2004-06-18 / Columnists


Bet you didn’t know that Rockaway had a city housing project that is named after a German nun who is famous for her little porcelain statuettes. The Daily News did a story headlined "Nightmare of Noise," naming the Hammel Houses in Rockaway Beach as perhaps the loudest place in the city, what with the planes flying over and the subway elevated line right next door. The problem is, the paper called the complex, "The Hummel Houses." Chalk one up for the dailies.

A group representing New York State bar owners claim that the statewide smoking ban has cost their industry more than 2,000 jobs since the ban was put into effect, leading to $28.5 million in lost wages to state residents. The group seeks a new law that would add exemptions to the ban.

Senator Hillary Clinton was at Broad Channel on Friday for the Queens County American Legion parade and she took time to visit the Broad Channel Volunteer’s decrepit firehouse on Noel Road. Clinton should be congratulated for taking the time. She had flown in from President Reagan’s funeral earlier in the day and had gone through a long ceremony and parade. She could have just jumped in her SUV and gone home, but she made the visit anyway. By the way, State Senator Malcolm Smith, who represents Rockaway but not Broad Channel, participated in the ceremony, State Senator Ada Smith, who represents Broad Channel once again was a no-show.

The Rockaway Music and Arts Council has set the schedule for its excellent "Sunset Picnic Concert" series to be held once again at Fort Tilden on Sunday evenings at 6 p.m. The New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players will present "The Mikado" on June 27. "A Tribute To The Big Bands," with the Danny Vincent Orchestra will be presented on July 11. The Paul Taylor II dancers will take the stage on July 25. Cady Finlayson and Band, an Irish Fiddler playing Celtic music, will perform on August 8. On August 22, a special concert in memory of Wave publisher Leon Locke will be held, featuring the Platters and "The Legends of Rock And Roll." All concerts are free.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is still studying the 2001 Belle Harbor crash of AA Flight 587, is blaming a more recent Florida crash on a pilot who was color-blind and could not see the navigational aids that denoted the altitude and glide path of the aircraft he was flying. The board chided the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) for giving the pilot a waiver even though he failed the normal tests for color-blindness.

City Councilman James Sanders, who represents the eastern end of the Rockaway peninsula, recently held a hearing in the Economic Development Committee, which he heads, on the incentives the city gives favored businesses to stay in town. A number of those who testified say that the incentives do not bring added benefit to city taxpayers, but only to the businesses that get the tax break.

We have received a few letters for our Letters To The Editor page that have turned out to be frauds. The Wave attempts to check all controversial letters, but the paper’s editors often rely on our reader’s good conduct in the belief that nobody would write a letter and put another person’s name on it. We would prefer not to have to check every letter and email that comes in, and we hope that it does not come to that. By the way, a reminder that we no longer print anonymous letters unless, in the editor’s opinion, there is a compelling public interest to do so.

What noises bother city dwellers the most. Judging by calls to the city’s 311 system, noise from clubs and bars leads the list with more than 7,000 calls. Construction noise blasts in at 5,320 calls, car alarms get lots of attention as do street plate defects and animal noise. Despite the fact that Mayor Bloomberg wants to shut down the Mr. Softee music, only 305 complaints were made about the trucks in the first five months of this year. Strangely enough, there were only 127 calls to the system because of aircraft noise. We guess that people who live near the airports are so conditioned to the noise that they no longer complain – not that it would do any good in any case.

A number of local consumers have reported what they believe is a scam by the Coca-Cola people. "The two liter bottle is now a 1 ½ Liter bottle, billed as "easier to pour," but the price of the smaller bottle is virtually the same as the old, larger bottle. Less for the same amount," said one correspondent. A quick check of two local supermarkets proved the people right. Do large companies think that people who buy their products are so stupid that they won’t notice?

A new pet shop has opened in Far Rockaway. Called "Purrfect Pets," the store, at 19-15 Mott avenue, will provide all the traditional pet supplies, tropical birds, exotic reptiles, fresh and salt-water fish and small animals. Dog grooming is also available.

The thought is not new with us, but if D-Day took place this year, the reporters imbedded with the troops attacking Hitler’s defenders on the beaches of Normandy would be filing stories about the civilian deaths in France and the mounting death toll of allied soldiers. It’s all in the perception. Everybody was behind the fighting in WWII because of the perception that our leaders knew best and that we would one day be fighting on the beaches of New York City if we did not stop Hitler in Europe. Today, after Watergate and Vietnam, the populace is not as sure that government is right and that our nation needs to fight to protect democracy.

A number of motorists have noticed the inconsistency in the signs along Cross Bay Boulevard. Or, is it Crossbay Boulevard? The Post Office’s official Website has it both ways – two words in Howard Beach and one word in Broad Channel. In the channel, however, the street signs are often indiscriminate in how they spell the word. On one block you can find it one way, on the next block, the other way. What is the official spelling? Not even the Department of Transportation seems to know.

The Wave has received numerous calls the past two weeks about the lack of lifeguards on Rockaway beaches and the fact that the beaches are closed both to bathers and those who simply want to take in the sun when there is no lifeguard on duty. We have to wonder how the decision on which beaches are closed is made because some of the closed beaches front the highest population areas.

With the City Council once again involved with the MTA takeover of the private bus lines, there are many who believe that the takeover will be put off to at least October and perhaps to the new year.

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