2005-02-11 / Letters


Not Going To Work

Dear Editor;

Smaller schools mean smaller classes hence better education. 

This is a notion whose time is long overdue BUT will never make a difference.  I have taught in inner city Miami for 21 years. Nothing works! Down here we call them charter schools or academies. The students still have problems, there’s still violence, state literacy testing is more important than educating students and the only thing anyone seems to be interested in is sports. These smaller schools are not doing any better on the state exams either. We are doomed!

The only thing that will ever make a difference is when the students buy into the idea that education is important. The only way that will ever happen is when the children get the message at home that education is important and they are not getting that message. If we think back to when we were in school, for the most part our parents were far more involved in the schools than anything that happens today. 

There are probably those who disagree but they are entitled to their opinions.

It is with this in mind, that I scream from the hills, Far Rockaway High School cannot go the way of Andrew Jackson. It shouldn’t be allowed to fade away in the dust. We have our memories and we know how important school was in our day.  If FRHS or any school with a past as rich as ours fades into the dust, the world/our world is a little less for its passing.  The next question, is there anything we can do to stop it?



Wrong About Beach Channel

Dear Editor;

This paper must have a problem with the management and staff of Region Five and the schools in the Rockaways by the way you write about them.

You wrote that even though Dr. Cashin talks about how safe the Rockaway schools are Beach Channel High School had a problem in safety on January 7 where a mother and daughter came to school with the express purpose of assaulting another young lady.

Well, even the US Secret Service, the best at what they do could not keep President Regan from being shot, because even they will tell you that if someone is that fixed on doing harm to someone else, the best they can hope to do is get to that person before they do harm.

In the January 12 problem, it was a fight and in most cases a fight can be sparked for many reasons and as for both turning into minor riots I believe you did not take into fact that kids see a fight and want to raise their voices and draw a crowd.

Both problems were handled fast and professionally, not like a lot of the writings in this newspaper. You should thank your lucky stars that we have a regional supervisor like Dr Cashin and her dedicated staff for our kids in this area.

As a parent of a child in Beach Channel I thank her for her dedication to our children and for trying to keep them as safe as possible may not always agree with her but I always believe she has the children needs first.





Reform The Political Process

Dear Editor,

New Yorkers can hardly pick up a newspaper these days without reading about the need to reform the political process. Everyone seems to be jumping in on the act. Commissions are formed, reports are issued, and proclamations and promises are made.

But, we’re wondering whether incumbent politicians who benefit from the partisan status quo can really be counted upon to lead a reform movement. We think that independent minded New Yorkers have to lead that fight and that’s what Independents For Reform was set up to do. We (over 250 independent Queens voters and over 1,200 citywide have signed this letter in the last five weeks) invite all your readers—no matter what party they’re in or whether they even belong to party—to join with us in a genuine, grassroots movement for political reform.













  Problems And Solutions

Dear Editor:

The following letter was sent to City Councilman Joseph Addabbo. Dear Council Member Addabbo,

The Rockaway community needs you to come to our aid in our time of need relative to changes in commuting times to Manhattan from Rockaway. There are now serious delays in commuting from Rockaway both in the morning rush hours and the evening rush hours. The Rockaway community has the “A” train service to Manhattan but there are very limited other alternative travel options to Manhattan available to this community.

Attached is a Word file detailing two specific problems and their proposed solutions. Enacting both of these solutions will provide considerable improvement to the commuting times of Rockaway residents. The Rockaway residents will definitely recognize you personally if both of these solutions can occur. The Rockaway residents that commute into Manhattan each workday are hard working individuals who deserve better service in this time of need especially since there are simple solutions that would immeasurably improve this unforeseen problem of a signal fire in Manhattan.

This email is also being forwarded to The Wave newspaper and it will also be distributed within the Rockaway community.


Rockaway residents can only take the “A” train going to Far Rockaway and exit at Broad Channel to take the “S” Shuttle. The Shuttle train waits for at least two or three “A’ trains to arrive at Broad Channel before it makes its run. The wait for Rockaway residents at Broad Channel has been at least 17 minutes or more. This delay at Broad Channel is unacceptable.


