2006-11-10 / Letters


The Rules Of Hurricanes

Dear Editor,

Last Saturday morning as I was looking out my living room window at an ominous and raging surf crashing the beach, I noted your article about the west end group suing to rid us of the dunes. At first I checked to see if it was a misplaced April Fool's joke, but of course it wasn't. Then I decided to do a little research. Lo and behold, these very clever people must be on to something! For instance, did you know that storm surges never travel down even numbered streets or streets numbered higher than 130 Street?


Likewise, they never travel down streets designated one-way south only. They follow the traffic regulations. What we should do is make all our streets one-way, south. Easy enough. Also, if the tide approaches the dunes and you eliminate the dunes, then you can have the ocean wash down your block, unimpeded, and you'll never need street sweepers. Nice!

Hurricanes are probably a thing of the past, since we all know the rule that states, "The more expensive and expansive the house, the less likely the chance of storm damage."

Just keep building them bigger and more elegant. Even if a ten-foot storm surge -you see one in a category three hurricane - were to occur, it would simply wash gently down the street and stay off the sidewalk. It certainly would never affect your first floor living quarters. And, so what if it does misbehave. Won't Brown's Hardware sell you the "Magic" sump pump? You can simply use it to pump out your house faster than it fills, and then into the sewer. Sewers never fill up.

Did you know that all insurance companies offer a "scenic discount"? If the dunes no longer block your view, then your insurance is cut in half, because, as we all know, the tide automatically backs off when it can see you. Likewise, dunes attract beach grass and beach grass attracts birds. Who wants birds on a beach? Pesky critters. Keep the beach sanitary and free of all wildlife; except for my dog, that is. Everyone agrees a birdless, grassless beach is a friendlier, more natural beach.

The Rule of Inverse Valuation says, "The shorter the distance from the water to my house, the more my property is worth." So eliminating the dunes means my property value rises immediately! According to this rule if your neighbor's oceanfront home is washed away, then you can have your dream of owning oceanfront. This means that someone could eventually be oceanfront and bayfront at the same time, even if only for a few minutes. Wow!

Dunes, as we all learned back in school, destroy property values. Just look at Nantucket, Hatteras, Mon tauk, Narragansett, Southampton, St. Simons, Hilton Head, on and on. They block access with dunes and now their homes are practically worthless. Silly, silly people. Why didn't they simply plan ahead?

Even if the worst should occur, a ten-foot surge, ocean cascading down your street, living room furniture floating, car filling up with water, electricity out, generator down, lights out; you can still get satisfaction looking at the raging surf from your second floor window, not having your view blocked by that ugly dune!

Flatten the beach, now! We can always call FEMA later.


Thanks To Peninsula Hospital Center

Dear Editor,

I would like to thank all the nurses and doctors who took the time and care in the Critical Care Unit of Peninsula Hospital Center for my husband, Anthony Grottano. And also the kindness the security guards gave us.


Thanks To The Wave

The following letter was sent in to The Wave from Stanley Brown, Double Dutch Coach for Stan's Pepper Steppers.

Dear Wave,

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the support you have given us. Your contribution was greatly needed and appreciated and for that I thank you.

This year the American Double Dutch League Exhibition was held in Sumter, South Carolina on June 16 and June 17, 2006 and due to contributions given by you, we were able to attend this prestigious Double Dutch tournament. We placed second in the event, which has participants from all over the world.

Once again, thank you for your continued support of the Stan's Pepper Steppers, because without your help our participation in the 2006 World Double Dutch competition would not have been possible.


Another Case of


Dear Editor,

In the October 20 "From the Editor's desk" I read with intrigue Mr. Schwach's "Breaking the Law in the Name of Religion, Part I", where he pointed out several examples of what he (and the New York Times - a publication with which he usually voices disagreement) deemed were violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1962 (it's actually 1964) in the name of religion. Each example he used in Part I revolved around the Roman Catholic church (because of course, no other religious institution gets sued for Civil Rights violations). I decided to wait until Part II to see if Mr. Schwach could "redeem" (pardon the expression) himself by citing any other religious groups' violations. Save for a short blurb about Native Americans using peyote, he did not.

I don't dispute Schwach's right to discuss and disagree with these issues. They are newsworthy and worth discussion. Given recent revelations about the Catholic church's history, I think even the most devout Catholics question the church hierarchy's past (and present) policies and decisions. The church is not above media criticism, and the media (especially this medium) takes advantage of that fact every chance it gets. Catholic-bashing, deserved or undeserved, has become part of the popular culture. Substitute the name of any other religion with "Catholic" in certain articles or jokes, and there would be outrage like you wouldn't believe.

