2006-07-14 / Columnists


Our note in this space last week about the Chamber of Commerce selling Tribute Park bricks was a bit premature. They tell us that the bricks will be sold shortly by the Friends of Tribute Park, a new group now being established expressly for that purpose. Look for that organization's advertisements in future issues of The Wave for further information.

The Wave's front-page story about the removal of students from PS 114 in Belle Harbor because their parents submitted falsified documents showing that they lived in the school's zone has caused consternation on the part of others who are in the same boat but have not yet been caught. The fact of life is that many in-the-know parents have manipulated the system over the years to get their children into the west end school, which often ranks in the top schools in the city. That is largely because parents do not want to send their children to their zoned school - PS 225 on Beach 110 Street - a perennially troubled school. We have spoken to many parents who are in favor of children going to "neighborhood" schools and who argue that PS 225 is not a neighborhood school in the real sense of the word because children who are zoned for PS 183 and PS 42 are sent to PS 225 instead under a decades-old zoning agreement. When PS 225 was opened, the then-Board of Education told the local school board that the school's demographics were "too white." In order to bring minority children to the school, the agreement was to zone those out-of-zone kids to the school. Just before it was disbanded, Community School Board 27 passed a resolution to send those children back to the schools they should have attended in the first place. That resolution was not honored by the new Department of Education and the mayor when they took over the school system. Two years ago, the DOE reorganized the school, removing all of the experienced teachers and replacing them with a brand new staff, which only exacerbated the problems. We can't blame parents for preferring PS 114 even if they have to break the law to do so. Perhaps the DOE should follow its own rules and put those students back where they belong.

A Parade of cars moved out of Rockaway and into impound lots last week, all of them on the hooks of Fleet Towing, the company that tows for City Marshals. It seems that Rockaway has become something of a "cash cow" for the city because many residents do not pay their tickets. Marshals regularly cruise the streets with their handheld computers, looking for scofflaws with more than $250 worth of unpaid tickets. When they find one, they call the hook and the car is quickly taken to impound, where it costs about double the amount of the owed fines to get back. A word to the wise should be sufficient - pay your fines or keep you car off the street when the marshals are working Rockaway.

Every Time we pass by Beach 108 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard we have to gawk at the size of the American Flag that now covers the works of the 75-foot high cell phone tower that was recently installed in the parking lot at Snug Harbour restaurant. It is certainly one of the largest flags we have seen outside of a sports venue or government building.

Speaking of flags, calls and email to The Wave supports the right of Ann West to put a "Support Our Troops" banner up on her terrace at Dayton Towers. The management of the cooperative has threatened to take her parking privileges from her if she does not take down the "flag" that she proudly flies, but reportedly has not yet done so. We would think that the management would rethink their decision to ban all flags and banners with the exception of the American Flag.

Local residents continue to get tickets for parking in the four "Loading Zones" on Beach 116 Street. Those zones are marked with red signs that restrict parking there on weekdays. The tickets are expensive, so remember to look up at the signs before you park.

Pier 92 Restaurant, located behind McDonald's on Beach 92 Street, is under new management with a new menu and specials. One of those specials is a "Couples Celebration Night" that allows couples to each get soup or salad, a choice of five delicious entrees, dessert and a bottle of red or white wine to share for only $49.95. Drop in as well for the crab cakes and the French Onion Soup. They are, in our estimation, the best around.

Speaking of food, Boardwalk Bagel at Beach 108 Street and Mickey Carton Way has a special that puts the gourmet restaurants to shame. Their New England Style Clambake includes a 1 pound lobster, lots of steamers, an ear of corn on the cob and roasted new potatoes. While you're at it, try their iced coffee. It's the best in Rockaway.

The community Cruise hosted by the 101 Precinct Community Council to raise funds for the National Night Out Against Crime fireworks display will be held tomorrow night, July 15. The Royal Princess will leave Riis Landing (Fort Tilden) at 7 p.m. for this evening cruise that includes dinner and music. Tickets are still available from City Councilman Joe Addabbo's office.

The College of New Rochelle, which graduated its first Rockaway site students a month ago, has found a permanent site for its Far Rockaway campus. The new site, on the second floor at 21-11 Mott Avenue will be named for Pauline Rhodd-Cummings, the woman who represented Far Rockaway in the State Assembly for a number of years and who was instrumental in bringing the college program to Rockaway.

You have to hand it to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The organization bills itself as the guardian of the rights of all, including Muslim detainees in Guantanamo Bay and flag-burners in America. Everybody, that is with the exception of its own workers. It's executive committee has passed a rule that members of the committee cannot make any public statements in opposition to the board's officials statements.

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