2004-04-30 / Columnists


One year ago, The Wave published a front-page story announcing that Tribute Park was "on the fast track," and would probably be ready for its grand opening by September 11, 2003. Boy, were we wrong. Then, the park was promised for ‘spring" of this year. Anybody passing by the site on Beach Channel Drive will understand without being told that little work is being done in the Beach 116 Street park. The families of those to whom the park will be dedicated are beginning to question officials about what it happening. We understand that the Parks Department (which technically owns the park) is holding up the park’s opening by demanding that its approval first go through the erratic City Arts Commission, the same group that wanted to hide away the GI Jane statue nearby the 100 Precinct House because they did not consider it artful enough.

We have been checking with the New York City Department of Health on the future of the Harbor Bakery, the long-time Rockaway institution that was closed a few months ago because it had a "rodent problem of Biblical proportions." The DOH says that it is monitoring the situation and that the agency is waiting for the owners of the bakery to contact them and tell them that they are ready to clean up the store. "We will monitor the cleanup and then re-inspect the site," DOH officials say. So far, however, the owners apparently have not begun the mandatory cleanup process.

The Daily News recently did a feature story on "8 Hot Nabes, Hot Deals." Among those "hot nabes" was the Rockaways, or "cheap at the beach," as the story subhead pronounced. "After years of promises and neglect, the Rockaways are finally coming back," the story said. It quoted Curtis Archer, RDRC Executive Director as saying, "You’re at the beach. Where else are you going to find a home right on the ocean at [a decent] price?" After talking about prices and promise, the short article concluded, "Be prepared to be a pioneer, though: Parts of the famous boardwalk are rotted out and in serious disrepair."

A number of municipalities around the nation that house large airports have imposed "aviation easements," on new residential property surrounding the airport. Those easements, granted by the property owners for "a consideration," give the city the right to the air space over the property, as well as the right to regulate the appearance and the use of the property as it might impact on the operations of the airport. The easements also protect the airport by restricting lawsuits for such things as air pollution, noise, airport lighting, etc.). Many of the cities that have started this program are in California, and we all know that things that start on the left coast often wind up moving eastward to our city.

The Rockaway Development
and Revitalization Corporation (RDRC) will hold its annual awards dinner on May 19 at Russo’s On The Bay in Howard Beach. Those interested in attending should contact the organization’s offices.

If legislators in Albany have their way, police officers may soon be impounding your pet dogs. The state legislature is toying with a law that would force owners to get liability insurance for their dogs. Those who do not purchase the insurance and get a special collar tag will face the possibility of having their dogs taken and ultimately put to sleep. As always, the legislature leaves no stone unturned in pushing business for the insurance companies.

The Cancer Society will once again hold its "Relay For Life" at Beach Channel High School this year. The overnight event is scheduled for June 5 and 6. It will begin with a "survivor’s lap" led by those who have survived the disease.

Arverne By The Sea has unofficially scheduled its grand opening for May 25 at Beach 73 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. This is good news for all of Rockaway and a lesson for those who have said for years, "Even if they build it, nobody will come." Shortly after the opening, people will actually begin to move into the massive development project.

The Circle of Presidents, a group comprised of leaders from most of the local community groups and representatives from all of the elected official’s offices, met for the first time at Pier 92 last week. Guest speaker Tom Paladino and City Councilman Joseph Addabbo talked about the $300K for a
Rockaway ferry, which is tied up in city bureaucracy. Barbara Hillary, the president of the Arverne Civic Association, called the meeting.

The Broad Channel Athletic League will hold their Opening Day Parade on May 8 at 10 a.m. The parade will start at 17th Road Park and end at BCAC Memorial Field. The first games of the little league season will occur after the parade.

The Bishop Charles Waldo MacLean Episcopal Nursing Home in Far Rockaway, where an ill senior citizen died on the roof in February, may soon face $10 thousand in fines for "serious violations of present policies," according to an announcement from the State Department of Health. The DOH said that the fines might be levied even though the problems have been corrected.

Several parents of children who live in the PS 114 zone have called us to say that their children have been cut out of Kindergarten at the school next year because the grade is being capped due to the inclusion of s sixth grade at the school next year. At least two of the parents said that they called the school earlier and were told that registration would be in May. Now, however, they called to find a date, only to find that their children are locked out of the school.

There is a possiblility that the dive school located at Almost Paradise on Beach 9 Street will be saved even though luxury condos will soon be built there.

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