Since a total of ten (10) trains have been eliminated then the “S” Shuttle service should be increased. There should be a Shuttle train available at the Broad Channel station for every “A” Far Rockaway train that arrives. This eliminates the unacceptable wait at the Broad Channel station for Rockaway residents. There are definitely trains and train crews available since a total of ten (10) trains have been eliminated.


All five (5) morning express service trains have been eliminated from Rockaway Park. Since there are no express trains in the morning to Manhattan then Rockaway residents have no opportunity to get to Manhattan directly without at least one change of trains.


The earliest express train should be re-instated. The residents are not asking for all five or four or three or two but just one express train. This one additional express train will at least give Rockaway residents an opportunity to get to Manhattan directly. If a Rockaway resident needs to get to Manhattan for an important appointment or job requirements then there will be a real opportunity. Rockaway residents could then make their own personal decision to take this train.

Right now, there is NO OPPORTUNITY available to Rockaway residents to go directly to Manhattan in the morning rush hours.

Your detailed review of this situation would be greatly appreciated.

Again, I would like to thank you in advance for your careful review of this proposal.


Active and Aware

Dear Editor;

Many people reading this letter are unaware of the benefits of having very active Community Council. The connection between a police precinct’s ability to serve a Community is often associated through the input of an active and aware Community Council. Meetings are held on a monthly basis, the date is published in the Wave’s What’s Happening page listed under meetings.

The Council Meetings are very informative, interesting and overall a pleasant experience.

The Commanding Officer Captain Paul Piekarski and the Community Affairs Officers are in attendance and offer everyone the opportunity to address any issues. You can be assured that all of your concerns are answered. Your presence at a meeting enables you to meet and mix with other residence from within our community; perhaps you may discover you share similar needs and concerns.

The Council Meeting’s on occasion have guest speakers such as representatives form the District Attorney’s office, representatives from the New York City Fire Department, and Drug Prevention / Rehabilitation speakers. For our next meeting on Wed. Feb. 23rd. at 7:30 P.M. Knights of Columbus, Supreme Court Judge Abraham Gerges will be the guest speaker.

The more participation we have at our Police Council Meetings of residents from our area, the better informed our police are to keep our Community safe and thriving. Looking forward to seeing many residents attend our next Police Council Meeting.




Desperate Need

For Better Transportation

Dear Editor;

The following letter was sent to Congressman Anthony Weiner and City Councilman Joseph Addabbo..

Dear Congressman Weiner and Councilman Addabbo:

The recent bus strikes and subway fires have highlighted the fact that Rockaway Park is in desperate need of new and improved means of public transportation.

The Green Bus Line strike not only left Rockaway residents with no bus service (Q22 and Q35) on the peninsula, but eliminated the only express bus service available to Manhattan (QM 16).

While A train service in the rest of the city is almost back to normal, Rockaway Park residents continue to suffer with the suspension of the Rockaway Park A train. The interim shuttle service is unreliable at best.

As the housing boom continues in Rockaway, we need to consider how we can address the serious lack of public transportation available to current and future residents.

To start, let’s get the Rockaway Park A train back up and running. Next, let’s add more Express Bus (QM 16) service to Manhattan including weekends. One weekday bus is not enough.

I look forward to hearing what you plan to do to address these issues.

Thank you for your time.



Baxter’s Comedy Club

Dear Editor,

I have some fast-breaking news to report to the community.

On February 26, 2005 at 8 p.m., the Rockaway Park Playhouse, located in the Baxter Hotel on Beach 116 Street in beautiful downtown Rockaway Park, is presenting the Baxter Comedy Club, featuring performances by 6 comedians and an Irish acoustic band – way cool!

Now, as it happens, this would be the same Baxter who took me to court and tried to have me declared mentally incompetent and asked the judge to appoint a guardian to handle my affairs. Based on the hilarity of that particular day, I wouldn’t miss this show for all the tea in China.

On a more serious note though, think about it – a quaint little comedy club, on a quaint commercial strip in a quaint seaside community.

