2006-08-25 / Columnists


The New York Times reported last week that six apartment buildings in middle- and lower-income areas of the Rockaway Peninsula have had at least 17 elevator complaints filed with the Department of Buildings during a recent 17-month period. The good news is that the Times story, which started on the front page of its Tuesday, August 15, 2006 issue and jumped to a full page in the Metro section, is shining major light on the issue. The bad news is that the Times suggests that the city and building residents are virtually powerless when it comes to getting repairs done.

The confusing white and yellow lines painted onto Rockaway streets with manic intensity over the past three weeks have made the peninsula's roadways more dangerous rather than less so. On August 17, the female driver of a silver Mitsubishi with one passenger in the car drove off the road into the new bike lane on Beach Channel Drive and Beach 54 Street to move around another car at a red light. The Mitsubishi's driver then ran the red light and drove into the parking lot for the Peninsula Center For Extended Care. The driver of the car that they passed illegally saw them go into the hospital building and assumes that they are employees of the facility. Perhaps if they left a few minutes earlier for work, they wouldn't have to virtually run somebody else off the road to get there on time.

For the past four years, American Airlines has offered support for those family members who lost their loved ones in the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 into Belle Harbor on November 12, 2001. That support came in the form of transportation to and from the memorial services that are held in Rockaway each November. This year, however, the airline has declined to offer help to family members who want to travel to New York City for the memorial. "We have decided not to support that activity [any longer," an American Airlines spokesperson told family members who contacted him.

With all the new road design in Rockaway, we thought we would point out what the various parking limitations signs actually mean. The most restrictive category of parking signs is "No Stopping Any Time." That means you cannot stop at the curb for any reason, not for waiting, not for picking up or dropping off passengers nor for dropping off packages. "No Standing Any Time," allows a motorist to stop to drop off or pick up passengers, but not for waiting or for dropping off packages. A No Parking Any Time" sign means that you can stop to unload or pick up passengers or a package, but cannot stand and wait or park and leave your car. Hope that clears it up.

Want to buy a used bus? The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is selling 107 of them at its Eastchester (Bronx) depot. You might even be able to pick up a spare antiquated Green Bus Lines bus for a song. What a great planter for your backyard. Of course, all of the buses are sold "as is." The tires do not come with the bus, but you can "borrow" the tires for 10 days if you want and then return them to the MTA, or you can lease them long-term from the company that actually owns them.

Most people would agree that development is good for the peninsula, but the city seems to keep us under its thumb with its draconian parking regulations, particularly on the west end of the peninsula. Last weekend, there was an open house for the new homes built on the former site of the Washington Hotel on Beach 125 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, The new homes, called "Ocean Walk Condominiums" are a welcome addition to the community. Many of those who wanted to see the new condos could not, however, because there was no place to park. Several who parked on Rockaway Beach Boulevard in front of the new development got $155.00 tickets for their interest. Now, that should make them feel welcome in Rockaway.

Curtis Archer, who was the executive director of the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation for many years, has moved on to bigger and perhaps better things. This week Archer was spotlighted in the Daily News as the president of the Harlem Development Corporation. We guess that making the pages of The Daily News is a little more prestigious than making the pages of The Wave.

The only primary election of note in Rockaway this year involves the east end (the minority seat) Assembly seat now held by Michelle Titus. Once again, Rockaway businessman Mike Duvalle is challenging Titus for the Democratic nomination in the September 12 primary election. Last time around, Titus, the party's choice, trounced Duvalle, but he sticks in the political arena and comes back for more. There is one other primary and that is in the State Sentate race for the seat now held by the incumbent Ada Smith. Smith, who is often called "the wild woman of Albany" by her detractors faces three other Democratic candidates and a write-n challenge by Liz Goldsmith, who did not make it on to the ballot.

It is hard to understand how the fire department will get better candidates by cutting down on the college credit requirement, but that's what Mayor Bloomberg says will happen. Seems that the mayor wants more diversity in the department and the college credit requirement was getting in the way. Sounds like old times when mayors such as David Dinkins and Ed Koch argued that "less is more" and that the ideal was giving city jobs to minorities whether they met the qualifications or not. "The strength of the Fire Department lies in its members and increasing the diversity of the FDNY will strengthen the greatest fire department in the world," Bloomberg said in a fit of hyperbole that has not been seen in years except for the Department of Education.

The Rockaway Music and Art Council (RMAC) will host its final Sunset Picnic Concert of the summer at Fort Tilden on Sunday, August 27 at 6 p.m. Featured will be the "Kings of the Keyboard," two pianists who will play tunes from the likes of Fats Waller, Scott Joplin and Art Tatum. Bring your beach chair, a picnic dinner and your favorite beverage and just chill out and enjoy the evening.

There are two parts in every partnership. An extremely successful partnership was only half mentioned in the "From the Artist's Studio" column last week. Marina Callaghan's Co-Director, Christine Mullally was erroneously omitted from the column highlighting the success of camp kidsmART's summer season. Ms. Callaghan and Ms. Mullally both want the families that they serve to know that the omission was an editorial error made by the columnist and in no way reflects a change in the management of any Rockaway Artists Alliance's art education programming. The organization is already gearing up for the programs that it will run this winter.

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