2005-09-23 / Columnists

Looking Backward

What The Wave Said

20 Years Ago...

Men and women, burned out of church, stood outside 215 Beach 77 Street, Arverne, and declared that if arsonists could come back again and again they can rebuild again and again. But this time I hope they don’t put any doors on the side, leading to empty lots, said one member. The fire, which is at least the sixth suspicious one for this congregation made up essentially of working people with modest means, did extensive damage.

“It was a breeze,” claimed reports after Hurricane Gloria left Rockaway behind last Friday, September 27, but the aftermath has been anything but a breeze, particularly with the reluctance the Long Island Lighting Co. appears to be showing in repairing storm damage. A week later, lights are still out in some sections, and in others the lights are on only because pressure was brought to bear. In other places putting light poles and fences back up, and cutting up trees that cannot be put back up, is proving to be much more of a chore than people expected. One of the most dramatic instances of having to bring pressure involved the Belle Harbor Manor, at Beach 125 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Rockaway Park. Personnel at Peninsula Hospital Center, Edgemere, trying to discharge a patient found on Sunday that they could get no answer from Belle Harbor Manor. A member of the patient’s family then went to the home and found conditions he could not believe: no lights, toilet pumps were not working, the switchboard was out, elevators were not moving, patients were being guided by flashlights and cooking and cleaning services had been suspended.

Detectives of the 101 Precinct this week brought before a grand jury two men who on April 9, 1984 allegedly rousted a vagrant from sand underneath the boardwalk, dragged him two blocks to a vacant bungalow in Beach 24 Street, beat him, knocked out his teeth, pulled him into a bedroom, handcuffed him to a bed, doused him with lighter fluid, ignited the fluid and left the man in the bungalow to burn to death.30 Years Ago...

The old Rockaway Naval Air Station, predecessor of NASNY, was the starting point of the first transatlantic flight. It was located just about a tee shot with a No. 2 wood from the house now occupied by Congressman James Scheuer. Does that give you any thoughts, Jim? Bicentennial year and all that?

At the meeting of the Far Rockaway Board of Trade in the 101 Precinct police station last week, Rockaway’s need for a courthouse was emphasized. State senator John J. Santucci, who was present, is investigating the possibility of legislative aid for the rehabilitation of the Rockaway courthouse.

During the height of Saturday afternoon’s downpour, the lake at Beach 116 Street and Beach Channel Drive extended half way to the boulevard, over the steps at the entrance to Chase Manhattan Bank’s Rockaway Park office.

Seen from the north side of the LIRR Inwood station, the Far Rockaway skyline resembles an English countryside scene with the Gothic tower of the Presbyterian Church seeming to rise from the trees.40 Years Ago...

The City of Glens Falls has covered up its parking meters in the business district and allows everybody two hours of parking without charge. Now there’s an idea that should appeal to Rockaway businessman.

Rumor, still unconfirmed, has it that garden apartments will be built along the bulkhead east of Beach 92 Street where once there was talk of building a motel.

When St. Camillus’ band played at the Vatican Pavilion at the World’s Fair early in the summer, nobody realized it was a dress rehearsal for the band’s appearance there next Monday in honor of Pope Paul.

If you carry your own container and drive up to Vermont, you can get a bushel of McIntosh apples for a dollar – if you pick ‘em yourself. That’s what Rockaway residents used to pay for a bushel of soft clams already dug from the bay.

50 Years Ago...

The Rockaway Division of the New York City subway system will not connect with the Jamaica Avenue line as originally planned, representatives of the Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways were informed at a conference yesterday with Charles Patterson, chairman of the Transportation Authority.

The long-awaited G-1 zone for Belle Harbor, limiting future construction to one-family homes similar to those in Neponsit was approved by the Board of Estimate Thursday.

Mr. and Mrs. Harry Simon of the Simon hardware store, Arverne, spent the holidays at the Nevelle Country Club in Ellenville.

Mrs. Harry Umans, who was recently a patient in Rockaway Beach Hospital, has returned home.

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