2006-09-08 / Editorial/Opinion


Wheelchair Access In The Rockaways Dear Editor,

If you rely on a wheelchair and want access to the Soldier's Memorial (also known as the "Doughboy") or are just trying to get from Beach 94 Street to Beach 95 Street along Rockaway Beach Boulevard, you are at great risk.

I often enjoy taking my wheelchair-bound mother out along Rockaway Beach Boulevard. When I reach the 100th Precinct I am unable to cross the street with her because the corners in that area are not wheelchair accessible; there are no curb cuts. I have to wheel my mother out into the street in front of the firehouse next door to the precinct, then travel alongside the vehicular traffic in the roadway for two blocks until I reach the next curb cut where I can get her back onto the sidewalk.

No one in a wheelchair should have to experience this. It is very dangerous, as well as a violation of federal law: the American Disabilities Act.

On August 15, 2006, I contacted 311 to request the installation of curb cuts, which set me on a course of contacting five different city agencies. Each one referred me to another. It was not until I phoned the office of Assemblymember Audrey Pheffer that I felt I was making any progress. I learned that this condition was brought to her attention this past Memorial Day, and that she had informed Maura McCarthy, the Queensborough Commissioner for the Department of Transportation on June 13.

Hopefully, all those we know who depend on their wheelchair for travel will be able to cross this busy area safely in the near future.


Needs Some Corrections

Dear Editor,

Thank you for running the corrections to our September 1 "It's My Turn" article in this letter's section.

The first correction is to paragraph # 1. Here is how the paragraph should have read:

"We would like to address a number of inaccuracies represented in two recent articles published in the Wave. The August 18, 2006 article, by Patricia Hannan, entitled, "Dayton Beach Park Meeting Is Short On Answers" states, "The procedure for privatization...requires at least two votes by the shareholders and then a payout of the existing mortgage."

Generally speaking, this is correct. However, as it pertains to Dayton Beach Park specifically, it has not yet been determined that Dayton Beach Park would have to "payout of [our] existing mortgage." It appears as if Dayton Beach Park's current mortgage is with a private mortgage lender without interest rate subsidization from the city. Therefore, it is quite possible that Dayton Beach Park can stay with our current mortgage lender and not have to pre-pay to renegotiate another mortgage. The results of a professional feasibility study will give us definitive information regarding, specifically, what connections, if any, HPD has to our mortgage."

The second correction is to paragraph # 6. Here is how the paragraph should have read:

"Conversely, what one can do to calm the fiscal concerns of shareholders is discuss numerous proven ways other Boards of Directors have kept maintenance costs down, after privatization, insuring that every resident remain comfortably settled into their respective homes with no fear of displacement. Instituting flip-taxes; leasing vacant land and available building space to professionals; selling vacant co-ops; applying for corporate tax abatements; and, individual tax exemptions such as Star, senior citizen home, and veteran are just a few ways to keep costs down. And, of course, each shareholder would have his/her respective tax return to look forward to and the option to take a personal home equity loan using his/her enormous increase in equity as collateral.

Subsidies such as SCRIE would continue, because it is based on income, not net worth. Even those who are unwilling or unable to remain shareholders after privatization would have the option to sell his/her shares back to the cooperative for the original equity plus the value accrued over time (the value of the co-op within the Mitchell-Lama program, not the free market value of the co-op after privatization), effectively exchanging their occupancy agreement in shares for leases protected by rent stabilization laws. Rent stabilization laws entitle tenant-renters the same services they enjoyed as shareholders including, but not limited to: repairs, maintenance, the furnishing of light, heat, hot and cold water, elevator services, janitorial services, the removal of refuse, and ancillary services such as parking and recreational facilities. What is crucially important to understand is that exorbitant increases are avoidable and no one will be forced to leave their homes, especially not seniors."



Another Dog Walk?

