2006-04-07 / Letters


B. 116 St. Used

To Signify Summer

Dear Editor,

Beach 116 Street was once a nice, bright, happy beach community street. Now with the monolith monstrosity they call the Ocean Grande and the work that is starting on the Monument to Death, there is nothing happy and summery on Beach 116 Street. It used to be a happy street where people came for summer fun. Not anymore. We should have had a bandstand or gazebo built by the ocean so we could listen to music on a summer evening. Instead we get a depressing Monument to Death. The crash did not happen on Beach 116 Street. But the people in Belle Harbor didn't want this Death Monument in their backyard where the crash happened. So we, the residents of Beach 116 Street, have to get this depressing monument and the monolithic monster, Ocean Grande, foisted on us.

Thank you, Mr. Mayor. This, with your Parks Commissioner's regulations and parking setup, have just put another nail into the coffin of everything that Rockaway was and stood for- a fun beach community.


Testing Versus

Subject Matter

Dear Editor,

In the last issue of the paper we read about the dwindling of classes in subjects for which children are being tested in order to meet the requirements of No Child Left Behind. I agree with you that this is a disgrace but it does not have to be the case. What it means is that our regional curriculum mavens have to use a little bit of imagination. When you are teaching, and then testing literacy, you must supply something for the children to read. All it would take to "teach the test" is to include in the practice material age and grade appropriate material in science, social studies, current events, etc. After all, to teach literacy, one needs to include something to read. I once had a girl tell me that each time she took a standardized reading test, she learned something because she had to read something in order to show that she could read and interpret what she read. If an 11-year-old could figure this out, the Department of Education should also be able to do so.


Simon Is Despicable

Dear Editor,

In the wake of the recent spate of Letters to the Editor attacking the Rockaway Homeowners and Residents Association, as well as me personally, for the contents of an article I submitted to our association's membership newsletter, I feel that now that Lew Simon and his supporters have had their pyrrhic victory at my expense, it is now time to respond.

First, I must say how rather surprised I was that the authors of the letters had read, or even received, our newsletter, since neither among them are members of our association, though they are warmly invited to join.

The intent of the article was to outline to our membership a litany of our endeavors on behalf of the Rockaway Park community. Among these efforts was the closure of the porn shop on Beach 116 Street. It was neither my intent to attribute credit for this feat to any one person, nor diminish the efforts of others who participated as well. "Ittakes a village..," the effort of an entire community to effectuate positive change with regard to quality of life issues, not just one man with a bull-horn. In fact, since the business-seat area of B. 116 Street is in the jurisdiction of the Rockaway Park civic, it was, according to our directors,our association that first brought the issue to Lew Simon and enlisted his help. It was also our civicassociation that quickly tired of Simon's abrasive and abusive behavior toward our invited guest speakers at our general membership meetings and he waspromptly asked to leave and never return.

Just most recently, at a meeting of another organization, Simon made a public statement with regard to the leavingof an esteemed member of our community.Based on his claim to this "privileged information," a motion was made and action was taken to honor this individual's service to our community. In the spirit of good will, I wrote about it in my column. It turned out that the information was false. What is even more disturbing is that Simon apparently knew the information to be false when he made the statement.

While Simon often refers to himself as a "pitbull," I, along with others,got to witnessthe reason whythe vicious of this breed are outlawed in most states as Simon attacked me without provocation. In fact, even while the written and recorded minutesattest to his makingthe statement, he became increasingly unhinged in his denial andlies. His horrifying, belligerent and threatening actions necessitated that I, along with my Attorney, file a complaint against Simon with the 100 Precinct Police Department.

It saddens me most to think that we have an individual, or rather a Pinocchio,among us who hasn'tthe shred of decency to admit when he is wrong or misinformed, or to apologize to those whom he has harmed. That he compromised my journalistic integrity was one thing; however, hisbizarre and appalling behavior is nothing less thandespicable.The fact that he has a seat at the table in any public forum is frightening.

It's a shame. Simon has done much good on behalf of the community in his self-imposed role as community rabble-rouser; but it is Simon, himself, who will continue to mitigate his force to do good with his deplorable behavior and self-servingquest for political expediency. I will never forget my first distastefulencounter with Simon when he was informed that there would be no political speeches at the street-naming for James Conway Sullivan.He had the colossalaudacity ofdaring to threaten to eclipsewhat was meant to be a solemn ceremony for an esteemed member of our community into a political spectacle with his distorted and exaggeratedbloviations.

I have learned a most valuable lesson. I must always be mindful of what Simon Sez since the Pinocchio amongst us will continue to tell lies. A little honest humility on Mr. Simon's part might serve to put him in better stead.


Baxter A Woman

Of Integrity

Dear Editor,

I have received several telephone calls from Rockaway residents in response to Beverly Baxter's favorable column on, "Changing Habits," written by Debbie Eisenstadt Mandel and dedicated to my twin sister, Sr. Peggy Tully, O.P.

Throughout the years, Beverly and I have dialogued quality of life issues on the Rockaway peninsula. As members of the Rockaway Park Home Residents Association, our latest endeavor is to get a ramp installed on the Beach 102 Street boardwalk. Our senior citizens and mothers with strollers deserve easy access to the beach. Councilman Joseph Addabbo, Jr. and State Senator Malcolm Smith have promised to work with the Rockaway community to achieve this goal.

Beverly Baxter is a woman of honesty and integrity. I look forward to working with her and the Rockaway Park Home Residents Association to enhance the quality of life in Rockaway, our hidden jewel.


