2005-06-17 / Community

Beachcomber

There has been lots of comment the past week about Edward Re’s comments at a recent Rockaway Park Homeowners and residents Association meeting. Re, the president of the organization, is in favor of the present parking ban on Rockaway Beach Boulevard, which is certainly his right. He is being challenged, however, by Dan and Linda Ruscillo who started an organization called CANPAS to fight the parking ban.

At the meeting, Re reportedly said that restoring the parking now “would be kowtowing to a select few dissidents who live in the basement of a wood-framed, multi-unit dwelling.” While Re thought that he was taking a potshot at the Ruscillo’s, he was clearly enunciating the feelings of many in the community who believe that only those who own homes have a right to make decisions for the community. Hey, Ed, even those who live in the basement of a wood-framed multi-unit dwelling in Rockaway Park have a right to a voice in what goes on in their community. The kind of antediluvian thinking that Re exhibits is what causes problems for everybody.

Some Broad Channel residents are reacting badly to the prospect of a cellular tower in the center of their community. Jane Connor wrote to ask for help in stopping the tower’s installation. “It is a block away from a public school and across the street from a public park,” she says. Connor says, “as you may already know, cellular towers can, in the long run [cause] health problems including Cancer.” The fact is, however, that there is no real scientific evidence that cellular towers cause Cancer or any other ailment. Most of the “evidence” for its “harmful” nature comes from the Internet and is hardly scientific. More and more people, including those in Broad Channel, are using cell phones each day. In order to provide that service, cellular towers are necessary. You can’t have the service without the towers. Until there is a proven scientific tie between the towers and a specific ailment, we can see no reason for keeping the towers from being erected.

The Triangle Park on Beach 145 Street in Neponsit was opened two years ago with great fanfare. Now, however, it is full of weeds and the $300,000 the Parks Department spent to add it to its pocket park program seems to be a waste of taxpayer money.

Speaking of the beaches, City Councilman Joseph Addabbo reportedly met with the lifeguard union recently and the union agreed to change the hours to 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. from the current hours, which close the beaches at 6 p.m. Addabbo added that the change would come only if there was a consensus for that change in the Rockaway community. Getting a consensus on anything is Rockaway always seems to be a problem, however.

A Broad Channel man called us to say that the smell that fell many children and adults and forced an evacuation of at least two schools three weeks ago was due to a tugboat that dumped a barge-full of garbage into the bay nearby the Cross Bay Bridge. “There was a line of garbage for about a mile,” the man said. “The next day, the entire area smelled.”

The Cancer Relay For Life will be held at Beach Channel High School on the weekend of June 18 and 19. Those who have been involved with the event know that it is both enjoyable and moving. Teams made up of cancer survivors, the relatives of those who have succumbed to the disease and community residents join to walk laps all night long. The seminal event of the evening is the lighting of hundreds of “luminaries,” candles dedicated to those who were lost as well as to those who survived.

City Councilman James Sanders, Jr. wants to see the swimming hours increased on Rockaway beaches. In the wake of the drowning two weeks ago, Sanders issued a statement that offered his condolences to the families of the two who died and that called for some of the money from the city’s budget surplus to be used for a supplemental budget that would extend the hours until dark. Sanders told The Wavc, “the long hot summer is all ahead of us and something must be done to safeguard those who use our beaches.”

In a recent issue we noted in this space that the Rockaway Republicans have endorsed the insurgent candidates for local GOP district leadership, Eric Ulrich and Rosemary Duffy, over incumbents Terry Ariola and Ed O’Hare. We also suggested the local Republican group has endorsed insurgent candidate for mayor Tom Ognibene over incumbent Bloomberg. Finally, we noted that Ariola and O’Hare were the obstacles to the Rockaway Republicans receiving their much-coveted charter as a bona fide and fully accepted Republican club in Rockaway, successor to the old Gateway Republican Club, which went belly up in 2002. We were wrong on all counts, according to new information, though the story is complicated enough to suggest that we may have got the story right in spirit, if not in fact. The newly formed Rockaway Republicans inform us that they have not endorsed any candidates during this primary season although they have members who support different sides in the various races. Because of internal splits, the club decided to forego formal endorsements in the interest of keeping their disparate members together. However, there is strong sentiment among club members for the district leadership insurgents, Ulrich and Duffy, who hail from Ozone Park, over the incumbents, Ariola and O’Hare (from Howard Beach and Broad Channel respectively). Rockaway Republicans Chairman George Greco of Neponsit and President Tom Lynch of Belle Harbor have asked both tickets to indicate where they stand on the Rockaway club’s request for an official charter. Ulrich and Duffy promptly responded in writing, declaring their support, while Ariola and O’Hare have so far declined to do this. Although Ariola has indicated privately that she does not oppose the charter request for the local Republican club, others in her camp have indicated otherwise, suggesting that the Rockaway Republicans “won’t be around by next year anyway so why should they get a charter?” The Queens County organization also continues to suggest that the incumbent district leadership, based in Howard Beach, remains the obstacle to chartering. We told you this was complicated.

Rockaway resident Ron Weinfeld, who recently retired from the subway system after many years, says that there is some positive publicity for Rockaway in the new movie, “Monster-In-Law.” Weinfeld said that there are several scenes in the movie in which there is an old framed photograph of an old subway sign on the wall. That photograph shows the “Mott Avenue” sign. As you all know, Mott Avenue in Far Rockaway is the last stop on the A line.

The city is contemplating adding 400 surveillance cameras around the city, spotting them in “high-crime areas.” While many civil libertarians decry the plan as “spying,” most locals we spoke to think it is a good idea. One of the cameras planned for Rockaway would be placed at Mott Avenue and Beach 19 Street. We could suggest another at Beach 54 Street and Beach Channel Drive, which seems to draw much of the gunplay on the peninsula.

The Wave has been deluged with calls from local residents who recognized immediately the location of the 1952 Rockaway Memorial Day Parade where the picture we ran last week was taken. We believed that the picture was taken in the vicinity of Playland because of all of the concessions in the picture, and we were right. The 1952 picture was taken at Beach 95 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, nearby the now defunct amusement park. Some of the callers even identified the owners of the various stores and the people who rented apartments upstairs from the concession. More about the individual stores in this space next week. Also, see another of the parade pictures from the 1952 event in this week’s paper. We have been asked by many readers to keep printing the old photos.

A resident of the Hammel Houses was shot and killed last week in front of an East New York apartment building. Police in Brooklyn say that the shooting was probably in retaliation for a beating that the man doled out a few weeks ago. The local man, identified by police sources as Peter Ortiz, 20, was shot once in the back in front of 2181 Pitkin Avenue around 11:35 p.m. last Sunday. He was rushed to Brookdale Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

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