2004-09-24 / Letters

Use Site For Ferry

Dear Editor;

I unfortunately missed the meeting at the Beach Club this week regarding the Keyspan site on Beach 108th street and Beach Channel Drive.  From what I’ve read, it seems unlikely that any kind of residential development is possible on the site.  Some have suggested a large retailer like Walmart or movie theatre.  Living a stone’s throw away from the site, I definitely would not want to see a large retail store built there. Rockaway Park is seeing such a resurgence as a prime residential area and I’d hate to see it marred by a huge, ugly discount store. Let’s face it, there are two large malls within

15 minutes driving distance to the center of the peninsula (King’s Plaza and Gateway Mall). I’d rather see small to medium size local retailers thrive on Beach 116 Street. As far as the toll being a deterrent, that’s a pretty lame argument. If you get E-Z Pass, the Cross Bay Bridge is free to

Rockaway residents and the Marine Park Bridge is 83 cents.

I do have a suggestion for the site though. The proposed Rockaway ferry service as it stands now would be based only at Riis Landing. That’s great for those who live on the west end of the peninsula but hardly convenient for the rest of us, who would have to make that trip twice a day. I think as part of Keyspan’s plan to clean up the site they should build a Park & Ride facility and docking area at the Beach 108 Street site for a second ferry to Manhattan. The plan should also include the purchase of an additional high-speed ferry and shuttle van. This idea has several benefits.

1. We wouldn’t have to fight the city to get the additional money. Keyspan should pay for it. It is a relatively small price to pay for polluting our community.

2. There is already an existing bulk head at the site used by the DEP and it was recently expanded.  The cost of building the docking facility would be less expensive.

3. Having a second ferry from the Keyspan site would lessen traffic through Belle Harbor and Neponsit during rush hours and cut the travel time even further for the rest of the peninsula.

4. During the summer months the ferry would draw residents and tourists from Manhattan to 116 Street, where there are businesses, as opposed to Riis Beach. The shuttle van would pick up passengers as they arrive at the dock and shuttle them to 116 Street. The shuttle could also be used for Rockaway residents as part of a monthly Ferry pass to lessen traffic and be more friendly to the environment.

5. The second ferry would stop in Midtown Manhattan as opposed to Wall Street so those who work further uptown wouldn’t have to transfer to another 25 minute train ride.

6. The midtown stop would be closer to Times Square and midtown hotels, where tourists are more likely to be concentrated. It would also make it more attractive for Rockaway residents to travel into Manhattan for recreation like Broadway shows and restaurants, so actually both communities benefit.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers or all the details but I think this idea beats a new Walmart.


Tribute Park,

Where Are You?

Dear Editor,

We have now approached the 3rd anniversary of 9/11 and to date there has been nothing done with this project but move the boulder from one spot to another. I personally think that this is a disgrace and I’m sure others would agree. The Tribute Park location is a hazard for pedestrians trying to get there. Did you ever try to cross the street on Beach Channel Drive perhaps to take a full glimpse of what progress is being done? Or perhaps shop in Duane Reade? Well you’ll be taking your life into your own hands trying to do so. I’m not sure that the Rockaway residents needed such an elaborate set up to remember loved ones that were lost on that tragic day. I think that perhaps a few benches and a plaque with the names of those lost would have been lovely. Another nice idea would have been to remember those lost on each anniversary at the Tribute Park site even though it’s not even close to being finished. Being a survivor of 9/11 we need a place that we can reflect because I know many of us don’t want to go to the site for various reasons. I know that Rockaway was one of the hardest hit with the loss of lives and I find it to be very sad that others have not spoken up about this so-called project that has been poorly planned. I’ve spoken to other persons who feel the same as me and we were curious on how one goes about getting their money back. The Rockaway residents need an explanation and a firm date when this project will be completed if ever. The persons involved in this so-called project should be ashamed of themselves because it is probably one of the poorest planned projects I have ever seen. Let’s remember that the WTC site is well under way and it’s been 3 years. We all want answers, not excuses.


