I vividly remember the morning of the plane crash of 587 in Belle Harbor. I received a phone call from my daughter. I couldn’t hear what she was screaming about. All I remember was, “Oh my God, Mom. A plane crashed in front of me eyes. Oh my God.” I began screaming. My son J.R. came running out of his room that morning asking what happened to his sister and her husband. “Are they alright?”
The Volunteer Fire Department alarm was going off. It seemed forever. Being a volunteer of the Roxbury Fire Department, my son J.R. said, “Mom, I have to go to help these people.” A while later he came home with bloodstained clothes and said, “Mom, it was the worst thing I have ever seen. I had to help these poor men, women and children.”
He said the victims of this senseless act could have been his family. “Mom, that is all I could think of. I want my family to be cared for as I cared for them all.”
Later that evening I went into J.R.’s room and found him sitting, crying and staring out his bedroom window. I hugged him. He was only 14 at the time and told me he wanted to be alone. I had no answer for J.R. I wish I did as I hugged him tight. I was feeling my young child’s pain. This was one of the worst experiences a young boy of 14 should go through. His life changed forever.
The World Trade Center disaster on 9/11 hit J.R. hard too. He sat crying in his dark room, saying with tears streaming down his beautiful face, “Oh my God, Mom. Why did this happen?”
His sisters and stepfather were all working in Manhattan at the time. The whole family was trying to get in touch with them on our cell phones. We finally heard that they were all safe and J.R. was choking back his tears saying, “Thank God. I could not have imagined how we would have been able to go on without them, Mom, never to be in our lives again.”
J.R. witnessed a hit and run accident in Breezy Point in 2004. He had come home and told my husband and I what had happened. He told us that car was coming at high speed while he was at a red light. J.R. tried to yell to the family to stop but it was too late. He dialed 911 and stayed with the injured people until help arrive. He told me, “Mom, you always taught me that we have to be responsible for our actions.” The police questioned J.R. and he told them he would help in any way he could. J.R. wondered how people without a conscience could live with themselves.
As J.R.’s mother, my life has been shattered and our family chain broken. I will never understand how another human being can disregard a human life and leave my son lying in the street as a victim of a hit and run. I just want to know where is the humanity in a tight-knit community like Breezy Point.
I will never see his beautiful smile again or hug him tight in my arms. He has been taken away from us forever.
But you, who know what you did, I hope you can look into yourself and come forward to take responsibility for your actions. I can barely make it through a day knowing that the truth is being hidden. How can you live with yourself knowing the facts surrounding what you did? Look in the mirror and tell me what you see.
I am broken forever.
A Father’s Lament
This letter is for everyone with a heart and a sense of justice. It is also directed at the select few people in the Breezy Point Co-op who know the truth. I don’t know if you are afraid of repercussions, if you are in denial or if you are worried about some temporary discomfort in your life.
My name is John Paden, and my son J.R. was killed on Rockaway Point Boulevard early Sunday morning on March 13, 2005. This is a small community and many people know me. Many, many more know my wife Linda. It seems everyone here knew J.R.
Every minute that goes by, that the truth goes unsaid, is another knife if my wife’s heart. Have you thought of your own children, or of your family or friend’s children? Or do you think of your own temporary comfort? Take a long look at any child that you love dearly, and picture them dying in a bloody heap on Rockaway Point Boulevard. Then think of that wonderful person who will not be held accountable.
If none of this affects you, go to the Blarney, or go to a party and have a few drinks. Then clap you best buddy on the back and celebrate the wonderful close-knit community that we are all so fortunate to live in.
I’ll leave you now with our broken hearts and lives.
As if the house mania going on here wasn’t enough with houses being built anywhere, anyhow, some with not enough parking spaces to even accommodate the owner’s need; some with garages below street level in spite that we live in a flood region. In spite of the need for a hotel or a motel to accommodate the need of visitors, we tear down the one we had at Beach Boulevard and 128th Street and the rumors are that the Levine’s Washington Hotel at 125 Street is stated to be torn down to make room for one and two-family homes.
In spite of all the housing going on here and there and, of course, the building of “Arverne By The Sea”, without building any new facilities to accommodate the new arrivals, like a new schools, new park or even a single new store.
