2006-06-23 / Community


By Joanie Omeste, Executive Director, Rockaway Chamber of Commerce

JOANIE OMESTE JOANIE OMESTE The Rockaway Chamber held its Annual Public Meeting on Tuesday, June 20 at The Beach Club. Attended by about 50 people, the meeting was held to talk about the accomplishments of the Chamber over the past year and address what we have planned for the upcoming year. Chamber President, John Lepore, spoke about the many activities of the Chamber throughout the year, including the opening and success of Tribute Park. He thanked both Councilman Joe Addabbo and Councilman James Sanders for the success of The Doe Fund, which by the way has generously volunteered to clean Tribute Park. He spoke about the Chamber's moving forward to construct a new website and also coming soon, a new brochure and new ways to enhance communications to our members and businesses of the Rockaway Peninsula.

Speaking of John Lepore, he's been quoted all over the news these days. He was quoted in a Daily News article about Ocean Grande Condominium's official opening. By the way, units are still available, and a discount is offered to members of the NYPD and FDNY who purchase apartments. John was also quoted in this Sunday's Daily News in an article entitled "Could a 'cane blow away the Rockaways?" I have both articles in case anyone is interested and will e-mail them to you by request at rockawaychamber@aol.com.

As you have undoubtedly read about in the Wave, the Big Belly was officially christened here in the Rockaways, one on Beach 116 Street in front of the train station and the other in Tribute Park. Donated by LIPA thanks to the hard work, cajoling, persuasiveness and overall charm of Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, these trash receptacles hold the equivalent of six to eight regular sized trash receptacles. The Big Bellys have been working wonderfully during their test period.... one little drawback.... people sometimes think it's a mailbox and deposit their mail into it at the Beach 116 Street station. Just so you know, if someone mistakenly does that, we can retrieve their mail as that has happened on several occasions.

Seth Bornstein of the Queens Borough President's office gave a great presentation to real estate developers, hosted by the Queens Chamber of Commerce, on the unprecedented building boom going on throughout all of Queens. He gave an outstanding presentation and reported that the commercial hubs of Long Island City, Flushing and Jamaica are experiencing growing residential, retail and office sectors. Long Island City, with the benefit of a three-minute subway ride to midtown, has a renewed interest for developers. LIC's Queens West along the East River is currently home to three new high-rise residential towers, to be joined by over eight more. Court Square is a mix use building and is anchored by the first Citicorp Tower and is being joined by Citicorp Tower II and the new home of the UN Federal Credit Union. Flushing Commons will have 500 units of housing, retail space and a lovely open green space; the City is currently reviewing proposals for Willets Point that includes commercial space and even a conference center, and will be adjacent to the new Mets Ballpark. Jamaica, capitalizing on its role as a center of transportation, will develop the downtown area around the Airtrain station with construction of new office, retail, housing and hotels.

On the Rockaway Peninsula, it is the availability of space that has spurred development. Five years ago when the Arverne by the Sea project commenced, it signaled a new era for this community. Now with Arverne East in development, new housing, commercial and recreational facilities are the main focus of the neighborhood. All of this bodes well for the Borough of Queens and for the Rockaway Peninsula. The key is to develop our community in a wise and balanced way so that it provides us, and future generations, with opportunities for all in terms of housing, jobs, recreation, health and education.... and shopping, shopping, shopping!

Chamber plans are currently underway for production of the New York Kite Festival at the Rockaways on Saturday and Sunday August 19 and 20. Returning this year is Z-100 to do broadcasts and giveaways.... they were a huge hit last year in the Z-100 Tent, giving away ice-cold soda, candy for the kids, t-shirts and other fun stuff. Along with our partners Keyspan, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Gateway National Recreation Area, it promises to be a spectacular weekend!

If you are interested in becoming a Chamber member, please call (718) 634-1300 or e-mail us at rockaway chamber@aol.com.

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