2007-05-04 / Letters


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.

Post Office Needs

A Lesson In Manners

Dear Editor,

My name is Loretta Young and I am writing to you about the post office at 1836 Mott Avenue in Far Rockaway. I was in Florida on March 31, 2007 and had to clean out my storage. I had shipped out six boxes on Tuesday, April 3 to my mother's address in Far Rockaway.

On Tuesday, April 10, 2007, five boxes had arrived and one of the boxes was damaged. My two statues have been broken, my son's bronzed baby shoe that had a picture frame on it was damaged, and my son's trophy with the year on it is broken. I went to the post office to tell them about it and they were very nasty towards me.

I went back on Monday, April 16, 2007 with the paper that I had to fill out, the insurance paper that I ensured my package…plus they made me look up the statue with the amount since I did not have the receipt anymore. Then they wanted me to bring the bronze shoe in so that they can keep it and all they have to do is just replace the glass that was broken.

This is totally ridiculous how the post office treats you. You should not have to go through this, especially if you have the insurance claim slip and your identification card with you since your name is on the package. The post office needs to have their people learn how to deal with people instead of getting nasty with them. Now they will take about three to six months to handle this situation.


Loved His Work

Dear Editor,

Today, having just returned to Rockaway after two months away from home, I decided it was time to call and arrange an appointment for a routine dental check-up with my dentist of many years, Dr. Gerald Zweifler. To my great sorrow, the receptionist who answered the phone gave me the devastating news that the doctor had passed away just six weeks ago on St. Patrick's Day. I was stunned to hear that this joyful, energetic, athletic (known for his tennis skill), and enthusiastic member of our Rockaway professional community had, indeed, died in the early morning hours of March 17th. It seemed incomprehensible.

I had the good fortune to be a patient of Dr. Zweifler during most of the four decades I have lived here on the beach. While he was a bit older than I, I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of years that separated us in age. He always gave the lie to the notion that it was a bad thing to go to the dentist. If you didn't laugh when you were in his cheerful presence, you had either predeceased him, or you simply weren't paying attention to his jocular wit. With his cheerful smile and brightly colored Hawaiian shirts, I always felt he should have been a co-star in some television sitcom. Wasn't there an amusing dentist in the old Bob Newhart show? Doctor Jerry could have filled that bill perfectly.

But Dr. Zweifler was more than amusing. He was kind, he was gentle, and he was very intelligent, offering bright conversation on every subject from politics to the arts, from sports to the economy. It seemed that everything interested him, but nothing more than his cherished family. He was a loving husband who often spoke affectionately of his wife of many years, Judith. He was so proud of his talented daughters, Michelle and Lauren. And he loved his work as a dentist! When I had what was to be my last appointment with the doctor on the afternoon of this past January 10th, he told me he was thinking of investing in a very expensive new technology for his office that would allow dental crowns to be computer generated and completed in perhaps a single visit to the office. He said he had no interest in retirement, remarking "What would I do?" His only hesitation about upgrading his equipment was expressed when he said: "I'm in my late '60's. You never know what can happen." That prophecy has sadly been fulfilled.

The doctor's many Florida tennis partners in Boca West remembered him in an obituary in the March 25th New York Times . It read, in part: "A bright light went out on March 17th, 2007... One of the truly great guys. Loved and respected by his friends...We have great sadness in our hearts. May you rest in peace. May your wonderful backhand stay with you forever. Always a class act, we will never forget you."

To that I could only add, "Amen!"

With deepest sympathy to the family and friends.


Knowledge Expands

The Mind

Dear Editor,

To write, as one reader has done, that the past nor'easter did not affect the Rockaway beaches except, for sand blown inward from the dunes by the storm's winds (unless he's implying something else) shows some ignorance for the purpose of sand dunes. A coastal sand dune stabilizes the beach by protecting the landward area of the beach against storm surges and seismic sea waves (tsunamis) let alone the normal swell and breakers of the ocean. I should think that it's better to sweep away sand than to bail out water from one's home.

