On The Bayfront
By Elisa Hinken
My Wish List for 2006
A new year is almost upon us. While many of us ask for more money and lots of materialistic things, I tend to be frugal and realistic. It is true that we all need money to buy necessities, the LOVE of money is indeed, the root of all evil. So here, I ask for some realistic things in my “wish box” for our beloved Rockaway peninsula for the coming year(s):
A realistic evacuation plan for the entire Rockaway peninsula:
“Hands-on” development and management of emergency procedures by the Office of Emergency Management. Informational meetings by the Red Cross just doesn’t cut it.
More people in the community who are trained as “CERT” volunteers (training is free). “CERT” stands for Community Emergency Response Team”. Did you ever want to help in an emergency but stood on the sidelines, feeling helpless? Then THIS is the program you have been waiting for. Call “311” for information on where classes are being given.
Evacuation routes that actually work. That would mean the reversing of traffic lanes (except one). Only on the heaviest of traffic days in the summer have I seen this on the Marine Parkway Bridge. It must be universal.
More recreational opportunities for our youth. Places like the old “Brooklyn Day Camp”, where kids thought they were on another planet. An indoor ice skating/roller skating rink. A big recreation center. A movie theatre and an ice cream parlor. I grew up in the days of “Jahn’s Ice Cream” parlor. The closest place to me now is the famous “Itgen’s” in Valley Stream. A bowling alley.
More recreational opportunities for our entire family. Like the ones above, I would add a large swimming pool and “cabanas” or “lockers” for families to rent, outside of the private clubs that are already established. A fishing pier. A marina. Boat excursions.
A massive upgrade to our transportation system. The subways and buses are an embarrassment to Rockaway. We need some sort of ferry service. If one is planned for Kennedy Airport, Rockaway should be included as a condition for approval. The MTA subway system is friable – we can use the old Rockaway line to the Long Island Railroad to get from here to Manhattan in less than 45 minutes. I truly empathize with those who commute each day from Rockaway to New York City. May the winds always be at your backs.
A wish that Mayor Bloomberg visits the Rockaway peninsula at least once per month. If you notice, things get cleaned up right before his visits. If you don’t believe me, I challenge all businesses, organizations and schools to invite Mayor Bloomberg to all your functions. If he does accept even MOST invitations, Rockaway will look cleaner a lot faster than the job that is currently being done.
“Fishing Only” regulations for Beach 9th through 17th streets, where routine dredging creates rip and swift currents in the channel, most dangerous to swimmers, both beginners and advanced. These beaches have a short, steep drop off. By the way, did you ever notice Silverpoint Beach Club and Silver Gull Beach Club in Atlantic Beach hasn’t lost any swimmers into the channel? That’s because there is no swimming on the bay side of the properties. Fishing only.
The preservation of available beach front property so public access is maintained. The way that Robert Moses designed Shore Front Parkway wasn’t such a bad thing – he placed recreation and public access as his highest priority.
Lifeguard training and Emergency Medical Technician training added to the curriculum of all high schools. If they don’t have a pool for lifeguard training, share resources with another school. It is a shame that we have to go out of our communities for employment resources, when we can develop our own right here. In memory of the late Pastor Donald Ventura, he was right on target with the training of our youth as EMT’s. Let’s not let his work go in vain.
Dunes on our beaches to be left alone. If they naturally occur, then let nature take its course. They buffer our land.
A solution to the myriad of problems that exist in Jamaica Bay. It is a precious resource in many ways.
To people like Dan Mundy, Don Riepe, Barbara and Mickey Cohen, my highest respect. You folks are tireless in your endeavors and strong in your ideals. I promise to get going with my coastal clean-up a little earlier next year!
Multiple tiered parking at the municipal lot on Beach 116 Street. The parking situation on Beach 116 Street is driving customers away. The parking situation on nearby residential streets are going to chase tenants away.
Redistricting of our city council seats so that Rockaway in its entirety is represented by one member who we can hold solely accountable. We desperately need accountability.
A satellite office for Adrian Benepe right on the beach. Let him see and feel firsthand what it is like to have a beautiful beach right in front of him with archaic laws that rule its use.
An award for Lew Simon. Rockaway needs more “Lew’s”. An award for people like John Baxter, Bernie Blum (hope you are feeling well Bernie), Dan Mundy, Don Riepe and the Greybeards. To Howie Schwach and others who ruffle feathers from time to time, whether they are right or not. This is a democratic society where all opinions are welcome, where we can disagree like women and gentlemen and not be in fear of our lives. Different views sometimes inspire solutions.
An award to those who write letters to the editor. It is just as important to hear from readers as those who buy the paper. To sit by, complacently, from week to week and not comment on what goes on in our community is a dangerous thing.
To all who stand by and say or do nothing: if you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem. We all need solutions in our lives.
A HEALTHY AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL.