2005-07-08 / Community

Beachcomber

The National Night Out Against Crime event will take place on both ends of the peninsula on August 2, not August 8 as noted in last week’s Wave. The east end festivities will take place at O’Donohue Park while the west end event will center on Beach 116 Street and the Beach Club. The west end event will feature fireworks shortly after dark.

A reminder to try and stay away from driving around the west end of Rockaway this weekend. Those who remember last year’s Guyanese festival at Gateway National Park will know why. The park was eventually sealed off and it took hours to get over the Marine Parkway Bridge in either direction. This year, there are other large-scale events the same weekend, so it’s driver beware.

Bernard Gassaway was the principal of Beach Channel High School before he stepped up to become the Deputy Superintendent for Alternative High School Programs. Two weeks ago, he was invited to be the commencement speaker for Middle School 53 in Far Rockaway. The principal of MS 53 is Claude Monereau, who served under Gassaway as an assistant principal and who, after Gassaway left, wanted to become principal so badly that he fermented racial problems at the school. In any case, we have been told by several reliable reporters that Gassaway as much as said in his speech that Arverne By The Sea was some sort of racial cabal to “change the color of Arverne.” Gassaway and Monereau seem to make a good pair. Perhaps he should take a look at who is buying into the Arverne By The Sea dream and he’s wouldn’t be so quick to turn the development into a racial problem.

Every year, the New York City Department of Parks issues a press release stating that the beaches are ready to open on Memorial Day and that they will be fully staffed. Then, between Memorial Day and July 1, the majority of the beaches in Rockaway are closed because there are not enough lifeguards to staff them. Last weekend, many of the west end beaches were “red-flagged,” with the result being that many local residents had to lug their wagons and their kids a number of streets on the sand (there is no boardwalk west of Beach 126 Street), more of a hardship than city officials can realize. They think that having to go several blocks to find an open beach is no problem, but they are wrong. Among the beaches that were closed were Beach 139, Beach 141 and Beach 143 Streets.

There were also many closed beaches in front of the large Dayton Towers and Dayton Beach Park complexes.

This week in 1893, Hog Island disappeared in a large hurricane. The storm was so fierce that it knocked down dozens of trees in Central Park. It also wiped out Hog Island, a large resort island popular with people from the city government and with the arts community. The island was located right off Far Rockaway, where Wavecrest Gardens now stands. The storm demolished the island’s large bathhouse and pavilions. Eventually, the whole island sunk into the ocean and artifacts from the island washed up on Rockaway’s shores for many years.

If you ride the subway, you have another month to drink your coffee and walk between the cars (if you’re crazy enough to do the latter). You can even put your feet up on another chair even if somebody is looking for a seat without getting a fine. Next month, however, any of those things can earn you a $75 fine. We can understand the strictures on moving between cars and holding two seats, but drinking from an open container takes the rules a little too far. Even television understands, witness the ad with the woman making paper birds for the naughty girl because she drinks orange juice. If she were to do that next month, she would face a fine. It’s just another example of Bloomberg’s need to control everybody’s life down to the finest detail.

Norman Siegel, late of the ACLU, is at it again. Now that Siegel is a would-be politician who wants to win the minority vote, there is no end he won’t go to in order to cull favors. In the wake of the shooting of a police officer who went to arrest a man who was selling marijuana, police officers spread out throughout the St. Albans area looking for the shooter. Siegel thinks they were too “active” in their search. “There have been numerous arrests of young, African-American males,” in the community, Siegel said. Police officials, however, want to know why that is bad news. “There is nothing questionable about arrests for guns, assaults, narcotics sales and possession,” said Paul Brown, the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information. “The only thing that’s questionable is the remarkable ease with which Siegel [and others] slanders police officers wounded in the line of duty.”

As the brand new beach park was officially unveiled on Beach 103 last week, a beaming Senator Malcolm Smith promised to outdo Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer by funding not just one but two more. Smith also referred to Rockaway as “Hamptons west,” and said that’s why he was decked out in a blue blazer and crisp white slacks rolled up above his ankles.

A number of factors, including the recent heat wave, has caused a blood emergency in Queens. The New York Blood Center is urging donors to call 1-800-933-BLOOD to make an appointment. The center, which serves 13 Queens area hospitals, says that donations have been down more than 25 percent in recent weeks and a constant supply is needed for surgeries and emergencies.

In the wake of word that the NYPD actually has a quota for those who write tickets (didn’t we know that all along) even though the department calls them “productivity goals” or “expectations,” motorists who don’t pay their tickets on time are going to get a break under a new City Council law that raises the threshold giving city marshals the right to tow. In the past, that threshold was $230 in unpaid tickets. Now, under the new law, that is raised to $350. Part of the reason for the law was that tickets went from $55 to $105 last October. The city will still get you, one way or the other.

Once again, Rockaway has disappeared from the radar of our daily papers. In Sunday’s edition, Newsday did a three-page spread on “Dining outside” in New York City and Nassau County. Take a guess on what waterfront area was left out completely. You got it. The section on Queens included a number of waterfront restaurants in Astoria and Long Island City. The Nassau County section listed restaurants in Island Park and Long Beach. Rockaway? What Rockaway? We don’t exist, even though there are at least five local restaurants in Rockaway, Breezy Point and Broad Channel that could have filled the bill.

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