2006-04-28 / Community

Beachcomber

Complaints come to The Wave from people who believe that they have been mistreated in local eating establishments. Recently, however, the number of complaints has been escalating at a feverish rate. Some think that the demise of the Sunset Diner has increased the number of people who go to other local restaurants and those eateries are not prepared for the increase in diners. Others think that increasing energy costs has forced the eateries to cut back on service and other amenities. A couple of cases in point. A family with some small children went to The Wharf for lunch during the week. After waiting an half an hour for a menu, one of the party went to the cashier and asked for service. A very harried waitress dropped one menu on the table and said there were no others available. She made it clear that they were not welcome, so they got up and walked out. Another local family went to Carosello on Cross Bay Boulevard for Easter dinner. Though they had reservations, they waited an inordinate amount of time for somebody to come to their table and take their order. They left and went elsewhere. Then, there is the fact that some restaurants, such as Plum Tomato on Beach 129 Street no longer offer wait service at all for lunch. If you want food, you have to go to the counter to get it, not only for pizza, but for meals as well. We understand that costs are going through the roof, but restaurants are basically service organizations and they must keep their service tip-top if they want to keep their customers.

The city's Department of Education (DOE) is dangling a $15,000 housing incentive to experienced teachers outside the city who agree to come here and teach in shortage areas for three years. Special Education, Mathematics and Science teachers who give up their regular jobs and move to the city would receive a one-time $5,000 "signing bonus" and then $400 a month for two years to pay the rent. The DOE believes that more than 100 experienced teachers will take the bait - we mean the deal. We don't see that as happening any time soon. First of all, even with the bonus and the housing money, the teachers would probably be earning less than they were elsewhere. Secondly, despite the fact that the DOE says that the schools are safer and discipline is less of a problem than in the past, everybody knows that's a lie and few experienced teachers with any options are going to take those jobs in the 500 most-dangerous schools in the city.

There is a rising number of voices who are calling for the Mets to name their new stadium in honor of Jackie Robinson, the Brooklyn Dodger great who broke the color line in baseball during the 1947 season. "Jackie Robinson Stadium" has a nice ring to it and would honor both his memory and the years when New York City hosted three top baseball teams. Unfortunately, it is more likely that the Mets will follow the recent trend and make a couple of million bucks by selling the naming rights to the new stadium to some conglomerate that has nothing to do with New York or its history.

City teachers who want to make more money can now do so by cleaning up their rooms and making them look nice. That's a ruling by the Department of Education in response to a complaint that two graduates of its elite leadership training academy at Tweed Courthouse told teachers that their schools were expecting a visit from one big shot or another and that extra money would be paid to teachers who "pretty up" their classrooms in advance of the visit. "It is up to the principal and what he or she thinks is good use of per-session money," one DOE expert, who probably has not been in a school since high school, said in his ruling. What did most of the teachers do to earn their $115 in overtime money? Hang student's work on bulletin boards and throw away unwanted piles of paper.

Those of you who do not subscribe to the advice of Satchel Paige of baseball fame (Never run when you can walk, never walk when you stand, never stand when you can sit down and never sit down when you can lay down) should remember to sign up for the annual Sweet 'N Low Rockaway Rotary Ocean Run that is scheduled to begin at Beach 116 Street and the boardwalk at 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 30.

"Sweet And Low: A Family Story," a new book by Rich Cohen has some interest for Rockaway because the family that it is about lives in Rockaway. Marvin and Barbara Eisenstadt are long-time residents who have been the benefactors of many local organization ranging from the Rockaway Music And Arts Council to the Rotary Club (the fund its annual Ocean Run). The book is about many things - the founding of the company that makes the now-famous and ubiquitous pink packages, the discovery of sugar, the history of Brooklyn and the way a small Brooklyn diner nearby the Navy Yard became a billion dollar company. Written by a disinherited nephew of Marvin's, the author certainly has an ax to grind, and he does at every opportunity. A review of the book in the New York Times said, "Most of all, Sweet and Low is the story of the Eisenstadt family, as written by Ben Eisenstadt's grandson Rich Cohen - a rollicking utterly compelling family saga that is part detective story, part morality tale, part tragedy and part farce. It is a story peopled with eccentrics, and nafs and scoundrels, and a story recounted with uncommon acuity and wit." We will leave it to you to read for yourself and decide the issues that it induces. It is worth the read.

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