People would come from this community and others, have dinner in the new Belle Harbor Steakhouse, Tiberio’s or Ciro’s and then enjoy a show at the comedy club. After the show, amused and pleased folks would then stroll around our quaint little seaside strip and partake of other shops in the area.

Why, as we speak, the site of the former Harbor Bakery, a primo retail location on Beach 116 Street, is about to open as a Laundromat. Hopefully, it will be the 24-hour variety. I can just picture the ads in The Wave: “See a show. Do your laundry. Special package deals available!”

Even more seriously though, this is a very good thing. Whether it’s the Baxter Comedy Club or anybody else for that matter, it’s a step in the right direction. And quite frankly, this could be the smartest thing John Baxter has ever done.

I urge my fellow neighbors and residents to come out and enjoy a laugh.


Erroneous Application

Dear Editor;

The following letter was written to officials at KeySpan Energy.

Dear Sir or Madam:

Concerning the above application for KeySpan’s Bayswater generation plant that appeared in the Environmental Notice Bulletin in January, 2005, Keyspan erroneously made a determination that the above project is not located in a Coastal Management area and is not subject to the Waterfront Revitalization and Coastal Resources Act.

Not only is this property located within the confines of the New York State Department of State’s determination as a Coastal Management Area (all of Rockaway is included in this) but they are additionally subject to Land Use Reviews by the City of New York.

This important error and the fact that multiple applications for modifications submitted by the above named facility since the original

application was approved, as well as objections by other entities concerning proposed modifications, I hereby request a legislative public hearing is held to properly notify the public and provide an additional opportunity for public comment.

The waterways this project is located at is within 100 feet from D.E.C. Region 1 authority via an inlet where warm water discharge occurs. Therefore, the D.E.C. Region 1 should be included in this process. Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead should have been included all application decisions.

Jamaica Bay has been designated as Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitats by the New York Department of State, and the bay up to

the high tide line was designated as a Critical Environmental Area by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.

Jamaica Bay was also designated as one of three special natural waterfront areas by New York City’s Department of City Planning. A comprehensive watershed management plan for the bay was completed in 1993 by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection in order to better protect and restore habitats and improve water quality. Wetlands are regulated in New York under the state’s Freshwater Wetlands Act of 1975 and Tidal

Wetlands Act of 1977; these statutes are in addition to federal regulation under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, Section 404 of the Clean Water Act of 1977, and various Executive Orders.  This application does not support all of these conditions.

Finally and most importantly, the waters of the Far Rockaway region is of immediate concern following extensive, multi-year scientific studies by carrying out integrated, coordinated pilot observational program of the physical, chemical, geological, and biological systems within Jamaica Bay.

These findings were released in 2004, showing severe degradation of the local waters.  Again, this has not been considered in any of applications for modifications.


When Life Was Simple

Dear Editor,

What happened to those days when life was simple? Jumping rope, playing jacks, making dolls out of soda bottles, playing tag, catching lightning bugs and watching them turn different colors. What happened to those days of old when things were so simple? Eating clay out of the clay hole. We had very little back then, but life was so simple.

We were so proud and grateful. We didn’t even know that we were poor folks and it really didn’t matter. There was always enough food for us – grandma made sure of that. We had chickens and grandma kept her vegetables fresh and good. She used to bake cakes that were six and seven layers.

We always respected our elders. What happened to those days when there was so much love for one another? We didn’t know anything about black or white. When you went to Ms. Graham’s house to eat, everybody at the same table.

I thank God for the road I had to travel to arrive at where I am today. I am so grateful that as a child, my mother and grandmother said, ‘no’ to me and I didn’t get everything that I wanted. I had to earn it. Times were real tight back then, but we always had clothes to wear, food on the table and a roof over our heads.

I thank you God for bringing me through the rough times in my life and I also thank God that I am still living and I can remember where I came from.


Wants Reliable Service

The following letter was sent to Congressman Anthony Weiner and City Councilman Joseph Addabbo.

Dear Congressman Weiner and Councilman Addabbo:

As a daily rider of the A train, I write to ask for your assistance regarding the A train current service to Rockaway Park. The Rockaway Park Express train servicing the Rockaways has been eliminated indefinitely.  The elimination of this service has add significant delays to an already arduous commute.  The shuttle service was unreliable prior to the Chamber Street fires and the service continues to deteriorate.

