Civics Are Not Bad
Many residents woke up to a Happy Easter, at least until they viewed their new "No Parking Anytime" signs along Rockaway Beach Blvd. from Bch 126th St. through Belle Harbor. As people parked for mass they were rudely welcomed to the new signs. This just being another example of our local politicians and Community Board bowing to a few officers of our local Civic Associations.
As a past president of the Rockaway Park Association, I witnessed first hand the importance of having a strong Association.
The problem now is that if you disagree with your local civic, you start up your own. So lo and behold we have civics all over Rockaway. Some have been around forever, some have not. When we started the Rockaway Park Association (not to be confused with the Rockaway Park Owners and Residents Association) we took on the difficult task of illegal SRO's and their absentee owners that plagued our neighborhood.
We cleaned them up and shipped out their owners and now have some 15 wonderful new neighbors. We dealt with the planning of the center medians along RBB. This turned out to be a hot issue, but the majority of our neighborhood was for it and the rest is history, not without some battles I might add. There were some unpopular issues along the way and eventually some internal disagreement led to some members splitting and forming a new Civic, called the Rockaway Park Residents Assoc. This led to quite a bit of confusion when recruiting and renewing members. There are still members who don't know what assoc. they belong to. How can you not be confused when there is a civic for every 15 blocks in Rockaway?
I realize this is not the most exciting info and is not as fascinating as our old pal Kevin Boyle was but it all leads us back to the "No Parking Signs".
A major problem at this time is that some of our civics now boast of having over 800 members, which is wonderful, except when a vote is called for something as important as " No Parking Signs" along RBB. This is normally done at a meeting with about 40-50 members who have been made aware ahead of time of this important vote beforehand.
Another problem is that we now find a Belle Harbor resident, who also happens to be a Vice President for the Belle Harbor Property Owners acting as the president of the Rockaway Park Residents Assoc. Having your cake and eating it too, anyone? Letters from both of these associations were sent to Councilman Addabbo against parking along RBB. Was this based on the feeling of the majority of the neighborhood? I don't think so, but!
Rockaway has always been one great peninsula in my eyes, at least until I got involved in the neighborhood and realized how many pieces it was cut into due to the number of civics. Couldn't we just have a Rockaway Civic? Never Happen.
I realize people are going to read this and find it compelling. Some are going to read it, jump up and down, rant and rave and run to their computer to quickly email their reply. Personally, I don't care either way. This was written so people who normally have their heads in the sand, can wake up and realize maybe it's time to get involved in our neighborhood.
Remember, civics aren't a bad thing. It's only when the chosen few speak on behalf of the majority before the majority speaks to them. I applaud those involved in our local civics. there is a lot of time and effort involved, but you must listen to the majority of the neighborhood before speaking for them.
Not My Idea Of "Community"
Well, the Belle Harbor Property Owners Association must be mighty pleased with themselves right about now. The "No Parking Any Time" signs just went up on Rockaway Beach Boulevard from Beach 126 Street to Beach 139 Street. As the Wave's prescient editorial back in February warned, parking is now a mess for residents living in the vicinity, owners and renters alike. I'm so glad that Association members can further entertain the illusion that the values of their "investments" have just increased, and that we, not they, may now sacrifice for their "common interest." Instead of enduring the parking nightmare of musical cars only on weekends in the summer, we who live here now get to enjoy this pleasure year-round.
What can I say but thank you, thank you, thank you. I also get a big kick out of reading letters to the Wave from people who don't even
live anywhere near the boulevard telling us how much this will improve the values of our community. One recent ironic example excoriated the Wave for intimating "that the Belle Harbor owners are snobbish and exclusionary," while containing reams of purely self-interested drivel which proved just that.
Don't like the new parking regs? Go form a renter's association you bunch of whiners!
The last time I looked we were still part of Queens, which is part of New York City. As such, parking is problematical everywhere. Now it is even more difficult, thanks to a handful of people who would prefer to live in a Long Island suburb, and boy do I wish they did. This kind of high-handed arrogance, imposing the will of the few without any democratic consideration of the impact of their self-interested actions on everyone else, is the exact opposite of "community."
Going To Be A Long Summer For Parkers
Like thieves in the night (or in this case, early morning), the D.O.T. came early Saturday morning to take away our parking on Rockaway Beach Boulevard. To add salt to the wounds, the new signs were posted on a busy weekend for both the Belle Harbor synagogue on Beach 134th Street and St. Francis de Sales church on Beach 129th Street. Councilman Addabbo reassured those who were opposed to the ban that he would take our concerns into account. However, there was no notification from any city official or agency that this event was imminent despite the significant (documented) opposition to the ban. It was simply forced upon the community by the almighty Belle Harbor Property Association. This was a done deal from day one, and I think Councilman Addabbo knew that. What a joke.
So, all of us "lowly" renters will, to quote a previous elitist letter-writer, "just have to find a place for our cars". No doubt this writer has a private driveway. I would ask homeowners who live close to the boulevard and have private driveways to please use them as much as possible. Although it is not yet a big issue on my street, I already see an increase in parking on the 200 block. Once the warm weather comes, and the visitors come to the beach on weekdays, it will be IMPOSSIBLE to find a space. Beach blocks will have more traffic because people will unload their cars at the wall due to the fact that they will have to walk further to find a space. The parking ban will NOT deter "DFD's" as another previous elitist (and naive) letter-writer suggested.
Has anyone attempted to make a left turn from Rockaway Beach Boulevard lately? Am I the only one who has trouble seeing oncoming cars because of the medians? This will only get worse as the planted trees grow. Will the B.H.P.A. take responsibility for the first accident that occurs as a result of this obscured view?