Nothing Wrong With Bricks

Dear Editor,

I am hereby – and in my previous statements and writings – putting you on notice that there is nothing wrong with the face bricks adjacent to my family’s apartment; the intention of ripping every single break out of the walls of 8200 Shore Front Parkway plus four other Dayton Beach Park Buildings is fraudulent make work, undertaken with ulterior motives.

Participation in and collaboration with wanton destruction is criminal.


Firefighter Breaks

With Custom To Save Whale

Dear Editor,

On Friday, September 10 at around 3:30 p.m., a pilot whale, approximately 8 feet in length beached itself on the shores of Riis Park. It was apparently injured from what looked like a boat propeller. Numerous bathers tried in vain to help this poor animal back out to seas, but to no avail. Every time we turned it around, it was slammed back into the jetty, further injuring itself. It was a pathetic, sickening sight, not being able to help this animal. Along came a young man, who wrapped a towel around the fin and was able to swim it out far enough for it to swim away in deep water. We all cheered until we realized that the whale was so exhausted from his own survival attempt that he once again became caught in the waves and was again slammed time after time against the jetty. We were all heartsick. Again, this young man, grabbed the towel, wrapped it around the tail, and once again began to drag it out to sea, this time further out and away from the jetty. It seemed like he just kept swimming and swimming to make sure that the whale was crystal clear of getting slammed into the jetty. He released the towel and we all remained frozen in time hoping that this whale had some strength left in him. For what seemed like an eternity, the whale just remained bobbing up and down, when all of sudden, with a burst of what seemed like miraculous energy, blew out of his blowhole, and proceeded out to sea. This young man swam back to the shore to the cheers and handshakes of everyone. This young man is Mike Leonard, one of your firefighters. He just said that he knew that he could not let this animal die and did what he had to do. He was wonderful, and quite shy about the entire incident. He just kept saying that he could not let the animal die.

We all doubted that he would speak of this wonderful heroic act, so I decided to let you know what he did. I know that you all perform heroic acts, and this is probably not really impressing you, but all of us on the beach were totally impressed with Mike’s action and we just wanted you to be aware of what a fine young man you have working for you.


School Needs Optimism

Dear Editor,

The parent/child orientation session for the inaugural school season of the Channel View School for Research (CVSR) was a thrilling, invigorating experience. The hall was packed with excited parents, students, and school personnel. As Pat Tubridy introduced her staff, and laid out the goals and strategies for the new institution, the positive energy was palpable. Each speaker was frequently overtaken by joyous applause, raucous affirmation.

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. Pat Tubridy and her staff were absolutely inspiring in their enthusiasm - Tubridy even declared that she intends CVSR to become the “best in the nation!” That’s the kind of drive that every school principal ought to have.

A couple of issues ago in The Wave, you wrote pessimistically about the prospects for the new school administrative officials taking over this year in several institutions. Later, I spoke with you on the phone, and you explained that your main concern was that school officials would be unable to protect their student populations from danger. In your editorial, you referred to “criminals” among the student population.

With all due respect, presenting 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 system that is far too neglected by society – paying teachers too little, providing woefully inadequate support by way of needed resources, countering the educational project being pursued within school walls with an anti-intellectual, image obsessed society without. I know that you’ve had more than your fill of stories (and perhaps experiences) of school violence, and I’d venture to guess that when you look in the eyes of a young person these days, you are more likely to see only apathy, only the derision... after so many bad experiences, you may be unable to bring yourself to look for the hope, the curiosity, the life, anymore.

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. Remember that feeling you had as a student when you started a new school year: the sense of freshness, the slightly queasy anticipation about what new turns your life might take after you stepped through those school doors. Yes, it’s scary. It’s frightening to recall all the horror stories you’ve heard, and contemplate potential catastrophes. It’s disheartening to recall the burned-out teachers, the wrong-headed administrators – in short, the bad apples – that you may have encountered or read about.