Rockaway residents are left with few alternatives for commuting to Manhattan.  The elimination of the Rockaway Park Express is another example of the neglectful public transportation from Rockaway to Manhattan.

Please let me know what you are doing for the residents of Rockaway to improve public transportation to Manhattan.  I look forward to your response.



Beach Safety

Dear Editor,

The following letter was sent to Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer from New York City Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe.

Mayor Bloomberg asked me to respond to your letter concerning beach safety.

We share your concern on this important subject. We already provide warning signs in English, Spanish and Russian at our beaches. We stress the importance of water safety at many of the events we hold and statements we issue promoting the public beaches. In addition, we offer free learn-to-swim lessons at both our indoor and outdoor pools each year and are working on proposal with the Department of Education to provide swimming lessons to a broader audience. I will discuss the question of promoting general water safety with Chancellor Klein at the next opportunity.


Doo Wop Thanks

Dear Editor,

I would like to publicly thank the Rockaway Wave for its support in publicizing our 12th Anniversary “Doo Wop” Spectacular held Saturday, January 29 at Beach Channel High School.

In addition, I would like to extend special thanks to the following Rockawayites for their support in helping raise funds for the Susan G. Memorial Scholarship Fund at B.C.H.S.: Assemblywoman Audrey I. Pheffer; Democratic District Leader Lew Simon; West End Realty’s Barbara Morris; Condor Pest Control and Alan Camhi, George’s Florist and Norman Block, Balloonatics and proprietors Ann and Diane; Rockaway Printing and Lenny Kohn; Beach Channel High School principal Dr. David Morris; long-time B.C.H.S. custodian extraordinaire Joe Gargiulo; and the 100th Precinct Auxiliary Police volunteers.

Thanks to Congressman Anthony Weiner for making a surprise visit at our concert and offering words of praise for the success of the concert production, which the longest-running annual fundraising event in the tri-state area. The event has raised funds for the Susan G. Memorial Scholarship Fund at B.C.H.S., a fund established by the long-time Communication Arts teacher at the school and writer of this letter. The scholarship is in memory of my sister Susan who passed away at the age of seven of leukemia.

The 13th Annual Doo Wop Spectacular will be held on Saturday, January 28, 2006. Thanks to all the fans who attended this year’s concert. Looking forward to seeing our fans, friends, and supporters at next year’s concert.


No Walk-In For Bloomberg

Last week Wave editor Howard Schwach looked into his crystal ball to analyze the upcoming race for mayor. His ball reads much like my own with respect to the Democratic candidates’ chances but it depicts Mayor Bloomberg as waltzing to a relatively easy victory against his internal Republican challengers. In fact, he predicts Bloomberg beating Republican Tom Ognibene by two to one. I think he was off-target regarding the Republican side of this equation.

A recent survey of the leadership in our group, the Rockaway Republicans, surprisingly gave the edge to Tom Ognibene by a two to one margin. 

While Howard correctly noted that Republicans aren’t too happy with Mayor Bloomberg and this does seem to be on target, he misses the increasing disaffection among the Republican rank and file.

The Mayor’s penchant for the nanny state, the fact that he has surrounded himself with liberal Democratic staff and administrators, or that his judicial appointments have resulted in 56 Democratic judges and zero Republicans, could all be ignored if only he had shown the decency to attend the President’s recent inaugural. Instead he pled other business though he still found time to attend Donald Trump’s third wedding. His failure to show the city’s colors in Washington may only reflect his realization that the city he governs lies at the heart of the blue states. Still, not standing up as our representative in Washington during this historic moment, no matter what party he represents, places this Mayor beyond the pale.

Tom Ognibene at least represents a principled alternative to what seems more and more to be an overly pragmatic, self-interested occupant of City Hall. If Ognibene continues to strike a responsive chord in Republicans who feel letdown by a mayor who carries their banner but acts like a blue state Democrat, the crystal ball into which Mr. Schwach was gazing may soon tell a different story. It bears mentioning that in our 23rd Assembly District (of which Rockaway represents a significant part), with  3.6 registered Democrats for every registered Republican, President Bush actually took almost 49% of the votes cast by voters registered in either of the two major parties (17,543 for Bush vs. 18,598 for Kerry). This is significant and suggests that Mayor Bloomberg may be misguided in running away from this president so soon after his re-election.

