2004-03-26 / Letters



No Greater Gift

Dear Editor;

Having grown up on Beach 88 (renumbered 90 Street after Dayton was built) and having surfed the "rocks" since 1967 I find it interesting that some people want to rename B. 91 to honor Duke Kahanamaku.A0

Beach 91, or "the ramp" was always a gathering place to check out the waves, but the actual surf spot is on Beach 87 Street.A0

Duke Kahanamaku was a great athlete and an honorable man fully deserving of such a plaque, as was done years ago on Beach 38 Street.A0However, all his achievements pale when compared to the gift that FF Richie Allen gave to this city.A0There is no greater gift that any one of us can give.A0 I am sure that were Duke Kahanamaku alive today he would be seriously honored to have his name mentioned in the same sentence as this true hero, FF Allen, and I am sure he would also appreciate the renaming of Beach 87 in his honor.


Arrest Mother Nature

Dear Editor,A0A0

How dare Mother Nature build an "unofficial sand dune" on Beach 123 Street without a Parks Department permit?

Parks enforcement should issue Mother Nature a summons forthwith. And, don't forget the four men who obstructed the leveling of this dune. They are in collusion with Mother Nature.

What's this? Mother Nature is build ing another "unofficial sand dune" on Beach 124 Street. Fear not. Come summer, Parks enforcement rough riders will ride over, and crush these "unofficial sand dunes" with theirA0dune buggies.


QM17 Riders Distressed

(The following letter was accompanied by a petition with more than 25 signatures of QM17 riders.)

Dear Editor,

When it rains I am very leaky.

In the winter I am freezing.

In the summer, I am like an oven.

My engine breaks down often.

My wheelchair life breaks down often.

My back door malfunctions.

I hardly ever get a bath.

My seats and floors are dirty.

My windows are broken, stuck or cannot be closed and opened properly.

I am supposed to go very fast, but sometimes I move really slowly.

I make more "stops" than my fellow colleagues do in the business.

I cannot maintain the schedule I am given.

In fact, I am not providing the service I would really like to provide and I am just as tired of it as the people that deal with me.

What am I? Pay me $4.00 and I will tell you.

I am the QM17 Green Line Express bus to Manhattan, Far Rockaway's best kept dirty little secret.

Almost every weekday morning, the residents of the Rockaways are doing what we must to make it to the "stop" on time, The Green Line QM17 "so called" express bus stop to be precise. We all have to get to work on time, that is non-negotiable. How ever, our journey to work is a fact of life and a daily ritual made harder by the conditions outlined above, that we are forced to endure on a continuous basis. QM17 riders know and have experienced them for so long we could put them to music. Maybe that is what we should do. Put all these complaints to music, drum up some quality airtime and then maybe the Far Rockaway riders would get some serious attention. It beats standing on our heads!

For the premium price of $4.00 the two QM17 Green Line buses make more than 34 stops each from their starting point on Mott Avenue in Far Rockaway to the last stop on 57 Street in Manhattan (13 in Far Rock away, 11 along Crossbay/Wood haven, 1 in Broad Channel and 9 in Man hattan) and 35 on their return to Far Rockaway in the evening. Com pare that with 23 average stops that the other express lines make and it does not take a brain surgeon to see why we cannot get into Manhattan and back to Rockaway in decent time without a struggle. This comparison also brings to light another grievous fact. The two QM17's out of Far Rock away and the QM16 from Rockaway Park duplicate the same service along the Crossbay and Woodhaven section of the journey already provided by more than 15 QM15's. To further add insult to injury, the QM15's, which are housed at the garage in Far Rockaway, leave Far Rockaway empty every single day and starts boarding passengers in the Howard Beach Community at 159 Avenue and Cross bay Boulevard. How does Green Line expect to increase ridership with that kind of treatment? Or do they? In addition to being neglected and forgotten, we must now be invisible.

Green line representatives have all their excuses rehearsed and at the ready. You cannot say they are not prepared. "We cannot control how the driver drives," they say. "There's a lot of traffic!" quips an other. "We're work ing on it," is and has been the answer con cerning the mechanical prob lems plaguing the QM17 buses in particular for years. "Prove that you need more service" is the usual response to requests for additional buses. Must be the "invisible" factor, mentioned earlier at work again. Our favorite, however, is the response we get to complaints about the dirt. We are told, "we clean the buses once a month." I guess that's supposed to make us feel better.

