2005-08-18 / Letters


No Fun In The Sun For Rockaway Residents

Dear Editor,

As we speak, people all over the city are enjoying themselves on the many beaches New York has to offer. Everyone, except those persons who frequent the beaches on the Rockaway Peninsula, especially the beach right here in Rockaway Park,

Now why is that? Well, because beachgoers in the Rockaways, especially Rockaway Park, can never relax. First, there are the Parks Department employees zipping around on their beach buggies, circling your blanket every five minutes, looking for what? Molotov cocktails? Nuclear weapons?

Then you have your friendly neighborhood cops on the beat from the 100 Precinct. Except the cop on the beat no longer walks around the neighborhood. Rather, he/she parks themselves on the high chair on Beach 116 Street with high-powered binoculars in hand, dissecting the crowd.

Now for the best part. I live a half block from the beach on 116 Street. If I wanted to relax on the beach and enjoy a nice, really cool Corona, I would have to get on a bus and go to Riis Park. Same peninsula. Same beach. Same sand. It’s insanity in its highest form.

I’m sure you attended the annual ‘Night Out Against Crime’ on Tuesday, August 2. The event gets an excellent turnout every year. People actually come to 116 Street from as far away as Neponsit and Belle Harbor. And there’s a reason for its continued success. You see, people who choose to live in a beach community like to partake in events that occur on or around the beach. Surprise, surprise!

Summer 2005 runs from June 21 to September 21, which is 93 days of sun, fun, hot dogs, pretzels and beer. Not here in Rockaway though. We only get one night to go out without fear of getting a ticket.

I know you’re now on the job, but I’m sure you have realized that Adrien Benepe, the NYC Parks Commissioner, should have resigned three years ago. Brazen incompetence, the man authorized the bulldozing of a dune, which happened right here in Rockaway around Beach 124 Street. It’s an outrage! However, just because the Parks Department is incompetent from the top down, doesn’t mean that the people of Rockaway have to suffer, right?

How about a band and/or DJ on the boardwalk and 116 Street. On a Saturday evening from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., dancing around on the boardwalk and the beach. It happens in Coney Island all the time! How about getting a radio station to do a “location show?” Something, anything!

The point of all of this is obvious. The beaches of Rockaway are far and away the peninsula’s greatest assets. We should be looking for ways to enhance the enjoyment of those assets and attract people to our beaches, rather than drive them away with harassment. And if the NYPD and Parks Department don’t like it, tough! They’re our beaches! Summertime and the living’s easy…yeah right.


Enough is Enough!

Dear Editor;

I read your article last week about Councilman Sanders initiative to end “over-development”.  Well I have a series of questions for my councilman also known as Chairman of the Economic Development Committee.

Where were you when all the “over-development” was taking place?  Oh yeah, that’s right you were in City Hall and inaccessible to your constituents outcries.  You were smiling in every photo op possible with Arverne By The Sea developers and the Mayor.

When will you stop, look and listen to the cries for employment within the district on these sites of “over-development”?

Where do you think the children who will occupy all this new housing will go to school?  Our schools are busting at the seams already.

Why do you keep taking credit for every penny that comes into your district when you know you had nothing to do with it?

Where have you been over the last three years while this over-development was happening? While our seniors have been victimized by “unscrupulous developers”?

Has every organization listed on your last mailing received money from you? I know the answer to this one, “NO”.  So why do keep giving voters the perception that you are doing and have done so much for them?  You know half of the budget items you are attempting to take credit for were either in the works long before you took office or the money is part of a capital improvement budget which is not due to any efforts on your part.  I am insulted that you believe your constituents are not seeing through all of this re-election smoke.

I am supporting David Hooks, Jr. for City Council and I do it proudly.  I call on every parent who has ever stepped to Mr. Hooks for help and he helped your child or grandchild without hesitation.  I call on every person who has ever come to Mr. Hooks for help whether it is to help them get housing, GED’s, jobs, etc to remember how available he made himself.  Ask yourself if you went to the Councilman who is paid to serve you, would he make himself available?  Would he follow up until your cries for help are resolved?  Ask yourself homeowners where was our Chair of the Economic Development Committee when this housing boom with no jobs or new schools available to keep the pace with all the new residents?  Ask yourself where was Sanders when three-family homes were being constructed next door to single-family homes?

I ask you to cast your vote for change, chance, access and accountability and more importantly service, all the things that David Hooks truly represents.  Councilman Sanders is not the man for the job unless continuing down the path of over-development, unemployment and over crowded classes is what you want.  If nothing changes nothing changes!


Selfish Rockaway Residents

Dear Editor,

I sympathize with all of the people, who on account of parking, are expected to let people invade their own parking places.