If the Mayor continues down this path, the Wave crystal ball may soon be showing a Mayor reduced to running for re-election, like John Lindsay before him, on a third party line.


MTA’s Absurd Decision

Dear Wave: 

Over the last two weeks Rockaway Park riders have been waiting patiently for the return of Rockaway Park A Train Service. 

We read in our local paper, The Wave, on February 4 and NY Daily News on February 6 that the MTA does not have plans on restoring the service.  This is absurd! 

We live in Queens at one of the furthest points away from the city.  How can our service be indefinitely suspended when it is 12 miles away from the fire?  The Rockaway Park A is our only means of direct and safe transportation on and off the Rockaway peninsula to and from New York City.  This ride to and from Manhattan is long enough.

Rockaway Park riders already have adjusted their schedules to meet the necessary needs of a long travel period. We have one express bus through The Green Bus line, how are 13,000 rush hour riders suppose to board one express bus to get to work on time?  I ask you to assist our residents to reinstate the five Express Rockaway Park A trains at once arriving and departing Rockaway Park.

Below are several suggested answers for the number of dedicated Express Rockaway Park A train riders:

Absolutely restore the Express A service to Rockaway Park;

Have Express Bus Service every half-hour going downtown and midtown Manhattan from Rockaway Park traveling the A line (making stops at Beach 116 St., Beach 105 St., Beach 98 St. and Beach 90 Streets) beginning at 5:45a.m. and ending 8:15am. Beginning again at rush hour evening times, 04:15 p.m. through 6:15 p.m. along Sixth Avenue (follow the Command Bus Line Routes) to reach the Rockaway Park A Stops mentioned above.

Have the MTA dissolve one train from each line = Washington Heights, Lefferts Blvd., Far Rockaway and Rockaway Park. It is unfair that Rockaway Park should take the full loss on the A Train line.

Have shuttle buses to/from Rockaway Blvd. to alleviate us piling on the Far Rockaway A line solely.  This would give Rockaway Park A riders a chance to grab a not-as-crowded “Lefferts Blvd” A as well.

Your attention to this matter is appreciated. For your information I have contacted the offices of Bloomberg, Pataki, Schumer, Clinton, Addabbo, Marshall, Smith, Weiner and Simon. Thus far, Lew Simon was the only person to give me a courtesy call back. 


                     Lawrence Nursing Party

Dear Editor,

Santa’s helpers made an unforgettable holiday for residents at Lawrence Nursing Care Center. The Ingram family sponsored a holiday party for our residents at Lawrence Nursing Care Center.

Elijah Ingram, who is a resident at Lawrence, smiled proudly as his family decorated the dining room and brought in enough homemade pies, cakes, and cookies to feed over one hundred people. The residents feasted on peach cobbler, sweet potato pie, and many kinds of cheesecake, apple pie, fruitcake, pound cake and delicious cookies.

Along with the goodies, they were treated to a spectacular live performance by pop singer Felicia Johnson, gospel singer T.J. Crumpton, the Rev. Mason Center steppers, and D.J. Keith Harvey.

The most unforgettable moment was when every resident in house was presented with a beautifully wrapped gift.

On behalf of the residents and administration at Lawrence Nursing Care Center, we would like say thank you to the following participants and contributors who made this day a memorable occasion, never to be forgotten: the Ingram family; Cynthia and Valerie Ingram of Brown Sugar Bakery; Patricia Fry of Café Trish; Kenneth Baldwin of Kabco, Inc.; The Elks Rockaway Lodge $5332; Aramark Food Services; Fred Simmons of State Senator Malcolm Smith’s office; Larry Johnson of Extreme Visions; the staff of the Long Island Railroad; Nathan Hamm of Bombarbier Transportation; Earlene Glenn; staff of the Reverend Mason Center and the wonderful, kind and loving staff of Lawrence Nursing Care Center.


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