We enjoyed Russo’s On The Bay and were there for the Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways recent dinner (which, by the way, was a big hit). We wonder, however, why Rockaway cannot support one large catering facility that could house the crowds that attend a dinner such as the chamber’s, the RDRC’s, St. Rose and all the others. We had some hope that the new facility that was started on Beach 103 Street would fill the bill, but that quickly fell through and will now become administrative offices for the water treatment plant. And, although the Washington Hotel deal to build condos at the site has apparently fallen through, there is no hope that the famous catering hall will reopen its doors. That leaves the Beach Club, an excellent facility that cannot handle the numbers necessary for a large dinner-dance. Perhaps with the future development of Arverne By The Sea, somebody will see the value of building a larger facility in Rockaway or perhaps the Beach Club will add a large second floor to its existing facility.
Harry McGurk’s niece wrote again from Ireland to tell us that those who want to send cards and letters to the former Wave columnist and Rockaway resident may do so by sending them to Victor Synge Ward, St. James Hospital, Dublin 8, Ireland. Or, they can send greetings to Dolores Kavanagh at 46 Copeland Grove, Clontarf, Dublin 3, Ireland, and she will make sure that Harry gets them.
Fifty years ago the first transistor radio was introduced by Texas Instruments. The TR-1, as it was called, became an instant success, particularly with teens, who could now take their music with them. Today, when everybody has I-pods and telephones that play music, the TR-1 seems like a very small step, but to those of us who were teenagers in the 1950’s, it made all the difference in the world.
By the way, the Chamber’s dinner gave participants a small look into the 2005 mayoral race, with two of the five challengers from the Democratic nod in that race making appearances. Both City Council Speaker Giff Miller and Congressman Anthony Weiner gave kudos to Rockaway and to those being honored by the Chamber. Should be an interesting primary for Rockaway. We are sure we’ll be seeing more of Virginia Fields (who recently took a tour of Rockaway senior facilities), Fernando Ferrer and others who are in the race to battle Mike Bloomberg next November.
Remember to mark your calendar for the opening of “The Little North Pole” on December 4. This has quickly become one of the premier holiday events in Rockaway, with thousands attending last year’s opening. The event will take place at 144-03 Neponsit Avenue and will showcase special guest Tony Sirico (AKA “Tony Walnuts on The Sopranos”), as well as the Rockaway Theatre Company. The rain date for the event will be Monday, December 6 at 6 p.m. sharp.
The two Community Affairs officers from the 100 Precinct, who have worked so well with the community over the past few years will soon be leaving their posts. PO Ken Beecher will move into retirement, while PO Peter Rahaniotis will move on to work with the Queens South Command. We will miss them both and wish them both well. Police Officer Lewis Brust will fill one of the slots and there is no word yet of who will fill the other slot.
The local high school basketball season begins this week with many all of the teams seeing action. The Wave will follow both the men’s and women’s teams from Far Rockaway and Beach Channel High Schools as well as the team from Stella Maris. In addition, we will once again cover all of our local ballplayers in the college game around the nation. We often worry that we are missing somebody who comes from Rockaway and plays far away, so if you know of a college (or, junior college) ballplayer from Rockaway, drop us a line and let us know.
The newly-opened FDNY/EMS facility in Rockaway, the first in the city to meld the two organizations into one unit, has become a flashpoint between the fire union and fire commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta. While the lack of a contract seems to be the real sticking point, the merger of FD and EMS has angered many firefighters, who consider the EMS workers inferior in status to the FD workers. The union also opposes the use of firefighters in some medical emergencies. Those in the know say the new firehouse in Rockaway has exacerbated the problem.
Despite the fact that our New York State Legislature has been named the worst in the nation by a number of experts and the fact that it is largely a dysfunctional body run by three men, it is awarding itself with raises that amount to $10,000 a year for members. The salary for the part-time position would move to $89,500, although some members would lose the extra money they get as committee chairs and the like.
In our November 12 issue, on the third anniversary of the crash, the names of one of those who died in the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 was inadvertently omitted from the editorial on page four. Kathleen Williams was victim of the crash and we apologize to her family for leaving her name off the list. Keith Williams noted that there were other names we ommitted and sent us a complete list, which can be found elsewhere in this paper.
In October of 2001, a local poll asked the question, “Do you approve of the way the mayor is handling his job?” At that time, 47 percent answered in the affirmative, 29 percent said no and 24 percent were not sure. The same question was asked this month and the results were vastly different. Forty-five percent still liked the way the mayor was doing his job, but those who said no to the mayor increased to 49 percent and only seven percent were no longer sure. Nearly half of those asked said that they do not believe that the mayor cares about them and their problems.