2004-06-11 / Letters


P.S. 114 Family Run A Success

Dear Editor,

The P.S. 114 Alumni Association would like to thank all the following sponsors for their generous donations and for making the first P.S. 114 Alumni Family Fun Run a huge success: John Edwards - Nellie Duncan Bakery; Pfizer; University of Sports Medicine; Mocean and Saucony; The Sunset Diner and The Beach Club; Harbor Optics; Seaside Construction; Plum Tomatoes; Carvel; Barbara Morris Realty; Rockaway Graphics and Roxbury, USA.

We would also like to thank all who participated and to the wonderful volunteers who truly made this run happen.


The 'Real' Steve Paskoff

Dear Editor,

(The following letter was sent to The Wave in response to a letter that appeared in last week's Wave attributed to Steve Paskoff. Paskoff denies writing the initial letter The Wave regrets any embarrassment caused by the publication of the bogus letter.)

I am writing in response to the coward who wrote a very disjointed and pointless letter in the June 4 issue of The Wave and then falsely signed my name to it. For the record, I, nor anyone I've spoken to in reference to this latter, have been able to decipher the message you were trying to convey when responding to a letter by my brother-in-law and close friend, Tom Boggiano. In the future, if you again have the urge to forge my name, please feel free to assume a couple of my mortgage and tuition payments! At best write a letter that has some meaning and content so the readers can follow along!

Finally, to quote my forger, "I don't want to give a negative impression" to the person who wrote this, but, the next time you feel the need to criticize someone as giving as Tom, please be man or woman enough to use your own name, and don't hide behind "some parents."


RMAC Helps P.S. 183

Dear Editor,

Last week's article relating to the success enjoyed by P.S. 183's Music Memory program inadvertently neglected to mention the organization that has been so instrumental in supporting this endeavor: The Rockaway Music and Arts Council.

This group, headed by Barbara Eisenstadt, has sought out, funded, and encouraged implementation of this and other meaningful artistic activities in many Rockaway school, including the proposed effort, "Opera Is Elementary," sponsored by The New York City Opera.

RMAC's support has had a great deal of influence in providing a new direction for 183's artistic future and has stimulated a personal renaissance.

On behalf of the staff and students, we would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and pay tribute to this wonderful community organization.


Voice Of The People

Dear Editor,

President Reagan believed it was his job as president to remind us of our rich heritage as Americans and to inspire us with his moral courage and leadership example.

He made patriotism fashionable again and restored our confidence in the presidency. He reinvigorated the economy, rebuilt our defenses (with his policy of "peace through strength") and led the way to freedom and democracy for millions trapped behind the iron curtain.

We thank God for blessing us with one of America's greatest presidents, as we honor and preserve his legacy, and hopefully find a cure for Alzheimer's disease. May he rest in peace.


Thanks To Community

Dear Editor:

When a borrowed shopping cart and the cracked curb at Beach 124 Street and Cronston Avenue conspired to send me sprawling, I was reminded why Rockaway people are the best. To the motorists who stopped to express their concern and to see if they could help:  you have my eternal gratitude. To the lady who offered her steps to sit and collect myself; I didn't get your name. I was pretty beaten up and not a little discombobulated, but I will always remember your kindness. And to "Nancy" who gave me a ride home and walked me to my gate: words aren't enough. I firmly believe what goes around, comes around and that your consideration and care  will be returned to you a hundredfold in the future. Thanks again, neighbors


More On Beach 116 Street

Dear Editor,

Judging by the number of letters written to The Wave, it seems to be the time of year for that perennial question: "Oh my God, what are we going to do about Beach 116 Street?

I am sure that as we speak, someone is out there with some grandiose master plan, which calls for the bulldozing of everything from the Lawrence Hotel south to the Sand Bar and the construction of a sparkling new Marriott, or some such monstrosity. It is totally pointless, unnecessary and out of character with the community. Period.

I have a suggestion for "the powers that be" in Rockaway: there's no need to reinvent the wheel; kept it simple; use what the community already has and keep the word "quaint" in mind.

