2004-12-03 / Community

Beachcomber

With the holiday’s stretching in front of us, The Wave would like to wish all of our readers a healthy and happy holiday season. There are a number of holiday events coming up this month, beginning with December 2 and the 101 Precinct Community Council luncheon to be held at noon at Congregation Kneseth Israel (728 Empire Ave.) in Far Rockaway. On December 4, in the morning, the 100 Precinct Community Council will host its Breakfast With Santa program at the Beach Club (Beach 116 Street and the Boardwalk). There will be two seatings, the first at 9 a.m and the second at 11:30 a.m. That afternoon, the Little North Pole on Neponsit Avenue and Beach 144 Street will have its official opening. This elaborately-decorated home will host all sorts of activities and holiday ceremonies. The Rockaway Chamber of Commerce will host its tree lighting ceremony on Beach 116 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard on Friday, December 10 at 6 p.m. On December 7, the first night of Chanukah, the Rockaway Rotary Club will hold its Menorah Lighting ceremony at 5 p.m. at Beach 116 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. Then on December 10 at 3:30 p.m., at the corner of Mott and Central Avenues, there will be a tree-lighting ceremony sponsored by the Coalition For Far Rockaway Community Board 14, The Deerfield Area Association and the RDRC. Happy Holiday’s one and all.

During the late 1950’s and early 1960’s there was a merry-go-round at Beach 97 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. We are wondering if anybody knows who owned the carousel and what ever happened to it after it was dismantled and hauled away from Rockaway. Give us a call at The Wave if you have that information.

Many locals are breathing easier now that Dan Mundy of Broad Channel has taken over as the coordinator for the development and construction of Tribute Park, the Rockaway tribute (we’re still not allowed to say “memorial”) to those local residents who died in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. Mundy has wide experience in dealing with the bureaucracy and he has always been a “get-it-done” kind of person. We welcome his entrance into the project because it insures that the much-heralded and oft-postponed park will finally get done.

Wave Historian Emil Lucev, who has been promising for years that the “100-year storm” would soon hit Rockaway, making the peninsula part of Jamaica Bay, called to say, “The big hurricane is coming by the end of July, 2005.” I guess we’ll have to wait six or seven months to see if he is right. Lucev writes the highly-popular “Historic Views” column for The Wave.

Work has begun in earnest on the store that once housed the famous Harbor Bakery shop. Old-timer’s will have memories of waiting up to an hour to be served during the holiday season at Harbor. Now, the space is being converted into a wash and dry place. While we understand the need for another wash emporium, it is a shame that the bakery could not be sustained once the long-time owners retired and gave it up.

Jewish residents of the peninsula who had a relative that perished in the Holocaust in the 1930’s and 1940’s may soon be able to trace that relative through a new database set up by the Yad Vashem Museum in Israel. While the database is not yet complete, people can check for specific relatives at www.yadvashem.org and using its search engine.

The city’s Bilingual Program does not work. In fact, it harms Hispanic kids who never learn adequate English while they are in the program and many of them are in the program, virtually for their entire elementary school career. Only three percent of students in the city’s bilingual classes passed the standardized English Language Arts Test last year. Why then, keep the program? Because it is mandated by a court that has no understanding of what education really means and fed by a bureaucracy that gets thousands of jobs and billions of dollars for minority educators because of the program.

This Sunday, December 5, the Rockaway Museum will open its doors to the community from noon to 4 p.m. The museum, which is located at 88-08 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, will feature its “Playland Retrospective” exhibit as well as a presentation by local artists who will show and sell their work.

Congressman Greg Meeks said recently through a spokesperson that the revitalization of Far Rockaway is one of his major priorities. “Returning Far Rockaway to the beautiful waterfront land that it was once one of the country’s most popular playgrounds has been, and remains, priority number one for the congressman,” the spokesperson said. The recent spending bill that Meeks’ secured shows otherwise. There is nothing for Rockaway in the bill, the majority of the money going to St. John’s University, Roy Wilkens Park, the Queens Hospital Center, Jamaica Hospital and JFK Airport. Meeks says that Rockaway will still benefit because its residents utilize those facilities. He added that he has assembled a committee which meets monthly to “discuss the development and funding of a project specifically for the Rockaways,” a project to be unveiled at a later date. Sounds like the committee that Borough President Helen Marshall was going to set up to address Rockaway problems. We wonder what ever happened to that committee?

The “Twelve Days Of Christmas” will cost more this year than in previous years. Driven up by the cost of “Three French Hens,” (up 200 percent) and “Six Geese-a-laying,” (up forty percent), the total cost has gone up to $66,334.46 this holiday season. Did anything in the song go down in price? “Two Turtle Doves” went down to $40, a 31 percent drop, while “Five Gold Rings” dropped 29.4 percent.

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