2005-08-25 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Once again, the New York City Kite Festival was one of the highlight activities of the year. The weather cooperated and so did kite enthusiasts from all over the east coast. Both the boardwalk and the beach at Riis Park were jammed with those simply watching the beautiful kites dance in the blue skies and with those flying their own kites. The Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the event along with Gateway National Recreation Area and a number of companies, should be congratulated for a job well done. If you missed it this year, don’t forget it next summer.

There are many family members of those who died on American Airlines Flight 587 who firmly believe that Rockaway does not care one bit for a Rockaway memorial to the victims of the second most-deadly aircraft crash in American history. That is why it is imperative for those who are interested to show up at the Beach Club on Beach 116 Street on Wednesday, August 31, beginning at 6:30 p.m. to view the final submissions for the memorial, which is scheduled to be completed in 2006 in time for the fifth anniversary of the crash. All of the submissions will be on view and their development teams will be there as well to speak with residents and family members. The Wave plans to run pictures of each of the final submissions and to run an on-line poll asking your opinion of which memorial the city should choose. We really would like your opinion on this important subject.

Speaking of advisory opinions, Community Board 14 will meet on September 13 to take up the question of how Beach 116 Street should be changed to allow for the new memorial at its south end and to remediate the unsatisfactory parking matrix that now exists on the street. The board’s Transportation Committee is already taking up the question and will meet at the Beach Club on Tuesday, September 6 at 7:30 p.m. to listen to the public and consider the two proposed plans. They will later make a recommendation to the full body. The Department of Transportation, of course, has the final say.

Rockaway will miss Barbara Morris, although she promises to hang around for a while even though she has officially retired from her West End Realty business. Barbara became a Rockaway icon, running the Rockaway Sandcastle Contest and serving stints as president of both the Chamber of Commerce and the Rockaway Rotary Club. She and her husband Dennis, a long-time employee at JHS 198 in Arverne, will now enjoy a well-deserved retirement.

The Rockaway Music and Arts Council (RMAC) held the last of its summer Sunset Concert Picnics last weekend and is now gearing up for its long-running Fall Festival at Riis Park on Saturday and Sunday, September 17 and 18. This is the 21st annual festival and it promises to be one of the best, with music, food and find arts and crafts.

In last week’s edition we ran pictures of two of Rockaway’s vanished hotels. Jane Holtzer called to say that the bottom picture was of the Hotel Delmar, owned by a good friend of her family. Jane spent lots of time in the hotel during the 1940’s, but she said that it was active in the 1930’s and was owned by George Toppa. The hotel, which is now the Chai Adult Home still stands on the boardwalk at Beach 125 Street. Jane says the hotel restaurant served the best roast beef and lobsters on the peninsula and had impeccable service. It was expensive for its time, she said, but it was the best. The rooms on the second floor balcony facing the beach was the owners suite, she says, thanking The Wave for bringing back good memories from the past.

New York City is experimenting with a new parking meter that will take prepaid parking cards as well as quarters. Rockaway now has the card reading Muni-meters on Beach 116 Street and we would hope that the plan to redo the street’s parking grid would include the new meters.

A new poll shows that three out of four New York City voters – no matter whom they plan to vote for — think that Mayor Mike Bloomberg will win reelection in November. That poll seems to show that none of the Democratic candidates has achieved any traction in the race with only a month to go until the primary. Bloomberg’s opponents point to the fact that the mayor has spent $23 million of his own money in the race and that he is attempting to once again “buy the mayoralty.” The fact is, however, that more than 40 percent of Democratic voters say that they do not like any of the four Democratic candidates running in the race.

The Ocean Grande building now growing larger each day at the southern end of Beach 116 Street is reportedly already 60 percent sold even before it is topped out. The ads for the “Waterfront high-rise” promise that the building is “but minutes away from everything that makes life convenient” and those apartment owners will have access to a fitness center, a business center and a club room.

Is President Bush honest? Half of those Americans questioned in a recent poll think that he is dishonest. The AP-Ipsos poll found that only 48 percent think that the president is honest, while 50 percent do not. That is down from January, when 53 percent of those polled said that Bush is honest. Moreover, 56 percent of those polled said that Bush is “too cocky,” up from 49 percent in January.

Local author Barbara Fischkin will be reading from her new book, “Exclusive: Reporters in Love ..and War” at the Pier 92 restaurant on Beach 92 Street and Beach Channel Drive on Friday night, August 26 at 7:30 p.m. The restaurant’s owner, Dan Tubridy and many other locals are characters in the book.

The transportation bill recently approved by both the House of Representatives and the Senate has lots of goodies for Rockaway, including a new firehouse for the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department. Because the bill is primarily concerned with transportation, however, the $1 million has to be shown as improvements to the “traffic flow” on Noel Road between Church Road and Cross Bay Boulevard, a one-block stretch of road that could probably be fixed up for less than $100 bucks. It also calls for the money to be used to demolish the old, 100-year-old firehouse, but says nothing about building anew one. There are other like expenditures in the bill, items that make you wonder what the money will really be used for. For example, there is $1.9 million for “improvements to the Far Rockawy business district,” money we assume will be spent on purchasing and developing the delapidated Far Rockaway Shopping Center. Then, there is $250,000 to “Install improvements for pedestrian safety.. in he vicinity of PS 114. What will that money be used for? Your guess is as good as ours, but perhaps it will bring a new schoolyard.

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