2004-08-13 / Letters


All letters submitted to The Wave, including those sent via e-mail, must contain names, addresses and phone numbers. All letters are subject to editing and publication at the discretion of the editors. The Wave will no longer publish letters in which the name is withheld, unless, in the opinion of the editorial board, there is a compelling public interest to do so.

Bad Plans

Dear Editor,

Thanks for printing the ”Manchurian Candidate” letter last issue to Asst. Parks Commissioner of Operations. Anyone would have to be brainwashed to have been carrying out or accepting the explanations for the enforcement policy’s severity or necessity given the access policy of previous years.

From a 1981 letter from the Office of the Mayor:

…The recent passage of two State bills, “Waterfront Revitalization and Coastal Resources” and “Coastal Erosion Hazard Areas,” will help New York City to become part of the approved federal Coastal Zone Management Program and will trigger the release of Federal funds so that the City can begin implementation of its local CZM plan which has been held in abeyance until now. The local CZM plan will be submitted for State and federal approval in coming months. Benefits are expected to be realized within the next year.

It’s obvious that the Rockaway agenda (a portion of the “local CZM plan”) has been ‘skillfully high jacked” such that there is a one-dimensional residential development and not one more balanced with beachfront recreational economic development and job creation (as the failed Techno dome recreational proposal).


Changing Lifeguard Procedures

Dear Editor,

On Tuesday, July 27, my husband and I were observing lifeguards on duty. It was a rainy afternoon with no bathers in the ocean.

Would it be possible to take a look at how other beaches utilize their lifeguards on such rainy days? In Daytona Beach, Florida, my husband and I observed lifeguards on quads, patrolling their beaches and warning bathers of inclement weather conditions and strong tides. If we utilized such a patrol, we could cut down on lifeguard duty on rainy days and consider implementing flexible hours for lifeguard duty from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. This would provide protection for our early bathers and allow our hard-working residents to enjoy a dip in the ocean when they return from the city to their beachfront community. Let’s discuss this proposal with the Parks Department, legislators and community organizations. It’s time to take back our beaches and enjoy God’s creation.


Hurricane Season

Dear Editor,

Hurricane season is here. Help protect your community by volunteering. Join the association of Auxiliary and Volunteer Firefighters of Greater New York.

We are a weather and special disaster team. We work together with our ongoing weather station in Far Rockaway to prevent the loss of life in the Rockaway community.

We ask you to volunteer to work with us. Membership is open to all residents of the Greater Metro New York area, ages 21 and up. We also have junior members, ages 16 to 20.

We are also looking for members who can play musical instruments to form a marching band.

Our motto is: “We go in harm’s way 24-7, so that others may live.”


Play By The Rules

Dear Editor:

A Civic Association in a Community is a wonderful American concept. A group of people joining together to work for the benefit of the area they reside in. Anyone who has the experience of operating an organization be it civic, private, or a school P.A. or P.T.A., has learned you can never please all of the people all of the time. We will often notice a small number of members, will frequently be the individuals who will continually perform the bulk of work required. (Such is human nature.)

All civic associations must represent their members. The procedure to follow to insure a fair and honest representation of the members is accomplished under Roberts Rules of Order:

1.Every organization must create By-laws to govern their group.

  2. Establish a schedule of general membership meetings, in order to keep their members well informed and give all the opportunity to express and vote on issues pertinent to the community they represent.

3. A quorum is determined in order to insure that a reasonable number of members are present for voting, to guarantee that policies are not passed by only a small number of members.

All of the above is an abridged description of some of the requirements, necessary to operate.

The main point is NO ASSOCIATION should ever function for the explicit benefit of the officers or executive board. All paid members are the body and soul of any organization. The responsibility of the duly elected officers and board members is to serve, not dominate.

At a meeting with District Manager Jonathan Gaska, our Coalition C.A.N.P.A.S. was informed that community boards feed from the input of civic associations, that being the connection to address the needs and desires of a community. Sounds great in theory, however the true wants and needs of a community will only be presented to the community board if the association represents all their membership, and not only a handful of those officers and board members who use their position to accomplish their own personal agenda. This will result in a majority of a community suffering. CANPAS members believe the majority of the Rockaway Homeowners/Residents Association are not in favor of the NO PARKING ANYTIME SIGNS, their voices or vote has not been heard.

