summer time? Do we need it even in wintertime? Why? To my naked eye, the width (on the Boulevard) seems to be wide enoughA0for a parked car and two lanes, or one wide lane,A0more than we have now on the Boulevard between Beach 124A0and 116 StreetsA0and certainly more than the "two way"A0street between 116 and 108 Sts. So what's the problem of parking cars on the Boulevard?A0 (For that matter, they should repeal the parking restrictionA0for the rest of the Boulevard as well).A0 Because someone wants to speed? Well, they should be reminded (or informed) that the Boulevard is not, and was never intended to be, a speedy highway; for the U Turn? Do you want to go back to 116 Street, no problem, make a right at any even street to Newport, right again, straight to Beach 116 Street, as simple as that.A0Remember the extra blocksA0 mayA0 save a life that could beA0your family member's or your own).A0

According to Mr. Jonathon Gaska, the District Manager for Community Board 14 (Wave Feb.4,04)A0 "With the financial help (N.Y. State ) obtained by Ms. Pheffer, the project came be fore the two community associationsA0three years ago or so, A0and both, the Rockaway Park civics and the Belle Harbor civics,A0asked for no parking alongA0 that area, and it was put in the plan"A0"This has not beenA0secret. We talked about it at many meetings and both Ed Re, the president of the Rockaway Park Home owner and Residents Association and Barbara Larkin, the president of the Belle Harbor Property Owner Assoc iation recently endorsed the plan"A0Here there is a little anbiguosity. Neither Gaska nor the Wave mentioned any community involvement. Was the project,A0with the parking restrictions, approvedA0by both boards with the community's approval or was it approved without the community's blessing? If it was approved without the community's approval,A0with all respect for them, I personally don't believe the two boardsA0haveA0a right to arbitrarily dictate the life style ofA0the Boulevard's residents. Who are they to tell themA0that, oh, no, even though you have a nice parking spot in front of your house, when you come home at 2 AM you must go round (and round) to find a parking space elsewhere. No, my friends, those people didn't buy a house on the Boulevard, they didn't' t spend A0$6, 700K to go looking for a parking spotA0 else where at 2AM, increasing the night traffic or more importantly having a car accident.

Think about it. Those people left those days behind them when they moved to Rockaway. As a matter of fact, I would like toA0say A0that, alongA0with theA0beach, the surfing, the friendly atmosphere, the parking was the main reason for moving to Rockaway. I know it for a fact. I remember, back in Brooklyn, parking, if I was lucky, 6, 7 blocks away from my house and walking those blocks at 2, 3 AM. was not a joke, believe me.A0A0The parkingA0restrictions,A0would not only affect them, but wouldA0impose a parking problem alsoA0on people on the 200, 400 and 500 blocks. These people have already the problem from those who haven'tA0a parking space of their own, now they would have it from people who have, but can't use, theirs. What a scenario, not funny at all, believe me.A0

Instead of:"No Parking" signs, they should install "Speed Limit"A0with "No U Turn"A0signs.

Damn it, must we always have controversies here? Arverne, Duane Reade, the surfing, the beach, the boardwalkA0and now the parking on the Boulevard. and it is not summer yet.


Tickets and Fines

Dear Editor,

Parking and other fines are way beyond proportion to the point they now resemble municipal extortion. Is it because they fear punishment from tyrants that PVB personnel maintain their omerta-like silence?


More on Chapey & Schwach

Dear Editor,

As a friend of 20 years and now Co-Chair of the Rockaway Catholic Jewish Council (RCJC), I want to add my voice to all who know the sincerity and forthrightness of Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey.

Geraldine consistently works for the betterment of all people - chairing and revitalizing the RCJC, sustaining the "Trinity" Bus that all organizations from the peninsula and the mainland have used, organizing with Jack King, a "Rally for Israel" and the St. Patrick's Day Committee - just to name a few of her endeavors.

When people are involved with people and try to be good, sometimes errors occur. Advising people of their error is appropriate. However, undue criticism beyond the topic is not appropriate.

This spring, Geraldine will be honored by local Jewish organizations. Know her and you will recognize her as an honest and straightforward individual and I wish her continued strength to go forward.


Going Through The Motions

Dear Editor,

I am writing to inform you and your readers of the process that has been taking place in order to allow surfers to once again enjoy the beautiful beaches of Rockaway.

Rockaway is and has been for many years a "surfing town". Countless children and adults alike, brave the waves every time a good "surf's up". Most notably, Beach 91st Street has been the surfing beach for years. In the past, enforcement actions were taken that penalize surfers who enjoy our surf.

I reviewed the situation and determined that while New York State allowed for surfing at their beaches, New York City was reluctant to allow for surfing because of their interpretation of the State sanitary code.

The City's position was based on a risk management evaluation by Corporation Counsel who determined that drowning and other injuries that occur after hours at the City's bathing beaches resulted in numerous lawsuits and multi-million dollar decisions against the city. Subpart 6-2 of the State sanitary code needed to be changed to clarify that the bathing definition does not include surfing or surf fishing and that the intent is not to prohibit these activities.

The changing of these codes must go through the State rulemaking process, which includes approval of GORR, the Government Office of Regulatory Reform, approval by the Governor's Office, a public hearing process and final approval by the Public Health Council.

The lengthy public process is mandated to ensure that a thorough and fair review is conducted.

In November of 2002, the New York State DOH submitted language changes to the New York City Corporation Counsel for their review. These changes were accepted and submitted back to NYS DOH in June of 2003, and the process began.

Throughout the process, the surfing community of Rockaway and the NYC Chapter of the Surfriders Foundation have been in constant contact with me and my office to ensure that their needs and concerns have been properly addressed.

I anticipate the completion of this process this spring. I look forward to New York City's expeditious implementation of these rule changes so that once again, we will see many surfers enjoying our wonderful waves.



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