2004-08-13 / Columnists

Simon says...

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23

Lew M. Simon
Lew M. Simon

rd A.D. Part B

A man with a dream came to see me on Sunday evening, Vladimir Frokopov bought the old Lawrence Hotel on Beach 116 Street. He wants to buy Baxter’s Hotel and the Rockaway Park Hotel, which are next door. He would like to demolish these old buildings and replace them with condos, and stores, with underground parking for residents. Vlad has big dreams for Beach 116 St.

If he can assemble enough property at a reasonable price and get support for the required permits and variances, he will go ahead. Until he is able to assemble enough property, Vlad wants to rend the ground floor at the Lawrence for one or two stores. We urged him to demolish the building leaving the foundation for future construction. We told him the community was concerned with the successful development of the block.

In 1994 a lawsuit was brought to close the Lawrence Hotel. The suit was put together by RAC lawyer Ann Barbera on behalf of RAC president Mary Leahy, City Council member Al Stabile and myself.

We all diligently picketed in front of the Lawrence Hotel each day. The reason we chose to close this hotel was because it was unsafe, rat and roach infested and unfit for homeless mothers and their babies.

Vlad is an experienced builder, he and his architect will make more definite plans. He agreed to take down the sign with his phone number to avoid scaring the community. We look forward to working with him and the community to make Beach 116 St. beautiful.

On a recent Friday evening during the heavy rain we sat at The Sunset Diner with great ladies, Joan Cotter, Flo Tober and Johanna Mazza and reminisced about the days of old Rockaway.

We talked of all the good times and great stores that once were in the Rockaways. We remembered the Pix, RKO Strand, Towne and Park Theatres.

I remembered Meyer’s Mens’ Store where I got my Bar Mitzvah suit. Fantasy Curtain Shop, Buster Brown and Stride Rite shoes, Albrect’s, Harvey Bicycles and Toys where I got my Jerry Mahoney dummy, Neveloff’s Stationery that had everything you needed. Grant’s, Woolworth’s and the bowling alley above Grant’s. John’s Bargain store, Edie’s Variety store, Cricket Men’s Shop, Morton’s Army and Navy Shop where I got my gym uniform and school jacket, the Chinese restaurant above the Kosher deli and the mean cop, Bernie who gave everyone a ticket.

We remembered Saturday night with Jackie selling the Sunday papers, Martin’s Paint, Thriftway, Burt’s, Harmony Florist, Father’s Restaurant, Concord, King George’s coffee, Gino’s Pizza and the best pizza in the world, AIDS Auto Store, Berger’s Restaurant and Lee’s clothing on Mott and Cornaga.

We also reminisced of days in Arverne and Edgemere. Remember Pomerance Bakery, Paul’s Pizza, Sally’s Coffee Shop, Met Food, later Asociated, Kosher Deli, Edie’s Variety, Harold’s Fruit market, the boardwalk concessions, Tuckie Cup, Jerry’s Knishes, a place we bought waffles and ice cream. Lenny Kohn’s ski ball and pokereno.

We remembered Faber’s and the great concessions and rides, Rockaway’s Playland and Wednesday night fireworks and the smiling face of Helen Roth (God rest her soul) at Martin’s Corner, Donald Palmer, Dolly, John Martin and crew, Playland’s own Dick and Phyllis Geist and crew.

In those days Rockaway did not have the population that it has today. The larger population could spend their money in new businesses.

It is time now for the city to rebuild concession space all along the boardwalk. Merchants could rent them for games and concessions.

We could have a good movie theatre with 3 or 4 sections with 150 seats in each.

Hats off to Peninsula Hospital CEO Robert Levine and his staff for a job well done.

The new GCU, General Coronary Care, on the 3rd floor is absolutely beautiful.

We look forward to working closely with him for the new CCU beds that are desperately needed. Contrary to the nasty things you sometimes hear, Peninsula is the best.

We urge everyone to get on board and make a contribution to make this wing a reality.

Congratulations to the reelected and newly elected members of the Breezy Point Cooperative. The winners are Thomas Welsh, Thomas Wipf, Nancy H. Rasmussen, Robert Pierson and Matthew Regan.

We look forward to working closely with the board members as we have in the past.

Tuesday evening was National Night Out Against Crime. It is the time we take back our streets from crime and drugs.

Rockaway’s Night Out was once again a huge success with tens of thousands of people lining the boardwalk for 12 glorious minutes of fireworks. While watching the fireworks, I thought of the old days of watching Fireworks at Rockaway’s Playland.

Happy 4th Anniversary to Steve and Denise Bradish. This is one couple I have to take credit for. During my 1994 campaign for District Leader, the two met while carrying petitions. I also had the honor and pleasure of attending their wonderful wedding.

These two outstanding individuals exhibit what love really is.

Mazel Tov.

Sunday August 22 will be the last concert of the RMAC series.

It will be the Legends of Rock and Roll.

It is called the Leon Locke Memorial concert in memory of a fine, outstanding individual who was the owner and publisher of the WAVE.

We cannot forget the great things Leon had done.

The concert takes place at Fort Tilden from 6 to 8:15 p.m..

We urge everyone to bring a chair or blanket, your family and your dog. Food will be sold at Maria’s beautiful, new snack truck.

The food is fresh, delicious and affordable.

Come out to support our Democratic Club volunteer Sean Minardi and his band Pride The U2 Show www.prideofnyc.com which will be performing at the Irish Circle on Friday, August 13 at 11p.m. and the new Bay View Lounge in Broad Channel Saturday, August 28 at 10:00 p.m. and The Blackwater Inn on Friday, September 3.at 10 p.m.

Pride is returning to Rockaway after performing shows at Borgata and Trump Marina in Atlantic City.

Our next Atlantic City bus trip is this Saturday, August 14th.

We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return 8 a.m..

The cost is $32 with $20 and a 100-minute phone card returned.

Bagels and cream cheese courtesy of Beach Bagels are served.

Call 945-1216 now for reservations.

Our next trip will be on Saturday, September 18.

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