Taken by the deranged
We live our lives
But the footprints remain
A haven of angels
It can never be the same
We’re still at war
At home and abroad
It’s time to move on
But honor we must
The heroes of September gone
Fewer flags fly
Some have forgotten
The hate borne from the sky
To mute the blow
Of what was lost
Three years ago
With this sentiment
Times shall be met
We are the free and the brave
And we will never forget
What Are We
Supposed To Do?
Another typical, balmy summer night in Rockaway. I’m on the boardwalk with my friends and some of the younger kids from my block, hanging out, laughing, thinking mostly about how much I’m going to miss everyone when I go away to school. Most nights we find ourselves here on the boardwalk out of boredom, even though we know that for some reason the rules state that after 10 p.m. it’s trespassing. There is nowhere else to go with a group more than a few people at night. Enter cops.
We all expect it. We all know it’s coming, because they always come. Sometimes there’s only 3 or 4 of us and they’ll let us go with a warning. But tonight there were more. First a cop car comes and waits. Then the DT’s come speeding down the boardwalk. “Alright, everyone off the boardwalk,” they say. “Let’s go. Now.”
Are we fighting or drinking? No. What were we doing that they wanted us off the boardwalk so badly? We were playing dodgeball. At 10:02 p.m.
We were quickly herded off of the boardwalk. I asked where are we supposed to go. “In the street,” the DT says. So we go in the street. By they always come back later. I have the routine down. Cops pull up. “Ok, where do you guys live?” (Most of us live on the block and we’re in front of one of our houses – whoever’s house it is tells the cops this.)
“Well we’re getting calls. Go home, go somewhere else. You can’t stand here.” We walk in different directions and rejoin once they are gone. Once I was with three friends sitting in front of one of their houses and talking. It was just before midnight. Foiled again by the fun police! “We’re getting calls.” What? Were we talking too loudly? The officer stood and watched us go inside, and didn’t leave until we shut the door. We don’t talk back; that’d be asking for a summons. The same groups of friends were told the night before that we couldn’t play Frisbee in the street. No problem. Let’s go play on the beach. It’s nice and cool down there, anyway. Oh, wait. Isn’t that illegal too? We’ll just go play in the garage.
You really have to watch out for those kids who like to play sports. It doesn’t matter where on the street, boardwalk or beach we go. They find us there, and tell us we can’t stay. Not every kid out after a certain hour is looking to cause trouble, so stop treating us like criminals. Does this sound ridiculous to anyone else? Isn’t anyone noticing that there is nothing else to do in Rockaway after a certain time? I can understand that we shouldn’t use this an excuse to get drunk and get rowdy, but dodgeball? We are we supposed to do? We’re teenagers. We just want to hang out with our friends. We’re trying to do the right thing. I feel like a prisoner in my own town. Our parents and their friends didn’t have to deal with this when they were our age. Give us something else to do and maybe we won’t have to be on the boardwalk every night. They only thing built lately have been condos. We haven’t had a movie theater or an arcade since I was in the fifth grade. How about building a movie theater or a bowling alley? To do anything we need to leave Rockaway, and those of us not able to afford a car or not yet old enough to drive one aren’t going anywhere after dark. The extreme boredom Rockaway kids experience, I believe, is what is driving us to drink and do things that are really illegal.
The sand, the breeze, my friends and family: Rockaway is where my heart will be and I’ll always come back, but for now, I can’t wait to get out. These beach rules are obviously an issue that people aren’t going to let die. So ease up and leave us alone. We’re a generally peaceful group, though I can get pretty crazy with those Frisbees.
A Boogie Board Could
Have Saved Him
On Thursday afternoon (9/01), it was sad to watch the brave lifeguards, police, and firemen search for a missing 17 year - old boy off the coast of Rockaway Park. The rescue mission sadly turned into a recovery mission.
I said to myself as I watched, “if that boy had a boogie board strapped to his wrist, he would still be alive.” If he were allowed to have a boogie board, he would have had a chance.
The next day, no boards were to be seen on any beaches in Rockaway Park. I assumed the mental midget powers that be have declared all boards off limits. I’m baffled by the logic. A boogie board is a “floatation device”. It actually helps people if they are in distress. It assists lifeguards in spotting people in the water. Somebody please explain to me what IS the logic of banning boogie boards? Are they afraid we’re going to float out to the Ambrose Lighthouse?
The death of this boy is on the hands of Adrian Benepe (The Parks Commissioner), Councilman Joseph Addabo, the lifeguard supervisors, and all the other knuckleheads who decide on and enforce this idiotic rule. I for one am not allowed to use a boogie board at Beach 105-106 because, as the local lifeguards tell us, “the suits are watching from the station.” The board beach became Beach 103-104, away from the supervisors. I for one prefer my 9 year-old son to be in the water with a board. I feel much safer when he is.
These people better get is straight for next summer.
On The Beaches
It’s good that the City Council found the time to grade the city’s beaches for degree of cleanliness as long as the sand crabs are not ticket blitzed as Rockaway residents and visitors are attempting to use a “city park” called Rockaway Beach.
When anyone buys food or beverage and takes it to this “park” its commercial transaction and the business is “water related” in beach access waterfront revitalization lingo: so the distinction Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe makes between a residential beach for Rockaway and a commercial beach for Coney Island is artificial and arbitrary. It is certainly dictatorial and has it been approved by state and federal waterfront revitalization agencies involved with funding waterfront revitalization. If Rockaway is only residential could there ever be an RFIP for an entertainment complex that is “water related and dependent” right near the beach and that the City Council Waterfront Committee should consider for local employment?
