2004-10-15 / Letters

Drugs Here At Home

Dear Editor;

On Wednesday, October 6, a white four-door sedan was parked in front of a neighbor’s house who happens to be a police officer.

I was standing in front of my house, which is directly next-door from his, with my five-year-old son. I was looking at the car a bit suspiciously due to the fact that it had Florida plates and it had very dark, tinted windows, front and back. Sure enough, a white man on a bicycle pulled up to the driver’s side window and stuck his hand in. In the driver’s seat was an African American male. It was obvious to me that this was a drug deal going down 12 feet from my son and I.

Although it had been obvious to me, I had seen no exchange of drugs but in my experience, I had assumed it was in fact a drug deal (if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, etc.). During this incident my husband pulled up from work and we tried to get a plate number and yet at the same time we were trying to be indiscreet. We both tried to memorize one half of the six numbers on the plate.

Ten minutes later when the interaction ended and we were inside the house getting ready to eat dinner, my neighbor from across the street had knocked on our door and asked us if we saw the whole exchange. We told him what we saw and he saw the same thing. I thank God that he did because my husband and I both thought we must have been crazy to assume that this brazen drug deal happened  here in our neighborhood in broad daylight right in front of our eyes.

The next day we were visiting a neighbor across the street and from her kitchen window we saw the exact same car, park just feet from her window. A different, man on a bike pulled up and got into the car this time. We were shocked, again. During this scenario my neighbor called 911....to no avail. We were telling them that we are actually watching a drug deal going down, right at that moment, no one came, no one. I wanted to be sure it was the same guy from the day before, so I left the house in hopes to get a plate number. I got it and it was in fact, the same guy dealing drugs on the corner of Beach 127 and Cronston Avenue.

I am not clear now of the definition of a civil servant. I thought it is an official someone who is supposed to serve you in situations where help and assistance is needed. I lack a badge and a gun, so I am not all together comfortable with approaching a suspected drug dealer on my corner. So, we contacted our local police department in search of help and rescue. What we got was a snide and cocky cop speaking down to us condescendingly. And it’s not the first time these guys not only didn’t help the situation but they mock us. Anyone remember them ticketing cars on the chaotic, residential streets of our neighborhood in the days following the 587 plane crash? It’s nice to know they’re out there, supporting and protecting us.

As a mother and a citizen of Rockaway, I am very sad and I feel helpless. I vehemently do not want drug dealers running their business in my neighborhood. A language we can all understand is the safety and well-being of our children being threatened. Another one is our neighborhood going to pot. If nothing is done about this we are turning the streets over to different owners of the drug dealing type. If this is ignored we are saying “come in, you’re welcomed to our neighborhood, it’s yours.” Far Rockaway used to be a wealthy neighborhood with big, beautiful, expensive homes, just like here. It was given up, or given up on. Please, to all of our residents; help keep this neighborhood clean, safe and free of danger. If it means leaning on the 100th precinct to patrol more or just to patrol, then let’s get it going! We live in the post 911 era. Radical Muslims were training to take out the WTC in planes, right here on our American soil. We thought it couldn’t happen. My point is to not turn a blind eye. Pay attention and get things done BEFORE tragedy strikes.


Simon Is The One

Dear Editor;

Four months ago, my sister, Gail, who lived in Rockaway Beach, faced a serious, life-altering situation.  Having moved to Houston, Texas, many years ago, I did not know where to turn for help.  

I began calling local social service agencies and politicians, one after the other.  The only person who offered any help at all was Lew Simon.  Lew returned my call promptly himself (not through some staff person), made several telephone calls on my sister’s behalf, and provided me with the names and telephone numbers of people and agencies that could actually help my sister.  In this day and age, much of our communication with most politicians is limited to voice mail, faxes, emails, return calls from staff members, and bulk rate letters. 

It was a welcome surprise to find an elected official who actually cared enough about the problem of one of his constituents to leap into action late one Thursday evening. Rockaway is fortunate to have Lew Simon looking out for the interests of its residents.  Lew’s mother— God rest her soul— would be proud to know what a responsible and caring member of our community Lew has become.


More On Public Access

Dear Editor:

Thank you for the two articles regarding the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 and the coastal issues that involve public access to the waterfront and new development.

New York State Article 42 of the Waterfront Revitalization and Inland Waterways Act Part 600 is the legal authority of the State’s Coastal Management Program. It was the intention of Legislature that the preservation, enhancement and utilization of natural and man-made resources of the State’s unique coastal area is achieved through a balance between economic development and preservation that will permit the beneficial use of coastal resources while  preventing diminution of open space areas or public access to the waterfront [section 600.1 (d)].

New York State and City participate in the CMA program and have developed coastal policies that are part of the legal framework of this National Land and water use plan. The Public Access and Development Polices are legal and enforceable policies that will ensure all agency actions are consistent with all coastal policies and would further the goals and objectives of the CMA. 

One of the goals and objectives is to improve, restore, maintain and increase public access, which NYS determined to be a priority in the Public Access policies.