Oh, yes, there are some new stores being built at the Boulevard and 106 with “occupancy in August (for the last 8 years ) In spite of all the above, now we have a new apartment house going up on the empty lot at 116 Street and the Boardwalk. There goes the only and last lot in the region that would have been suitable for a little park, with tables and facilities for a Coffee or a cappuccino or for a park where a mother could take a stroll with her baby away from the traffic or even (and why not) a bocce court for us seniors, instead here comes a building, that according to reliable sources, is to contain 72 condos, with prices ranging from $350,000 to $1 million.
With a proper permit, builders have the rights to built anything, anywhere to make money. They are are not concerned about the lack of schools, or a park or a little green or any other facilities for the new arrivals. Oh, no, the only green they are interested is the one that they can deposit to a nearby bank. The building I saw going up is almost encroaching on the entrance to the beach. Once fully built, eight floors, it will take away some beautiful beach views away.
According to reliable sources, there will be one parking space for condo. At cost of being repetitious, I would like to know were are they going to park a second car, if any, or their parent’s, relative’s or visitor’s car when they come over to visit (oh, they are going to have visitors, believe me) especially in the summer?
The buyers are going to ask questions, as to the school their children are going to attend, stores for shopping, public transportation to Manhattan or the entertainment facilities for themselves and for their children., like a museum, theater, movie house or a soccer / baseball field. (According to the Wave’s Beachcomber, there have been such inquiries already) .
These questions deserve answers and I don’t think they are going to be acceptable. I would like to see the expression on their faces when they are told that, after work, at 6 p.m., they can’ t go for a dip in the ocean, across from their house or after supper, at 9 p.m., they can’ t go downstairs on the boardwalk for a walk (right Addabbo?)
As for building more housing in the region, haven’t they realized that the “BUILD THEM AND THEY WILL COME” has been proved to be a misconception? They haven’t finished building yet and we already have (according to reliable sources) some apartment buildings with 60% vacancy or “For Rent” signs on many private buildings (used to be a rarity) How long would it be when, in desperation (eh, someone has to pay the tax, etc), some owner will call a City Agency and ask them to fill-up their vacancy?
Safety In Beach Channel
I am writing this letter in reference to the article published in The Wave dated March 25, 2005, pages 4 and 6, concerning Beach Channel High School becoming an ‘Impact School.’
I applaud this article and the editor of this publication for addressing a major issue, which has been plaguing B.C.H.S. for some time now: school safety.
This has been of one of my deepest concerns because I have watched my own child’s education deteriorate because of it. I am not the only parent who has this concern. Both education and the safety of the student go hand in hand.
There must be an atmosphere of safety in the school in order for the student to have a clear mind to apply themselves to learning. This hasn’t happened in B.C.H.S. as of yet, when not only the students are afraid to walk the halls but teachers as well, there is something dreadfully wrong. It was reported last week that there were 20 arrests in and around B.C.H.S.
My child used to enjoy school but I am sad to say, now hates it because of the violent atmosphere and does not want to attend it as much.
With all these things that are going on with security in the school, I can still say that the Assistant Principal, Mr. Katz, who is head of security has been doing his best to resolve this situation of school safety. I have noticed him on a number of occasions as he performed his job with professionalism, tact, vigor and equity. There is only so much this man can do with the limited resources he has (e.g. the small amount of safety officers to cover such a large area as B.C.H.S.) not only that but not having the full backing of the principal, school board and chancellor.
In closing, I would like to state that as a parent who has a child attending this school, if there are no steps made toward much better security for the students that attend this school, it should be made an “Impact School.” Why should people in the community send their children out of the community to go to other schools because of a severe lack of safety and security here? One final note – look how dramatically crime has dropped in Far Rockaway High School – 80% since it has become an “Impact School.” Think about it.
Ashamed Of Dem Politicians
On Palm Sunday I sat at Riis Landing sadly looking across the water at the New York skyline. Since 9/11, I look at the skyline, know that we are brave and wonder how long we will be free.
Never have I been so ashamed of our Rockaway Democratic politicians especially Chuck Schumer and Tony Weiner, who didn’t even bother to show up to vote in order to save the life of Terri Schiavo.
Catholic life used to be important to the Democrats; our immigrants flocked to the party on arrival in New York for its’ life-giving protections. Schumer of course, must be an advocate of nepotism.
