2005-01-21 / Letters


Praises New Restaurant

Dear Editor;

I would like to share with my friends and neighbors the wonderful experience we had at Rockaway’s newest restaurant “The Belle Harbor Steakhouse.”

It was a family birthday celebration and the choice was made to try the new place. We were late for our reservation but our group of five was still warmly welcomed. It wasn’t crowded-but other places would still have been annoyed.

The very friendly hostess showed us to a table of our choice and when we sat down and settled in there was a small plate of delicious, delicately seasoned, stuffed mushrooms for our munching delight while we perused the menu. The Proprietor came over to welcome us to his establishment, as our waiter made sure we were okay with our drinks and appetizers. The appetizers were generous enough for sharing and so delicious that we were glad we could.

The menu consisted of old steakhouse favorites such as chateaubriand, porterhouse steaks for two (the size of half the table), Romanian steak with sautéed onions, and much, much more; as well as all the standards. We were glad we had the mushrooms because the menu made our mouths water with the variety of upscale Manhattan style dining choices; all served with your choice of soup or salad, potatoes and vegetables.

The food was wonderfully seasoned and cooked perfectly to each of our preferences. The service was attentive, and even the background music was conducive to digestion.

The wine list was a little pricey, but we found a selection (or two) that fit our meal and our pocket. Maybe had we the knowledge necessary to support it we would feel differently.

Even though we were the last family dining that night there was never a mention or motion to rush us.

It is nice to have a new place to choose from to be as dressed up or as casual (I’m sure within reason.) The only thing missing was a view of the bay. But I think this restaurant should be supported. It is an up-scale menu, reasonably priced for the high quality. Our whole family left full and satisfied. We had both change in our pocket and each of us had a bag in hand for a midnight snack or lunch the next day.

My whole family highly recommends the Belle Harbor Steakhouse. It’s just the right place to impress a new date, an old friend, the in-laws, visiting friends or just a nice classy dinner out.

Welcome to the neighborhood and we hope you are here to stay.


Rumors Are Unfounded

Dear Editor:

We, the concerned parents of the students currently attending St. Virgilius School in Broad Channel, are extremely upset about the rumors circulating throughout the Rockaway Peninsula regarding the closing of our school. We have been informed by the Dioceses of Brooklyn and reassured by Father John, our administrator, and Mrs. Phelan, our principal, that these are merely rumors and that no decision has been made.

We have worked diligently to come up with a viable plan, which has been submitted to the Diocese for review. To hear these rumors, after all the time and effort we have put in, is quite disconcerting to us. These rumors are causing a few worried parents to take their children from St. Virgilius and enroll them in the already over-crowded public schools and other Catholic schools in the Rockaway area to “save their seats”. Another rumor that must be quashed is that St. Virgilius has an enrollment of 60 students which, to say the least, is a blatant exaggeration.

We need to stick together and see through what we have started and watch the perseverance of our handwork and fundraising efforts allow our school to thrive. Despite being the school with the smallest enrollment in our cluster, we are one of the highest ranking in education, and when it comes to fundraising, we have been complimented on it many times by the Diocese of Brooklyn. The reason for our success is not only the dedication of the student, parents, principal, and faculty but also the generous support of the Broad Channel Community, as well as the merchants of Broad Channel, the Rockaway Peninsula, and Howard Beach.

As far as the rumors presently circulating that St. Virgilius will close in June are concerned, please wait and see. We are extremely hopeful that Bishop DiMarzio will spare our school from the closing list.

In the meantime, please help us in our endeavor to keep our school open. If you must speak about our school, speak the truth, “St. Virgilius School guarantees superb education in a warm, nurturing environment. A place your child will feel secure despite what is going on in today’s world.” All parents who are looking for the secret in superb education can find it at St. Virgilius School, Broad Channel.

With our deepest gratitude for allowing us the time to have our say,



EMT’s Received No Help

Dear Editor,

On Wednesday morning, while driving I came upon an ambulance that just had an accident at the Rockaway Freeway and Beach 94 Street. The driver of the ambulance fell out trying to get to his partner who seemed to be hurt badly. As I tried to keep him calm, all he wanted to do was help his partner but he himself was in condition to do anybody any good. At this time I tried to help him.