It is clear now that Councilman Addabbo never took our (the opposition's) concerns seriously. Otherwise he would have, at the very least, advised the community exactly when the signs would be posted. Enjoy your summer folks. It's going to be a long one.
MATTHEW E. MCLEAN
It has been quite a few years since two long established civic associations in the east end got together on a quality of life issue. The Bayswater Civic Association and the Frank Avenue Civics are working together to block construction of a car wash between the two communities at the intersection of Beach Channel Drive, Seagirt Boulevard and Beach 32 Street.
The two civics favor residential construction consistent with the attractive new housing being completed nearby or good quality retail stores to serve the growing community. There has been no need for a car wash with three car wash facilities within easy driving distance.
While this issue may not be the most earthshaking one we face, it is a sign that local civics will no longer allow undesirable development in the area.
Energized by residents of new homes near the site, the groups are determined to continue to urge city officials to refuse any zoning changes that would permit a car wash at this potentially attractive intersection which is the gateway to Bayswater, Edgemere and Wavecrest communities.
Rockaway civic associations have always stood up to protect the quality of their communities. City officials should welcome and listen to the voices from the east end.
Improving Far Rockaway
As usual, I enjoyed reading The Wave this week, especially the article written by Brian Magoolaghan in which he writes of the plans of the Chamber of Commerce President John Lepore has to work along with Joanie Omeste to revive Rockaway.
I am a senior who has lived in Far Rockaway since I was a young child (40 years on this block) and have seen first hand how it has gone down.
There is one thing that really upsets me; that being anytime we hear of something to improve the Rockaways it must start at Beach 116 Street and above. I think we should get some of that help instead of always Rockaway Beach, Belle Harbor, etc. being first.
Above 116 Street has not gone down hill during the last 25 years as fast as Far Rockaway.
We once had grand stores where we could buy just about anything. Now we have one 99cent store after the other and have to go to Five Towns to buy anything worthwhile.
I am just sick and tired about hearing what Beach 116 Street needs and wants. What about us?
Why not let Joanie Omeste start here for a change?
MARY ANN WELSH
ABTS Not The Only New Development
I read your article of April 9, 2004 (BEEP: Maintain Access to Beaches in AURA). You mentioned about developments in the Arverne section of the Rockaways for the Urban Renewal Program. The map you had in your article showed the Arverne Urban Renewal Area and a development underway by another developer, but it did not mention Waters Edge by Briarwood, which is located to the right on the map (not colored).
The first phase of Waters Edge by Briarwood was the first to be developed as an Affordable Housing Project in the area. Waters Edge by Briarwood (Phase I) homes were completed in 2001. We are currently getting ready to start construction of Waters Edge II by Briarwood (Phase II) soon. The development sites of Phase I and the upcoming Phase II are located between Beach 59th Street and Beach 62nd Street, from Rockaway Beach Boulevard to the Atlantic Ocean. We are going to develop 65 two-family homes with one-car garages. So far, we have 14 homes under contract, despite the fact that these homes have not been built as of yet. Waters Edge II by Briarwood homeowners will enjoy the advantage of New York City's Urban Development Action Assistance Program, which is a program that gives substantial tax exemptions for 20 years. The homeowners of Waters Edge by Briarwood (Phase I) are already enjoying the benefits of this program.
We have a furnished model home located at 196 Beach 61st Street (corner of Beach 61st Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard). Anyone can see our furnished model home by making an appointment (718-229-4300).
If you would like more information, you may give us a call at (718) 229-4300. You are also more than welcome to browse through our website (www.ebriarwood.com).
REBECCA J. SARROCCO
Beach 116 Street Memorial
As I calculate it, it is going on 3 years since the World Trade Center tragedy and I don't know what is going on with the memorial that started and stopped construction on Beach 116 Street. So far I have seen Duane Reade's construction go up and open for business - and I've seen houses go up faster. I can't believe that there is not enough money to be used because Rockaway was hardest hit in the loss of life. The donations I believe would have been very generous.
I think that people that lost loved ones need a special place to remember the loved ones that they lost instead of going into Manhattan. Isn't that why donations were collected? I see every once and while in The Wave that bricks are still available - wouldn't it be nice to let the people of Rockaway know when they plan on continuing construction?
I know being a survivor of the attack on the World Trade Center, I would love to be able to sit and remember and perhaps speak with others that lost loved ones. So maybe the Chamber of Commerce can let the public know what's going on.
Improve Seaside Library
Considering that 116 Street is a major intersection, bringing in a vast amount of people to our peninsula and the growing community via Q22, Q21, Q35, Q53 buses and the shuttle train, our Seaside Library is seriously due for an overhaul and uplifting atmosphere. We have the least amount of computers and an uncomfortable atmosphere, whereas other Rockaway libraries are home to up to 20 computers. Who should the public write, or call for this major facelift to our community library?
Drown In A Sea Of Enemies
I'm writing this on the day that Egyptians were buried by God in the Red Sea, the 7th Day of Unleavened Bread. This day is an annual holy day. One of God's days, and you're not keeping it! Bad luck in Iraq and Iran.
If this nation was under God, the Shiite would hit the fan in Iraq and Iran. But we're not, and the Supreme Court would do us all a big favor by taking "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance.
Our troops in Iraq are going to drown in a sea of enemies. Obadiah says the Turks will not permit them to escape at the "crossway" when The Beast (German head of the revived Holy Roman Empire) takes Jerusalem.