But Pat Tubridy and her staff are on fire. I’ve had the pleasure to speak with her and several other folks at CVSR on several occasion, and I can tell you that their passion is fresh and alive. The parents in that auditorium were not plugging in as passive consumers. The students who came that night where revving their engines. That whole school is a living, breathing, organic community that is preparing to launch on a very exciting year. What they need now, most of all, from the surrounding community, is not a lot of finger wagging, warning letters of potential disasters. The potential disasters are always there, looming above us. But what we’re focusing on is the positive aspect, the enormous prospect for excellent achievement in education. Any such achievement has to be grounded in a solid base of energy and optimism. That’s what we saw in overwhelming magnitude last Tuesday in that auditorium. And that’s the image I want to get through to your readers with this letter: I want to override your gloomy prognostications with a message of hope.

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 CVSR, because there is a powerful tide of dedicated, positive energy lifting that boat up to launch on its maiden voyage.


Thanks For Blood Drive

Dear Editor;

The Graybeards held their third annual Blood Drive on Sunday, September 12 at the St. Francis de Sales gym in conjunction with the Long Island Blood Services. And for the third year in a row, more than 200 pints of blood were collected. An impressive number by itself but all the more considering the beautiful day (which lured people to the beach and the RMAC Festival at Riis Park).  Rick Horan spearheaded the effort and got extensive help from numerous people, too many to mention here.

The Graybeard blood drive has proven to be a success year after year because of the generosity of donors and sponsors.  The Graybeards, a non-profit neighborhood group, got invaluable support from Beach Bagels, the Harbor Light, Bell Boy, Waldbaums, The Wave, Ben’s Foundation, CitiGroup, Blockbuster, New York Mets, Barnes & Noble, and Roxbury USA.  

Steve Stathis, president of the Graybeards said, “Once again, Rockaway did itself proud by turning out and donating.” He added that he hopes people remember to give blood throughout the year and especially at those blood drives held locally.   



Stop Idling Buses

Dear Editor;

I went to pick up my grandson at PS114 today, September 14 at 2:30 p.m. and ran into a line of Little Ritchie buses spewing fumes. They pick up the kids from the Yeshiva on Beach 134 Street but there were no kids in sight yet. There was no reason for them to be idling their motors because they stayed in the same position until they left; they just had to wait for the kids to board.

In fact, it is against the law to idle more than a brief time in the summer. (It is also against the law in the winter but the buses are allowed a little more time).

I noticed that the buses from another company that pick up the 114 kids on Cronston Avenue DID NOT idle while waiting. I guess it is a company culture thing of Little Ritchie.

I asked the private school people to apply pressure on Little Ritchie but

they did not seem to think it was their job.

Useless idling contaminates the environment, particularly in that “canyon” filled with kids in the street and the playground at 2:30 p.m. between the two buildings. It also wastes energy, energy that is expensive in American and Iraqi lives.

Hope you can print this and maybe forward it to Little Ritchie.



Without Destruction

Dear Editor,

(This letter is in response to “Over Development’ Brings Council To Far Rockaway Neighborhood,” by Miriam Rosenberg from The Wave on Friday, September 10, 2004.)

The keyword in the article is “over development.” As Councilman Tony Avella (Chairman of Franchise and Zoning Committee) noted upon viewing the buildings in question, “this is a beautiful family, bungalow community, and it’s shame that it can’t remain that way.”

The buildings are an affront to those that already live in the community. Making money, at the expense of quality of life and safety issues, appear to be Mr. Stern’s (the builder) only concern. Mr. Stern’s statement that “for every person who opposes it, there are three in favor” is simply put, absurd. Where were these people when we met with Councilman Avella?

Indicating that appropriate permits have been applied for and approved, Mr. Stern fails to note that construction on his projects has been stopped numerous times. State and city agencies have both issued stop work orders because of a failure on Mr. Stern’s part to obtain/abide by such permits.

Although Mr. Stern told Councilman Avella on September 2 that he would send copies of the appropriate documentation showing that his construction is legal and that he has clearance to proceed, as of September 14 Councilman Avella’s office has not received any such documentation.

