2004-12-03 / Letters


Should Understand History

Dear Editor;

Many of the relatives of Dominican victims from AA587 continue to show contempt for this community. Apparently, they consider Dominican lives to be of greater value than those of non-Dominican victims, and believe that non-Dominican property owners’ land should be confiscated on their behalf. The Belle Harbor community not only lost five precious lives in the crash of AA587, but more lives through the sacrifice of uniformed heroes in the line of duty on 911 than any other community I know of. I hope that the Dominicans’ contempt for Belle Harbor does not spring from racism, but it is equally despicable, whatever its source.

Speaking of racism, we have yet another case of a local public school principal, John Comer, seeking to racially cleanse his school of white personnel, and Region 5 Superintendent Kathleen Cashin covering up for him, just as she previously did for another local principal.

Black racism in the city’s schools has been institutionalized since the 1960s. A Wave investigation that does not beat around the bush about black racism in the Rockaway schools would be of great benefit to the community.

Editor Howard Schwach is a local treasure, but he really should read the U.S. Constitution and some American history. Nowhere in the Constitution will he find anything about a “separation of church and state.” That notion was a personal belief of Thomas Jefferson’s, which he expressed in a letter to an acquaintance 200 years ago. That said notion has been improperly turned into a pseudo-Constitutional principle, is due to certain Supreme Court justices who shared Jefferson’s personal belief projecting it onto the Constitution, while their colleagues were either too ignorant or too cowardly to oppose them. Likewise, the Founding Fathers did not revolt against England for the sake of a “separation of church and state,” but rather based on notions such as “no taxation without representation” and anger at King George over abuses of the Common Law and “the rights of Englishmen.”

By the way, I treasure your continued coverage of AA587, which, in a more perfect world, would reap you a crop of journalism awards. But then, in a more perfect world, 587 would never have gone down.

With best Thanksgiving Wishes,


Rockaway’s Rebirth

Dear Editor,

As I grow in age and wisdom, I have come to the conclusion that everything works out in God’s time. Several years ago, I was an advocate for P.S. 114 becoming a K-8 school. I met with Mr. Wittenstein, then principal, and the Parent’s Association after researching the success of K-8 schools in N.Y.C. The reality is that P.S. 114 is now a K-8 school. Years later, I met with Y.M.C.A. staffers to discuss the possibility of bringing the Y to Rockaway. The reality is that I just filled out a survey for the Y.M.C.A. This great organization is coming to the Rockaways.

Having spent my summers in Rockaway as a child and living here as an adult since 1979, I often question myself – ‘Will Rockaway ever turn around?’ To my delight I read in the N.Y. Times Real Estate Section on October 3, 2004, a full-page ad, ‘Grand Opening of Arverne By The Sea.’ Now when I travel with my husband, Jim, and wear my Rockaway cap in Newport, R.I., Williamsburg, Va., Charlotte, N.C., or the Villages, Fl., I can tell people who stop to talk with me about the old Rockaway, I can proudly say, ‘Rockaway is experiencing a Renaissance,’ and show them the full-page N.Y. Times ad. My husband and I had the pleasure of going on tours of the homes and were impressed with the professionalism of Arverne By The Sea staff. We’re looking forward to viewing the new section Tides with condos facing the ocean.

I welcome our new neighbors and encourage them to join a civic or Home/Resident Association. They can make a difference in improving the quality of life in the Rockaways.


A Modern Sir Galahad

Dear Editor;

Meghan Keating came to Rockaway to visit her grandmother, Peg Keating, the other day. When she was in from Baltimore for Thanksgiving she was taking her to lunch. Before they ate they stopped at the Gift is Love so she could purchase special Rockaway Christmas ornaments for her cousins.

When lunch was over and she was getting her wallet out she realized it was missing. She went back to the Gift is Love to see if it was there but it wasn’t but they told her to have faith that she would find it.

There was a new message on her phone from her credit card company and she was afraid they were calling because there were the dreaded “unusual” charges on her card. But to her surprise someone had called the company who found her wallet and was making all sorts of efforts to return it to her. He left messages to call the Keatings in Rockaway, called Loyola College and the credit card company.

When they finally spoke he told her he lived at “7800,” which meant nothing to her so he got in his car and met her in front of the Gift is Love. He refused any reward and said her smile and a hug were more than enough. She told him her parents grew up in Rockaway and with typical Rockaway humor he told her nobody grew up in Rockaway. So who is this Sir Galahad – it’s Steve Closs of 7800. All of you who already know him know he is an extremely honest, kind and generous guy. For those who don’t know him we hope you get to meet him because he represents what so many of us lament is missing in our society today. He is a really the supreme Rockaway guy.


Peninsula Libraries

Need Help

Dear Editor,

This is my second letter concerning the Seaside Library restoration. After my first, I read in The Wave that KeySpan donated $5,000 to the Rockaway libraries. When that figure is broken down across the Peninsula, it’s not that much, but I commend KeySpan for taking a leading role in this effort. As we know, not only do our Rockaway Park and Belle Harbor students use our library, but many adults do too. My suggestion which is rather large, is that Beach 116 and Beach 129 Street businesses would donate to the restoration of the Seaside Library.

Let’s get serious – our community revolves around each other and it is tax deductible. Put up a sign in your store that you “Donated to the Restoration of the Seaside Library.” Where has Lew Simon been hiding? How about a raffle? Mr. Weiner – with all the people you know; Audrey Pheffer come on up the peninsula for a change; We really need help here and yes it is an investment for our children’s future.


Thanksgiving At

Beach Channel

Dear Editor,

Hats off to Sheila and John Murray and family and the students, faculty and staff at Beach Channel High School for their Thanksgiving Day dinner event for local Rockaway seniors. Sheila and John’s organization and preparation was nothing less than professional. The school was abuzz with youthful energy and hundreds of positive, spirited students and local families who planned and manned this event. Beautifully decorated holiday tables were displayed and arranged by the staff to please the eye of the entering guests. A community of spirit, kinship and generosity from a number of local merchants, businesses and individuals provided the day’s fare which was tastefully prepared by the kitchen staff. Plates of hot cornbread with butter, garden salad, steaming sliced turkey, herbed stuffing, piping hot mashed potatoes with gravy, a medley of fresh garden vegetables, fusilli pasta with homemade marinara sauce, cranberry relish, macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes and other delicacies were individually and professionally served to the afternoon’s guests by student waiters who were sure to bring seconds without having to be asked. Not to be undone by the main meal, the desert hour was even more spectacular. Freshly baked pies of every variety, including apple, peach, blueberry, cherry, coconut custard, sweet potato, and of course pumpkin, along with a variety of home baked cakes and cookies were individually served to the guests by the student dessert staff who were not shy in happily providing their guests with both a first and a second slice.

The Beach Channel High School Orchestra played to the crowd’s delight, causing their guests to get up and dance to the beat, and arranging a ‘conga line’ of guests and students weaving around the dance floor. The school’s choral ensemble sang to the crowd, providing their thanks for the afternoon’s event.

Tables of smiling seniors applauded and thanked the students and staff members for their holiday afternoon’s efforts.

The Murrays and their minions mightily toiled and unselfishly gave of themselves to make this Thanksgiving Day special for others. In each and everyone of their hearts, they know the true meaning and spirit of Thanksgiving and they showed it. So hats off and a bow to each and every one of you. You deserve it.



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