The latest example of a Civic Association operating for a chosen few is the removal of the Sand Dunes located at Beach 123 St. & Beach 124 St. I am certain many people considered the Dunes a natural beauty, and an environmental asset. I am equally certain others viewed the Dunes with disdain as an area that attracted dogs, and an eye sore on their beach. The focus is not that the Dunes are gone, but how they were removed in an unacceptable manner. Edward Re, president of the Rockaway Homeowners/Residents Association, states (Wave 7/30/04 edition) that several dozen members of his association were in favor of the Dunes removal. There has been no membership meeting since March, 2004. Therefore this issue could not have been presented to the membership of 635. When and where did several dozen members express their overwhelming desire for the dunes removal? When does one letter from any association initiate the city to act, it seems unusual to say the least? Edward Re excuses his actions of having a disproportionate amount of control over public property by pointing out that Neponsit and Belle Harbor have been able to do the same. This blanket statement by Edward Re proves our point, and he also accuses both Belle Harbor and Neponsit civic associations of the same inappropriate procedure.

Our Councilman Joseph Addabbo, Jr., the (Wave 7/30/04 edition) agrees that the discussion of what to do with the Dunes should have reached a wider audience.

It is time for all dues paying members of all civic associations in this area to begin to pay close attention as to what their association endorses in their name, and to demand that they be represented openly, honestly and by the rules necessary to insure that each member is more than a means of collecting money (dues) Members should be more than a number to be counted for the benefit of enlarging the power of those chosen few in power. If changes are not made possibly the next situation will adversely affect many other community members.

C.A.N.P.A.S. has grown to be very concerned on the issues of our community, and very aware of the power of the “Chosen Few”



Whose Beach?

To the Editor:

As a lifelong Rockaway-ite (my grandfather bought in Neponsit when there was no Marine Parkway Bridge, and our family still maintains that house) who now lives primarily in Santa Monica, CA, the quintessential beach community, I can only look with chagrin and disgust on the attempts of outsiders to limit the use of the beach — OUR beach — to conform to their uninformed and, in a very real sense, provincial, views.  If I understand the situation correctly, the beach is closed (how does one ‘close’ a beach?) after six pm?  Can that be?  Can a summer beach with two or three hours of daylight left be rendered inaccessible to the residents by the whims of a Manhattanite? 

How about if we (and, yes, I count myself as a resident — home is where the heart is) decided to ‘close’ the shops along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan at, say, 6:30?  Fair is fair, right?  What do you suppose the reaction would be?

But, seriously, folks, the beach is unique.  It not only nourishes the

body, it calms the soul.  I remember fondly commuting back from the

Manhattan District Attorney’s office by motorcycle in the early 1980’s.

  The Brooklyn Bridge afforded the first cool air in summer...the drop

in temperature a welcome harbinger of the relief to come.  Then on to

the BQE and, at last, the Belt Parkway, where the temperatures were another five to ten degrees cooler than “the City.”  Thence, on to the

Marine Parkway Bridge, from the top of which the beaches of Riis Park

and Neponsit were visible and the cool breezes sometimes downright

cold, even in the summer.  The first view of the beach drove the stress

of the day in Manhattan out of my body and soul, and the thought that I

could soon take a walk - or even a ‘dip,’ as my father called it - in

the dark waters of the Neponsit beaches, only a few short minutes away, made “all right with the world.”  The notion that my fellow residents cannot enjoy the beach after a certain hour is absurd, sad and demoralizing.

Nobody, of course, wants noise or disturbance on the beach in the

evening, but a walk along the shore and a wade into the cool waters is

not just a delight, but a God-given right.

What is wrong with these people, who think that they can declare a life

style that has existed for over a hundred years (indeed, the Rockaways

has been inhabited far longer than that, of course) null and void?  What is wrong with the residents, who do not demand that this situation be reversed?


