2007-04-20 / Columnists

Looking Backward

What The Wave Said

20 Years Ago...

Confidence in Rockaway and visions of a bright future convince Playland condominium developers that Rockawayites will welcome the new housing, and buyers will flock to obtain it, providing a catalyst for business on the peninsula. To say that the condominiums planned will occupy the site of Rockaways' Playland is far from accurate. The developers have acquired, or will acquire, all the land from Beach 97 Street to Beach 99 Street, and Rockaway Beach Boulevard to Shore Front Parkway, far more than the site of the amusement park.

Congressman Floyd Flake will speak at the Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways luncheon on April 27 at Pier 92 restaurant. Flake is expected to comment on the impact that development of Arverne and other urban renewal areas will have on industrial and commercial development of the peninsula.

There are times when it looks as if some unforeseen force is trying desperately to tear apart Rockaway. Ever since the first subway rolled into the peninsula in 1956, things have been going down hill. The greatest blow to the Rockaways was the destruction of 40 blocks of houses, businesses and summer homes under the guise of urban renewal. Now, 20 years later, Rockaway is once again under attack from within and without. Assemblywoman Gerdi Lipschutz is forced out of Albany. Almost 11 years of seniority goes down the tubes. This comes on the heels of the untimely death of Congressman Joseph P. Addabbo. Another 23 years of seniority down the tubes. Joel Gerstel is forced to resign from Community Board 14 because he lives outside the five boroughs. More seniority and a great deal of knowledge lost to Rockaway. Now, Community Board 14 District Manager Elaine Castas is leaving for another position in city government. Once more, 10 years of building confidences and friendships is down the tubes and we must start over.

Staff Sergeant Willie L. Williams, son of Mr. and Mrs. Preston Williams of 84-18 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, has been assigned to the United States Air Force recruiting office on Jamaica Avenue in Jamaica.

30 Years Ago...

The Federal Aviation Administration is already planning for five Concorde supersonic transport flights a day at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Congressman Joseph P. Addabbo reported this week.

Governor Carey and State Assembly Speaker Stanley Steingut reportedly endorsed legislation on April 20 that would allow the state to operate full-fledged gambling casinos in "resort" areas such as Rockaway Beach, Coney Island and the Catskills.

After only a three-year wait, trees are being planted on the peninsula. If you wake up and find a tree in front of your home, think back and you may remember ordering it.

No one seems to do anything about the situation on the Rockaway Freeway. The only ones profiting from the accidents are the tow-truck operators. You can see them lined up at Edgemere Avenue as if they were vultures waiting for the carcass.

40 Years Ago...

Before cops can question a person they have arrested, they must explain half a dozen ways he can avoid talking. Old persuaders like a nightstick or a gun are out. There's even talk of arming the cops with water guns.

Quite a few old-time Rockaway residents who have been missing from the local scene in recent years are coming back again. A good many are going to reside in the new Dayton apartments.

While most people expect approval, there is some apprehension that the Board of Estimate may delay action at its meeting today on Arverne I, the first phase of the Arverne Urban Renewal program.

Maurice A. Pompan is full of praise for the fine expression of opposition to the industrial zoning in the Simmis Beach area, which Assemblyman Herb Posner voiced at a City Planning Commission hearing last week.

50 Years Ago...

John Ryan expects to have piles driven next week for small boat slips at his new boatyard at the foot of Beach 75 Street.

"It's up to Mayor Wagner and the Port Authority to ban jet airliners and low flying planes over the Rockaways," Oren Harris, chairman of the interstate and foreign commerce comities, told Jules Michaelis, president of the Wavecrest Civic Association, at a meeting held in Washington, D.C. this week.

First of the Seaside eateries to open this year is Gus Cholakis' New Crystal on the Boulevard near Seaside Avenue. It's on account of the construction men employed nearby on the erection of the new junior high school.

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