However, judging by the tone of Mr. Schwach's article, and the fact that no other examples of Civil Rights discrimination by a religious institution are given in either part, only goes to prove the point I've challenged him on before...he is biased against the Catholic church. By his own admission, he used an extreme hypothetical situation of Judaism bringing back a pre-biblical custom of sacrificing their first-born son. Of course it is a preposterous example, but it is also a very convenient one to bolster his argument. Why not use a more realistic example, which draws a more current parallel to the St. Rose pregnancy-discrimination lawsuit?

Suppose a well-qualified, impeccably-referenced, non-Jewish butcher walked into a kosher butcher shop with an open position? Under Title VII of the American Civil Rights Act of 1964, that butcher shop has every right to reject that applicant solely on the basis of his/her religious status. Invoking the concept of BFOQ (bona fide occupational qualification), a religious organization (or any employer) is allowed to discriminate if they can prove that sex, religion, national origin or age is a BFOQ for the job in question (even those who are fall under one of the CRA's "protected classes"). Are they exactly parallel? The fact that Michelle McCusker was pregnant certainly adds an additional layer of complications. However, it is certainly a more credible comparison than going back to the times of biblical figures Abraham and Isaac.

Schwach rarely bypasses an opportunity to voice his disagreement with the New York Times. However, when it comes to revealing the perceived inadequacies of the Catholic Church, I guess they are in instant agreement. That being said, the Times article uses examples of lawsuits against several religious institutions. Schwach's article? See above.


Why Use Tax Dollars?

Dear Editor,

I have been reading your editorials on St. Rose of Lima and the letter written in by Mr. Castellano. I have a question I would like to ask you. While I do not believe that the government has any right to control the choices that a religious institution makes in its employment practices, I do have to wonder one thing. We are guaranteed freedom of religion by the first amendment of the Constitution. This works both ways. Just as the institution can choose it's practices, a person who does not believe in that particular groups beliefs can choose to go elsewhere. But, my question is: If a church, synagogue, Catholic school, yeshiva, etc. accepts government funding for it's programs, shouldn't that institution then be bound by the laws of the organization that funds it? Or, is it irrelevant where funding comes from?

I believe that if my tax dollars are paying for programs (ie. school lunches, ESL, board of ed resources, etc.), then I should have input on how that organization runs it's business. If a religious institution could not accept what the law says from the agency providing funding, then the institution has the right to refuse the funding. How many of these institutions refuse city, state, or federal funding? I would be curious to hear other opinions on this issue.


Hanging Halloween Man

Not Appropriate

Dear Editor,

On Friday, November 3, I called The Wave and spoke with Brian, the Associate Editor about an alarming photo on page 46 of the paper.

In the middle of laughing children and Halloween festivities is a picture of a figure hanging from a house- a figure with a black face! Brian indicated he didn't take the picture nor was it his job to approve pictures for this issue. I would have to call back on Monday and speak with Howard, the Managing Editor.

On Monday, I spoke with Sanford, the General Manager. I was struck by the cavalier attitudes both men had to this photo. Sanford specifically told me what I saw was based on my interpretation and the picture was not a clear representation of something defamatory, that it could be a skeleton or mannequin.

How can this be when the photo clearly shows a clown and Santa face? And EVERY skeleton we are familiar with is white!?!

Here lies the uglier truth- irresponsible people run The Wave! Sanford asked me if the photographer didn't have the right to express themselves and their surroundings. I answer- YES! Each individual has the right to say, do and decorate ANYWAY they please. HOWEVER, as the media outlet for a community, there is a responsibility to that community and what is published for that community. Had the photo breathed a slightly anti-Semitic air the reaction would be significantly different. Why is there such a nonchalant attitude towards this concern? Why didn't someone look at the sample copy and realize possible implications of the photo?

The least I expected from The Wave and its management was mea culpa. Instead, Brian expressed ignorance and passed the buck. Sanford's method of dealing with the concerns of his readers is to hang up on them! To his credit, Howard, treated me with respect, explained what the picture was, while acknowledging the photo as it was printed was dubious.

Rest assured, Wave management, I will let others know of your disrespect for your readers and the lack of responsibility you have to the community you represent.


Havin' A Ball On The Q53

Dear Editor,

Since the MTA has taken over the Green Bus Lines, we have great bus service here in the Rockaways. The Q53 runs every 15 minutes.

And I can run out of my house here on Crossbay Boulevard in Broad Channel and not have to wait an hour anymore if I miss one. Even the Q21 runs every half hour.

I can go to Pathmark on Atlantic Avenue and I don't have to change at Filbert Avenue to the Q11 anymore. Also I can go to Jamaica Avenue to the 99 Cent store, even though Howard Beach also has one right across from the bus stop at 157 Avenue.

