2004-04-02 / Columnists


We understand that The Wave was not mentioned kindly at the Rockaway Park Homeowners and Residents meeting last week because of our stand on the new no parking rules on tap for the area. Our correspondents tell us that there were approximately 120 people at the meeting and organization President Ed Rey gave them three options in regard to parking. The first, do away with no parking in the entire area, got no votes. When asked if they wanted no parking on Rock away Beach Boulevard, eight members responded in the positive. When asked if they wanted to leave it just as it is, about 35 people said yes. Re did not like that answer, however, and will soon poll the membership by mail, something that he has more control over than an open meeting.

The endangered Far Rockaway tuberculosis clinic that was scheduled to be closed due to budget cuts has received a reprieve – at least until the end of June. The City Council’s Health Committee has restored the clinic through the use of federal funds, but warns that it may well be on the block again during the summer, when new budget cuts are planned.

The Rockaway Park Homeowners and Residents have gone to the city for help in restoring the signs that were taken down when street work was done on both Newport Avenue and Rockaway Beach Boulevard last summer. According to organization officials, there are many street name signs missing as well as speed limit signs and traffic rule signs. The missing signs have reportedly caused lots of confusion, a number of traffic tickets and even a few accidents. The De part ment of Transportation (DOT) says that the signs will be replaced shortly.

A carjacking and high-speed chase that ended on Beach 128 Street a week ago startled residents when dozens of police cars, ESU trucks, helicopters and po lice dogs flooded the area. The chase began with a carjacking in Brooklyn. Units from Brooklyn and mainland Queens chased the perp to Rockaway, where he ditch ed the car and ran for the backyards. Police finally caught up to him with the help of local residents who pointed the way. He was taken back to Brooklyn for indictment and seems to have vanished into the system.

The NYPD apparently has plans for most eventualities. When the 911 system went down in most of the city last week (a Verizon worker mistakenly gave the lines to a bank), the police department quickly disseminated the telephone numbers of local precincts, put extra people on the local telephone switchboards, put more cars on patrol and even ordered plainclothes cops to get into uniform and ride around in marked cars with flashing lights so that those in need could see them and flag them down.

Talk about chutzpah! Firefighter Robert Welsh reportedly made a beer run to his firehouse, drank some of it, got into a fight with an other firefighter over Elvin Pres ley and then got bashed in the face. Whose fault is all of that action? The fire departments, ac cording to Welsh. He is suing the city for $100 million over "an ac cepted pattern of alcohol abuse at the station."

Randy Cohen is the New York Times’ ethiticist, advising writers as to right and wrong. While we oft disagree with Cohen, what he had to say in last week’s Sunday Magazine struck a nerve. The writer has asked about an ad-hoc memorial to an auto accident that was placed on a tree in front of his house and whether he could seek its removal. "Were we to turn the site of every calamity into a monument, we’d dwell in a necropolis," Cohen wrote in reply. "But life is for the living. Just as we don’t allow the family of a murder victim serve on the jury of his accused killer, we don’t allow the family of the accident victim, however profound its misery, to unilaterally determine how public space will be used."

If you believe the Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids, New Yorkers like the smoking ban more than they like the Yankees or a hot dog at Coney Island. The organization (which clearly has a stake in the poll findings) polled 500 register ed voters around the city. Accor ding to the poll results, 61 percent of the people who re sponded strongly support the smoking ban imposed by Mayor Mike Bloom berg a year ago. That is up from 55 percent who re sponded that way in August. Another 14 percent say that they "somewhat" support the ban. Only 46 percent of those polled strongly supported the Yankees, while 39 percent liked the hot dogs. Seventy percent of those polled said that the rights of customers who do not smoke to have a smoke-free restaurant outweighs the right to smoke in those restaurants.

Handbills have begun to appear on west end telephone poles and in store windows. Unsigned, the handbills urge residents to "choose safety over convenience" in supporting the no parking ban planned for Rockaway Beach Boulevard from Beach 126 Street to Beach 139 Street. "Allowing parking creates a dangerous situation for both residents and visitors," the handbill says. Instead, it proposes a "designated and marked running/jogging path and bicycle lane" for the ex tra space, something that seems to us to be more dangerous than parking.

In a recent interview with the Daily News (I guess she can speak with the daily papers, but not with a weekly such as The Wave), Region Five supervisor Kathleen Cashin defended her plan to put younger children in with older students in both K-8 and 6-12 configurations. "Younger kids diffuse the behavior of the older children," Cashin told the daily. "The older kids protect the younger ones, read aloud to them85It brings about a real school community."

The AirTrain is not drawing riders as well as was predicted by the Port Authority. The daily ridership during the first three months of operation was about 15,000, but only 5,000 of those riders were paying a fare. The rest used the free service to move around the airport itself. The PA says that it expected about 35,000 riders each day.

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