2007-03-09 / Columnists


Complaints have been coming into The Wave from all over the eastern end of the peninsula from people who have not been receiving their mail on a regular basis. Some claim that they have not received mail in days. A call to Postmaster George Buonocore revealed that the Far Rockaway office has had a run of illness and vacation time by its employees, but told The Wave, "as far as I know, all the mail has been delivered." Part of the problem seems to be those carriers that do come to work are forced into overtime after they do their regular route and that often brings them late into the night. Buonocore promises that things will get better now that the President's Week holiday is over and the warmer weather is coming.

The competition to redesign Gateway National Recreation Area, and particularly the areas around Rockaway - Fort Tilden, Riis Park and Floyd Bennett Field - can be an important component of the peninsula's quality of life ten years down the road. Not that the park is unimportant to us at the present time. Think of all the cultural and sports events that take place in the park - the Rockaway Theatre Company's shows, the Rockaway Artists Alliance art shows and kid's programs, the Rockaway Music And Arts Council's summer Sunset Picnic Concerts, the games played by the kids participating in the Rockaway Little League. All of those add to the ambiance of Rockaway in a very positive way. Even a commercial venture such as Aviator Sports has quickly brought a new dimension to our recreational life. The proposed renovation could add much more. We just hope that much more of the commercial development does not mean much less of the local amenities that we now enjoy.

It was good to see the former Rockaway Sunset Diner finally secured just a day after The Wave ran a front page story showing the sorry state of the former west end eatery. Now that it is closed up, we can only hope that the HSBC bank group will finally get to work and render the property once again useful to the community.

Congressman Gregory Meeks seems to finally be addressing the growing problem of violence, and particularly black on black violence. In a recent column in The Wave, Meeks wrote, "[During the time of the Civil Rights Movement] Non-violence enabled Blacks to become the conscience of the nation and mobilize the support of the nation. Yet, today, far too many young Blacks have abandoned education as a method and means of individual and collective empowerment. Perhaps worse, far too many individuals within all generations resort to violence - not in a misguided attempt to achieve lofty political goals - but as a method and means of dealing with each other." In his column, Meeks concluded, "Yet, that very weekend [of the Sean Bell police-involved shooting] and virtually every week and weekend since that shooting, Blacks - mainly young Black males - have senselessly wounded and killed each other in some neighborhood of our city... With few exceptions, there have been no protests organized or even widespread expressions of outrage this killing frenzy deserves. What we see instead are makeshift sidewalk memorials left by brokenhearted family and friends." That statement should be chiseled in stone and put on the entrance of each of the city housing complexes in Rockaway. We can only hope that other black leaders will follow his lead and come out strongly against the gun violence that rocked the community at the end of last year.

Now that the Rockaway St. Patrick's Day Parade has passed the scene for another year, local revelers can concentrate on the other regional parades that many locals attend each year. The Brooklyn parade will be held Sunday, March 18. The step-off is at 1 p.m. from Prospect Park West and 15 Street.

The annual Herbert Johnson Lecture Series is coming once more to the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge on Cross Bay Boulevard, just north of Broad Channel. The programs will all be held on Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. The next session will be held on March 14. It is entitled, "Green By Design," and will present a program about the environmentally-friendly features of the newly renovated facility at the refuge. On March 21, the program will discuss "Why The Watershed," an overview of some of the changes made to the watershed over the years. The final presentation, on March 28 will be "Jamaica Bay's Ospreys, Owls and Falcons," which focuses on the newest news about those local wild city denizens.

Alan Cooperman emailed us to say that he could identify some of the people in one of the old photos we ran recently and to say that a group of Far Rockaway High School graduates from the mid-1950's have been meeting for lunch each year in Delray Beach. The annual event, he says, draws about 30 people and is growing each year. He says that it's a real "snowbird lunch and a fun day." Cooperman has been living in Florida for 31 years, ever since he left Rockaway for good.

The U.S. Postal Service is planning a stamp that would be good for mailing a first class letter no matter how much rates rose. Once you buy the stamp, you're set, even if the price goes up precipitously, as it often does. We guess that the hope is that residents will bulk up on the new stamps, keeping them against the next price rise and then not be able to find them once that happens. It seems that the first price rise might come soon, at least two cents more for the first ounce, although the word is that the second and third ounces on the same letter will cost less than they do at present.

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