2005-10-21 / Community

Beachcomber

There were two more accidents on Cross Bay Boulevard last week – one nearby the bird sanctuary and the other at Second Road. They were the six and seventh accidents of the year requiring medical attention for the drivers involved. The majority of the sixteen accidents on that road over the past three years have occurred in the stretch of road between the North Channel Bridge and the beginning of Broad Channel, “civilization,” between Second and Sixth Roads. While there are varying reasons for the crashes, the vast majority of them include speed as causation. That combination makes for a dangerous, often deadly mix that must be addressed by the Department of Transportation and the New York City Police Department.

Post Office officials are scrambling to find a contract station to replace the postal station at Fort Tilden that will reportedly soon close. Seems that the building that now houses the contract post office is owned by the National Park Service. It is not a real post office, officials say, but a post office run under contract with the postal service, much like the one in Broad Channel that was closed recently. USPS officials say they do not maintain the buildings that house contract offices and NPS seems reluctant to do the necessary work, hence the closing. There may soon be a new contract office in the Breezy Point shopping center, however. That would be a boon to Breezy Point residents but would mean a further trip for those who live in Rockaway’s west end who used the station because it was close and because it was seldom crowded.

The latest Quinnipiac University Poll on the Mayoral election shows Mayor Mike Bloomberg extending his lead over Democratic challenger Freddy Ferrer by a wide margin. According to the poll, Bloomberg leads by 60 percent to 32 percent, with only eight percent undecided. The breakdowns are even more astounding. Nearly 90 percent of Republicans say they will vote for Bloomberg, while 40 percent of Democrats say the same. Even in the Bronx, where Ferrer was the Borough President, Bloomberg leads by a slight margin. White voters are going to Bloomberg 72 percent to 21 percent, and black voters by 53 percent to 38 percent. Ferrer’s only strength is with Hispanic voters, where he has a 15 percent lead (55 percent to 40 percent). On Staten Island, three out of four voters plan to vote for the mayor. We would not be at all surprised if the final vote were somewhere in the 70 percent to 30 percent range for Bloomberg.

It has been more than four years since the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. On November 6, Rockaway will finally get its long-awaited Tribute Park at Beach 116 Street and the bayfront. The penultimate step of placing the memorial bricks will take place prior to that date, but there is still some question as to whether Patrick Clark’s glass cupola will be in place when the park opens. The dedication ceremony will begin promptly at 2:30 p.m., with refreshments served prior to the ceremony. The Chamber of Commerce is looking for those who ordered the small bricks to go along with the bricks that will be placed in the park. Those who ordered the small, commemorative bricks can pick them up at the Chamber office on Beach 116 Street.

It seems that a decision will be made in early November on which of the six finalists will get the nod to build the memorial to those who died in the November 12, 2001 crash of American Airlines Flight 587 into Belle Harbor. We would not be at all surprised if the Mayor and his Office of Immigrant Affairs (the lead agency in the development of the memorial) hold off on an announcement until this year’s anniversary of the crash. It is still unclear where this year’s memorial ceremony will be held. For the past three years, the ceremony was held at the site and may well be this year as well. There is conjecture, however, that the work to reconstruct the south end of Beach 116 Street, where the memorial will be situated, is being done in double-time because the mayor wants to hold this years ceremony (including the announcement of the winner) at the Beach 116 Street site. While no Rockaway resident has a say in which memorial will be built (our only vote sits with Chamber of Commerce official Joanie Omeste who does not live in Rockaway), The Wave’s online poll shows that forty-three percent of those who have voted like the memorial proposed by Barbara Grygutis and Jose Santos that features two arching walls (forming an embrace) with the names of those who died in the crash inscribed on the interior wall.

The City Council, as expected, overrode the Mayor’s veto to pass the Sunday Parking Meter Bill, popularly called the “Pay to Pray” bill. Beginning in mid-November, drivers will no longer have to pay for parking meters on Sunday anywhere in the city. City Councilman Joseph Addabbo, who represents the west end of the peninsula, voted in favor (the vote was 42-2). City Councilman James Sanders, who represents the east end of the peninsula, was absent for the vote.

For a relatively short time a few years ago, a commuter ferry service ran from Inwood to Manhattan through Jamaica Bay. The ferry service was fast,but it was also expensive and it was largely unused by either Rockaway or Five Towns commuters. One of the major complaints during the relatively short time the service ran, however, was that the high-speed catamaran was causing havoc with the shoreline. Dan Tubridy, who owns Pier 92 Restaurant right on the bay at Beach 92 street, said at the time the waves caused by the passing ferries severely damaged his deck. Now, some of Manhattan and Brooklyn’s exclusive waterfront businesses are saying that the ferries that ply the harbor have caused $10 million in damage to their infrastructure. That does not bode well for a Rockaway ferry unless it ran from Fort Tilden at the far western end of the bay.

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