The Baxter Hotel dates to 1837. The Rockaway Park Hotel to the early 1900's. The old movie theatre and Park Inn were part of the "good old days" in Rockaway. All of these buildings have character and they contain Rockaway history. So does the Lawrence Hotel, if it's not too far-gone to be restored. Right now, it's a filthy pigeon coop.

Why tear it all down? For what? Yet another Gap and Starbucks? Why must 116 Street look like every other generic retail/commercial strip on the planet? How about this: Beach 116 Street is bounded on the north by Jamaica Bay and on the south by Atlantic Ocean. Water, everywhere but not a drop to drink. How about starting out with a fish store or a clam bar, or both.

Where else to start? Start at the beginning!

+ Put the NYPD to work - take 90% of the 100 Precinct off the beaches and boardwalk and out of their perches with their binoculars, looking to give any type of ticket to anyone they can find for any reason whatsoever and put them on foot patrol. From what I've seen, many of New York's "Finest" need all the exercise they can get. How about round up all the vagrants, bums and drunks from the streets and the boardwalk and train station and tell them to get lost and never come back. Or arrest them and cart them off.

+ Put the local politicians to work - A ridiculous percentage of the local oceanfront property is occupied by nursing homes and community based mental health programs. I harbor no ill will towards the sick, the frail, the elderly, the medicated or the comatose, but where is it written that they all have to be on the Rockaway oceanfront? They can easily be relocated without sacrificing any necessary treatment, services and quality of life. And guaranteed, somewhere out there is a government program and/or entrepreneur who can restore the Park Inn to what it once was: a decent, reasonably priced seaside hotel/resort.


Beach Day Poem

Dear Editor,

Blue skies up above

Blue eyes full of love

Skies of blue free of clouds

To the beach, bring the crowds

Days of warmth with breezes soft

Lure the gulls to soar aloft

Freckled faces, rosy red

Play in the sand till its time for bed

Ocean waves rise and fall

Surfers ride and have a ball

A man or two with poles of glass

Stare at the ocean till the day does pass

If one is lucky and lands a fish

I'm sure he'll sigh and make a wish

For another great day

In Rockaway

With blue skies up above

And freckled faces full of love.


Rockaway Point Reminisces

Dear Editor,

(The following letter was sent to Historical Views columnist, Emil Lucev.)

I enjoyed your piece on Rockaway's bungalows in the April 16 issue of The Wave. It brought back memories of the summers of 1941 and 1942, when my family rented bungalows at Rockaway Point for the summer.

In 1941, we rented a bungalow from a man named Fox immediately west of where the Silver Gull Beach Club now stands. In 1942, our bungalow's owner's name was Long, and he used to catch huge striped bass off the end of the high wooden jetties). The bungalow was about a two-minute walk further west. The bungalows closer to Fort Tilden were on the ocean side of the boardwalk; further west they were on the inland side. I believe the boardwalk extended all the way to Breezy Point, where my father had a friend named Doyle, who lived in a red, white and blue bungalow - very impressive. There were no roads of course. You parked your car in a cinder lot near Ignatz, the tavern near Fort Tilden, and walk from there with a red wagon to carry your packages. Family names I recall are Greene, LaMonica, Schuster, and Faure. Gene Faure, another friend of my father, lived in Belle Harbor in the winter.

The summers at Rockaway Point were idyllic, but the most excitement from my brother and me came from the fact that a squad of Fort Tilden soldiers was billeted right next door to our bungalow in the summer of 1942 (and for how much longer I wonder now?) to patrol the beach at night. Remember, this was around the time the German spies came ashore at East Hampton? Immediately east of us stood a frame garage type building, "Rockaway Point Volunteer Fire Department Engine Company No. 3," whose purpose was to house the hand-drawn pumper used to put out fires. I don't know where the pumper went, but bunks were installed and the soldiers were our good neighbors for the summer. They would allow the kids to line up with them with our toy rifles for morning formation. Our best friend was Sgt. O'Rourke, who was reduced to Corporal for some infraction. We thought him badly treated.

