2005-02-25 / Letters


A-OK For Tribute Park

Dear Editor,

Your article asking if Tribute Park was “poised or mired” and last weeks commentary in “Beachcomber” left unanswered questions about Tribute Park progress.

For my part, I would say I think the park is “poised”. This fall the Chamber of Commerce made the astonishingly good move of hiring Dan Mundy to serve as Park project manager. Mundy is an extraordinary talent, tremendously well suited for this task. If there is any one person on this peninsula who can make the park happen it is he.

Dan has been working very hard behind-the-scenes this winter while the site is in snowy cold storage, making what sounds to me like outstanding progress. His good work gives Rockaway real cause for optimism. It also appears the folks at the Chamber of Commerce have been putting up a valiant fight against seemingly endless hurdles served up by the NY Arts Commission and Parks Department.

We are getting excited again here at my workshop and will be re-starting work in a couple weeks, based on our hopeful presumption that the Park will all come together this summer. The mosaic floor and glass Tribute Dome parts are mostly prefabricated, ready and stored here at my workshop. When the park site is finished I’ll put the pieces together and plan delivery. Even with all the delays, the Chamber of Commerce, the other contractors and I have done lots of work that doesn’t yet show because it is “behind the scenes” and won’t be obvious until everything is moved to “stage-center” in the park.

Regarding last weeks “Beachcomber” commentary, the Local No. 7 Tile, Marble and Terrazzo Union has already been a tremendous help and has offered to do whatever we need for the park. They are an invaluable partner in the project and are graciously and patiently waiting with us for approvals to proceed with additional valuable donated work. They have already fabricated and delivered a perfectly crafted stone base for the mosaic. No “agreements” have been made or broken.

In May of last year the Arts Commission decided they wanted to move the Tribute Dome from the center of the park over to the far corner near the water where the flag pole used to be, and remove the mosaic floor from the Dome and locate it on a new platform in the middle of the Park, which is kind of cool. I agreed to this change only on the condition that we could replace the floor with a beautiful granite and marble floor that mimicked the Navigator Star design of the now removed mosaic, which was to me vital to the design of the overall Dome. Local Union No. 7 said they would be happy to donate and install this fantastic custom floor that I estimate to be worth $40,000.

To make a long story short, the Chamber of Commerce apparently decided not to pursue approval from the Arts Commission for the floor, perhaps because of all the grief and hurdles already in the way, even though I believe the Arts Commission expected and awaited the floor proposal/design. Now, it is my understanding that the Parks Department has ordered a cement floor from a contractor outside Rockaway with a navigator star design to be painted on it. As artist and designer of the Dome, I feel this is a ridiculous missed opportunity and an outrageous loss of an incredible donated floor, and a decision that badly diminishes the overall effect of the Dome even though the new cement floor might be “pretty”. I understand the Parks Department and Chamber genuinely feel the cement floor will be beautiful and good enough for Rockaway. I am crossing my fingers that the dagger-to-my-heart cement floor won’t ruin the Dome.

In any event, excitement is in the air, and looks to me like Rockaway will soon be home to a truly awesome new Park with artistic brick paths, fantastic gardens of carefully selected flowers and trees, great 9/11 Tribute artworks, all so beautiful that everybody in Rockaway will be amazed.



Wave Is Wrong On BCHS

Dear Editor;

I am writing this letter to express my anger towards the wave’s article on February 18 titled, “BCHS crime spree blamed on Administration”.

The reason i am so angry is because this article omits many important details such as while Beach Channel’s suspension rate may be higher, Beach Channel is also one of NYC’S most populated schools/ The wave also blamed Beach Channel for a crime spree that occurred on February 8. The wave ignored the fact that 66 percent of the perpetrators were NOT Beach Channel students.

The Wave omitted the fact that police officers are assigned to patrol outside the school. Why were they not blamed for the incidents that occurred?

Lastly why is none of the blame placed on the perpetrators (where it rightfully belongs) who commit these atrocious actions?