Dear Editor,

Councilman Addabbo is seeking response for the location of a dog run in the western half of Rockaway. Doesn't he know that we already have one?

The Beach 142 Street mall is already the dog walking capital of the peninsula.

Not only do people walk their dogs from far and wide to do their business on this extraordinarily sniffable piece of turf, but I have also observed "walkers" driving their hounds to defecate here.

Oh yes, some of these transient dog walkers even clean up.


Some Info On

Greenroses Restaurant

Dear Editor,

In last week's paper you had pictures of a party at Greenroses and you asked who John Corrigan was. I can tell you this much, Johnny Corrigan was a friend of my father's and they were both involved in Democratic politics here in Rockaway, specifically in the Holland area and there were many elections where, as a child, I went around stuffing flyers in everyone's mailbox to help John and my father.

From what I remember, John lived on the left side of Beach 90 Street just north of the subway which at that time was the Long Island Railroad.

Greenroses was a bar and restaurant on Beach 90 Street just south of the railroad. The restaurant part was often used for weddings and other such events besides just being a restaurant. I remember it being a lovely big room perfect for such events.

While I probably knew some of the people in pictures, I can't remember any of them now but I'm sure they were all local people.

Hope this little bit of information helps.


'This Place Is A Disgrace'

Dear Editor,

Mr. Levy's article in last week's Wave hit part of the nail on the head. These builders have ruined our nice beach town. And there are no facilities for elderly and the handicapped. They took down the only deli and restaurant on Beach 78 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. Many can't walk the mile up to the only shopping area. It's a disgrace what they've done. These "tinderboxes" they're building all over are not going to hold up after storms. Also the traffic is unbearable. All you see is these sub-standard, overpriced homes. I don't see any of the public officials doing anything to remedy the situation. They just take their money and go overseas somewhere. They're not concerned about how the rest of us live.

As for the NYPD (100 Precinct) they have some nerve doing what they do. A year or so ago I was walking from C-Town up the street with my dog. The cops stopped me and asked for the dog's license- does everyone carry this with them every time they go out? I told them I had it pinned to the bulletin board and would they like to come to my home and see it? The dog had ID around her neck. The two cops looked to be rookies. I am senior and needed to be home to take my insulin on time. They even got out of the car like they were going to arrest me! As for what they're doing to folks about parking and parking tickets- I think the cops should be arrested. Me, I'm trying to move out of town in the near future. This place is a disgrace.


Free Gas For All

Dear Editor,

As two people who were raised in Rockaway and whose lives and work are very much concerned with travel on our nation's roads - one of us works for a highway engineering firm, and the other's family business has been in trucking for many years - we are alarmed that the cost of gas is spiraling upwards leaving people increasingly strapped and stranded as they try to go about their daily lives. And the expense of trucking goods to their destinations to meet the needs of people is growing daily - ratcheting up the price of every item delivered, including food to supermarkets.

That it is increasingly difficult for millions of Americans and their families to get what they need because oil companies insist on making outrageous, record-breaking profit is outright cruelty and inefficiency for our nation.

We feel it is vital for all our neighbors and elected officials to know what historian and economist Eli Siegel, founder of the education Aesthetic Realism, has shown: that our economy - valuing profits above all else - is based on contempt for people. It is emergent that our economy be based on good will which he defined as, "the desire to have something else stronger and more beautiful, for this desire makes oneself stronger and more beautiful."

A country which meets the hopes of every citizen will be a reality when this question asked by Mr. Siegel is asked and answered: "What does a person deserve by being a person?"



Attention BC Dog Walkers

Dear Editor,

I believe our residents will agree that 17 Road Park in Broad Channel is a great asset to our community. What many may not realize is that the Parks' Department sends a "staff" an average of three times a week to clean this park.

My mother, Ann Kinneary, was very instrumental in getting members from our community to plant flowers in certain sections of the park. Although those flowers are long gone (as is my Mom), the Parks' staff has replaced these areas with shrubs.