When I called their offices to explain why I could no longer vote for them, a twit in Weiner’s office told me the starvation was perfectly legal. I told her slavery was also legal in the United States before the Civil War and the genocide of the Jews in Nazi Germany was also perfectly legal, but never moral or merciful. Law can never be rigid with life.
Now Hillary, I never expected anything from in the first place. She married a southern politician who probably had white sheets and a hood in his closet along with his interns. Anti-Papists and the hanging judges were also very common in the South. They have always been very free with the death penalty for Blacks and Catholics.
After all, the Southern plantations were granted to the same Scotch clans that were also the grantees of the Ulster plantations of Northern Ireland, at about the same time in British history. And I never voted for either Clinton, I felt her first serious misjudgment was her engagement to a JFK wannabe!
My vote goes to Jesse O’Jackson for his support of Terri’s parents and his statements about law being tempered by mercy.
On St. Patrick’s Day, the small community of Roxbury buried a third child; the victim of an out of control elderly driver who left before the arrival of the NYPD and the administration of the breathalizer. J.R. McDermott was killed outside my house at the intersection of Reid Avenue and Rockaway Point Boulevard. My elderly mother was mowed down in the afternoon at the same intersection the exact same type of driver who also left before the NYPD arrived. Our wonderful security force said he tried to leave her on the road but the pursued him.
At that time, Al Stabile promised us a traffic light as soon the coop removed the anachronism of the booth from the middle of the city property. I myself witnessed a family of five leaving the lot on Christmas Day sent to Peninsula Hospital.
The mirror was missing – stolen again by some of our more irresponsible teens. A Breezy Point member of the Coop board told me on St. Patrick’s Day as he jogged by that Stabile never made such a promise to me. At that time he was busy flopping on Fulton and dancing to the oldies and loud Irish music in the Clubhouse. He wasn’t even on the board, nor witness to my Republican conversations. Big Al was not reelected.
But the Democrats, if they want to help the McDermott-Paden family can check the number of accidents at this location recorded at the Rockaway Point Volunteer Firehouse.
If the accident were at Beach 219 Street and Rockaway Point Boulevard, the same board member and his allies would have a traffic light within a week to protect their children.
Is Lew O’Simon the only politician that respects the lives of Rockaway Point and Roxbury elders and children? I reached out to Audrey McPheffer and am still awaiting a reply. She and Lew are the only Democrats who respond to us.
I added the ‘O’ and the ‘Mc’ because they continue the work of the deceased James Conway Sullivan for the working class Irish population of my community. They don’t court upper Neponsit and Point Breeze exclusively. I will work for the reelection of the good Republican Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, as he attends our parades and promised me a traffic light for corner paradise. Check has moved on.
Sunday, April 3 is Divine Mercy Sunday. God Bless Linda and her family and the driver and his family, whom I’m sure are suffering greatly. Lord, have mercy on them all especially the raging Southern judge who is used to giving the death penalty even to the innocent.
Even bless Hillary. You know she’s lived her personal purgatory. I hope the devil himself doesn’t whisper into any of their heir’s minds to stave them for their assets.
Lord, ask Audrey to ask Iris Weinshall Schumer, Commissioner of the Department of Transportation, appointed by the good Republican Mayor Mike, to hasten the traffic light at our intersection of the culture of death.
Protect the Brooklyn people and the summer party people who overcrowd our roads. Tell Iris not to count the cars on the booth side (extreme left incoming lane) in February. There’s plenty of coop land to the left of the present booth site to move it off center.
J.R. McDermott, 19 years young, was buried from St. Genevieve’s by Father John Cullanane on what should have been a joyous St. Patrick’s Day – our holiest holyday. Fr. Jack counseled the families and the youth throughout the crisis.
Our Bishop from Newark – comes and goes “talking Michaelangelo” with the sick. Close St. James Pro – Cathedral (his Church). He’s never there, or hardly ever, anyhow. It’s over-decorated and has awful paid singers for the TV Mass everyday – for maybe 6-12 worshippers. Retire the Bishop. St. James Pro is a money-eating anachronism also. Keep Father Jack in Roxbury with his people. They’ve suffered enough and use the money from the sale of St. James to open the parochial schools for the living church – the kids of the Diocese. Retire all the decrepit bishops. Keep the good Irish monsignors and Irish priests with their people who love, support and attend their churches.