New York City went even further to create standards that preserve, protect and maintain existing physical. visual and recreational access to the waterfront and maintain in good repair existing public access areas to ensure public safety and enhance enjoyment [Policy 8.1].

And to incorporate public access into NEW public and private development where compatible with proposed land use and coastal location particularly those developments that would encourage development and maintenance of HIGH QUALITY PUBLIC SPACES in appropriate locations, that would facilitate connection of EXISTING WATERFRONT PUBLIC ACCESS SPACES AND ALLOW CONTINUOUS ACCESS ALONG THE SHORE. [Policy 8.2]

The Development Policies 1 and 2 are intended to facilitate the siting of water-dependent uses and facilities on or adjacent to coastal waters and must lead to development which is compatible with the character of the area, consideration given to scale, architectural style, density and intensity of use.

The developers and state and city agencies are not adhering to this entire federal program by approving projects in New York that eliminate EXISTING PUBLIC ACCESS AREAS such as the 46 public streets and 10 park areas in Arverne, the existing public access on the Duane Read, Wavecrest Gardens II property, the demolition of historic bungalows, and development out of character and not compatible with the bungalow development on Beach 24th to 26th Streets.

The State agencies and local governments participating in this National land and water use program should make every effort to coordinate and synchronize existing permit procedures and regulatory programs with the federal Coastal Zone Management Act and its implementing regulations and protect the public interest in the natural and man-made coastal resources and public access to the waterfront with their coastal management programs. This is to be accomplished by having a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) file for each and every action in the coastal zone boundary and a completed Consistency Assessment Form (CAF) and Environmental Assessment Form (EIS).


  Bay Restoration Dear Editor,

Thanks for running the borrow pit article on October 1, with most of the information provided. On reading it, for fans of the issues, the information printed did not give emphasis to the fact that an assemblage of government agencies are trying to justify their work by conducting an experiment to determine if toxic dredge spoils can be disposed of in a relatively confined borrow pit (Norton Basin or Little Bay) without toxic chemicals that adhere to the dredge sediment particles and also in the water being dispersed into the surounding ecosystem. Dispersal means the chemicals enter the food chain and thus ultimately are eaten by people in fish and crabs as well as clams. Note “bioaccumulation and magnification” happens up the food chain as larger life forms eat smaller ones – so larger fish tend to be more contaminated.

For Friends of Rockaway, I attended numerous meetings at the World Trade Center Port Authority offices when protocols were approved for disposal operations and thus there is a vested interest in presenting the bay pits as so degraded that so called “restoration” shallowing operations “become necessary.” But how effective curtains around a disposal operation and using filled geo-textile (plastic) bags that retain most of the dredged channel deepening toxic sediments in curbing dispersal of toxic chemicals is to be determined by the experiment.

In Newark, bay pits were dredged to confine the dioxin contaminated dredged sediments of that bay to the pits. So why transfer toxic chemical contaminated sediments from elsewhere to Jamaica Bay off Bayswater? Also, during operations chemicals can enter the air by evaporation and can be breathed by people. Who is to say which and how many chemical molecules produce leukemia when breathed in by a young child in the area? Who would know?




Bring Back Our Services

Dear Editor,

Reading your Friday, September 24, 2004 issue of The Wave, I came across page 52. The story was about Rockaway Legal Aid moving to Kew Gardens. I think it is terribly sad to lose this service with our community expanding so quickly. The majority of people who need their services and advice are the lower and middle incomes. This action just makes it harder for everyone to get help quickly when needed. It’s a great distance to Kew Gardens. One would think with our community having almost doubled in the past ten years, they would open up another office on Beach 116 Street or in the Beach 80’s shopping mall. It really saddens me that the services needed are leaving Rockaway. Remember there used to be a VA office Far Rockaway. Now I think it is all the way in Rego Park. Why are these services leaving is the question. How do we as Rockawayites, bring them back?


Board Does Not

Represent Tenants

Dear Editor,

For many years shareholders have been encouraged to run for the Board of Directors for Dayton Beach.  In late September, a flyer announcing the request for “Letters of Intent” of any shareholder wishing to run for the board. On Friday, September 24th we received rejection letters signed by Bruce D. Braithwaite, General Manager stating that we were tenants in bad standing and therefore could not run for the board. In reviewing the By-Laws, nowhere does it state that a tenant must be in good standing, nor does it state the definition of good standing. The By-Laws do state, “Directors must be stockholders in resident.”  Many of the shareholders are requesting a change for the board as the current Board of Directors is not meeting the expectations of the shareholders. It is this reason we agreed to run. We sent letters to Sean Donovan, Commissioner of HPD as well as Vincent Green, Special Counsel for the Department of Investigations and to Virginia Fields, Manhattan Borough President- Mitchell Lama Task Force

questioning the validity of the current board’s “rules.” HPD contacted the Board of Directors, Dayton Management and their attorneys.

Dayton’s attorney, Ezra Goodman, replied to Gary Sloman and stated “this policy has been in existence for at least thirty years and has been

consistently applied and adhered to in each annual election during that extended period.” HPD shot back and Dayton was ordered to reopen the nominations and allow us a chance to run. We are running on the Your Voice Your Choice platform to change these kinds of rules.