These guys risk their lives to help the public. What is so unbelievable is how all the cars that drove by me – no one was willing stop and help or see if these guys needed help. These people know who they are – they drove by like nothing happened. I hope one day they are never in such need and watch people drive by. In this day and age, with everything that is going on, people should be willing to help others – especially to try and help the guys that try to help all of us. I hope the two EMT’s are well and get back to the community that they help.


Wrong About Fitzgerald

Dear Mr. Schwach:

I must say I was quite appalled by your editorial in the January 14 edition. I know you pride yourself on your journalistic ethics, so the comments in your editorial were most disturbing.

In it you quoted a “committee” of teachers from MS 202 commenting on the new assistant principal. You printed many disparaging and negative comments about this young man, as well as attributed many offensive statements to him.

You are not absolved by your statement that you do not know what is going at the school, or the fact that you know the teachers who wrote you. You quoted their letter, you therefore had an obligation to check the facts. You did yourself, your paper and most of all William Fitzgerald a disservice.

The comments quoted in this and other articles lead the general public to believe that people are simply put in these jobs because they know someone. You failed to correct the “committee” of teachers, or the letter writer in a letter to the editor in the same issue, and advise that any person hired as an assistant principal must have supervisory and administrative licenses. These licenses can only be obtained by fulfilling the legal requirements. Mr. Fitzgerald did that.

Fitzgerald has done an exceptional job from day one. He is hardworking, courteous and respectful. He is well liked and respected by the staff, administration and students. Fitzgerald has been eager to learn and take full charge of his many, many responsibilities in a busy middle school. In my opinion he has done a wonderful job. I know of no other more qualified person from within the school who applied for the job. I work at the school as a secretary and am not part of any committee. I speak for myself and am proud to sign my name to this letter.


The New Year

Dear Editor;

The New Year is well underway. Our world is often a scary and sad place. Iraq and the Tsunami reports have filled our homes. Our emotions can run wild from frustration to anger and often to sadness, as we see the devastation nature can create, or as we view the faces of our young military killed in Iraq.

As we sit in our warm comfortable homes not knowing what hunger is (unless we choose to diet for that slim appearance) or to know a thirst craving clean water to drink, somehow miraculously Americans do empathize. We collectively feel better making donations to Tsunami victims, we realize a proud feeling seeing our military dispensing much needed food and water to throngs of human beings desperate for survival.

The best of humanity does respond to other human beings. How can anyone not be moved by the faces of children frightened, alone, hungry and desperate?

However within our world there are those unmoved by others suffering. They are so far removed from their own humanity they only know hate. They will use any means to destroy their enemy. This is a frightening reality. One can’t help but wonder why and how this hate is born. I guess the answer is a complex and complicated one. In comparison to the world problems Rockaways problems are finite.

Our schools, parking, 9/11 Tribute Park still non-existent, drug use, crime, street signs missing, trash cans not at corners, streets that flood during rains, houses being used for other than residences, and I am sure even more issues. However these are important, it is where we live and where our children grow. The world is composed of many different communities.

Thanks to The Wave for the opportunity for ALL residents to express their ideas, concerns, anger, frustrations, opinions, questions and whatever else.




M.S. 202 In Good Hands

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to the comments made in last week’s Wave regarding William Fitzgerald, Assistant Principal of M.S. 202. Until he introduced himself to me on the first day of school in September, I had never met or even heard of William Fitzgerald.

I have worked at M.S. 202 for the last fifteen years. I have been a part of District 27 since 1955, when I entered Kindergarten at P.S. 100. I have been teaching since 1970 and have weathered many educational storms. I will be retiring at the end of this school year, so I have no hidden agenda. As you know, my professional experience is quite extensive. Although there are many policies of the Bloom/Klein D.O.E. with which I strongly disagree, I am able to separate politics from pedagogue.

This said, I will tell you what I know of William Fitzgerald. He is qualified young man, who received his supervisory and administrative credentials from an accredited college. He has brought with him what all young professionals hopefully bring: energy, vitality, hopefulness, knowledge of current educational trends and innovations, and a willingness to listen and learn from his older staff members. He treats staff members of all ages with professionalism and respect. He is gracious and most appreciative of his teachers’ efforts. He is liked and respected by the many, many staff members I have spoken to since he began in September, one of whom has never heard the comments he was allegedly quoted as making. He is doing a terrific job.

