2004-05-28 / Columnists

Beachcomber

The Wave received a few calls in the past two weeks saying that large chunks of concrete are falling from the bottom of the elevated subway line around Beach 91 Street. We have noticed similar deterioration in many places along the peninsula for the past year or so. Perhaps it is time for the Transit Authority to take a good look at the structure before a large piece comes down and kills a motorist driving along the Freeway.

It’s practically unthinkable. No more Cracker Jacks at Yankee Stadium. You would think that Steinbrenner would not tinker with the traditional snack that is even part of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game," which is sung during the seventh inning stretch in each game. The Yankees say they are moving to "Crunch ‘n Munch" because Cracker Jacks is no longer sold in boxes and boxes sell better than bags. So much for tradition. The Mets will continue to sell Cracker Jacks at Shea Stadium.

Marlene Fenster Willard, who lived in Wavecrest Gardens as a teenager and went on to become a long-time teacher at Far Rockaway High School got some nice ink from Newsday this weekend. Seems that Willard, who now lives in Oceanside, and a group of five other retired women walk on the Long Beach Boardwalk each morning. We would invite Marlene to come back to Rockaway and walk our boardwalk.

One of the NYPD officers who was in the North Tower of the World Trade Center when the South Tower came down and whose testimony was shown at the recent 9/11 hearings, was Dave Norman, an Emergency Service Unit (ESU) cop who was once a beat cop in the 100 Precinct in Rockaway Park. Norman says that he was told by his command post operator that the tower had come down and to evacuate. He questioned the command post, not able to believe that the building had collapsed. "He explained to us that there was no south tower," Norman said, "It was absolutely gone."

The American Flags have been raised once again the length of Beach 129 Street, thanks to resident Susan Brady and the Knights of Columbus, which donated some more flags to the effort. The majority of flags were donated by the residents who live on the street as well as by many of the businesses on Beach 129 Street. The flags give the street a nice look and we would urge other streets to do the hold fundraisers of their own to place American Flags on their streets. In fact, some have already done so.

A year ago, Rockaway resident Ben Lambert called us to say that some sort of rare bird has washed up on the beach at Beach 146 Street. We went and took a picture, which wound up in the paper. Lambert called us again this week to say that and identical bird had once again washed up on that street. Strange!

The last Concorde flight took off over Rockaway just six months ago. The last flight got a lot of attention, as did the barge ride that one Concorde took from JFK to the Intrepid Museum in Manhattan. Just recently, The Wave got email from the National Museum of Scotland asking for permission to use its front-page picture of the Concorde taking off on its last flight. The Concorde exhibit will soon open at the Intrepid on June 26. By the way, the plane is too large for the carrier’s flight deck and will be exhibited on a 210-foot barge attached to the museum complex.

Local environmentalist Bernie Blum says that he caught the first mosquito of the season at Dubos Point in Arverne. Blum says that it is early for mosquitoes to be in the area and urges that the Parks Department fill in all the ponds at the point this month. By June, he argues, it will be too late.

Reading the May 16 New York Times article "The Ballad of Sonny Payne" it seems as though the most respected newspaper in the city is beginning to romanticize homelessness. Referring to the elderly Sonny as "an old friend" and a "small, sweet-hearted old panhandler," who owes his success in begging to the fact that he does his job with "care and resolve," the article’s author, Steven Kurutz, misses the mark in his story. The newspaper of record is exhibiting a liberal bias. The piece continues to say that Payne "may be the most beloved panhandler in New York." That’s about as ridiculous as calling someone "the friendliest prostitute" or a "sensible arson." There is nothing noble or sentimental about illegally panhandling on the subway.

According to Mayor Bloomberg, more than 44,000 people have applied for the 7,000 public schools teaching jobs that will be available next September. There is no word, however as to how many of those are actually certified to teach and how many will stay around when they see what the actual job entails and what support they get from the Department of Education.

Local State Senators Malcolm Smith and Ada Smith (who represents Broad Channel), joined union officials at a Jamaica Duane Reade last week to protest the way the pharmacy chain treats minority customers. This is an ongoing battle between the pharmacy giant and the union that represents its workers. The pols and the union call the company a "bad neighbor."


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