Thanks Sandcastle Helpers

Dear Editor;

West End Realty held its 9th Annual Sand Castle Contest on Sunday July 25 on the beach at Beach 116 Street.

Although the weather was threatening to rain, it was a perfect day to be on the beach either making a Sand Castle or creating a Sand Sculpture. The Sun came out and the high tides that threaten the Parents with Children never reached them just caused them alarm: and made them build a Sea Wall to protect their Castles.

All of the contestants received a hat, compliments of West End Realty. The parents received Straw hats and the children received bucket hats or sun visors. All the children received an Official West End Realty Sand Castle Medallion, Sun Glasses, beach balls and necklaces. Other items such as Sand Castle floats were also given to runner-ups.

As the broker/owner of West End Realty would like to personally thank the following: My staff, Rose Breslin, Leslie Mahoney, Jane Bernard, John McLaughlin with his fiancée Suzanne, and Beverley Lenden for all their help and support before, during and after. I would be remiss if I did not mention Gary Gliboff who was there with his son Jonathan, they were too busy building in the Sand creating to really help. Christopher Iandolo was looking forwarding to this event, but had a bike accident and is on the mend. Erin Reilly said of all the weekends in the summer, this is the one her family was having their Annual Family Reunion. At this time I would also like to thank Liz Sulik from Peninsula Hospital who offered her services wherever needed.

Thanks to the Judges, Hector Tello, Andy McGee, Jate Doremous, Harvey Gordon, Nancy Hanson and Michael Kerris (who was there with his beautiful wife Stacey) and last but not least Richard George (and his lovely wife Joani). They had a Herculean task in front of them. The contestants made Castles, Dolphins, octopus, a family sculpture, the Spirit of Playland, and a Boat just to name a few. It was not an easy task, the Judges spoke to all of the contestants to put things into perspective and the way they perceived their work of art to be.

I would be remiss if I did not say Thank You to: Joseph Addabbo for his help in obtaining the permit for the contest; Thomas Catanese, of Two Brothers Construction, who was on the Beach with his helper, Rubuen at 9:00 a.m., for roping off the area for the contestants to build. Rogoff’s, again Peter was more than generous by donating the boogie boards and the pails and shovels. Maria at Ciro’s Pizzeria on Beach 116 Street was gracious and donated 4 Pizza’s; The Chamber of Commerce gave shirts which were part of the awards ceremony. Steve Good from the Beach Club, was there to put up the tent and they donated the Punch and Water. The Sunset Diner which is also owned by Steve & Kenny Good donated a beautiful Rockaway Shirt; Howard Schwach, the Editor of the Wave, who was on the Beach taking pictures of the Event; Carvel Ice Cream also was a part; with a buy one get one free coupon at registration.

A thank you to Lenny Kohn of Rockaway Graphics, who always goes above and beyond, and he is constantly thinking on how to improve and help me to better this event. He and all the above are Wonderful for the Rockaway Community, because they are a big part and they all give back to make Rockaway a Better Community, as the Chamber of Commerce puts it- To Live, Work and Play.

How do you say thank you to a man that is always in my shadow, he allows me to give countless hours for all my community endeavors, but he is always at my side to hold my hand and to this I am grateful, to my Husband Dennis a Big Thank You, you are number one with me.



More Hours Needed

For Lifeguards

Dear Editor,

On Monday, August 9, my husband and I were walking along the shoreline at Beach 105 Street at 10:00 a.m. when we witnessed lifeguard Jose Salas blowing the whistle and alerting another lifeguard on Beach 103 Street that someone was in danger in the ocean.

Because of Salas’ vigilance, lifeguards were called to rescue the young woman who seemed to be caught in a riptide. When I congratulated lifeguard Salas, he responded, “Another three minutes and she would have been gone.”

Such an incident shows a need for flexible hours for lifeguards. If this had happened at 9:30 a.m., no lifeguard would be on duty and there would be a drowning. I’m calling upon Rockaway residents to alert their community organizations and legislators to support flexible hours for our lifeguards from at least 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. It could be a matter of life or death.