Development is okay, but don’t destroy. Tell the truth and follow the rules, like we learned, or should have learned, in Kindergarten.

Thank you to Councilman Avella for his help in recognizing and preserving the strength, character and integrity of neighborhood and community. Thanks also to our other supports, Councilman James Sanders, Jr., State Senator Malcolm Smith and Congressman Gregory Meeks.



Church And State

Dear Editor,

Thanks to John Paul Culotta for his insightful commentary (Church and State). I agree that our country is constitutionally designed to be an ethical society, not a religious one. Religion is simply a public expression of one’s own spirituality. Strong democracies encourage religious diversity, so that each person feels empowered to make the system work for the good of all. Organizations of religion and their spokespersons should focus on policies, not politics.



A New Deal – Replace Bush

Dear Editor,

George Bush is not making our nation safer for democracy. His policies are uniting millions of poor and hopeless people against a United States that they perceive as arrogant and bellicose. George Bush’s foreign policy is making our nation into a schoolyard bully that some may fear, but that few respect. George Bush is doing nothing to change the poverty and the hopelessness that is the breeding ground for terrorism and suicidal religious fundamentalism.

George Bush is current proof of what our parents and grandparents deeply knew: the Republicans are the party of the rich. He is a reverse Robin Hood: he robs the poor and the working people to enhance the rich and the privileged. When working people are seduced to vote Republican, Bush and Pataki and Bloomberg laugh all the way to the bank and back.

George Bush has spent more than $200 billion to occupy Iraq. He has spent more than 1,000 American military lives. He has spent many more thousands of Iraqi civilian lives. He is a tax and spender in the worst case.

We need a government that will enhance our safety by dismantling terror networks (gangs) while making friends and allies of other nations. America needs another New Deal. We need to upgrade our government and society. We need to employ our kids in ways that will help our world be more secure in its production of food, the building of affordable homes, the production of non-polluting vehicles made and driven in a hydrogen economy. We need a society that raises our literacy, our knowledge of other cultures and their history, our ability to resolve conflict peaceably, and ways to be happy.

We need to reclaim our lives, to elect federal and state and city governments that uplift our hearts and our minds, and that spends our tax monies in ways that promote our economic and social security as well as our military preparedness.

And then maybe someday soon, perhaps in the next four years, we will be able once again to send our kids abroad in safety and in happiness, to study, to be a part of another Peace Corps, and not to fight in wars.

Now is the time that we, the meek and the silent, the hardworking, reclaim our power and vote against George Bush and his Republican company. Now is the time to make our parents and grandparents proud, and vote this current Herbert Hoover out of office, and work to secure another era of social and economic security, friendship and alliance in our world.


Beverly And The Dunes

Dear Editor,

As the new kid in town, I am flattered that Ms. Baxter devoted the majority of her column to commenting on my letters concerning the dunes. However, I am disheartened that she chose to single me out as the bad guy, for wanting to uncover the truth behind the misdeed. Her line that ends with “...and their little dogs too!” is just plain tacky.

The fact of the matter, as I understand the situation, is that if Ms. Baxter had the fortitude to hold her ground in favor of the dunes and then used her column to further substantiate her enlightened position, rather than use it to besmirch my character, none of this would ever have happened. Furthermore, Ms. Baxter feels that my letters were mean spirited. Obviously, she is not a child of the 1960’s and it appears that she has led a rather sheltered existence. Zel Miller and Dick Cheney at Madison Square Garden were mean spirited. My letters were not.

Ms. Baxter states, “I feel we need a collective alliance to fix and address the real problem, which is of a much broader scope.” Huh? What? The “real problem” it seems to me is fairly obvious and rather simple. The Board of the Rockaway Park Homeowners and Residents Association, whose sole function is to uphold their own by-laws, usurped their authority and were aided and abetted in said usurpation, by the clueless NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, whose mandate is to preserve and protect our beaches.