We have asked before and we will ask again, why are we paying an express bus fare for local bus service? Why can't we get clean, efficient, dep endable service? When are we going to get additional buses on the route? How long must we wait before the Rockaway community gets the service it deserves? We are sure our neighbors on the other end of the peninsula that ride the QM16 have the same questions and probably some of the same complaints. We don't think its asking too much to expect to get what we pay for. After all, that is the American way. So, will someone please explain to us how much longer we will have to wait before these conditions are address ed?

Mr. Mayor, Senator Smith, Assem bly woman Titus, and all those in positions to change the circumstances and conditions described here, please hear our plea. We are calling on you all to look into the transportation conditions facing the Rockaways. There is no denying that the Rockaway community have been grossly underserved for many years, both in the services provided to it and the development of its infrastructure. We know that you are well aware that this community is experiencing a tremendous explosion in growth and that development and good trans portation is an increasingly critical factor in its success. As one of the major providers of this service in the Rockaways, it way past time that Green Line Bus Company is held accountable for the service it provides. With the MTA takeover of the bus routes an ever increasing possibility, we would like to remind those concerned that we have not fallen into the ocean. We are a part of this city and deserve the same time and attention and respect.

Our memories are long and our patience is wearing thin. We need action, not next week, next month or next year but right now. Remember, we are not going anywhere. You will have to deal with us eventually. Make it sooner please!


Right Turn To Nowhere

Dear Editor;

The right lane of westbound Rock away Freeway, as it comes to an end at Beach Channel Drive, has a paintedA0arrow indicating that only right turns can be made from this lane. This was obviously added after many drivers were given tickets for making an "illegal" left turn from the right lane. However, there is no reason for someone to make a right turn there. All traffic flows onto westbound Beach Channel Drive at that point. The better solution would be to recognize this and make this a legal left turn.


Need Better Bus Service

The following letter was sent to Assemblywoman Michelle Titus:

Dear Assemblywoman Titus:

I am writing you regarding the continuing problems the QM17 passengers are having with Green Bus Lines. You would think a Far Rock away express bus would cater to the passenger of Far Rockaway. Here's a list of specific problems we are having on the QM17 express bus (Far Rockaway to Manhattan):

We have to fight for everything we want, we have to fight to get working buses, we had to fight to get newer buses because they all went to the QM15 first, and we had to fight to stop going through Lindenwood which cut our stops from 42 to 34. We have to fight for everything when it comes to decent transportation.

Our express route is more like a local bus run - we make a total of 34 stops from the first stop to the last going into Manhattan (13 in Far Rockaway, 1 in Broad Channel, 11 along Crossbay/Woodhaven Blvd., and 9 in Manhattan) and on the return trip we make 35 stops (an extra stop on Crossbay Blvd). These are more stops than our local Q22 which operates from one end of the Peninsula to the other and it only makes 31 stops.

We only have two buses in which we call the 1st and 2nd QM17's (the morning buses leave Far Rockaway and 6:42 and 7:10 and the afternoon buses leave Manhattan at 4:30 and 5:22). We have to duplicate the same stops as the as the QM15 which have 16 buses in the morning starting from 6:38 to 11:00 am and 14 in the afternoons/evenings starting from 12:30 to 8:00 pm.

In the winter if you have to sit in the back of the bus it's an icebox and in the summer the back of the bus is a sweatshop.

Windows are always off track so it doesn't close properly and the passengers either have to stuff something in the cracks to prevent the wind from coming in. Dirty seats and floors, but what can we expect when according to Green Line a thorough cleaning of the bus is only done once a month. You can plant a bottle in the back of the bus on Monday and still find it there on Friday. Buses leak - when it rains, it rains inside the bus

Wheelchair lift - constantly breaks down and we have a passenger who is a regular rider that depends on the bus to get back and forth to work

We had a bus last week were the back door didn't work.

We had a bus that had a hole in the interior under the vent in the back of the bus.

