2006-06-16 / Columnists

Beachcomber

It seems clear that the new bank coming to the location recently evacuated by the Rockaway Sunset Diner will be a branch of the HSBC, not the Commerce Bank as many believed. There are rumors circulating that the building formerly owned by the North Fork Bank (which moved up the street to the former Green Point location) has been sold to Amazing Savings, an upscale 99 Cent Store that can now be found in Lawrence. It had long been thought that a Washington Mutual Savings Bank was moving to that location. We guess with upscale housing such as the Ocean Grande coming to the area, banks will ultimately follow the money.

Firefighter Sean Cummins was slated to receive a medal for his bravery in making a daring rescue of an elderly woman from a Manhattan blaze last year at the FDNY's Medal Ceremony last week. Cummins, a Belle Harbor resident, could not make it, however. He was busy in his role as a civil affairs sergeant with the U.S. Army in Iraq. Mayor Mike Bloomberg made a point of setting Cummings apart from the rest of the medal winners. "He's over there right now," the Mayor said. "But his strong wife, Maureen, will be accepting the award on Sean's behalf." Cummins tried for months to get a special hook-up with her husband established so that he could accept the award himself. She was told by the fire department that the Mayor's office has scotched the idea, but that office told The Wave that the fire department did not want the hook-up to happen. It was never established and Maureen Cummins accepted the award along with her twin daughters and her son. "We're very proud," she told reporters. "We stand behind him."

City Councilman James Sanders hosted a "Hip-Hop Peace Summit" in Laurelton last week and plans others in high schools around his district. The summit has brought together pols and Bad Boys newest artist Yung Joc. According to a Sanders' press release, the "summit will be used to access what is on the minds of our youth and how we can work with elected officials, parents, teachers and celebrities to reduce crime and violence in our schools and communities." A laudatory aim, but why not in Rockaway? More than a year ago, Sanders promised that he would address the gun violence in Rockaway Earlier this year, the NAACP, responding to a Wave editorial, said that it would soon set up a forum on gun violence in Rockaway. Now, Sanders has picked up the ball, but has moved it away from the place it is needed most - Far Rockaway, Arverne and Edgemere.

Pat Hedderson is working on a history of St. Genevieve Church in Roxbury and has asked The Wave for help. Hedderson askes that anybody with information or photographs on the church's construction and design to contact her. She also asks for anecdotal information on the church's change from a mission church to a free-standing parish. Hedderson can be contacted by email at mamahedd@aol.com.

Garden City resident Anthony Carroll wrote to say that the idea of auto racing at Floyd Bennett Field is not a new one. He points out that sports car races of "several different classes" were held at the field over a 2.4 mile course on August 29, 1953, at a time when the field was still an active Navy Air Station. "Many of the most prominent cars and drivers of the day competed and more than 50,000 spectators were estimated to be in attendance," Carroll wrote, adding that he was one of those spectators and that the main event was won by Phil Walters driving a Cunningham C4R.

Whenever one of the daily papers take Congressman Gregory Meeks to task for all of his globetrotting activity, he points out that the travel is important to his district and to his position on the foreign relations committee. A watchdog agency recently put out a list of his travel and it includes Miami (four times), San Juan (three times), Antigua (twice), Jamaica (twice), Hawaii, Egypt, Cuba, India, Brazil, Ghana, Taiwan, Bahamas, New Orleans, London and St. Lucia. We guess that nothing ever happens in the colder climes that need his presence. All in all, he has reportedly tallied $350,000 in travel paid for by nonprofits, interest groups and corporations - many of which, the report says, have business on Capitol Hill since he joined the House of Representatives. Meeks told the Daily News that the trips were all work-related. "There's not one trip I took where I got to the beach, to the tennis court or to the golf course," he said. When asked why he often takes his wife along on the trips, he retorted, "In this business, you don't have much chance to spend time with your family. It helps my marriage."

One of the first things the newly-chartered Rockaway Republicans did was to endorse with much fanfare William Weld as governor of New York State. Now, Weld has dropped out of the race after party officials repudiated his candidacy for John Faso, who the locals pointedly did not endorse. Where does that leave them? Perhaps they will now turn around and endorse Faso as most of the other clubs in the area have done.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg had an epiphany last week. He wants to increase airline capacity in New York City not by expanding the existing airports or even by building a new one (as some have suggested). Bloomberg wants seaplanes. At first, the idea sounds loony, but one Wave editor remembers pulling seaplanes out of the water at Floyd Bennett Field in the late 1950's and early 1960's and that seaplane ramp still exists. What better place for a seaplane airport than Jamaica Bay, which was the takeoff area for the first seaplane flight across the Atlantic Ocean - the flight of the famous NC-4. "If you take a look at a map, one thing we have going for us is an enormous runway all around us - it's called water," Bloomberg said. "You could land out there far from everybody and then taxi in. There are no environmental issues to speak of." We like the idea.

Susan, Dennis, Brian Brady and Kevin Dolan were seen hanging up American Flags up and down Beach 129 Street on the Memorial Day weekend. High winds and heavy weather over the past three years have caused many of the flags previously put in place to come down or to deteriorate. In an effort to raise money to replace those flags, the team went to many of the new businesses and professional offices in the shopping area on the street and they say they were received well by Dr. David Lichtenstein, the 2-9 Deli, the Graybeards and the K of C. The flags, which are now in place from the oceanfront to Beach Channel Drive, make the mostly-residential street look much nicer.

Broad Channel has been promised a new post office for some time, ever since the former post office in one of the local stores was closed down. The first promise was for a post office van to come to the community on a regular basis, but that never happened and it seems that finding a new store to house a PO is still very far away.

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