Now, “selfish people” is the phrase to use for people in Rockaway. I grew up in South Carolina and Indiana, and people always came to visit me in bad times. People in Rockaway need to rethink how they treat people. I have been in New York too many years now and can count on my fingers how many people have offered me any help, and didn’t even send me a card when two of my children died. I don’t drive and have to pay for a cab just to shop for food. Selfish people here need to rethink their lack of caring. I don’t think God would approve of it, and many go to church, but won’t give up their selfish ways. If I had a parking space, I would not share it either.


Rockaway Needs Local Leadership

Dear Editor;

I am writing in response to the “open letter to the Residents of Rockaway” from Republican district leaders published in your August 5th edition.

These two individuals have occupied the Republican leadership positions out here for years and in all that time have barely noticed Rockaway. Now they’re facing a serious challenge for the first time from Eric Ulrich and Rosemary Duffy, both of Ozone Park and the current leaders want to claim credit for all sorts of accomplishments to which they are not entitled.

The current leadership team took over the 23rd AD in the days of City   Councilman Al Stabile and were his protégés. Since then, we have seen an   almost complete disappearance of local Republican candidates for office in our communities. Last November, Democratic Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer ran unopposed and this year Democratic City Councilman Joe Addabbo is similarly running without opposition.

The current leaders brag about “the huge voter turnout for the re-election of President George W. Bush.” But what is it they think they did? Here in Rockaway, our newly formed group, the Rockaway Republicans, reached out to them during the presidential campaign in 2004 and asked them to let us know what we could do to support the president. Their only answer was silence. In the absence of a response from them, we organized our own group, held two presidential events, took up a collection and paid for local ads, reached out to neighbors with a petition to support the president, etc. In fact, the events and activities we undertook appear to have been the only things done in the 23rd AD during the entire presidential campaign in support of President Bush! It’s true there was a big vote for the president in our area but it had little to do with anything our Republican district leaders bothered to do in 2004.

Six months after we made them aware that we had taken the initiative and formed the Rockaway Republicans, they started their own club. Instead of supporting us, they decided to compete, as though there wasn’t room for two clubs in the area. In fact, prior to all this, the only chartered club in our 23rd district was the Regular Republican Club that meets in Ozone Park, a club the current leaders had consistently ignored and periodically feuded with.

Our current leaders, in their open letter in the Wave, say they “have no objection to the charter” for our Rockaway club. In fact, they have actually said this before in private and we’re gratified they have finally said it in public, as well. We have been consistently asking them to make such a  public statement of support for our charter request since last January when State Senator Maltese, the Republican leader of Queens County, publicly stated that the only reason he was unable to grant us a charter (which our predecessor club, the old Gateway Republicans had) was because our district leaders were opposed! If they had been willing to publicly support our charter request back then, Senator Maltese would have had no reason to delay granting one and we would have had no reason to turn to their opponents to help us rebuild a Republican presence in Rockaway.

The point of democracy is choice and the current leadership team has done nothing to help provide Rockaway voters with that. Now those of us who are registered Republicans have a choice of our own: whom do we want for our district leaders for the next two years? Eric Ulrich and Rosemary Duffy have pledged to support our chartering efforts from the start, have promised to work with us to put Rockaway residents in Rockaway positions, and have pledged to actually maintain their presence on our peninsula the way local Democratic leaders have been doing for years. The choice for Republican district leaders on Primary Day, September 13th, couldn’t be clearer.




Angered Hotel Owner Asks For Apology

Dear Editor,

In your last issue of The Wave, “From the Editor’s Desk by Howard Schwach,” referred to my hotel as a place where “demented street people” live. This is not the first time The Wave has referred to my tenants in such a manner. You publish self-opinionated falsities without any research or evidence. You referred to my tenants as “detritus,” by which, I think you meant “detritus,” or garbage. What gives you the right to call people you have never met garbage? It is not right to demonize anyone without the facts. By your careless disregard for the truth, you are doing The Wave and its readers just as much harm as you are doing my tenants and my business. I am asking you to stop.

The New York Times reporter Corey Kilgannon just spent five weeks living at the Baxter Hotel. He told me he is going to write a story about the experience. Mr. Kilgannon took his responsibility as a journalist seriously enough to spend time and effort looking into the facts. I haven’t seen his story yet, and I don’t know when it will be published. Of course, I wish I knew what kind of story it is going to be, but whatever he writes, at least I am confident that he did not simply spread rumors he had heard or intentionally misrepresent my hotel. I have great faith in responsible reporters, and Howard, you do not fit into that category.

You have never called me up in an attempt to verify the accuracy of the mean-spirited untruths you write. When you appeared at my theatre a few years ago for an interview on my Public Access Television show, you commented on how nice the place looked. I asked you to come upstairs with me to look at the rest of the building and to speak to my tenants, but you refused. You have a responsibility as a reporter to exert effort to tell the truth and should not be so reckless with other people’s reputations.

