2006-09-15 / Columnists

Chamber Chat

By Joanie Omeste, Executive Director, Rockaway Chamber of Commerce

JOANIE OMESTE There are no words to describe the wounds left in our hearts by the events September 11, and Tribute Park is a place where no words are needed.

It is a place people of the Rockaways go to just be, whether alone or with loved ones, looking at names of people they've lost or looking at the water and the skyline.

This past Monday, on the fifth anniversary, Friends of Tribute Park hosted very low-key flag ceremonies and remained in the Park all day to welcome people and be together in a place where presence negates the need for words.

Many thanks go to Chief Mike McGrath and FDNY personnel of Battalion 47, officers of the 100 Precinct, the 101 Precinct and Transit District 23 who graciously participated in the dignified flag ceremonies.

Also, thanks to John Malazzo who beautifully played Taps and God Bless America, our elected officials Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer (with Chief of Staff JoAnn Shapiro) and Councilman Joe Addabbo, and kudos to Nadia Murphy and the Parks Department who made sure the plantings looked their best, Dolores "Butterflies are Free" Orr and Bernie Warnock, who no matter what he thinks, is a compelling public speaker!

The Park has exceeded everyone's expectations and has proven to fulfill its mission as a respectful tribute.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention John Lepore and Dan Mundy and their tireless efforts, indescribable integrity and good working relationships with city and state agencies (which are necessary to get a project like this completed) and to the countless wonderful people involved with the funding, planning and building, completed a project that many thought would never happen, and created a beautiful place where people can go to reflect and even enjoy.

The Rockaway Chamber Dinner Dance will be held this year on Monday, October 23 at Russo's on the Bay at 6:00 p.m.

It will be a great way to start your week!

Our Honorees this year are an outstanding group of people: The Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center, Dr. Peter Nelson accepting for "Outstanding Service to the Community"; Barbara and Marvin Eisenstadt will receive the "Lifetime Community Commitment" award; Borough President Helen Marshall "Friend to the Chamber"; The Engel Burman Group and Cedar Summit Property Group, the developers of Ocean Grande Condominiums receive the "Community Development Award" for adding some luxury to Beach 116 Street; Valerie West of Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corp will receive the "Helping Hands" award and Merchants of the Year are Danielle McShane of Danielle's Rockaway Florist and Marco & Lucille Minuto of Red Castle Bakeries. It promises to be a fun evening.

For tickets please call the Chamber office at (718) 634-1300.

Thursday, September 7 was "Rockaways Night" at the Brooklyn Cyclones game at Keyspan Park and what a fun evening it was! Great weather had everyone in fine spirits, with the extra added thrill that the Cyclones won the deciding game sending them to the Playoffs!

About 400 Rockawayites and friends attended to watch John Lepore, President of the Chamber, throw out the first pitch. Spotted in the stands were Dorothy Wagner and Dennis Smith of Aerial Acoustics who supplied the pre-game entertainment in extremely chaotic circumstances; the Allstate Insurance gang - the loudest in the ballpark; Arverne by the Sea, who never miss a chance for a good time; Councilman Joe Addabbo Jr. finally sitting down for five minutes before heading off to more meetings; Kelley Brooke and employees from the Riis Park Golf Course who used this opportunity for a fun company outing; the lovely ladies from The Gift is Love and their families; Linda & Bob Sarnoff - gazing at the huge full moon like they were on their first date; and, of course, the Brown's Hardware gang and Joe Muré and his fun bunch of friends.

The event was a huge success and we hope to make it bigger and better for next year!

There were many Rockaway businesses that supported this event, here's the list..... American Works, Animal Hospital of the Rockaways, Arverne by the Sea, Allstate Insurance, Belle Boy Cleaners, Brown's Hardware, Chun Tom, Dr. John Schilling DDS, Dr. Lichtenstein, Dr. Linda Scott, Dr. Rogoff's Dental Group, Danielle's Rockaway Florist, Gerald Zweiker, JKS Printing, Mac Group, Meserole Funeral Home, Peninsula Hospital Center, Pier 92, Plum Tomatoes, Riis Park Golf Course, Robin Shapiro Realty, Rockaway Artist Alliance, Rockaway Point News, John Miller and Rubin Management, The Gift is Love, Treiber Roberts Insurance, Velardi's Service Center, Vista Pharmacy, Knight Properties.....thanks to everyone for spreading that Rockaway spirit into Brooklyn!!!

Get Well, Jate!!!

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