Just this Monday our bus completely stopped on the LIE, then it stopped again in the Midtown Tun nel, and it decided to finally give up and not go anywhere when we got out of the tunnel.

We were told by officials at Green Line that our line is a courtesy route and our question to Green line if it's so much a courtesy why are we paying $4.00 each way. Since we make more stops than our local Q22 bus we should be paying $2.00.

I wonder if it's because of the demographic of the rider ship on the QM17 is the reason why don't get adequate service.

As an elected official I am looking to you to help rectify this situation. The community of Far Rockaway de serves true express bus service and that includes not stopping after we cross the bridge out of Rockaway. It also includes adding at least 2 more buses to route and starting express bus service out of Rockaway from 6:30 and the last express bus leave at 8:00 and have express bus service leaving out of Manhattan from 4:30 and the last bus leave around 7:30. I need for you to hold Green Bus line accountable for the way they run their company especially the Rock away Depot. That means having a dispatcher in Manhattan at the last stop at night to make sure the buses are running on time. Something needs to be done.

I want to thank you for your time and I will be anticipating a response from you.


Great People at Peninsula

Dear Editor,

(The following letter was sent to Robert Levine of Peninsula Hospital).

Over the past few months, my father and my grandmother were patients in your hospital for unrelated medical problems. In October, my father who is 77 years old fell down his stairs, dislocated his shoulder and badly damaged his knee and was brought by ambulance to the emergency room. He was immediately evaluated, taken for x-rays, given pain medication and admitted to a room all within a few hours. The emergency room staff from the security guard, clerical staff, nurses to the residents and doctors all acted with tremendous professionalism and went out of their way to make my father feel comfortable. He subsequently had surgery on his knee and shoulder also at your hospital and is on the road to a full recovery.

My grandmother who is 88 years old lives in Brooklyn. She has had health problems over the last couple of years and was in Maimonides Hospital for a few weeks last Nov ember. Maimonides Hospital emergency room and the staff on the floor where she was admitted treated her like she didn't exist. The hospital seemed to be just too overcrowded and understaffed and did not recognize my grandmother as a person. She was in the emergency room for 14 hours before anyone even started to treat her.

In January, my grandmother be came disoriented, confused and just not right. We decided that we would bring her to the emergency room at Peninsula Hospital instead of going back to Maimonides. It was the BEST decision we could have made. She was immediately taken in the emergency room, examined and it was determined that she had a stroke. She was admitted to a high tech monitoring room where she was held under close observation. After a few days she was moved to your T.B.I. Unit which specializes in stroke evaluation and rehabilitation. The staff in that unity again went above and beyond in the care of my grandmother. She felt like she was in a hotel. The staff all knew her by name, she received great meals, she was even able to play a piano "which she loves" as part of her treatment. The care, the rehab and the follow up she received in your hospital kept her out of a nursing home and gave her a positive outlook on her condition.

My family and I are greatly appreciative of Peninsula Hospital and all of your great staffing including the emergency room, the ambulatory care unity, the third floor west nurses and doctors, the security guards, dietary services and especially the TBI Unit for all your special care. We would also like to thank you, Bob, for creating the friendly professional environment in Peninsula Hospital that made my father and grandmother feel special and well taken care of. They are both on the road to recovery and enjoying life again.


JASA Center

Dear Editor,

Just a small note of appreciation to let you know what the JASA center has done for my mom, Mrs. Ann Aufrichtig-Liker. The center fills a large part of each day and each day is looked forward to. Good food, exercise, dance class, a chance to sing and be a part of a play and especially the opportunity to participate in these activities with a lot of nice people. Sometimes the interaction alone is enough to brighten the day. Occasion ally there is a special treat, a trip to see a play or some other performance.

It's a pleasure to listen to my mother talk about her day, and not just her aches and pains. Especially noteworthy appears to be the role played by two devoted staff members, Nancy and Sybil, who not only keeps the center running smoothly, but who takes a personal interest in every senior citizen who participates in the center's activities.

The center is an important part of my mom's life. Seniors should be bang ing down the doors to get in. Keep up the good work.

