Hurricane Katrina may have one unexpected local consequence. A number of senators have called for funding the costs of cleaning up after the hurricane by eviscerating the Omnibus Transportation bill that includes money for a number of Rockaway projects including a new firehouse for the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department and for a revitalization of the Far Rockaway business district. Some Senators are calling items such as those “pork,” but one Senator’s pork is another Senator’s vital community project.
Even though fall started last week, September seemed more like August this year. The average temperature for this month was 75.4 degrees, about six degrees higher than normal, according to the National Weather Service. The warmest September on record to date was in 1961, when the average temperature was 73.6 degrees for the entire month. In addition, the evenings have been about 10 to 15 degrees higher than normal this year.
Now that the primary is out of the way, we can get ready for the real election on November 8. The mayoral race looks like it will be a blowout, with incumbent Mike Bloomberg taking more than 60 percent of the vote. Why? Perhaps its because the Democrats once again chose a candidate in the tradition of Mark Green, Ruth Messenger, David Dinkins and Ed Koch. The politics espoused by those politicians has been repudiated by the electorate over and over again in the past eight or ten years. When will they ever learn? A recent poll showed that Bloomberg was ahead at this early date by 52 percent to 38 percent. We can’t see Weiner or Miller voters going to Ferrer and the only other place they have to go is with Bloomberg. Ferrer leads by a small percentage with black voters and by 57 percent to 31 percent with Hispanic voters. White voters, however, poll high for Bloomberg with the incumbent leading 67 percent to 28 percent.
“First Response” ambulances can often been seen and heard roaring, lights and siren, along the peninsula almost every day. We were behind one of the ambulances last week as it swerved around traffic at each red light and then turning off the lights and siren when it was clear. A short time later, the ambulance pulled into a shopping center. There obviously was no emergency that caused it to use its emergency right to blow lights. That is a dangerous situation and the ambulances from that company have had some problems with accidents in the past. The drivers should be told by the company that they can only use their emergency lights and siren in a real emergency. We will be monitoring that use.
Speaking of polls, The Wave’s online poll shows that Option 1, the proposed American Airlines Flight 587 memorial that features two arching walls with the victim’s names inscribed in black granite is leading pack with 43 percent of the vote. In second, with 22 percent, is the 100-foot high bell tower. While the vote is not binding on anybody, we thought that the city would like to know what Rockaway residents think about the proposed memorial. There is still time to vote by logging into our website, www.rockawave.com, and then looking at the poll at the left. You can also view the six proposals at the same time. While our poll will probably not count much with city officials or the committee tasked with the final choice, they should know what you think.
Dog runs have been opening all over the city. Just this past weekend, the Department of Parks opened a dog run in Little Bay Park. There are dozens of them all over Manhattan. Rockaway has none, although an impromptu one has opened at the hockey rink on Beach 108 Street and Shore Front Parkway now that the Rockaway Rockies no longer use that facility. Why not make it legal by designating the rink as an “official” dog run. It’s perfect for the purpose, with a fence and lots of room to run. Those who use run, however, should clean up after their animals. They do not always do that at the present time and that makes it hard for everybody else, who do obey the law. If the rink is deemed a bad idea, perhaps a run could be constructed somewhere on the beach in the same area.
There is a new telephone scam going on that may soon hit our local area. A caller identified himself as a representative of the local court and tells the victim that he or she has missed a jury duty date and must make it up or face arrest. The caller then asks for personal information such as social security number, driver’s license number, etc., to “verify” that they are talking to the right person. Don’t fall for the scam. Our courts in Queens do not do business that way.
Those who trace their family history through the Internet now have a new tool. The Battery Conservancy has opened a site that holds all of the records from Castle Garden, the immigrant reception center that predated Ellis Island in the 1800’s. That site, www.castlegarden,org, is easy to use and chock full of information on those who came through the center, including name, the ship they came over on, their profession at the time and their age. One Wave editor found a great-grandmother who he could not find on the Ellis Island database. Now, he knows why.
This will come as no surprise to any Rockaway resident, but a Survey of all of the community boards in the city reveals that Community Board 14 Queens, which covers Rockaway and Broad Channel, had the fourth highest number of building permits issued by the city from January to August of this year. Numbers one and two were in Staten Island and number three is in South Jamaica and Hollis. The question has to be, where will all those new kids go to school?
Sometimes the law takes the fun out of covering labor disputes. For the past couple of years, the giant inflated rat has been part of those demonstrations, but an administrative law judge has just ruled that the rat “constitutes illegal picketing and should be restricted as a matter of law.” The unions are appealing that decision and will go before the National Labor Relations Board sometime in December. Under the heading of “only in New York,” it was decided that skunk and cockroach balloons were not outlawed, so we’ll probably be seeing lots of other animals at labor protests in the future.
The new route for the Q 21 bus due to construction on Beach 116 Street will be Rockaway Beach Boulevard westbound, right on Beach 116 Street. The bus will stop at the A Train Station, then left on Beach Channel Drive and left again onto Beach 117 Street before turning left again on Newport Avenue, right onto Beach 116 Street and left again onto Rockaway Beach Boulevard going eastward. The Q 21 will no longer stop at Beach 116 Street and the boardwalk. The new terminus will be Beach 117 Street and Newport Avenue.