Time and time again the forces of nature have shown why sand dunes are a necessary fact. In 1993 a tsunami or seismic sea wave made its way to Okushiri, Japan. Little damage was done because of concrete barriers and man-made dunes, which were put in place years earlier. And in 2004 part of a thriving sand dune, complete with the vegetation necessary to keep the sand in place, stood seaward of a resort area, which had a hotel and facilities for all sorts of activities. The owners of the resort requested that the dune be removed to give the guests a better view of the ocean. The dune was removed, the guests enjoyed the view, and the owners were satisfied with the results. When the tsunami of that year struck the resort area near Yala National Park in Sri Lanka where the resort area was located, it leveled the hotel and the entire resort area on which it stood was flooded. The areas adjacent to the resort suffered much less flood damage because the natural dunes were left in place and offered protection against the waves.

Yes, as the reader wrote, Montauk Point beaches have dunes; Cape Cod has dunes; and the Outer Banks of North Carolina have dunes. And there are many, many other beach areas throughout the US that have dunes. The only thing I can make of this preponderance of sand dunes is that the powers-that-be and the residents inhabiting those areas are somewhat smarter than some people here in Rockaway.

And, as for Arizona, the residents there do worry at night. They worry about the violent, seasonal monsoons which flood the arroyos and streets of the cities built in the desert, but they also have and admire desert sand dunes created by wind action.

Knowledge expands the mind; ignorance stagnates it.


Just Like Bay Ridge

Dear Editor,

Have you been on the Belt Parkway near the Verrazano Narrows Bridge? The Parks Department recently completed the Greenway along the shore. It is beautiful with new trees planted, new benches, new railings, and bicycle path. I rode my bike on it over the weekend and it was wonderful. No holes to avoid, plenty of room for joggers, two-way bike traffic, and people that fish or watch the ships go by.

While I was there, I noticed that the railings look just like the ones along the bay near the Marine Parkway Bridge. How awesome would it be to replicate the success of the Bay Ridge Shore Greenway with a Rockaway Greenway along the bay side of Rockaway. Certainly it is possible for it to happen soon even with the current conditions.

But, how do we get the city, the parks dept. and Gateway behind it?

It would only benefit us all to have it. I have emailed the parks dept. about it, perhaps if many people do the same, we can make it happen. The web page is www.nycgovparks.org/contact_us/html/contact.html.

Let them know that Rockaway deserves a Greenway along the bay, just as much as Bay Ridge.


A Mother's Day Plea

Dear Editor,

During the past several decades (since the 80's) we have witnessed an increase in violent crimes committed by and against our youth- and others. As a mother and grandmother, I am deeply grieved by the impact these acts continue to have, and will have on the lives of those of the next decade, and the next generation.

Moms with their infinite wisdom, patience and common sense have given birth to great leaders, thus being leaders of all leaders. On Mother's Day (May 13) I call upon all mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, godmothers, female cousins, female nieces, female friends, wives and their significant others (families and friends) to pause for a moment, and say "enough is enough." This Mother's Day, remember the ones whose lives were cut short because of that deadly firearm, and the ammunition that has caused so much pain and grief. Prior to Mother's Day, call your federally elected officials and ask them: why can't they pass "common sense federal firearm and ammunition legislation" to stop this epidemic? Perhaps, if their phones keep ringing, they will "listen" to the voices of reason and "common sense." Remind them guns do not belong in the hands of our youth, criminals, substance abusers, gang members and the mentally unstable.

There are approximately 44 million gun owners in the United States. This means that 25 percent of all adults, and 40 percent of American households own at least one firearm. These owners possess 192 million firearms, of which 65 million are handguns. MAG's (Mothers Against Guns) problem is not with law-abiding citizens (over 21 years of age) who are licensed gun owners, and mentally stable persons; but we are outraged with "illegal firearms" on our streets, and in the hands of our youth, and others with criminal intent. During the past year over 30,000 people died from gunfire in the United States. Firearm injuries are the eighth leading cause of death in the United States. In addition, for every fatal shooting, there are roughly three nonfatal shootings.