Ms. Baxter has taken my rather simple request to exercise our freedom of the press to get at the heart of this particular matter and has blown it totally out of proportion, with my good name along for the ride. Why all the secrecy? Why all the hush-hush? Is this “mystery man” per chance, a Baxter relative? Ms. Baxter keeps saying I’m looking to “fix blame.” I and many others would call it searching for the truth. And experiencing our freedom of the press responsibly, would go a long way towards finding that truth. As for calling in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for their recommendations, I am sure that if Mother Nature wanted anybody’s advice on when, where, and how to form dunes, she would ask for it. Some things Ms. Baxter, are just out of our hands.

And yes, I have suggested a solution. The membership of the Association should hold an emergency meeting to call for the removal of those board members who voted to “bulldoze” and replace them with competent members. Additionally, the Rockaway Park community should call for the resignations of those Parks Department employees who did the bulldozing, along with that of the Commissioner Adrian Benepe, who should have stopped this whole fiasco dead in its tracks.

The Board of the Association and the city voted to mess with Mother Nature. Over the course of the past few weeks, Mother Nature has been spewing intense hurricane and intense hurricane, straight for the east coast. A rather interesting confluence of events, wouldn’t you say?

Mr. Schwach, there’s a real doozie lying in what’s at the middle of this story. I can smell it.


I’m Sticking With Dr. Guy

Dear Editor,

This letter is in reference to Dr. Guy. I have been a patient of Dr. Guy for about ten years or so. To this date, I have never felt more confident about a doctor. I am not a doctor lover but I trust him implicitly and these allegations they are saying about him are false and the people behind this are horrible people. Dr. Guy does not do procedures unless you want him to, it is not forced on you, it is your choice. He does not strong arm anyone and I feel very confident in him. People who do not know the facts should get their facts straight. My husband and I will continue going to him until these unjust accusations are cleared up. Until they can prove this, he should not be punished. I feel that the article on the front page was a slant towards a religious man.


New School Year Changes

Dear Editor,

This is a letter of thought to our Mayor, Michael Bloomberg and our Governor, George Pataki. I am writing this due to the recent changes in the school year, such as starting a whole week later, a six and a half hour day for our children and the cramming in of more homework. I really wish you would consider giving back the week. I am aware of all the religious and patriotic holidays, so why not give back winter recess. Let’s get serious. The heat isn’t entirely shut off – the pipes wouldn’t bust! Many teachers have a window open to keep children awake and refreshed. School custodial staff have all summer to paint and buff and make major repairs as well as all the religious holidays. So if in fact no child should be left behind, why start now with taking a whole week of learning away from our children. Also, the fact that it’s before city and state testing would be a plus, instead of children having to cram after school, right before testing. Thank you for your time and consideration of this matter.


Thanks To Those

Who Remember

Dear Editor,

After reading the September 10, 2004 issue of The Wave, I felt compelled to write to thank Ernie Vaughn, proprietor of Vaughn’s Pub. His was the only business on the Rockaway peninsula advertising in this issue of The Wave, that acknowledged the victims of September 11, 2001, their families, friends and neighbors. Additionally, asking God to bless our troops. It is nice to know that not everyone has forgotten. I also find it very disconcerting that the only other business mentioning the most horrific day in not only our community, but our nation, was Sal’s Transmissions located in Brooklyn. My thanks to Sal as well.

I understand that it has been three years and people are moving on and putting that day behind them, but for those of us who carry the unbearable burden of loss from that day, it is comforting to see a neighborhood establishment paying tribute to those lost on that day as well as those left behind. Thanks again guys and to everyone else, please say a prayer for our troops and our country.


Why Have An Investigation?

Dear Editor,

There is one sensible reason not to believe the crash of Flight 587 was

caused by rudder failure and wake turbulence. If this were true, why have they done nothing in three years to change the flight patterns in and out of JFK? 

What’s the purpose of an investigation if you don’t act on the findings?  The planes take off just as close, if not closer than they did before. Now with the repaving of 2 main runways, expect the time between take-offs to be even tighter.


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