Another recollection: blackout window shades were required after dark.

Do you suppose the stable on Beach 169 Street might be the oldest structure on the western end of the peninsula?


Boardwalk Fire: 1930's

Dear Editor,

(The following letter was sent by Dan Healy, who used to summer in Rockaway. His mother owned a rooming house in Rockaway Park and he worked for Wm. E. Auer at the Kiddie Park. Healy now lives in Chicago.)

A shimmering sun had risen over the Boardwalk at Beach 98 Street in Rockaway Beach on that early Saturday morning in August 1936.

It promised to be another hot, humid, summer dog day where relief existed beyond the cool ocean waves lapping the Rockaway shoreline. The hurdy gurdy cacophony of hot dog, beverage, frozen custard, souvenir and other Boardwalk concession stands, with Playland in the background, were not open to disturb the tranquility enjoyed by the early morning risers.

Suddenly, the peaceful morning solitude was shattered by a spontaneous combustion from one of the Boardwalk concession stands that was deafening. The explosion rained debris from the sky over the Boardwalk between Beach 98 and 99 Streets. It was like a scene from Dante's Inferno, with the sky filled with flying debris and then a fireball emerging, dancing along the Boardwalk to a pyretic musical theme.

The fireball now became a traveling firestorm moving north on the Boardwalk towards 98 Street and Playland while consuming everything in its path. The firestorm met little resistance as it leveled one concession stand after another until it reached Allen's, the large restaurant, bar and dance hall. The Rockaway fire companies had been battling the fire for sometime when fire companies from Brooklyn and Queens began arriving. As the fire reached Allen's several pumpers were diverted to the Bay since the local water supply had limitations and was now overtaxed due to the overwhelming demand for more water from the fire companies.

The firefighters fought valiantly to contain the fire along the Boardwalk between 97 and 98 Streets. The real battle, however, was now taking place on Beach 98 Street. As Allen's had succumbed, the challenge now became to save Playland.

By mid-afternoon the fire was contained and the brave and courageous heroes of the FDNY saved Playland as well as many of the hotels, bars and restaurants.

Mayor LaGuardia arrived wearing his white fire chief's hat inscribed with the word "Mayor." He was accompanied by an entourage of news media and photographers as he made his inspection tour, shaking hands with many of the Rockaway crowd as well as kissing babies, including my little sister who was ten months old. It would be several days before Beach 98 Street was cleared and cleaned from the firestorm.

The fire changed the complexion of the Boardwalk business in Rockaway Beach forever. Most of the Boardwalk concession stands were closed the following year and the City of New York purchased many boardwalk properties. Commissioner Robert Moses then developed gardens, parks, handball and basketball courts creating a new recreational facility in the Rockaways.

Since these are the musings of a six-year-old summer resident of Rockaway Beach to this historic event, a wee bit of literary license has been invoked illuminating some of the facts.


Thanks, Lew!

Dear Editor,

I would like to thank Lew Simon for cutting through all the red tape and getting the bus stop sign put back up on Beach 99 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. For years, every time the bus stop sign was put up, residents would take it down because they wanted to park there. Now elderly residents don't have to walk to Beach 97 or Beach 102 Street to catch the Q21 or Q22. Lew - although you're a Democrat - if you run for higher office, you have my vote.


Long Time Ago

Dear Editor;

Mike Steinberg is the author of "Still Pitching," a remembrance of growing up in Rockaway in the 1950's and playing baseball at Far Rockaway High School. It was recently reviewed in The Wave.

Thanks so much for the kind review of the book. Steve Berman got a kick out of it as well. You probably graduated in the same class. As I told your Sports Editor, Elio Velez, the last time I saw my name and picture in the Wave was when I was eleven and playing on the PS 114 softball team.


We Need A Thrift Store!

Dear Editor,

What we need in the Rockaway's is a good "thrift store." We used to have several years ago. We could really use a Salvation Army or a Goodwill Shop. Older people on fixed incomes can't sometimes afford the high prices of clothing. So where have all the thrift stores gone?


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