Simon Takes Action

Against Illegal SRO

Dear Editor,

There have been articles written regarding the SRO at 186 Beach 113 Street that needs clarification. Lew Simon is the reason why the SRO has remained closed. Although this SRO was originally shut down, somehow there was another permit issued by the Department of Buildings for a 25 room SRO. Either an error was made, or someone got paid off. I immediately called Lew and right away, he addressed my complaint. For the next two days he sat at the Department of Buildings until he met with the Building Commissioner in person. He called me a few times to update me about what was happening. In the end, the Building Commissioner stated that he did not authorize this, and the permit was revoked. I know that some people in this community have issues with Lew, but every time the residents of Beach 113 Street call him with a legitimate complaint, he takes action. He has helped us a number of times without public recognition. For this I am grateful. This letter is not intended to cause a rift between different groups and organizations, but merely to clarify what other people were not aware of. I sincerely hope that Lew and other civic organizations continue doing the great job they are doing so that our community continues to improve and flourish.


Give Us A Real Express Bus

This letter was sent to Norman Silverman, the Senior Director for Planning And Development, MTA Bus Company.

Dear Mr. Silverman,

This is a follow-up letter to our phone conversation on March 31, 2006. I would like to first thank you for taking the time out to listen to my concerns regarding the QM17, but the issue still remains the same, that the residents of Far Rockaway are still being treated like step children, first by Green Bus Lines and now by the MTA.

The riders of the QM17 pay $5.00 for an express bus just like everyone else and we deserve express bus service out of Far Rockaway. The QM17 makes 32 stops in the morning and 34 stops in the afternoon (12 stops in Rockaway, 11 along Cross Bay Blvd and Woodhaven Blvd in the mornings, 13 along Cross Bay Blvd and Woodhaven Blvd in the evenings, and the 9 in Manhattan) and we're duplicating stops along Cross Bay Blvd and Woodhaven Blvd made by the QM15.

The QM15 only makes 18 stops (only 9 in Queens and 9 in Manhattan). Even our counterparts in Rockaway who ride the QM16 have it better than we do since they only make 23 stops in the morning and 25 at night (3 stops in Rockaway, 11 along Cross Bay Blvd and Woodhaven Blvd in the mornings, 13 along Cross Bay Blvd and Woodhaven Blvd in the evenings, and the 9 in Manhattan). Please let me know how the MTA has made it better for the riders of the QM17? Does the MTA actually think giving us new buses, adding just 2 more buses, and taking away only 2 stops on the line is fair? How fair is it to the riders of Rockaway that you have 23 QM15's running from 6:15 a.m. till 5:00 p.m. from Howard Beach/ Lindenwood to Manhattan and 18 QM15's from 9:44 a.m. 8:15 p.m. from Manhattan to Howard Beach/Lindenwood.

And, to add insult to injury the QM17 still has to pick up along the same stops. Did the ridership on the QM15 have to increase before these additional services were added? Please let me know the reasoning behind that one.

My second issue is why the Rockaways can't have Saturday bus service on the QM16 and QM17 like the riders of Howard Beach/Lindenwood (QM15). When I spoke to you on Friday you said before giving us Saturday buses you would rather give us more buses during the day. That's all fine but to tell you the truth the residents of Rockaway will be better served with Saturday buses. With the tracks being constantly worked on during the weekends, people would rather take a bus into Manhattan than have to be inconvenienced by taking a shuttle bus to the train. At the same time the QM15 went from having 1 Saturday bus to having 9 and then again to add insult to injury the residents of Rockaway get to watch the QM15 leave to Peninsula every Saturday because the express buses are housed in Rockaway.

On Friday when I spoke to you, you said that it will take time to get Rockaway the services that are needed and to give the MTA time and we'll see much better service.

Did the MTA take their time in making the QM15 100% better than what it was? Is it that the MTA is just a bigger version of Green Bus line regarding the concerns of the minority population? Is it that the QM17 is always going to get the short end of the stick because we have the most minority passengers?

We the passengers of the QM17 demand and deserve to be treated fairly and that starts by giving us a REAL EXPRESS BUS that means after Cross Bay Blvd & 9 Rd (in Broad Channel) we should run express into Manhattan. Just like the QM15 we should have Saturday and mid-day buses into Manhattan.

I will be forwarding this letter and a copy of the schedules of both the QM17/16 and the QM15/23 to my elected officials Senator Malcolm Smith, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senator Charles E. Shumer, Representative Gregory Meeks, Councilman James Saunders, Jr., Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, Assemblywoman Michele Titus, Borough President Helen Marshall, and our local paper The Wave to see if the residents of Rockaway can get any help with our cause.


No Other Options

I do not live in Broad Channel nor am I a Catholic, but I think that what the Diocese of Brookln is doing to that community is horrible and against everything that the church is supposed to stand for -- religiosity, home values, community and compassion.

When the Bishop and his administrators accepted the school's business plan last year they made a committment to keep the school open even if all of the goals outlined in the plan were not met in a timely fashion.

I cannot think of a parent who would register their children in a school that is continually under the gun from its administrators and is threatened with closing at every turn.

I drive through Broad Channel twice each day going to and coming from work in Brooklyn. I can understand why the community believes that its geography is "unique." I can't think of another community in New York City, with the exception of Old Hamilton Beach, that is so isolated.

Friends who live in Broad Channel have told me that should the school close, that the entire parish would soon do the same. One of those friends has three children attending St. Virgilius School.

They say that if the school closes, they will sell their home and move to a community that has a stable religious school and parish. Closing the school will destabilize the entire community, a community that largely has no place else to go.

Can the eldery parishioners of St.Virgilius get on a bus and travel to St. Camillus in Rockaway or St. Helens in Howard Beach for services each week? I don't think so.

In Far Rockaway, there are many options for Catholic worship. In Broad Channel, there is only one option and that is St. Virgilius.

We can only ask the Bishop to show a little compassion for that isolated community and give it a chance to make its goals without the cloud of closing haning over its head.

William Foehn

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