Enough is enough! May this Mother's Day be the beginning of the end to gun violence!



No Backbone At Transit Hearing

Dear Editor,

The City Council's Transportation Committee held a rare public hearing in South Queens on April 25 at the Broad Channel American Legion Hall. They head the reoccurring theme of a borough in crisis, rapidly expanding but hampered by very poor mass-transit service. Another sore point was the city administration's inability to grasp the borough's urgency. Mayor Bloomberg gave his "Green" speech just days before the hearing, proposing an $8 surtax on cars entering Manhattan- clearly showing an inability to think outside the box: the Manhattan box.

We're not referring to the mayor's backbone (not this time) but to the borough's lack thereof- Queens has no backbone! Without north-south crosstown service joining east-west lines at strategic points, Queens lacks what Manhattan's transportation designers brilliantly implemented in over a century of development- a mass-transit grid. And to this day, Manhattan-centric thinking dominates the city's long term transit plan. The cries of pain emanating from the Broad Channel Legion Hall, perhaps in visceral anguish, bemoan the city's incredibly shortsighted decision of forty years ago, to deactivate the Rockaway Beach Line, the borough's only north-south rail right-of-way, and thereby sever the spine of Queens. The shrieks are still heard today, louder than ever.

Two hundred and fifty thousand people are bottled up in South Queens, with no way to reach North Queens except to trek along Woodhaven Boulevard by car or bus. One hardy woman ("I'm a senior citizen," she proudly announced, "But no one would believe it by looking at me.") stunned the audience by relating the all-day ordeal of her annual doctor's visit. She had to take eight trains to reach his Manhattan office. One Council member remarked that a Point Express rider would have reached the destination sooner with fewer hops. Community Board #6 (Forest Hills, Rego Park) District Manager, Frank Gulluscio, put his finger on the pulse, opening his testimony with, "What effects you, effects us." He expressed alarm at the daily tidal wave of traffic streaming between the Rockaways and Queens Boulevard, especially heavy truck traffic that diffuses onto residential streets. In another exchange, Councilman Liu verbally sparred with representatives of the Department of Transportation (DOT) over the inadequacy of the bus fleet, a sporadic defile of street coaches knotted in traffic, failing to fill the mass-transit void (as replacements for the Rockaway Beach Line). Buses are unmistakably a stopgap measure, not the answer.

The saddest proposal of all and a reflection of pure frustration at ever seeing a Queens mass-transit system that actually takes people where they want to go, is the "Let's build a ferry dock and get around by boat" plan This is the Algonquin plan , or the same way the Indians got around before Giovanni da Verrazano sailed into the bay. The pros and cons of this plan were discussed at the hearing. It was surprisingly popular: an any port in a storm approach to the intractable transportation problem. And how does the administration (the mayor) justify this quaint return to the Fifteenth Century, while the Twenty-First Century transit system for Queens, the borough's north-south rail right-of-way, remains fallow? Well, it's cheap, and doesn't warrant federal funds, the billions of dollars presently earmarked for Manhattan construction projects.

Knowing the crowd had come to hear the latest on reopening the Rockaway Beach Line, the MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority, the mayor ) sent a soft-spoken woman who opened the testimony saying, I have been asked to address several issues, and one of these is reopening the Rockaway Beach Line. I am commissioner of bridges and don't know much about railroads, upon which she drew out a fifteen-year old report and read it to the audience in a subdued shaky voice, as if expecting to be pelted with eggs.

So there you have it, billions for new Manhattan transit construction, and a boat slip for Queens. In his introductory remarks, Councilman Joe Addabbo pointed out a simple yardstick to quantify quality of life, "Transportation is the issue that decides where people live."


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