2004-08-20 / Community

Beachcomber

We can’t stop marveling at how the rules for beach and boardwalk use differ from one area of the city to another. First, we are told by Adrian Benepe, the city’s parks commissioner that our beaches and boardwalk are a park and therefore, like all parks, subject to the department’s “Green Book” rules. Then, when it becomes clear that Rockaway is treated differently than other city beaches, we are told that Rockaway is a “residential area,” while Coney Island and other beaches are “commercial areas” and therefore to be treated more leniently under the rules. This weekend, the New York Times had two stories that show just how differently we are treated. One picture shows dogs running freely in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. No leashes, no restrictions. Can you imagine what would happen if a person allowed their dog to frolic off the leash on a Rockaway beach? The second article heralded a dance party that takes place on the Coney Island boardwalk every Saturday night, from “early afternoon well into the night.” People on the boardwalk late at night. Gasp. No curfew, gasp. Playing loud music on the boardwalk in the evening, gasp. Now, we don’t want to impact people who live along the beach, but there are plenty of empty beaches where dogs could run and where parties could be held. Why not? Because the city has something against Rockaway residents and others enjoying the beach and boardwalk. Think about it.

There is no end to the foolishness that City Council members can wrought on the people of New York City. Council staffers, in an attempt on their part to “investigate” the 311 system, made dozens of phony calls reporting such things as “fires in manhole covers,” causing a hectic response by the fire department and Con Edison. “What happens if a fire truck on the way to one of these emergencies got into an accident or took away from a real emergency,” one city staffer reportedly asked. The Department of Investigation is now looking at whether the council broke the law by making the phony emergency calls. Falsely reporting a fire is a felony in New York City.

The Olympic games are on once again, providing a chance to see some of the best athletes in the world as well as a chance to practice some jingoism without being criticized. That the games promote world harmony and peace however, is a hollow promise. Witness the story of Iranian judo champ Arash Miresmaeili, who intentionally ate so much that he was disqualified from competing because he was out of his weight class. Miresmaeili reportedly did so at the orders of the Iranian government because his first match was against Ehud Vaks, who happens to be an Israeli. By the way, Miresmaeili was Iran’s flag-carrier in the opening ceremony and now he has to go home without even competing.

On September 18, the American Littoral Society will host its 19th Annual Beach Cleanup, which will include many local beaches. Those interested in joining the statewide effort can call Bayswater resident Barbara Cohen, the local beach cleanup coordinator

at 718-471-2166 or at alsbeach@ aol. com.

The annual Rockaway Kite Festival will be held this Saturday and Sunday, August 21 and 22 at Bay 9 in Riis Park. This promises once again to be one of the premier events in Rockaway’s summer program. Then, on September 11 and 12, Riis Park will host the Rockaway Music and Arts Council Fall Festival. Both are “don’t miss” events.

The State Assembly has turned down Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s request that the state double the number of red light cameras on city streets. The Assembly voted to renew its permission to use the cameras, but set a limit of 50 cameras, the number presently in use. Motorists hate the cameras and civil libertarians say that there is a Constitutional right to privacy that the cameras violate each time they take a picture of a motorists driving through a red light.

The New York City Police Department has extended its deadline for filing for the next police test. Applicants for the October 23 test now have until September 10 to file their applications. Applicants must be at least 17 ½ by the last day of filing and not have reached their 35th birthday by June 2. Those who served in the military may be exempt for up to six years from the age requirement.

One of the major jokes on New York City residents is the way in which federal anti-terrorist funds are distributed. While there are a number of targets that might be considered as legitimate in terms of who the terrorists might want to attack, most of the federal money goes elsewhere. For example, New York State gets about $5.47 per person. Washington, D.C., one of the probably targets, gets $33.65 per person. Wyoming gets the most money, with funds totaling $38.31 a person. Vermont gets $31.96 per person and Alaska gets $31.23 per person. Even North Dakota gets $30.42 per person from the feds. Both California and New York are in the bottom five. The national average is $7.59 per person. One has to wonder at the target-rich environments for Terrorists in Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska and North Dakota.

According to the Daily News last week, Flushing will receive a $40 million swimming pool and Astoria will get an Olympic-sized track practice facility. Williamsburg Waterfront Park in Brooklyn was also chosen by NYC2012 as a proposed 25 acre Olympic Site if New York were to secure the 2012 Olympics. Thanks to the diligence of these communities’ politicians, they will have world-class athletic facilities. In the meantime, we in Rockaway are still crossing our fingers for a swimming pool that his been rumored for the past thirty years.

If you and your family are looking for a good place to take your young children or grandchildren, take a short ride on the Belt Parkway to Brooklyn’s Nellie Bly Amusement Park. The small park is reasonable in price and offers lots of rides for the small ones as well as a miniature golf course that is lots of fun. From Rockaway, get off at the Bay Parkway exit and then double back on the service road to the park.

Three Queens libraries have been designated as “seven-days-a-week facilities. None of them are in Rockaway. The four libraries are the Central Library in Jamaica, the Jackson Heights Branch and the Flushing Branch. The nearest library to Rockaway that is open on Sunday is the branch in Howard Beach (it is closed on Saturday). The Far Rockaway Branch is open on Saturday, the only one on the peninsula that is open on weekends for school children to do their required research and writing. We have to wonder why that is so.

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