Note beaches are not pristine given the marine life that still abounds so shells and seaweed, driftwood, worn stones and beach glass are not garbage but collectibles for examination and study. So to send heavy equipment to rake it up in the inter tidal zone should not be a priority. Also there are always used syringes along several miles of beach from storm sewers and these sewers also may be the source of lumps of grayish material (can be interbeded with seeds and paper) which some birds relish. It appears to be restaurant grease and might be tested for pathogens. Some small pieces have been found tinged with permanganate and may have come from a city facility that treats waste.
So, from years of beachcombing, Rockaway’s beaches get a personal seal of approval.
BERNARD J. BLUM
Pay Attention to Politicians’ Records, Not Their Words
Rockaway’s residents have strong opinions, and are not afraid to use tough language to express them. That doesn’t really bother me. However, this summer I find the rhetoric inflammatory. What I find most disturbing is the fact that people who send The Wave political letters seem to be misinformed. Some of us have a tendency to believe what we are told when it is presented in a way that is meaningful to us. In addition, politicians have become so sophisticated and well funded, it is hard to know when they are lying or telling the truth. If everyone would visit the government websites, not the ones put up by pundits and political parties the truth would be clearer. Then only the lazy would be misinformed.
The RNC venue in New York, one week before the 9/11 anniversary has been very painful for some of my friends and an honor for others. I can’t remember how many wakes, memorials and funerals I attended between 9/13/01 and 9/7/02. 2002 was all a blur, but all of it belongs to me; not to whoever’s political campaign. Three years ago next week, there were no “good Republicans” and “bad Democrats,” or vice versa. We were just Americans. This week, in remembrance of that time, I hope your letter writers will refrain from rhetoric and propaganda.
By The Wave
You guys are all wet on ferries. The brass ring of reliable commuter ferry service is within reach. But instead of getting on board with our efforts to pressure the Mayor to say yes to the funding that I have offered, The Wave harps on the failures of the past.
The Wave should demand the answer to three questions from the Mayor. 1) Why say no to a $15 million gift of federal ferry funds? 2) Why have you agreed to pick up the 20% city match for a similar proposal for Staten Island if it is a bad deal? And 3) Do you have any plans to improve transportation in the Rockaways?
I have fought to renovate a ferry landing and to secure funds to buy the ferries. All I need is a partner at City Hall and ferry service will be a “ferry tale” no more.
ANTHONY D. WEINER
MEMBER OF CONGRESS
What Can We
Call The Times?
How can one respect a newspaper whose logo is “ All the News That’s Fit To Print “ refer to murderous killers of children and adults as “rebels”? To show their insensitivity to the feelings of decent people, they have done so on the front page of The New York Times this past Monday, September 6, 2004.
Would the writers of the article “Rebels in Russia had precise plan” tell me who are more deserving to be called terrorists than the butchers of Beslan?
What would it take to call a spade a spade, or call butchers of children terrorists?
What would they call those that beheaded one of their own fellow journalists, Mr. Daniel Pearl, amongst many others?
Not The Question For RP
To Dune or not to Dune. That is a catchy phrase, however it is not the question to be asked. The unspoken question is why did the Rockaway Homeowners/Residents Association’s executive board have the power to remove a Dune?
I am certain Beverly Baxters article of Sept.3 Wave edition was a surprise to the members of the Rockaway Homeowners/Residence executive board. Beverly was invited to join the executive board. It appears this association is not operating in a legal manner.
To become a member of any association’s board, there are qualifications necessary. Boards should not be formed by invitation. Perhaps Beverly’s invitation was to have a friend at the Wave. Prior to this article Beverly would praise the association’s President. Another question is what exactly was Beverly’s motivation in writing this informative article. Is she claiming that she was victimized by coercion and pressure, therefore she is not responsible for her own vote? In my opinion she is responsible for her vote for the removal of the Dunes, and also responsible for publicly betraying the people she was pleased to serve with on this board.
The gentlemen she spoke of is no more responsible than herself, perhaps this gentlemen is less responsible, since Beverly states she is very knowledgeable of the importance of the Dunes. After reading and rereading her article I have unanswered questions.
Is Bev still a member of the executive board? Will other board members be comfortable with her after her article betrayed them in her effort to excuse herself?
Now it is time for the Rockaway Park Homeowners/Residents to do the right thing. People can make a mistake. The best way to rectify that mistake is to correct it.
Let’s have a general membership meeting (there has been no meeting since March), send out your Newsletter informing all members the Dunes issue will be addressed, and by a membership vote let’s agree to petition the Parks Dept. to return the destroyed Dunes.
DANIEL AND LINDA RUSCILLO
School Needs Optimism
The parent/child orientation session for the inaugural school season of the Channel View School for Research (CVRS) was a thrilling, invigorating experience.
As new members of the community, seeking a place for our eighth grade daughter to study, we were bowled over by this experience. It was obvious that the parents in that auditorium were raring to go, ready to be active participants in an educational project with high ambitions.
A couple of issues ago, you wrote pessimistically about the prospects for the new school administrative officials taking over this year in several institutions.
With all due respect, this negative angle exclusively is a disservice to the community as a whole. I understand that your position is heavily informed by many years [in the school system]. I realize that a sour cynicism often develops among those who have labored for years in an educational that is far too neglected by society.
But I ask you, and all your readers who have grown bitter about the educational system, and about the young people who populate it, to give it another try.
We’ll deal with the bad stuff when we have to. But our children deserve our unabashed optimism and our energetic commitment. Watch out this year for CVRS, because there is a powerful tide of dedicated, positive energy lifting that boat up to launch on its maiden voyage.