My hotel has stood the test of time for the past one hundred and sixty-eight years, and most likely it will be around long after all of us are gone. It was the first building on Beach 116 Street, and it should be preserved as a historic landmark in the Rockaway community. I am very proud of my building and my tenants, and all the good things it has produced over the years. Howard, you owe this landmark building, my tenants and me an apology.


Work To Do

The following letter was sent to The Wave and members of the Independence Party:

Dear Editor;

I¹m sure by now many of us are aware of the Supreme Court decision on Eminent Domain. Now it’s time to get commitments from our politicians, especially the ones we have already endorsed. All the polls show that people throughout America are outraged at the Supreme Court decision. MSNBC.com readers oppose government taking land for private development 98 percent to 2 percent; CNN.com readers oppose it 99 percent to 1 percent. The people of

New York were not on the minds of our Governor, George Pataki, and our Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, when this case was treading its way through the courts. On the contrary, they were very cozy with the developers, and to prove their point, they did something about it. According to Julia Vitullo-Martin of The Manhattan Institute’s Center for Rethinking Development, the first sentence of the city¹s friend of the court brief had Michael Cardozo of the Corporation Council boasting, “The City of New York has been in the forefront of the urban renewal movement.”

When you Independence Party members gave Michael Bloomberg the margin of victory he needed to rule this city, little did you think he would be one of the strongest advocates for taking your private property, and handing it over to private developers. If you don’t know about this new Supreme Court ruling, you must get to know it fast and fight like hell to change it. It’s Un-Democratic and Un-American! There is a national movement to make changes called, Hands Off My Home. Look them up and join them.

And, now back to Mayor Bloomberg: I guess he never figured there would be so much public outcry, or maybe he was dumb enough to believe people wouldn’t find out what he was up to. It is time to send him a message and get a commitment from him, even if you have to use a crowbar to separate him from the developers. As for Governor Pataki: If you haven’t read his recent new law on Eminent Domain look at it. What a smoke screen. What a farce. While he admits that the old law was not fair to the people (no kidding), he makes believe the new law will be better. The old law did not have to notify the property owners in writing. Just a notice in a local newspaper giving the property owners 30 days to respond was enough. By notifying the property owners in writing, it frees the developers up to take your property right away. It’s like cutting a loaf of bread. It doesn¹t matter which way I slice it, I am going to eat the whole loaf anyway.

There’s a huge task at hand for us all in the Independence Party, and it’s a task we must confront with every ounce of energy in our hearts and souls. We must forget about endorsements until this task is won. No ifs, ands, or buts. We must join the rest of America in a life or death struggle to protect our private property. We call ourselves the Party of Democracy.

Let’s prove it. The right to own your property, without the government

interfering for the financial gain of private developers, is one of the most

sacred this country has offered since our founding. To support a Mayoral

candidate who is fighting to give away that right is undemocratic.

Government should be led by the power of the people and not just the

powerful people. Actions speak louder than words; show your independence by taking back the Bloomberg endorsement until he agrees to fight to protect the rights of property owners.

If anyone out there has any ideas about how to stop this train wreck, please call or write me. We must work together on what I think is the MOST IMPORTANT issue facing the Independence Party since its inception in 1994.





Holland Avenue Needs Help

Dear Editor,

With all the development going on in Rockaway, the people have their hopes up that Rockaway will be better. Yet people choose not to get involved until something bad happens and it makes headlines.

I am emailing the Wave because I want everyone to know that Holland Avenue between Beach 90 and Beach 84 Streets is not safe to walk on at night.

Condoms and broken alcohol bottles abound on both sides of the street and that tells you something. I contacted the 100 Precinct on Saturday at 12 noon regarding the van like camper that was in Popeye’s parking lot, because the van has been abandoned there since May and two people broke into it and used it for bad activities.

Thank God that the police took care of that and I appreciate it very much. Now the two people that were in the van are still doing a lot of activity in Holland Avenue at night. There is no police patrolling Holland Avenue, and I’m urging the 100 Precinct commanding officer and detectives to do something about it.

Another thing about Holland Avenue that is dangerous. There is a big camper for years that has been moving from one side of the street to another. It has a broken window and it is left open. A child could get into it and god knows what could happen or anybody can hide at night and you know the consequences.

I am urging the owners of that camper to move it from there or lock it. Only good things happen when people get involved in their community. This is how we can turn Rockaway beach around.


Our Right To Plan Memorial

Dear Editor,

I just read the article in the August 5 edition of The Wave regarding the meeting for the American Airlines Flight 587 Memorial, which was held at the Beach Club recently.

