2004-02-27 / Columnists


Many residents on the west end reported a strong smell of gasoline in the air last Sunday afternoon. An American Airlines plane that had recently departed from JFK lost an engine over the Atlantic and was attempting to return to the airport. As part of its emergency procedure, the Boeing 777 dumped fuel over the ocean and over Rockaway as it flew low over the peninsula. The plane landed without incident at JFK, but it left a residue of jet fuel in its track.

Late on Thursday afternoon, a De partment of Transportation (DOT) official was on Beach Channel Drive at Beach 126 Street, measuring the frontage on the drive as well as the land mass between the drive and the bay wall. While the DOT person would not say why he was there, it seems clear that his measurements have something to do with a permanent memorial for those who died in the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 into Rockaway. That site is one that has been prominently seen as an appropriate place for the memorial. Officials from the Mayor’s Community Assistance Office and the Parks Department were recently in Rockaway to take a look at that site, as well as the Rockaway Tribute Park.

Wave Columnist Liz Guarino, who writes Broad Channel Bits each week, has been elected to the board of directors for the Queens Independent Living Center, a non-profit organization that is directed by and for people with disabilities. The QILC is located at 140-40 Queens Boulevard.

Many Rockaway residents be came worried when the question of filling the borrow pits at the eastern end of Jamaica Bay, nearby Bayswater with toxic sludge taken from the bottom of New York Harbor was put on the agenda for last Wednesday’s Jamaica Bay Task Force meeting. The community has fought several at tempts in the past to dump toxic dredge spoils into the bay. The meeting made clear, however, that a report on the health of the borrow pits is still months away. That is the first step in a process that includes environmental impact statements, public hearings and remediation conferences. All in all, experts say, even if the decision was made to use the borrow pits for the toxic sludge, that action is still at least five years away.

A local resident called to say that last week’s Historical View was wrong in saying that the Woodside Bus began service in 1956. Our caller said that he took that bus in 1951, after the Long Island Railroad trestle between Rockaway and Broad Channel burned down. The man , who worked at the United Nations building, said that he rode the bus to Woodside, where he then grabbed the 7 Train into Man hattan.

Tomorrow, Saturday, February 28, the street renaming ceremony in honor of James Conway Sullivan will take place at Beach 105 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. The renaming, which will take place at noon, honors the founder of the Rockaway St. PatrickDay Parade who was also a long-time member of Community School Board 27.

Also on Saturday evening, the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department (BCVFD) will host its 99th annual
dinner and installation at the American Legion Hall in Broad Channel. The organization, moving into its 100th year, hopes to soon begin building its new firehouse on Cross Bay Boule vard. Tickets for the installation dinner are still available at the firehouse.

The Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day Parade will return to its traditional route on March 6, after moving the route last year because of street construction. The parade will step off from Beach 129 Street and Newport Avenue at 1 p.m., move up Newport to Beach 116 Street, make a right turn to Rockaway Beach Boulevard and then continue on the boulevard to St. Rose of Lima Church. The re viewing stand will once again be at Beach 105 Street and Rock away Beach Boulevard, but most of the crowd will be somewhere around the Irish Circle at Beach 102 Street.

It is amazing what the Internet can do for family members who are looking to find each other. The front page story in last week’s edition, where a Broad Channel woman found a brother who had been put up for adoption 70 years ago is but one example. A Wave editor found through the Internet that his grandfather had two brothers who immigrated to Minnesota while the other members of the family stayed in New York City after coming through Ellis Island. Those brothers had children and those children had children who are all now documented as part of the family.

Two weeks ago, The Wave ran
a front-page story about a new suspension center for Rockaway. That program is reportedly now in danger of being dropped because those who run the community-based organization that was contracted to house the program has fallen out of favor
..with Region Five Supervisor Kathleen Cashin because of their opposition to the proposed Schol ar Academy program. It would be a shame if this badly needed program should be lost because of somebody’s vindictive nature.

The New York Yankees and New York Mets returned to the diamond to start spring training in Florida. The Yankees have overshadowed the Mets with their free agent signing of Gary Sheffield and their recent trade for Alex "A-Rod" Rodriguez. The Mets have kept it low key but they should have some exciting players like Jose Reyes, Mike Cameron and new Japanese import Kaz Matsui.

The manager of Blockbuster on Beach 116 Street and Beach Channel Drive called to warn motorists that her corporate office has placed "Parking For Customers Only" sign on the parking lot in front of the store. Those who park and then go shop elsewhere will be towed.

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