Beach Channel is full of hard-working staff and students who constantly feel demoralized by The Wave’s yellow journalism. What the wave needs to do is question the motivation of certain people who bemoan our school A.P. Katz and Dr. Morris, who are both very hard working individuals who are doing a difficult enough task without people trying to undermine their efforts.



Mirsky Is Wrong On SS

Dear Editor;

As a reader of the Wave I must take issue with Stuart Mirsky’s latest column. I ordinarily ignore his writings, but last week’s diatribe on Social Security was so blatantly inaccurate that someone must point out the numerous errors. They’re not hard to find.

Firstly, “Everyone... agrees that the system is unsustainable.”, states Mirsky. Not true. The system has worked for 70 years and even in 2018 when the surplus is no longer, recipients will be paid. In the worst case 37 years from now the benefits are reduced to 75%.

Mirsky states, “But those accumulated dollars to pay out don’t exist except in the form of I.O.U’s. ...” The practice of investing Social Security proceeds in US Treasuries...seemed like a good idea at the time.” Those accumulated I.O.U’s are TREASURY BILLS, widely acknowledged as the safest investment on the planet. They are the I.O.U’s that finance our entire economy, the ones Bush wants to loan trillions more of! If they are really of no value now, what makes Mirsky think foreigners will want to hold trillions more to finance Bush’s plan?

Mirsky decries borrowing more money, it “..will drive up money costs while adding to the deficit... a substanital economic downturn, a serious drag on the economy.” Blatantly untrue! Social Security, its payroll tax and the necessary borrowing has had only the opposite effect. In 70 years, together with unemployment insurance, it has kept this economy from sliding into depression after depression. Seventy-five million elderly and infirm people currently need not be destitute or homeless because of it. Prior to its inception that was the norm, get old, get poor, get sick and die.

Mirsky states, “The improved return from privatization will plug the gap... historic returns ...exceed the returns for monies paid into the...System.” He then gives a half sentence to the downside, “market risk.” Dead wrong again! That minor downside risk that he pooh pooh’s in the next sentence would have wiped out the account of most retirees in 2001-2002 had they been in the new privatized Social Security at that time. They could now be feeling at one with their grandparents back in the depression, impoverished and ready to die, or the poor Enron pensioners who all thought they would retire millionaires.

Mirsky states, “So even if we leave things as they are...the imbalances could tip us into a 1930’s style crisis. Totally absurd! It was Social Security and the other government programs that got us out of the 30’s crisis. Roosevelt didn’t enact them out of the goodness of his heart. Take away what is known as exogenous government spending and then you’ll have your crisis.

Mirsky makes absolutely no mention of England or Chile where exactly this type of privatization was tried and found to be catastrophic. Does he know, or simply not care?

What he also conveniently leaves out is the easiest solution. Take the cap off taxable Social Security earnings. Ask the richest, the millionaires he neglects to mention, the ones who just got the best tax cut of their lives,

to simply pay their fair share into the system and the system becomes solvent for not dozens, but hundreds of years. Conveniently, he makes no mention of them.


     Father John Available

Dear Editor;

In a recent letter to The Wave, Thomas C. Gillen, an alumnus of St. Virgilius School and former President of the church’s Parish Council, expressed his opposition to the recent decision on the part of the Brooklyn Diocese to close the St. Virgilius Parish School in Broad Channel at the end of this school year. Unfortunately, as Mr. Gillen set forth the basis for his belief that this decision will have a markedly adverse effect on the community of Broad Channel, he also challenged the effectiveness of Father John Wtulich (Father “John”) and his role as the Parish Administrator insofar as the community’s efforts to reverse this decision were concerned.

For the record, immediately after the decision by the Brooklyn Diocese to close St. Virgilius was announced on Tuesday, February 8th, the St. Virgilius Business Plan Committee was formed by several community residents, including myself, in a determined effort to provide the diocese with substantial evidence that the community of Broad Channel was willing to undertake and attain whatever measures were deemed necessary and prudent in order to receive a commitment from the diocese that would avoid the permanent closure of our school.

