2006-08-18 / Columnists


Word on the street is that Steven Good has taken on the task of reopening the "Last Stop Caf” on Beach 116 Street. For Steve, who owned a succession of restaurants on the street including "The Great American Eatery," "The Beach Club" and the "Rockaway Sunset Diner," this is like coming home. The Last Stop was the first restaurant he and his brother Ken owned more than 20 years ago when they first moved into the restaurant business. In any case, that is good news because there are few places on the street to sit down and have a burger or a Sunday morning breakfast with the diner and Last Stop gone. There is some question as to when the eatery will reopen, but it could be real soon.

The highly-respected Consumers Reports organization has put a Rockaway health care facility on its "avoid" list in a recent report. The report, which looked at 16,000 nursing homes nationwide using state and federal date that provided a ranking based on factors such as staffing, number of residents with high risk for bed sores, nurse to resident ratios and other issues. Horizon Care Center, at 64-11 Beach Channel Drive, was the only Rockaway facility that made the "avoid" list, although several Long Island facilities were listed as well.

Beach 116 Street has become a cash cow for the Department of Transportation and the city ever since the street's reconfiguration last year. We have known for a long time that certain areas become "favorites" of traffic enforcement agents, but Beach 116 has become a magnet to agents looking to make their quota. The four "loading zones" seem to provide the most tickets because they are not marked except with confusing signs that do not adequately delineate the zones from the allowable parking. Now, agents seem to be playing a new game. An elderly man came to us last week to complain that he left his car, walked to the nearest Muni-meter and put in his quarter. The receipt came out and he began to walk back to his car to put the receipt in the car window when he noticed an agent giving him a ticket. The agent told him that the ticket was valid because there was no receipt in the car window. If you are going to work with a system that forces parkers to walk a distance to get the receipts, then you have to allow people to do that without fear of getting cited. Another woman got a ticket because the receipt was on the passenger side dash rather than the driver side dash. It was still clearly in the window. These are the sort of incidents that give the DOT and the NYPD a bad name.

If you are not registered to vote and you want to vote in the September 12 primary elections, you have to mail your registration by tonight, midnight, August 18 so that it is received by the Board of Elections by August 23. If you have moved since your last vote, you must reregister at your new address in order to vote. You cannot go back to your old polling place and vote if you no longer live at that address. If you are going to register in person rather than by mail, you must do so by August 18 at the county board of elections or at state offices. If you need a registration form, you can get one by calling 1-800-for-vote or on line at www.elections.state.ny.us and clicking on the "voting" tab.

Congressman Anthony Weiner recently spent a week in Israel meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other officials, as well as visiting areas hit by Hezbollah missiles. Weiner met with many of the victims of those missile attacks. He said that the trip was designed "to show solidarity with the people of Israel."

Go through past editions of The Wave and you will see a distinct pattern in gun use on the peninsula. Of all the gun stories we have done in the past two years or so, more than 75 percent of them have been within a mile of Beach 54 Street and Beach Channel Drive. We understand that a mile circle on a small peninsula such as Rockaway takes in quite an area, from Bayswater to Rockaway Park, but the statistics are startling all the same.

If you are unhappy with the way the Parks Department controls the Rockaway beaches, from the hiring to lifeguards to the closing of beaches to beach and boardwalk access, the time to air those grievances may well be a meeting to be held at the Beach Club (Beach 116 Street and the boardwalk) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 29. While the meeting is set by Community Board 14 to discuss the lifeguard situation, it will probably devolve into other beach-related subjects as well.

The sports complex at Floyd Bennett Field is scheduled to open sometime next month and that is an exciting proposition. The complex promises leagues and sports instruction for both adults and children in such areas as basketball, cheerleading, dance, figure skating, flag football, gymnastics, hockey, rock climbing and soccer. Down the road the Gateway Park complex could easily become a facility akin to Chelsea Piers in Manhattan.

The Brooklyn Cyclones will host a "Salute to the Rockaways" night at Keyspan Park in Coney Island for the team's September 7 game against the Vermont Lake Monsters. Discounted tickets are available by calling (718) 449-8497. Ask for Ricky or Greg and mention the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce for your discount. A portion of each ticket sold will go to the chamber.

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