I have to say that I was outraged by the words of one woman who was quoted in the article as having said she was “tired of worrying about stepping on the toes of the white Belle Harbor residents who don’t want a memorial in their community” and added that nobody in Rockaway but the family members of the five people who died should have a say about the sight and design of the memorial.

I live only a block away from the crash. But for the grace of God it could just as easily have hit my home and family, or that of a close friend or relative in the neighborhood. I personally didn’t know the families who lost their homes and loved ones, but my son knew one young man who lost his home.

The lot where the house stood is still vacant, and it is a daily reminder of the tragedy. In fact it stands right behind the bus stop where my son waited for his school bus every morning, and still waits to go to his summer job. If it had not been a holiday, he might have been standing there when the plane hit. I am so thankful that it happened at a time when we were all home. I still think about how much worse it would have been if it had been a regular weekday, and I still cry when I think of it. All the children at PS 114 and St. Francis would have been in class and many of the parents would have been at work. We wouldn’t have been able to get home, or even to get through on the phone to know if we still had homes and families.

This event affected me even more deeply than 9/11, and that is definitely saying a lot, because 9/11 was one of the worst tragedies in our history. In that case I did personally know many of the people who died. Although I work in downtown Brooklyn, my employer had offices in 2 WTC with over 200 people, where I and my Brooklyn colleagues went regularly for training and hearings. So of course I was affected, as was almost everyone. After that I stayed close to home as much as possible. I thought I was safe in my little bubble in Rockaway. I can’t even describe the horrible feeling I had after actually seeing the devastation, when the area was opened to the public for the first time. I can’t even imagine how it must have affected those who lived right in the middle of it, who experienced the crash first hand, and then lived through the long period of cleanup and restoration. I know I went into a long period of deep depression. I couldn’t sleep for many months due to the sound of the planes that continually soared overhead all night long. I had lived here all my life so I had been immune to the sound before. In fact the only time I even noticed the planes was when I took my cordless phone out to the porch in the quiet of the evening to catch a breeze. But after the crash I heard them all the time, and I knew that it could happen again at any time.

I remember going to the memorial service at Riis Park with my family, and getting looks from some of victim’s family members, which seemed to say “What are you all doing here taking up seats?

The people of Belle Harbor and all of Rockaway had just as much right to be at the memorial service as the friends and relatives of the crash victims. And we have just as much right to be involved in the planning of the memorial if we choose to be. I don’t think there is anyone here who doesn’t feel badly for their loss, but we also have our own feelings of loss, for our neighbors and our neighborhood. I am sure that if a plane fell in the middle of their close-knit neighborhood they would feel the same way. I think this letter should be posted at the Beach Club for the next meeting on 8/31. Maybe the woman who spoke such harsh words, and those who have similar thoughts, will see the situation from a different angle


Incensed’ Over Sanders Support Letter

Dear Editor,

I was incensed after reading Carl E. Querrard’s letter and I felt I had to write! Either he’s uninformed or just misrepresenting facts to cover for James Sanders. Isn’t it amazing that all of a sudden, in an election year, Sanders has done all these wonderful things in the community?

To my neighbors in this district, just think about it: according to Mr. Querrard, Sanders is supposed to have gotten more than 140 million dollars for the district? Where has this money been spent? There’s no proof that this is true.

I am totally disgusted that elected officials like James Sanders will say anything to get re-elected! And it’s average, hard-working people just like me that he tries to confuse with all the promises and fast-talking (if you can get him to call you back or show up). And even when his staff tries to be caring or accessible (I feel really bad for them), they can’t get anything done! And that ineffectiveness comes from the top-from Councilman Sanders and his wife. By the way, whoever heard of an elected official hiring his girlfriend, making her Chief of Staff, and then marrying her? By the way, is Andrea Duncan still on the payroll? Isn’t that nepotism?

James Sanders has no one to blame except himself if he loses this election! And the voters will be sending a message to all our elected representatives that they better not take their constituents for granted!


My Bike Is Not Your Bike

Dear Editor,

  I would like you to print this letter to the parents in Rockaway, Roxbury, and Breezy Point.

Please be aware of where your teens are and what they are up to.  Many of them are visiting Roxbury to see a

“friend,” and then stealing bicycles to get home.

This weekend, my family was the victim of such a crime. This isn’t the first time for us, (a total of 4 bikes in 12 months). I’ve locked them up, put them on my deck, all to no avail.

Your darlings came on my deck while I was home, and stole my son’s bicycle and my own.  These children have no morals, and value nothing. 

There have been no less than 20 bicycles stolen from Roxbury in the last 3 months.  Seems the same “teens” feel it’s their right to help themselves every weekend.

So, parents, know where your kids are, and when they arrive home with a strange bike, ask where it came from. It could be mine.

Try giving them cab fare, its only $7.00. I won’t be replacing my bicycles, I can’t afford it.  But remember, what goes around comes around.


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