This platform is backing six NEW candidates for the upcoming Board of Directors election. In order to invoke a change to what is going on at Dayton Beach a NEW board must be elected.  This year five seats are up for re-election. There will be a meet and greet on October 14 at the Knights of Columbus allowing shareholders to meet the six new candidates (Marilyn Kaufman, Delores Lyons, Hazel McLean, Mary Reed, Joanne Smith and Ella VanZanten.) This is something that hasn’t been done in years. Currently, the board frowns upon campaigning and has strict rules for what can and

can’t be done.

It is good to know that in this case, city agencies were more than willing to involve themselves to help us.  Perhaps now they will pay closer attention to the goings on at Dayton Beach.




Allen Street Renaming Ceremony

Dear Editor,

The beach-naming ceremony for Firefighter Allen on the boardwalk was very touching. Mary McGee sang beautifully. The reverend father was eloquent and the FDNY pipe band was in good time. It was a sad, but lovely day. My best wishes to the Allen family. I wrote a poem about the day.

“September Sunday”

September Sunday

It feels like July

Handsome Sean and Diane

Atlantic sea and blue sky.

Beautiful children

Pat Mahoney and Mike

Plus Hurricane Jeanne

Surfers thrill with delight.

The water was clean

And swishy with foam

When I took the wave in

I knew I was home.

Oh Rockaway, Rockaway

Long may you wave

We lost many heroes

Rest in peace, Lord. We pray.


Prisoner Of The Night

Dear Editor,

I would like to thank you for putting into The Wave my poem for Michael P. Sweeney. I hope you are your readers will enjoy this one.

“Prisoner Of The Night”

The night is black and very cold

Surrounded by a gray dismal mist

Silence dominates the air about me

Pray tell, what strange land is this.

This road I find myself walking down

Seems unfamiliar, unfriendly, and lonely

I can’t ever recall being here at one time or another

It all seems so strange and haunting now

As my fears begin to taunt me.

Now my fears have grown stronger as questions begin to mount

How did I get here, and where is this place

Why only me, where are the others?

Won’t someone hear my cry, please show your face?

Still remains the silence, the mist, the loneliness

As I walk my mind grows weary and tired

Could this be but a dream, a nightmare, a fantasy

Or am I a prisoner of the night?

Time seems endless as I continue my journey into the night

My fears have now turned to anger with every step I take

But wait, a head of me a sign appears

It reads, “Rest In Peace”

My God, I’m dead!

Now, no one will ever hear my cry

As I continue on my endless flight

My fears and anger have all disappeared

For I am a prisoner of the night.


Take No Streets

Dear Editor:

Thank you for publishing the articles on Public Access and Visual Corridors. Maybe little by little we can get the public to understand what we are trying to say. Please allow me to share with your readers what myself and Richard George have discovered.

The Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (CZMA) was an Act of Congress. The law was intended to apply in coastal zone boundaries. Its main purpose was to protect the shorelines and allow the public to enjoy the Visual Corridors and Public Access to the water. The Secretary of Commerce gave the task of carrying out the (CZMA) to a federal agency called the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The federal government encouraged all the states to adopt the program. New York was hesitant at first, but in 1982 the State of New York joined and formed the Coastal Management Program (CMP) for the State of New York. The NYS’s CMP was approved by the federal government. Later on, the City of New York formed its own coastal program, called the New Waterfront Revitalization Program (WRP). The NYC’s NWRP had to be approved by the federal government. All three branches of government work together, as partners, to protect the waterfront resources, and the federal government has ultimate oversight of NYS and NYC. The job of the State’s CMP and the City’s NWRP is to make sure citizens, including government officials and developers, are adhering to the CZMA.

A Coastal Zone Boundary is an area of land located a certain distance from a body of water (a lake, a river, a bay, an ocean, etc). Which areas are designated Coastal Zone Boundaries varies in different areas and is determined by the state, with the approval of the federal government.

For example, in Rockaway Beach, the distance from the Jamaica Bay and the distance from the Atlantic Ocean overlap and the federal government declared the entire area of Rockaway Beach from the tip of Breezy Point to the Nassau borderline a Coastal Zone Boundary. Therefore, we here in Rockaway are bound by federal, state, and city coastal management laws, with the federal government having oversight in anything that is built. Our ignorance of the laws governing a Coastal Zone Boundary is no excuse when the hammer strikes the anvil. That is the best way I can explain it at the moment. Richard George expresses the law in a Coastal Zone Boundary in more detail than I can.

The bottom line is: You cannot eliminate an EXISTING Public Access to the water, or block an EXISTING Visual Corridor to the water.

To name a few Rockaway locations in which violations are apparent: The 46 streets in the Arverne Urban Renewal Area proposed to be eliminated is in violation of the CZMA. The Mapped Public Access and Walkway to Jamaica Bay now covered over by the Duane Reade building on Beach 116 Street must be restored. All laws should apply to everyone and not the chosen few. The State of New York has already spent more then 3 billion dollars of taxpayers’ money enforcing the CZMA. Isn’t it time they were held accountable?


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