To that end, a request was made to Father John to intercede with the diocese and request that a meeting be arranged with a diocesan representative to discuss this issue with our committee.

The following Saturday, the Diocesan Vicar for Education, Monsignor Michael J. Hardiman, came to Broad Channel and met with our committee in the parish rectory. 

It was at this meeting where, after hearing from our committee, the school principal, and Father John, Monsignor Hardiman provided Broad Channel with a thirty day period of time to address the problems of low student enrollment and operating deficits in order to prepare and submit a formal business plan setting forth our construct of a viable school operation for a period of the next 3 to 5 years.

Since our meeting with Monsignor Hardiman, Father John has not only made himself continually available to our committee regarding any questions we may have or to provide other information we sought, he has also opened the doors of both the school and the church to our committee for the conduct of our business and he has allowed our committee to share it’s progress in this endeavor with the community at the conclusion of weekend masses. Further, at a recent community meeting regarding this issue attended by some 250 residents, Father John was a comforting presence amidst a sea of worried faces.

In my personal interactions with Father John, his advice, suggestions, recommendations and counsel have evidenced not only a strong and willing spirit of cooperation but his actions also speak highly of his personal commitment, not only to the future continuance of our parish school but to the community of Broad Channel as well.

As we approach the end of the road we are all traveling in our efforts to save our Parish School, I ask that we remember all those who are traveling with us including our pastor, Father John, with the kindness and appreciation they so richly deserve. 




Letter To A Grandfather

Dear Editor,

The following letter was written by an eight year old in Florida to his grandfather in Rockaway about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dear Dr. King, Jr.,

I would like to thank you for my freedom, peace, life, friends and non-violent changes. There’s a book of you. I heard half of your speech, “I have a dream.” Thank you for stopping segregation and turning it into desegregation. Thank you for changing our rights. I hope you live peacefully in the afterlife. Thank you for making us equal.



Where Does Weiner Stand?

Dear Editor,

I need your help.  Recently, a major decision regarding gay marriage in New York City was handed down.  To the best of my knowledge our Congressman, and recent mayoral hopeful, Mr. Anthony Weiner, has not made it perfectly clear where he stands on this particular decision. Three questions:

[1] Does Mr. Weiner support gay marriage?

[2] Does Mr. Weiner believe that this recent legal decision should have compelled the City of New York to start issuing marriage licenses for gay couples immediately?

[3] Does Mr. Weiner believe Mayor Bloomberg was correct or incorrect to appeal this gay marriage ruling to a higher court?

For the sake of all voters in the Rockaways and Broad Channel, I hope The Wave will print a clear and precise three-point answer to the three questions above. 



What Is Art?

Dear Editor:

This letter is in response to last week’s From The Artists Studio column.

I just read Susan Hartenstein’s article on Christo’s ‘Gates’ and found this formulation of special interest: “like all works of art (or whatever it is).” 

You leave open the possibility that it is not art.  As you will note in the news release posted in the current Aristos, my own judgment is that ‘The Gates” is definitely not art. 

I was in Central Park today for the unfurling of this violation of the park’s design by two charlatans.  It is my “backyard,” I jog in it nearly every day, and ‘The Gates’ will not be carted away soon enough.




Greenpoint Bank On Seagirt

Dear Editor,

The following letter was sent to Floyd Smith, Director of the Concerned Citizens for the Rockaways.

The Banking Department is in receipt of your letter submitted via fax, dated February 8, 2005, regarding the proposed reduction in the services of Greenpoint Bank’s (owned by North Fork Bank) Seagirt Boulevard bank branch. The Consumer Services Division is currently reviewing the potential impact on banking services in the Far Rockaway are as a result of this action, and your correspondence will be included in the record.

We value input from community members and appreciate your concerns.




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