2006-02-10 / Columnists

Simon says...

Lew M. Simon
Lew M. Simon

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23 rd A.D. Part B

This past week has been very exciting and informative. On Tuesday evening Community Board 14 had a Land Use committee meeting. One of the proposals on the table was to permit Rockaway’s own Beach club on Beach 116 Street to become another high-rise condo development. The property extends from Beach 116 Street to Beach 117 Street.

Vincent L. Petraro is the attorney who spoke for the potential developer and owner, Jonathan Miller. {Ed. Note: while Miller is a development partner, Steve and Kenny Good are the owners of the property].

Miller is no stranger to the Rockaways. He is the man who is responsible for the real estate boom and building in the Rockaways.

He started building at the old Playland on Beach 97 Street, Beach 98 Street, Beach 99 Street from Shorefront Parkway to Rockaway Beach Boulevard. He later built on Beach 95 Street, Shorefront Parkway, and Beach 96 Street close to Rockaway Beach Boulevard. He then built 3 story luxury rentals on Beach 92 and Beach 93 Streets.

His track record speaks for itself. He made a commitment to not take Section 8 in his development and kept his word. His current proposal calls for 58 condos with 5 floors on Beach 116 Street and a 7 floor setback on Beach 117 Street like all the buildings on Ocean Promenade.

He would provide one parking spot per condo for a total of 70 spots. The first floor would contain 2,700 square feet of rental stores. One question was asked as to whether they could provide for two spots per condo because many families have two cars. Parking will be underground and on the Beach 117 Street side. It was suggested that there be two story parking on Beach 117 Street. Entry and exit will be on the Beach 116 Street side. There will be a walkway entrance from both streets. It looks like the future of Beach 116 Street and it will probably be luxury condos. Miller’s proposal is preliminary and requires a variance of current zoning. CB 14 would have to hold hearings on the proposal. 

The big shock of the day was that the Sunset Diner would be closing in two weeks. According to Steve Good, the owner, he sold the diner to a retail conglomerate whose identity is unknown to all of us. It is also unknown what will be on the site of the diner. My office has been inundated with calls from residents of Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy Point questioning why the diner will no longer be there.

For many seniors and people who do not drive, the diner is a major convenience. Unfortunately the diner was not as crowded as it should have been. Good luck to Steve Good.

We found another interesting story in the Sunday New York Times. Jim Rutenberg’s story shows that Mayor Bloomberg clearly wants to replace State Senator Serphin Maltese, who is also Republican County Leader. The mayor is interested in supporting the campaign of City Councilman Joseph Addabbo Jr. who has opened a committee to explore running for the State . Run Joe run. What is Lew thinking?

On a sad note the parishioners of St. Francis de Sales were shocked to hear that Msgr. Martin Geraghty will be transferred to Bayside. This is a big shock to all of us. Msgr. is one of the kindest, most loving statesman and scholar. He always worked with all religious groups, Catholic, Jewish, Protestant etc. My heart aches for this great loss. Good luck and best wishes. We love you.

On Thursday evening, the three musketeers of the Rockaway Post Office, Postmaster George Buonocore, Customer Relations manager Scott Klein and Rockaway Park branch manager Brian Kane answered questions and were screamed at by many, including myself. The complaints included mail delivered to wrong addresses, late delivery, no steady carrier on the route and long lines in the Rockaway Beach and Rockaway Park offices.  

The post office officials blamed the problems on postal employees. They said that they don’t have the work ethic workers had in past times. Workers have the right to transfer to other parts of the United States. When vacancies are left here they have no replacements. Current workers have to work overtime to complete the routes, but overtime is assigned only to those who have volunteered for it. Sometimes, hiring freezes prevent them from hiring. Builders do not notify the post office of new construction so new addresses are not assigned a route. Arverne by the Sea was an exception. They gave the new address before construction was completed, so that the route was authorized before the residents moved in.

There are some improvements coming. There will be a new telephone system to take voice mail in March. They will try to hire casual workers who are familiar with the community. They will have a postal facility in the new drug store in Broad Channel and are trying to get an appropriate location in Breezy Point. Buildings can assist proper delivery  by keeping their directories up to date. The customer relations manager can be reached at Scott.M.Klein@usps.gov Complaint forms are available at my office. Come up on Thursday nights and we will assist you in filling them out. If you don’t complain, we get what we deserve.  

One of the major contactors on this peninsula broke cables and knocked out phone service in Rockaway Beach, Rockaway Park, Belle Harbor, Neponsit and Breezy Point. Verizon seems to be working at a snail’s pace. Back in December the phone, which rings in my home and office, was out. The calls had to be transferred to my cell phone as many people are doing

now. Unfortunately we will have exorbitant bills. People should get together and bring a class action law suit to obtain reimbursement for use of cell phones. It is important that you call your phone carrier and let them know how many days service has been lost and ask for credit.

Be sure and join us on Thursday evening February 16 at 7:45 PM sharp, Queens Department of Transportation Commissioner Constance Moran will be at the Good Government Regular Democratic club to issues of concern.

We are located at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive (upstairs, opposite Waldbaum’s).

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