2004-12-24 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Many of the senior citizens who live in the vicinity of Seagirt Boulevard in Far Rockaway are up in arms over the plan by North Fork Bank to close the present GreenPoint Bank facility on Seagirt Boulevard and move the accounts to a new North Fork Bank on Mott Avenue, several miles away. North Fork recently bought out GreenPoint and now is moving to consolidate branches that are in close proximity to each other, including the branch on Beach 116 Street. A number of seniors who called The Wave when they received notification of the change say that there is no way that the elderly and infirm can travel that distance to do their banking. Perhaps North Fork can follow the lead of the Far Rockaway Post Office and open a small satellite office at JASA or at Roy Reuther, two large senior housing complexes.

Fans of the popular party band Stages had to dance to cheesy top-40 remixes at the Irish Circle last Friday night after the party-starting pop-rockers failed to show for a performance there. “I’ve been looking forward to this for two weeks!” moaned a beautiful blonde who wanted to strut her stuff. Meanwhile, bandleader Steve told The Wave Stages played a corporate event that night and had no commitment in Rockaway as the fliers at the Irish Circle suggested. “It must have been an error,” said Steve, “I’m sorry if we disappointed anyone.” The band will play “the Circle” on January 14, as their website www.StagesBand.com says.

A reminder to lock your car doors when you are nearby local shopping areas. Some locals have returned to their cars only to find that small change and tools left in the unlocked auto have disappeared. At least one local, who left his car on Beach 116 Street, believes that some of the panhandlers who work the street have become more aggressive and watch for motorists who leave their cars unlocked.

The Port Authority is touting its AirTrain service as a large success, quoting large ridership numbers on its first anniversary. The truth, however, is that most of those riders are airport employees who use the service to move around the airport for free. The number of people who use the AirTrain to get from JFK to an outside destination such as Howard Beach or Jamaica is clearly about twenty-five percent lower than predicted at the end of the first year of service.

Congratulations to Steve Stathis, a senior safety specialist for Con Edison and the president of the Graybeards, who was named as Newsday’s profile two weeks ago. The organization that Stathis helped to form has gone from a bunch of “over the hill” basketball players who wanted to so something for Rockaway after September 11, to one of the most important groups on the peninsula.

Fines, more fines and more expensive fines, that’s Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s New Year’s present to his constituents. The city’s little-known Environmental Control Board has raised many fines for the coming year, including a minimum fine of $70 (up from $45) for owning a loud dog. Other increases: dumping household or commercial trash in a city litter basket, $100 (up from $25); failure to sweep sidewalk and placing graffiti on public property. Some small owners say that the new fines might well put them out of business or force them to move to Nassau County.

In an earlier issue of The Wave, we erroneously identified Keith Williams as the brother of American Airlines Flight 587 victim Kathy Williams. In fact, Kathy was Keith’s wife, not his sister. We regret the error and hope that it did not cause Williams any discomfort.

There will be holiday lighting on Beach 116 Street this year, thanks to many local residents who contributed to the annual affair. A number of local merchants, however, refused to donate to the good cheer of the shopping street. To them, we say Bah Humbug!

Aficionados of peanut butter and jelly (and, aren’t we all) now have their own Website that can be used to find new variations of the old favorite. There is now a Peanut Butter and Jelly Of The Month Club. To find more information, log into the club’s website at www.lovepbj.com.

Wave Columnist Liz Guarino (Broad Channel Bits), who was named earlier this year as one of Newsday’s “Everyday Heroes,” for her volunteer work, was honored last week at Adelphi University in Garden City.

A recent published report says that City Council Speaker Gifford Miller has directed more than $50 million to groups represented by lobbyists who have either donated money to his campaign or have raised money for him. For example, $33.7 million in city money reportedly went to “Friends of the High Line,” whose leaders have donated more than $7 thousand to Miller’s campaign.

The Rockaway Museum is asking residents for memorabilia from their student days at FRHS. The material will be used in an upcoming exhibit, “Far Rockaway High School Revisited.” The museum, is looking for such things as yearbooks, sports uniforms, cheerleader uniforms, pictures, prom memorabilia, teacher’s pictures, etc. Those who are interested in either donating or lending their items to the museum can call 718-634-4000 for further information or to set up a time to drop off the items.

Talk about huddled masses. About 50 parents and grandparents huddled in the cold outside PS 114 on Monday, waiting for the Kindergarten students to get out of school. It would seem to us that the school could find some way of allowing parents inside the building during inclement or cold weather, as most other schools do.

The just past anniversary of the Japanese attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor once again brings to mind that seventy-eight of the Japanese planes used in the attack were what we called “Zeros” or “Zekes,” but what the Japanese called by their rightful names – Mitsubishi A6M Reisens. Perhaps now, more than 60 years later, Mitsubishi should call its newest automobile the A6M in honor of the company’s participation in the surprise attack.

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