Why Move To Rockaway?

Dear Editor,

As a former local resident, I have many fond memories of being able to use the beach and boardwalk anytime I felt like it— surfing, swimming, walking and even (gasp!) bicycling. Yep— riding my bike on the boardwalk was not yet a “ticketable offense”, nor was taking a swim at 7p.m.

I suppose things change, being as the world is not the same place I remember as a child. I still love Rockaway, and have even considered moving back. But reading week after week about locals being harassed for swimming ?

Gimme a break! I hear Coney Island doesn’t have that problem. Why is that? Does Brooklyn have better swimmers? Most likely not.

Despite any warm childhood memories I have, why move my family to a beach community... where the residents are denied access to their beach?



Is Kerry Right For America?

Dear Editor,

John Kerry’s demeanor, constant change of mind, opinions and votes in the Senate, added to the fact that he refuses to disclose his medical record, makes Americans wonder whether he might have sought psychiatric help.


Dune Busting

And Block Parties

Dear Editor,

I was about to write to The Wave about the intrusive beach party that was recently held on Beach 123 Street (the beach block), when to my surprise, I heard the Parks Department in front of my building. They were in the process of destroying the dune on the beach. My question is, “why?” Why was this done? Does anyone at the Rockaway Homeowners Association know what a dune is… it starts out as a little mound of sand, and as the winds blow, the dune grows. It protects the beach. What were the Rockaway Homeowners Association thinking? I suggest that they try to use their idle time by reading a book or watching the Discovery Channel. They just might learn something.

Community Board 14, Jonathan Gaska allowed a block party on Beach 123 Street with total disregard for the people that live in the building on the beach. A notice was put on our front door late Thursday afternoon. This mundane gathering was held on Saturday. Did someone on the block find a cure for cancer or Aids? Do we have a Pulitzer Prize winner on the block? I think not.

Between the Rockaway Homeowners Association and Community Board 14, it appears that these people make all the decisions. I think something should be done about this. We all live here and should have a voice.



Thanks For The Support

Dear Editor,

On behalf of the 100 Precinct Community Council, I would like to take this opportunity to first of all thank the entire Rockaway community for all their support.

Under what could be described as near perfect conditions – warm, comfortable weather with a refreshing breeze – this year’s celebration of “National Night Out Against Crime” was once again a terrific event. In traditional Rockaway spirit, the turnout was great. Local residents welcomed our visitors and a wonderful time was had by all.

Thanks go out to the many people and organizations involved in making the evening a most successful one. Particular thanks to the men and women of the NYPD, FDNY, EMS, Jim Cafaro and his staff from the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, Steve and Kenny Good and the staff of the Beach Club, and to our DJ’s, John and Rich. Also, to the 100 Precinct’s auxiliary officers and the explorers of the 100 Precinct as well.

My personal thanks to the Rev. Gary Patrillo, Pastor of the Church on the Rock on Beach 88 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard for his inspirational opening prater. Also, to Tavia Blakley for her stirring rendition of our national anthem.

Many thanks to the evening’s performers, the Cadawan Karate Center, the Connelly Dancers, the World Championship Karate Center and to Stan Brown and his world champion Pepper Steppers double dutch team, for their fine demonstrations and performances.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the 100 Precinct’s Executive Board – Joni George and Doug MacLeod – for all their assistance.

Very special thanks to Anne and Dianne of the Balloonatics, located on Rockaway Beach Boulevard between Beach 88 Street and 90 Streets for donating the balloons throughout the evening.


Residents Need

To Take Action

Dear Editor;

It is hard for me, as a long-time Rockaway resident, to understand why Rockaway is treated like a backwater or a Third World Nation by New York City in terms of environmental issues.

While there is lots of money available for mosquito control, none of it seems to come to Rockaway. Dubos Point in Arverne has become a mosquito breeding ground per excellence and nobody, not the Department of Parks of the Audubon Society seems to have the resources to do anything about it.

