2004-07-02 / Columnists

Simon says...

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

Simon says...


Lew Simon (left) supervises DOT workers paving Rockaway Streets.Lew Simon (left) supervises DOT workers paving Rockaway Streets.

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

During the past few weeks many beachgoers, Rockaway residents and other New Yorkers have been outraged by the unfair, unjust treatment they have received on the beach. Imagine trying to sunbathe on the beach when all of a sudden you are chased off the beach by Park Enforcement Officers. When you question them, you are told about a lack of lifeguards. People who want to sit and sunbathe do not need a lifeguard to watch over them.

Once again, we cannot utilize Rockaway’s beaches and boardwalks to the fullest. Tickets have been given to people fishing or surfing in areas where those activities have been allowed for many years. All the good work Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer has done in Albany to allow surfing and fishing has hit a snag.

Last week we phoned Deputy Parks Commissioner Liam Kavanagh. We asked why a lifeguard did not protect each beach? We asked why lifeguards were not on duty until 8 p.m. to allow working people to swinm after a long, hot commute home by train, bus or car? These people want to enjoy the beach in the community in which they live.

The Commissioner claims there was not enough funding for additional hours for lifeguards. I suggested staggering the hours at every other beach block to accommodate all. He said it is impossible. He claimed there should be enough lifeguards by the Fourth of July weekend.

The next question was why we can’t swim at our own risk. He stated we would have to change the State Health Code. He explained this had to do with liability and lawsuits. Commissioner Kavanagh said we have to reach out to our State elected officials.

I immediately called Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer on her cell phone, while she was in session in Albany. Audrey said they would need a written request from the Commissioner to change the Health Code. She said this was another way the Parks Department and Commissioner Kavanagh were passing the buck.

It is quite obvious that the New York City Department of Parks does not care about the Rockaways. There is plenty of money in the budget this year. It is now time to send a clear message to Parks Department, our City Council members and Mayor Bloomberg. Put your money where your mouth is. Give us back our beach and boardwalk.

Make sure that each and every beach is manned with a lifeguard from at least 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Designate special surfing beaches and fishing beaches. Stop harassing sunbathers. Now is the time to join us in a rally to take back our beaches. Join us on Tuesday, July 13th at 7:30 PM on the boardwalk at Beach 116th Street. Bring your signs. Bring your children, friends, and neighbors. All are welcome. United we stand, divided we fall! To send a clear message we must have thousands of people prepared to rally together.

We have been very busy fixing major potholes and cave-ins in our community. On Beach 121 Street we had a huge cave-in in front of Temple Beth-El. Another one was near the U.S. Army Reserve unit at Fort Tilden. The overpass bridge, which leads to Marine Park Bridge, was a sheer minefield. These sites along with 50 other locations were repaired. Expect to see more work done, thanks to the DOT and their work crews. If you call us, we will get the work done.

As we all heard the other day, the MTA takeover of our Queens private buses will be delayed until December. Right now we are desperately in need of express buses to run into Manhattan at least every half-hour during peak hours and once an hour at other times. Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy residents need a speedy, safe and reasonably priced ride to and from the City. We urge everyone to write to Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Borough President Helen Marshall and your City Council members.

Our next trip to Atlantic City Trump Marina will be on Saturday, July 17. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 8:00 a.m. The cost is $32 with $20 returned and a 100-minute phone card. Movies along with bagels and cream cheese, courtesy of Beach Bagels, are served. Some tickets are available. Call (718) 945-1216 for reservations.

We are saddened by the death of a great man, Rosario Catalano, a World War II Army veteran. He was a wonderful, outstanding individual with a great smile and a kind heart. He was a husband, father and grandfather. We know that he definitely is a special angel in God’s Kingdom in heaven. We send our deepest sympathy to the family.

We are proud to announce that once again we (meaning Lew M. Simon) obtained a grant for DANCING UNDER THE STARS donated by Cumberland Packing Co. (Sweet ‘N Low) so once again this intergenerational dance will be held every Tuesday evening, starting July 13, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Beach 86 Street in the park on Shorefront Parkway. The fabulous Ellen Connolly of Connolly Dance Studios will be teaching dancing. Come and you will certainly enjoy dancing in the ocean breezes under the stars.


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