Joseph M. Aufrichtig

On the Environment

Dear Editor,

Given all the fuss it would be a good idea to have a Spring Fest ival/March to proclaim Rockaway a waterfront area. For example: for Friends of Rockaway, I spearheaded the Duke Kahanamoku Way dedication as an entrance to a Parks Department surfing beach. There is a coastal geomorphology and watersports access symbolism for the site chosen in the Frank Avenue Civic Association area. So how does the Rock away Beach Civic Association have the nerve to shift it westwards and deprive the original beach area of water dependent recreational-economic development potential? An entertainment complex (surfing center/small aquarium science museum/college belongs there associated with a beach to bay park. So let Mrs. Gail Allen and family have the dedication to her slain son at Beach 91 Street.

An entertainment complex makes jobs (especially if hotel associated) and the education component would improve local education in the natural sciences. Isn't the Rockaway Beach Civic Association president, Delores Orr, in conflict of interest as chair of CD14 to approve such a dedication site shift?

After making real estate development a "Golden Calf" that has nothing to do with waterfront or water dependent use planning and with land clearing at public expense coordinated as lot cleaning, mosquito, weed control and rat control using City Department of Sanitation equipment and workers, anyone might wonder a CB14 silence on making Jamaica Bay a repository of toxic dredge spoils? Hey buy and sell homes next to toxic dredge spoils dump is not good advertising! Or does is move homes on the market faster like the mosquito swarms of Dubos Point. Instead of bulldozing vegetation, the blocked creeks of standing water need such focus of attention. And as for the pits, they are not needed given the demand for all the dredge spoils for industrial processes that decontaminates hazardous and toxic chemicals.

Has CD14 communicated with the Parks Department about the standing water at Dubos? There are seven million dollars in a damages list account with a Friends of Rockaway proposal to open up the creeks to reduce the mosquito breeding standing water. It is sitting there unused and it's the pits!


All About Property Values

To the Editor,

After reading last week's editorial [From The Editor's Desk], I had to send a letter in response. As a homeowner, I have opinions on a number of decisions affecting the community that may or may not differ from my renting neighbors. For example, I am happy that the community made a decision 65 years ago not to extend the boardwalk past 126 Street because, among other things, it WOULD mean more pedestrian traffic and visitors at the end of our street Which may make it more risky for my child to play at the beach.

In addition, if the proposal to make Belle Harbor a G zone had passed 65 years ago, my crystal ball shows the following effect - a more exclusive community with even higher property values for the homeowners who have invested a great deal of their life's savings into their primary residences. As a homeowner that is a good thing!

My husband and I bought a home in Rockaway because we believe this is a nice place to live and raise a family. I grew up in Rockaway and always hoped to move back here. It's a great community filled with people who care. However we would not have bought a home here if we did not have a sense that the community-at-large had a common interest, which is preserving the value of their investments. Like most of our neighbors, our investment in our home represents our life's savings. Because of that, we absolutely support efforts to raise the value of the homes in our community. To further this interest, we are members of the Belle Harbor Property Owners' Association and try to effect change for the benefit of the community AND our investment.

As for the parking rules in the summer... what would we do without them?! Have you seen the beach at 116 Street after a day of visitors? The seagulls have a field day with all the trash! I feel extremely lucky to be able to go to a clean beach mostly free of trash and broken glass thanks to all the local residents who care enough to carry their trash all the way to the nearest trashcan.

With respect to your issue with being denied membership to the Belle Harbor Property Owners' Associa tion85 well of course you were! You weren't a property owner in Belle Harbor. Members of that group have gotten together for a common goal, and that is to further the interests of property owners. As is very obvious in your editorial, renters can care about different things than homeowners. My solution to your issue is for you to rally a group of renters and create a Renter Association. You can all pay dues, attend meetings, and begin the lobby effort to effect local change that you all agree on. Renters can have a different stake in the community than homeowners. Don't get me wrong, there are many people in Rockaway who have rented for dec ades and are just as entrenched as the typical homeowner. However there is one fundamental difference between a renter and an owner. If the value of homes in the community go down, or the general community becomes less desirable (for example if our postal workers get assaulted during their mail runs), a renter need simply give one-month's notice and find a new apartment in a new community. A homeowner, on the other hand, must sell their home and hope that they get back what they put into it.