And frankly I'm havin' a ball. Thank you MTA.

The only thing I sure miss is that old Cross Bay movie house. Saw lots of great flicks there since 1924.

I've been traveling on buses all my life. Never learned to drive. But then again, who needs to?


Cop Was At Fault

Dear Editor,

This letter is in reference to Halloween in Broad Channel.

I love how the NYPD can't accept its negligence in this case. I love how the media is portraying Broad Channel to be this racist town when I believe in this case the child beaten by the cop was singled out for throwing eggs which I think every young kid has or will do. It has nothing to do with race.

But, because the cop is at fault and knows he should have not beat the kid as he did he is going to take the advantage of being black to use that as his alibi. They are going to cover it up and turn the tables and make it a racist situation because it was a black cop who never once stated to anyone he was a cop. This cop clearly was not in danger and had no right to use his stick the way he did. The 100 Precinct and the NYPD should be ashamed to have such an animal working on their force. I think this cop should come forward and admit his faults.... In such rage he overreacted when clearly not in danger. But then again because he was in an all white neighborhood he'll probably be able to keep his job and get off the hook by using the SAD EXCUSE of it being racism because of his race. I feel he is using his race as a cop out because he simply can.


Preserve History And Stop Greedy Developers

Dear Editor,

I read with great disdain about the plans to give the old Neponsit Nursing Home to greedy developers.

In a volunteer capacity for the National Park Service at Gateway National Recreation Area, I did research concerning the history of Jacob Riis Park for a presentation.

The Neponsit Nursing Home is an integral part of the history of Jacob Riis Park and of Rockaway. It was the catalyst for the development of Riis Park.

In 1877, Jacob Riis became the crime reporter for the New York Tribune. As the crime reporter, he got a firsthand look at tenement life, as much of the crime took place in the tenement areas. He was appalled at the conditions he found. He also became a photographer to document what he found. He was America's first photojournalist.

Packed side to side and back to back, these tenements entombed their tenants in thousands of coffin-like rooms without access to air and light. There was no place for recreation; no parks were in these areas. Riis became a very influential man in these areas and was instrumental in establishment of many parks and playgrounds.

Disease was also a major problem for the tenement dwellers: Diphtheria, influenza, typhoid, pneumonia, and worst of all the "White Plague," tuberculosis. Every year 20,000 new cases were reported. Every year 8,000 people died of this disease.

At the urging of Riis and other reformers, land was bought in Neponsit for a children's tubercular hospital which was called Sea Breeze Children's Tubercular Hospital. It was the first institution in the U.S. demonstrating the therapeutic effects of fresh sea air treatment for children suffering from bone and glandular tuberculosis.

Riis persuaded John D. Rockefeller to match funds raised for this project. Wall Street banked Jacob H. Schiff and steel magnate Andrew Carnegie were among the donors, and Rockefeller ended up paying half the hospital's cost. The hospital was completed in 1904. Also a park was established called Seaside Park.

The hospital contained 45 beds. In 1918 it was made bigger- 120 beds- and called the Neponsit Beach Hospital for Children. This building stands today facing the ocean. The city and greedy developers want to tear this down. We cannot let this happen. It is part of Rockaway's history.

The Rockaway climate was a major reason why this was built on the oceanfront. The beach offered patients clean, cold air for their ravaged lungs. The hospital provided large open balconies.

The deed to this land allows the land to be used only as a hospital and park. Not being an expert on deeds, I ask the question- Can the city or state violate this deed?

Enough of Rockaway's history has been destroyed. We can't let this historic building be destroyed so some greedy developer can build luxury condos.

I hope that other people who feel the way I do about preserving Rockaway's history will call (212) 788-3360 and sign up to speak at the hearing on November 28.


Better Served

With A School

Dear Editor,

I have read with interest and concern your article about the rezoning of the Neponsit Health Care Center to allow for the building of luxury homes.

With our local zoned schools bursting at the seams and the increasing success of the Region 5 Scholars' Academy, wouldn't the community be better served to have that property rezoned to build a new school?

Our highly rated schools have been a draw for this neighborhood for many years and I fear that our property values may be effected in the future if we cannot guarantee seats for our local children in our neighborhood schools.


All letters submitted to The Wave, including those sent via e-mail, must contain names, addresses and phone numbers. All letters are subject to editing and publication at the discretion of the editors. The Wave will no longer publish letters in which the name is withheld, unless, in the opinion of the editorial board, there is a compelling public interest to do so.

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

we receive each week dictates that some be held over for the following week.

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Concerning, 'Cop At Fault'

As a middle age woman raised in Rockaway, riding through Broad Channel was always a nightmare. Some of the people that still live there, are 2nd and 3rd generations. I believe the cop.

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