The answer the mosquito problem is fairly simple. Spray the area and clean up Dubos Point. The city won’t spray because environmentalists have defamed DDT to the point where nobody would dare use it even if it can do the job. The city won’t clean up Dubos Point and the reason seems to be shrouded in mystery. One can only think that they don’t care about Rockaway’s problems and perhaps that is too close to the truth, judging by what they do to keep residents off the beach and their destruction of the beautiful dunes on the beach.

No intelligent person or group dedicated to the environment would disturb a natural dune. Yet, our Department of Parks, tasked with keeping our parks useful and beautiful, not only disturbs dunes, it destroys them under the guise of community approval of the removal of “unofficial dunes.” That borders on the criminal. In fact, had the Parks Department impacted the dunes on federal property, they would now be in prison somewhere in Danbury.

Keep people off the beach. Restrict use to outsiders. Destroy Dunes. Allow mosquito populations to grow. Ignore the needs of those new residents who are buying homes in what amounts to a mosquito heaven.

That is what the city and its Parks Department is doing to Rockaway. Why? I am not sure that anybody but Adrian Benepe has the answer to that question, and I am sure that he is not talking.

It is time for residents and our elected officials to become active. Most of them talk a good game, but the problems and the poor treatment of Rockaway by the city persists and, indeed, gets worse each year.


Function At The Junction

Dear Editor,

History was made on the Rockaway peninsula on Saturday, July 31, 2004, when the “Function At The Junction” Rockaway Community Reunion held it’s fourth annual gathering. The event brought together many present and former residents of the Hammels, Arverne, Edgemere and Far Rockaway areas to renew acquaintances with long lost friends.

The event was held in Bayswater Park and more than 1400 people were in attendance from 8:00 in the morning until 7:00 pm that night. Special guests included Congressman Gregory Meeks, Councilman James Sanders, Jeremiah Gaffney, Rev. Evan Gray of Macedonia Baptist Church, among others. Many community service providers were on hand to offer information, free blood pressure checks from Peninsula Hospital Center and other organizations.

The crowd joined together in unity as they shared jokes and stories.

Other events are in the planning stage from entertainment to boat rides to bus outings, to raise funds to provide needed programs and services for all of the residents of the Rockaway peninsula. Keep your ears peeled for the word on the next event.


Realities Of The Streets

Dear Editor;

Two recent events in Rockaway, the random shooting of six people in Edgemere a week ago and the shooting of a young man during a robbery nearby Ocean Village once again show that Rockaway is not as safe as everybody says it has become.

Many of our daily papers seem to be on a mission to prove to the rest of the city that Rockaway has come back from the “bad old days” of drugs, shootings and murders. Just two weeks ago, the New York Post had a story on Arverne By The Sea with comments by Jon Gaska from Community Board 14, stating that Rockaway was once like Beirut, but has been completely cleaned up. Recent events prove that is not true, although it might have been true a year ago.

At that time, there were fewer guns on the street, fewer drugs being sold, fewer murders, especially nearby our large number of city housing projects.

Then came the tragic accidents in which minority members were shot by NYPD officers looking for weapons or for suspects in rapes and murders.

The daily papers called it “racial profiling” and demanded an end to the searches of mostly-minority teenagers who were thought to have guns or to have committed other crimes.

Most of the police officers, who value their jobs and their pensions more than they value safe streets (and, who can blame them), became less proactive. They began to look the other way when they suspected that a person was holding a weapon.

The special units created specifically for taking guns off the street were disbanded for political reasons rather than tactical reasons.

Guns came back with a vengeance. Crime came back. Shootings came back. Murders came back.

That is what we have in Rockaway. Lots of kids carry guns and the cops look the other way because they have been told to do so.

Our political system has failed us for reasons of race and reelection. Perhaps we need new political leaders who will look at the realities of the street and make decisions based on these realities rather than on keeping their already-safe seats.


The Wave is not responsible for photos or copy left as part of announcements or stories. We will make every effort to return the photo or copy if requested but cannot take responsibility in the rare occasion when the photo or copy cannot be located. We advise readers submitting material to make copies of valuable photos.

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