When the Department of Transportation completed the work on Beach 116 Street and left, the agency somehow forgot to paint the left turn lane that takes cars from northbound on that street to westbound on Newport Avenue. All they left was a single white line, exactly like those that denote legal parking spots on the rest of the street. There were no signs saying “No Parking, Turn Lane,” or anything else, so many people parked in that area, earning tickets that cost them in excess of $100.00. When they complained, they were told, “Take a picture and plead not guilty.” That is not the right way to run a railroad or to treat local shoppers. We hope that placement of signs and subsequently the Muni-meters will alleviate some of the problems.
The Wave loves it when we run a story about somebody or some issue and a letter writing campaign is generated in answer to our story. So it is with local realtor D. Brian Heffernan, who has asked all of his friends to respond to The Wave’s front-page story about the state’s charges of chicanery in a real estate deal. All of the letters testify to Heffernan’s acumen as a broker, the fact that he is a good guy and that he fulfills all the requirements of the Boy Scout oath. None of them, however, address the story or the question of whether he really did what the state is charging. In any case, keep those letters and e-mails coming. We enjoy reading them.
At its peak in 2003, the ridership of commuter ferries was 65,000 a day. That number came with the help of federal subsidies that have since ended. Although the city is spending millions of dollars on new docks and terminals, very little is being done to keep the price of a ferry ride affordable, charges City Councilman David Yassky, the chair of the council’s Waterfront Committee. He says that ferry operators today, without a subsidy, cannot sustain their businesses. Today, only 40,000 passengers ride commuter ferries each day. That statistic does not bode well for a subsidized ferry service for Rockaway.
James Sanders is hosting an ‘Inauguration Victory Celebration” at City Hall on January 12. His victory might have been sweeter if he had anybody running against him. It’s tough to claim victory and hold a party when there never was a battle in the first place.
The United Parcel Service (UPS) has signed a contract with Airbus to buy ten of its new jumbo A380. The deal, which is worth about $9.2 billion to the company, will bring the massive planes over Rockaway on a pretty regular schedule beginning in 2010. This deal comes at the same time that the former Chief Engineer of the company was indicted in France on charges of involuntary manslaughter for allegedly keeping secret the fact that the instrument that controls computer landing procedures for the A320 aircraft had a flaw that eventually caused an accident in France that killed 87 people. The relevancy of this for Rockaway is that the Airbus executive who was charged designed and flew both the A300 and A310, the aircraft that have had many control problems over the past ten years. You’ll remember that it was an A300 that crashed in Belle Harbor on November 12, 2001 when its tail fell off.
Time Warner Cable, which services the local area, has announced a number of new channels that are dedicated to what we would call “special interest” audiences. Channel 560, for example, is the first 24-hour Asian American network. Channel 90, TV One, features a broad range of programming focusing on African-American themes and interests. Q Television, Channel 326, is a network dedicated to the gay, lesbian and transgender community. In addition, many of the cable network’s stations are “on demand.” Some think that this is the first wave of a movement to “individualize” television for each viewer rather than providing a wide range of programs from which the viewer can choose.
We are happy to hear that local artist Patrick Clark has set to work once again on his proposed cupola for Tribute Park. We wait with baited breath for it to be completed and for the names of each of the local people who lost their life on September 11, 2001 to finally be recorded in the park dedicated to their memory. It seems that the Chamber of Commerce has enticed Clark back to work with some incentives and some vituperation. He has been studiously ignoring our telephone calls for an update interview ever since our editorial in the December 9 issue of the paper. We have also received letters saying that you “can’t rush artistic genius” and likening Clark to Michelangelo. C’mon, guys. This is Rockaway and it has been three years since he proposed his monument. Perhaps it is time for the family members of those who died that day should start complaining to the Chamber of Commerce and the Community Board. We see no other way that this issue will ever by successfully resolved.
Teachers received their back pay from the recent contract raise on December 15. Now, their union is arguing that some of the other agreed-to contract items should not begin on February 1, but should be held in abeyance to allow more time for planning the change. For example, the contract calls for an additional 37and a half minutes from Monday to Thursday each week. It also calls for a return to administrative tasks such as hall patrol, bus duty and cafeteria duty. That extra time is to be used to tutor at-risk students in small groups. In this case, the union may well be right. It is difficult to program a school that moves 100 teachers and 2,000 students from one place to another every 42 minutes. To do that programming in the middle of the year, when the needy students have not even be identified could cause a problem of epic proportions.
The local MPS Society will hold a game night fundraiser featuring “Facts In Five” at the Island Park Jewish Center (191 Long Beach Road) on February 25 at 7:30 p.m. Watch this space for further information.