A number of northern Queens politicians have been trying to stop the development of what they have been calling “McMansions” in their neighborhoods. In Bayside, for example, the locals have asked for an area rezoning plan that would stop the new, larger homes from being built where smaller homes once stood. “One’s dream house can quickly become a nightmare for those living next door,” John Young, the planning director for Queens told reporters. There are many people in Rockaway, from Beach 3 Street to Neponsit, who feel the same way, but local city politicians such as Joe Addabbo and James Sanders have yet to get involved in the rezoning controversy.
Speaking of politicians, it looks like Senator Chuck Schumer, who was handily reelected last week, will indeed run for governor in 2006. Schumer scored a record 71 percent of the vote on November 2, leading long-time political experts to conclude that he has wide-ranging support from both Democrats and Republicans.
It is unusual that a politician gives thanks his constituents who voted for him and the newspapers that endorsed him upon reelection, but Congressman Anthony Weiner did just that on November 3, touring Rockaway in his marked SUV, using a bullhorn to thank everybody who voted for him. He also stopped in at The Wave for a quick discussion of local issues, including a commuter ferry service, the new sports complex at Floyd Bennett Field and his thoughts on running for mayor in 2005.
When the FDNY units moved from their former firehouse at Beach 57 Street to the, somebody in the community spray-painted a large message on the door. The message, in large, yellow letters, said, “Closed. Thanks, FDNY.” Two days later, workers from the fire department’s maintenance bureau came and re-painted over the sign with fresh firehouse red paint.
There are some local Republicans who believe that there is some sort of cabal at The Wave dedicated to burying all mention of their new club, but that is simply not true. We do have to apologize for leaving out from the “It’s What’s Happening” section the notice of the club’s election eve get-together at the Belle Harbor Yacht Club, but that was an error and not a conscious snub.
Sister Patricia Berliner, who heads Elizabeth’s House in Hewlett that serves many Rockaway residents, has been appointed to Dr. Phil’s Advisory Board and will be introduced on his television show on November 29. She is one of 20 mental health professionals from around the nation on the advisory board.
At the same time that major ferry operators are experiencing financial problems, Governor Pataki is planning new commuter ferry service that might include stops in Rockaway. The Port Authority expects to have a contract in place “in the next few months” for service between LaGuardia Airport and Manhattan. The next step, expected before the “end of 2005,” will be service between JFK Airport and Manhattan, with a stop at Riis Landing. The problem, of course, will be cost. Any regular commuter service will have to come with a subsidy to make the trip affordable enough for Rockaway commuters.
When Mayor Mike Bloomberg opened the new FDNY/EMS facility in Rockaway, he said that it would house up to 9 fire engines, ladder trucks and ambulances. That will allow for a 20 percent increase in the number of ambulances assigned to Rockaway, according to the mayor. Bloomberg praised the new site, which is the first in the city’s history designed to house both organizations under one roof.
The Mayor is expected to announce at the memorial services to those who died in the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 today that American Airlines will soon fund a permanent memorial that the city will build on the southern end of Beach 116 Street, nearby the boardwalk. The new memorial, which would be a smaller version of the memorial in Benin, Dominican Republic, should be ready for the fourth anniversary of the crash in November of 2005.
The Brooklyn Diocese has announced that as many as 25 parochial schools in Brooklyn and Queens may be closed next year due to rising costs and declining enrollment. According to a spokesperson for the diocese, there are now more than 10,000 fewer students in diocese schools than just four years ago. The spokesperson, however, declined to say which schools are in danger of closing.
Lenora Fulani is the head of the Independence Party. The party’s local district leader is John Baxter, who continually says that he supports the party’s aims despite the fact that Fulani once demanded that blacks have an extra vote in national elections to make up for the fact that fewer blacks vote. In the election just past, black riders on the Staten Island Ferry were handed flyers from the Independence Party under Fulani’s signature. “I’m not asking you to vote for Al Curtis because he is Black,” the flyer read. “I am asking you to vote for Al Curtis because you’re Black.” We would like to hear Baxter repudiate that kind of racial campaigning, but we’re not holding our collective breath.