2007-02-23 / Columnists


The last winter swim of the year took place on February 10 when hundreds made the plunge into the icy Atlantic to benefit Cystic Fibrosis research. The February Plunge gets larger each year. With the temperatures hovering around freezing, most of the participants were in and out of the water very quickly, but some hung out for a time with the NYPD divers who were covering the event. The after-party at the Belle Harbor Yacht Club was also well-attended we hear. In any case, lots of money was raised to fight CF and that is always the upside of the event.

It is interesting to note that there have been no "shots fired" events on the peninsula ever since the massive drug sweep that netted 42 suspects at the Hammel Houses earlier this month. One theory has it that the gangsters who were causing the problem and who were not scooped up in the sweep (or who got out of jail in short order after the sweep) are lying low for a while. The other theory is that it's just too cold to go out and shoot at people. We'll see which theory is correct when the weather gets warmer.

A reminder that the Queens St. Patrick's Day Parade steps off a week from tomorrow, March 3, at 1 p.m. from Beach 129 Street and Newport Avenue. Despite the fact that some Irish Parade websites have announced a truncated parade this year, the plans are for the full-scale model that will move east on Newport Avenue to Beach 116 Street, then south on that street to Rockaway Beach Boulevard, where the parade will once again turn eastward and move to its destination at Beach 90 Street. The organizers tell us that they expect a great parade this year and urge everybody to turn out along the parade route to watch the show go by. This has become the second largest St. Pat's Parade in the city, organizers say, right behind the massive Manhattan parade.

If you're over fifty years of age, perhaps you should take a trip to Aviator Sports at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn next Wednesday, February 28. Aviator is hosting a "Seniors In Shape: Fitness for Life Expo" from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The expo is free to over-fifties, who will learn about health care, finances for seniors, fitness and other senior-related issues. Those over 60 can get a free ride from the west end of Rockaway (on a space-available basis) by calling 718-474-1641.

The former Rockaway Sunset Diner is wide open and ready for a homeless person who wants to move in. Or, at least that's what it looks like. Both the front doors and the door at the handicap ramp have been removed and the building is wide open to both the elements and the people who might want to use it for shelter or for other mischief. The new owners are not earning any points with the community by either taking more than a year to get their construction project going or by allowing the building to become an eyesore and a danger. It's time to get something going to safeguard the building and to turn it to productive work.

The Far Rockaway Post Office is offering those who lost their homes in the massive fire at 10-56 Nielson Street last week a post office box to tide them over until they get a new place to live. The boxes are offered free of charge to all those who were made homeless by the fire. Those interested should contact Azalea Fajardo at 718-327-7702.

Our former mayor, Rudy Giuliani, wants to be president so bad that he is quickly moving to the right on issues that he supported when he held the city seat. We guess he has to do that to satisfy the conservative, right-wing Neo-cons who now rule the Republican Party, but we don't think that a divorced, rather liberal New York City candidate is going to satisfy them in any way, shape or form, despite his reputation as the "Man who saved New York" after the 9/11 attacks. When he was mayor, Giuliani was a "pro-choice" candidate. That stand on abortion would never satisfy the deep south, so now he has moved to being a "strict-constructionist" who would appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court. Any port in a storm for Giuliani.

This Sunday, February 25, at 2 p.m., those interested in getting a dog run/dog park for Rockaway will meet at the Beach 86 Street lifeguard shack on Shore Front Parkway. About 25 people showed up for a similar meeting last weekend and Parks Department official Jill Weber seems ready to give the plan a go-ahead if there is enough interest and a core group to watch the park. No location has been chosen as yet, but you can bet it will be somewhere on Shore Front Parkway between Beach 108 Street and Beach 73 Street.

A general involved with the Iraqi conflict and FBI interrogators have reportedly asked the staff of the top television show "24" to tone down the graphic torture scenes that make the show so popular. According to those experts, the scenes in the show are encouraging abuses in Iraq and elsewhere as young people think that they have the right to emulate the show in the real world. According to published reports, the general told the show's staff, "I'd like them to stop. The kind of torture shown in the program never works in real life and by airing the scenes, they're encouraging military personnel to act illegally." We find it hard to believe that highly-trained military interrogators can't tell the difference between entertainment and reality.

Word is that there is another red light camera on a road that Rockaway residents use on a regular basis to exit the peninsula. That light is on the northern side of Cross Bay Boulevard just south of the Belt Parkway entrance, right across the street from the Waldbaum's Supermarket at that corner. We believe that the camera covers both the northbound and the southbound lanes of Cross Bay Boulevard, so be careful out there. Should you pass the red light, the city will automatically send you a ticket with the photo of your car going through the light. There is no appeal of a red light ticket allowed, but there are no points attached, since the city can't prove who was driving your car, only that it went through the light.

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