To me it sounded like your editorial was trying to intimate that the Belle Harbor owners are snobbish and exclusionary. From my perspective, it's not that at all. We are just trying to protect our community (of which renters are a part) and our investment.


Thanks PHC

Dear Editor,

I would like to share my story with you of my positive experience at Peninsula Hospital Center in Rock away, Queens.

I have always sought medical care in Manhattan. Upon discovering a lump in my breast, I went to my Upper East Side doctor who, after examining me, ordered a mammogram immediately. The hospital I was referred to could take me in three weeks, the alternate facility, even longer. I knew that this could not wait.

After being encouraged by several friends in the neighborhood, some of whom are in the health care profession, I contacted Peninsula Hospital and was able to make a timely appoint ment.

I entered a clean, bright waiting room where several staff members pleasantly greeted me. I was ushered in to my 1:00 p.m. appointment exactly on time and was met by the x ray technician, Patty Murray who would perform my mammogram. I told her that I was very nervous and that I was scared. I had found the lump several months before but had been paralyzed with fear and had done nothing about it. She did not belittle or scold me; instead, she began to calm my fears. She explained to me that I done the most important and, perhaps, the most difficult thing: coming to get a professional diagnosis. Patty explained that early detection and diagnosis was the key to fighting any disease. She also explained each step of the mammogram along the way thoroughly. She even made me giggle with her sense of humor. I was no longer afraid.

I was asked to wait while Drs. Sprecher and Steinberg checked the mammogram results. Patty returned shortly, the doctors wanted to make certain that everything was all right. I was taken to a clean, freshly painted room where I met Lyn Santos, the ultrasound technician who would administer my sonogram. Lyn was just as professional and as thorough as Patty had been. I felt confident and began to realize how fortunate I was. I have a fine hospital, in my neighborhood, where I can go to receive quality and compassionate care!

I wish to extend my sincerest thanks and gratitude to all the staff at Peninsula Hospital Center who calmed my fears and gained my confidence ! I am proud to say that I have already made my next six-month routine mammogram appointment - at Peninsula Hospital!


To the CVS Pharmacy Staff

Dear Editor,

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the staff of the CVS Pharmacy on Beach 90 Street for really cleaning up their act. The dumpster area along Holland Avenue and 90 Street is now looking great. For the past four years (if not more), this back area has been a public bathroom, public dumping ground as well as an eye sore to the community. CVS Pharmacy - thanks you for improving the quality of life in our changing community. Hopefully, the other storeowners will follow suit. Again, kudos.


Street Naming for Allen

Dear Editor,

I have lived in the Rockaways all my life. I was born in the year that "Duke" was supposed to have visited here in 1912.

Never have I heard his name mentioned. I do not think his fame or contributions can measure up in any way to Richie Allen. Richie gave his life!

Richie was a lifelong resident, a surfer and a hero.

Use some common sense and honor someone deserving of honor.


Baxter Sirota Case

Dear Editor,

I must respond to some of the comments in your March 19, 2004 Beachcomber article, "Sirota Assault Trial Postponed Once Again By Prosecutors." The assertion that "the Independence Party, which contributed heavily to Brown's campaign fund," is totally false. The Independence Party has never contributed anything to DA Brown.

I would also like to advise you that whatever "experts" advised that "no body ever went to court for harassment three," are dealing in falsehoods. I would remind you that an "expert" is often only a drip under pleasure. A check with the DA's offices in Kings and Manhattan Counties as well as Queens shows that harassment three cases are routinely prosecuted. The only mystery hear (sic) is why it is that a man (who as an attorney is an officer of the court) and reportedly prides himself on his skill as a fighter in the boxing ring or out, and who reportedly, then assaults an elderly man, is only charged with harass ment three. In my opinion it should be felony assault at a minimum.

Mr. Sirota's statement that harassment three is not a "real crime," under these circumstances, says something, very unflattering as to his view of the law and his relationship to his fellow citizens.

John Baxter is a good and decent man, a tireless advocate for the people of the Rockaways, and the Independence Party in which he is a valued leader. I am proud to claim him as a personal friend, and his honor and dignity as a citizen needs to be affirmed by the courts and by the readers of your papers. Let the laws be upheld.


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