It is frustrating for my husband and I to watch our neighbors walk their dogs (on leashes no less), letting them relieve themselves in the garden areas. Besides being a law to clean up after your animals, it is demeaning that the Parks' employees have to step in your pets' mess; and it's sickening that people who use this park have to smell your dogs' droppings. It's a small town - we all know each other - and we know who you are! So do your community a favor - stop using the gardens for your pets' private toilet bowl - care about this park as much as you care about your pet - keep it clean!


Rockaway Doesn't Need

A 'Newbie'

Dear Editor,

This letter is in reply to Tom Lynch's reply to my letter.

Tom, you missed the whole point of my letter. The issue is not being a Republican or Democrat, being a conservative, moderate or liberal. It's about Rockaway.

It's about our quality of life. For decades, Rockaway has been dumped on by the mainland. We do not need a mainlander who knows nothing about Rockaway writing for us or representing us. Mr. Ulrich's last column said nothing. What's the matter, there is no Rockaway Republicans who can write about Rockaway? It's about doing what is right for Rockaway.

We need Rockaway people speaking for Rockaway. We need people who have lived in Rockaway for 25 to 30 years, who know Rockaway and have lived the Rockaway life- not somebody who may move to Rockaway. We don't need a "newbie" representing us.

New York has had enough carpetbaggers representing and using us- like Hillary Clinton and Bobby Kennedy. Rockaway had its own carpetbaggers in the person of James Sheuer, a Bronx politician who moved to Rockaway only because there was a seat vacant.

Rockaway does not need another carpetbagger representing us in the future. We need longtime Rockaway people speaking for us. The new people and the greedy developers are destroying the Rockaway lifestyle.


More On Downzoning

Dear Editor,

I have some suggestions to make to Eric Ulrich in regard to his article, "The Rockaway Rezoning Battle," which is appearing on page 24 of this week's Wave.

I do not know Ulrich. I do not know Professor Re either. But with all due respect to them, it took much more than closing the SROs to "clean" Times Square.

I happened to be working for Manhattan Community Board No. 4 in those days and was a witness to the whole process. It took years and much work on the part of the Koch, Cuomo and Dinkins administrations to lead to "Clean Times Square." Board No. 4 and No. 5 (14th to 59th Streets/ 5th to 12th Avenues) were closely involved along with the local City Council, State Assembly and Senate members, community advocates and grassroots organizations. Also, Mr. Ulrich seems to be comparing the capabilities of Professor Re to the ones of Paul Graziano, implying that Graziano's rezoning plan shows inconsistencies and that Graziano may not have showed much competency in putting it together. I understand that Paul Graziano is an urban planner; Re an architect. These are two very different kinds of job. If Ulrich does need an education at this level, Re should know better.

According to Ulrich, Professor Re is "widely considered an expert in the area of codes and zoning." As an architect, Re's job consists of designing houses and buildings, not to make urban plans. Every architect I know is knowledgeable of zoning laws and codes in the community where he/she works. This knowledge comes with the job.

The way I feel about downzoning is not an issue here. The issue is that the way Ulrich presents Re's opinion is a little too simplistic. The expression "reducing new building density" is very unclear. The affirmation that "getting rid of SROs is the best practical solution to reduce density in Rockaway" seems weird and unrealistic. I am not an SRO advocate, but I have a hard time believing that the solution to our problems is just to send the transient somewhere else, to resolve the existing and new parking problems created by development and to restrict "attic space to prevent illegal conversions." Taking "a closer look at the side yard requirement" sounds like a developer's costless concession to the community. I can't help wondering how that would make the six-story building that is supposed to be built across the street from my two-story house invisible!

If Ulrich and Re are trying to convince us that downzoning is a bad idea they should make a better case because the way they are doing it here insults my intelligence. I am sure that I am not the only one who feels this way.


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If you didn't see your letter this week, don't despair. The volume of letters

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