2007-06-08 / Columnists

Beachcomber

The action started early this summer. Last Friday, June 1, there was a large fight on Beach 116 Street in the afternoon that necessitated closing the beach down and moving hundreds of teens and young adults off the beach and onto the subway and buses. What started the fight? Nobody is sure. One person on the boardwalk told The Wave reporter on the scene that a male from one group had "looked the wrong way" at a scantily clad female from another group. There were no weapons in sight and nobody was arrested, according to police. Once the youths were moved off the beach, everything quieted down, but the large, disorderly crowd moving towards the subway at the same time frightened many storeowners, who quickly closed up for a short time. This promises to be a long, hot summer.

Bayswater State Park, at the end of Mott Avenue on what was once the site of a home for young orphans, has fallen into disrepair. More than ten years ago, the city approved the development of homes on one portion of wetlands in the Bayswater community in return for turning the park site over to the state for parkland, with the promise that the Audubon Society would look after it. There was a major controversy about the trade at the time, but residents gave in because the Audubon Society and its local representatives promised that the site would become a first class wilderness park. That has not happened. While several hundred people visit the park regularly, many who come there to fish in the bay, there are no bathroom facilities and no promise that there will ever be bathrooms because of monetary constraints. When the tide is high, as it was last weekend, the property becomes a swamp, with visitors trudging through mud and a river about one foot deep that always marks the entrance to the park. At those times, residents say, it is more like an open sewer than a state park. Perhaps it's time for the state to rethink the stewardship of the Audubon Society and to take the park into its own inventory and take care of it.

Helen McGowan had a frightening time on the beach a few weeks ago and came in to The Wave office to ask that we urge that an ambulance be stationed at Beach 116 Street and the boardwalk during summer months. Seems she was walking on the beach with her metal detector when she saw a man down on all fours in the shallow water. "He couldn't get up, couldn't move," she said. She tried to get him up, but could not, even with the help of another passer-by. They finally got him onto the sand, where he passed out, face down into the sand. The man, a resident of the Park Inn Hotel, was in extremis when four cops showed up and tried to lift him. Finally, a Parks Enforcement Police Officer on a beach buggy came along and they had to talk him into transporting the man to the boardwalk where an ambulance awaited. She thinks that a four-wheel drive ambulance should be placed on the boardwalk by the city's EMS, and that is probably a good idea.

The Rockaway Music And Arts Council, the organization that sponsored the recent Rockaway Literary Festival, is looking to produce an anthology of Rockaway writers to highlight the entries in the school-based competition that took place as part of the festival. Rockaway writers who participated in the festival are asked to submit material on one of four subjects: About Rockaway; About Writing; About the Recent Festival or Something Personal. Submissions, says Stu Mirsky, who is coordinating the effort, should be no more than ten pages long and should be embedded in an email to him at swmirsky@aol.com.

At least two of those collecting large payouts from the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 are a man and a woman who were "married" to victims of the Belle Harbor crash in name only. Just last week, Judge Robert Sweet ruled that even though Denise Valderrama married Milton George, who died in the November, 2001 crash, because he needed a green card to stay in the United States, she is entitled to collect his death benefits, although it seems that George was "really" married to another woman, who will get nothing. About two years ago, Sweet made a similar ruling in the case of a woman who died along with her child in the crash. Her mother claimed the death benefits, saying that she married her husband simply so that he could stay in America. He got the money, and not the mother, however.

The race is on, even though it will be November of 2009 before most of our present city representatives will find themselves "term limited" and therefore out of a job. At least six Democrats who will lose their jobs in 2009 are seeking to become mayor. They include Councilman Tony Avella, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Comptroller William Thompson. Add Congressman Anthony Weiner, who is not term-limited, and others who have yet to step into the race, and it will be quite a race. How about our locals? Councilman Joe Addabbo is widely reported to be ready to challenge State Senator Serph Maltese for his senate seat. Councilman James Sanders is not saying, at least not yet, but he is believed to be looking to the private sector when he leaves office.

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