Your reference to “a committee” of teachers at M.S. 202 baffles me. What is the title of this committee? I know of no such committee (such an official sounding word.) The committee members are obviously unaware that the policy of not hiring from “within the building” was put into effect many years ago by the Community School Board/Board of Education. That is why when Marty Fielder retired as Principal of M.S. 202, a former assistant principal and interim acting principal was not chosen; and Raymond Gregory could be brought in from Brooklyn. The current principal, who was hired prior to Bloom/Klein, is also not from District 27. Secondly, of the last dozen assistant principals hired, perhaps one came from the M.S. 202 staff. Perhaps one had prior administrative experience. Most assistant principals come directly from teacher-line positions. Wouldn’t these so noted “qualified staff members” be coming out of classrooms with no prior administrative experience? I really don’t think that cameo appearances as “Dean for a Day” gives one much edge.

I invite you to visit M.S. 202, Howie. I believe you would be quite surprised and pleased. Yes, we of the “old guard” are mostly retired. However, I am in awe of this new, younger generation of teachers with whom I am privileged to work. They are professionally qualified, creative beyond belief, enthusiastic, and caring. William Fitzgerald is their administrative counterpart. He is presently a good administrator who shows the promise of being exceptional.

After working in a profession that I dearly love for almost 35 years, I am proud to pass the torch to all my young and terrific colleagues at M.S. 202!


Needle Exchange In

Far Rockaway

Dear Editor,

This letter was sparked by an article in The Daily News with a banner “Far Rockaway Poised To Begin Needle Swap.” It really caught my attention. Community Board 14 voted 21 to 4 in favor of a van which will arrive weekly to swap used needles for clean ones. We will then become the third Board in Queens to have this program which is operated by the AIDS Center of Queens County.

Please have our board shed more light on this program. The text of the Daily News made it seem as if the sole activity of this van is to allow I.V. drug users to hand in their old needles. Is there some prerequisite to join this program? Is there medical supervision on site to dispense doses of a drug to these addicts, pending entry into a rehab facility? If so, then the program has merit. It will be a proactive step in the AIDS war, while addicts can be weaned from these life-destroying drugs.

If, however, this is just a needle swap with no supervision, in my opinion, it is breaking the law.

Where are these addicts getting the substance to inject, with these clean needles? From drug dealers? Is it not the law to arrest such predators, so they cannot make a fortune from illegal activity?

What about the statistics surrounding crime, in drug infested areas – like prostitution, muggings, robberies, murders?

We certainly have an obligation to try to help addicts. More accessible and publicized rehabs and clinics are legally accepted, medically sound ways to offer these people a path to a healthier lifestyle.

Yes, these is also a dire necessity to try to combat AIDS. It is a horrible disease. But, you do not have the right to support an entire criminal network, in certain neighborhoods, to achieve a medical goal.

Anyone who is alive knows that I.V. drug users have multiple problems, besides AIDS. Overdose, “bad smack,” poor health, poverty – the list is indefinite – it is beyond dispute, as we do have extensive drug awareness in our society.

How do we preach to children the dangers of drug use, when this “welcome wagon” arrives weekly to aid and enable “safe” I.V. drug use? That is just disgusting.

How do we justify this, to residents of the community who are trying to rebuild their neighborhoods?

All those who fought against a car wash, will hopefully, fight a lot harder against this. It is insulting to them. It is a refusal to clean up their area – why – because it isn’t Park Slope?

Don’t these residents have the right to expect law enforcement to protect them? Is it fair turn addicts loose, unsupervised, in that area?

This van is distributing illegal drug paraphernalia – albeit clean – to people who are not in any condition to make rational decisions. What does the AIDS Center expect will happen after it pulls away?

Drug abuse is illegal. Dealing is illegal. Without supervision offered, this program is just not right. I resent my tax dollar being spent to help support the drug cartel and the other heinous crimes tied to it.

No one is above the law, or are they? Sorry, but I’m not soft on crime – it’s rehabilitation or hail – pick one. Society can help, but should not be put into a position where crime is accepted under “politically correct” circumstances of any kind.


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