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.
Make The YMCA's New Pool
At Least Eight Lanes Wide
I would like to comment on an interview in last week's Wave with Jerry Romski, an official with Arverne by the Sea, regarding the development of the oceanfront in Arverne.
Romski states the plans for the community center with a swimming pool are "on track". The truth is, this agreed upon project is nowhere near "on track."
Nothing is happening. The plan had been for a state of the art pool that would meet the needs of all of Rockaway and be a mechanism for bringing our diverse community together.
Rockaway does not need a small lap pool for the monied elite, it needs a pool for everyone.
For this pool to succeed it has to attract enough membership to make it economically viable. To accomplish this, the pool would need a minimum of eight lanes. I am sure the folks at the YMCA understand this. A facility should be built that might someday produce a high school city swimming champ or perhaps, even an Olympian.
At the very least the high paying lifeguard jobs available in our community should not go unfilled because Rockaway's youth do not know how to swim.
Romski only needs to look at the Long Beach and Starrett City recreational facilities to understand that the similar ground here in our community can hold a pool eight lanes wide and nine feet deep.
For this developer to shortchange our community is disgraceful. I would say to the members of Community Board14, "Even if you were not there during the approval process, it is incumbent upon you to continue to fight for this much needed facility." I would say to Senator Schumer, Congressman Weiner and Borough President Helen Marshall, "It is time to step up now and make this project happen, the right way."
The True First Flight
Of The NC-4
Many thanks to Steve Yaeger's commentary on the forgotten flight of the United States Navy Curtiss Seaplanes numbered NC-1, NC-2, NC-3, and NC-4, in May of 1919, occurring several years before the most remembered solo flight of Charles Augustus Lindbergh in 1927. The NC flight of 1919 established the Atlantic flight ocean corridor from Newfoundland to the Azores, which is still used by all flights to and from Europe to this day.
Steve mentioned that NASA had forgotten to include the navy-Curtiss seaplanes in its mural on the history of space flight. This is not news to yours truly! I discovered articles on the NC flight in the mid 1980's. In early 1986 The Wave was informed that a special event was being prepared by local, state, and federal government officials to recreate the flight in May of that year; using two PBY Catalina seaplanes (one painted yellow and blue, like the original NC planes, and designated as NC-4). The flight was to begin at the Pensacola, Florida Naval Air Station after a ceremony, due to the original NC-4 being in the naval museum thereat. From Florida to Washington, D.C. and then to Rockaway Beach were the next stops, where ceremonies were also held. The latter celebration was to reestablish the fact that the NC flight originated at the Rockaway Naval Air Station….the present Riis Park! No mention was made as to The Wave story being the prime mover of/for the upcoming historical event at Rockaway, and the completion of the flight to England from Jamaica Bay afterwards. After being politely reminded of their poor memories (in spades), Leon [Locke] and I were taken into the fold. Yours truly prepared a small souvenir booklet for the big day, which today is a collector's item I might add! Copies were also sent to Naval and Coast Guard bases after they requested them upon finding out about the flight of 1919 by Naval and Coast Guard personnel. The local ceremony held at Beach Channel High School was a memorable experience, attended by many aviation and administrative VIP's.
Afterwards my family and I visited the Intrepid Museum in Manhattan, and low and behold, you got it, their Naval Air History had omitted the 1919 flight of the Nancy's, as they were known, that nobody on board had ever heard about! I then contacted my nephew who was a Chief who worked on the carrier America, and nobody on board knew of the NC flight. The ship's library immediately received some souvenir booklets via my nephew, Richard, who recently retired as a Master Chief after serving 30 years of naval service.
When asked as to why this great flight was forgotten by many in the Military, most replied that they never heard of it, never learned of it, and the Lindbergh flight and it's publicity sort of washed away this event, but the fact that nobody really cared anymore sounds more like it! Isn't that the American way? No you say? Then who broke the sound barrier for America, and who was the first man to step on the moon? See!!!
Lastly, many years ago, the late Mr. John Quadrozzi, owner of the Quadrozzi concrete company of Arvrene, was willing to build, at his own expense, a concrete monument to the NC-4 flight, to be located near the actual site of the original take off in 1919, at the old Rockaway Naval Air Station. The relief plaque mentioned by Steve Yaeger was to be mounted as well. But, as always is the case with departments of the great City of New York, the TBTA and Parks Department could not get their acts together for a proper site to locate the monument. The reason given was that administrative and political balderdash, coupled with property lines horse hockey and cow pies, could not agree on a site. A maintenance dispute was also in the pot that never came to a boil! Apparently they never heard of the "kiss" principal and never learned to plan outside of the box, so to speak. The plaque ordered and paid for by Mr. Leon S. Locke and The Wave has been collecting dust ever since. It seems that the city is only interested in building new monuments to death, destruction, and misery…not to joy, happiness, and the history of our hometown-Rockaway Beach and Far Rockaway!
The United States Navy has books, documentation, photographs, and newsreel clips, and the real NC-4 aircraft in the Naval Air Museum at Pensacola, Florida. Why has Hollywood and the History Channel overlooked this American first in aviation history? That is a good question, aye?
With all due respect to the History Channel, garbage and trash seems to interest the new Hollywood geniuses, for that is what sells in the new American way of progressive socialist short of community ideology.
Albany: Do the Right Thing!
Let's celebrate the 25th Anniversary of New York's bottle bill this June by urging our state legislators to pass the Bigger Better Bottle Bill that would add the nickel deposit to cans and bottles of water, iced tea, juice and sports drinks, as well as require the bottling industry to turn over unredeemed deposits to the state for environmental initiatives.
These beverages come in the same types of containers as beer and soda but were not included in the original legislation since they were not on the radar screen 25 years ago. They are often consumed away from home and discarded on our beaches and roadways, in our parks and waterways. Volunteers in our Annual NY Beach Cleanup have documented that these containers are found twice as often as those with the deposit.
This issue is not just about aesthetics. Litter is not only unsightly; it is also a hazard for humans and wildlife. Think broken glass in the playground and on the beach or shredded aluminum cans in mown hay consumed by livestock. Let's not allow this legislature to end its term on June 21st without a vote on this important legislation.
AMERICAN LITTORAL SOCIETY
Thanks For Helping
We would like to thank Bugsy Goldberg and Tom Morgan on a great intramural basketball season at St. Francis de Sales.
The program was a huge success and our child as well as the other children involved all had a wonderful experience. The teams were well-rounded, competitive and well-coached.
Every child played in every game and they learned sportsmanship, camaraderie and teamwork.
This is what youth programs are supposed to be about. The program should be a model for other sports in the Rockaways. Thanks guys, for a job well done.
THE MURTAGH FAMILY
St. Camillus Is A
I am writing to you so that I may share the wonderful experience my daughter and I have had during our first year at St. Camillus School. As a Broad Channel resident, which is a small neighborhood, I was delighted to feel such a special sense of community. We were truly welcomed and have formed many close bonds with teachers, parents and students. It feels like a "second home" to my daughter and family.
The dedication and hard work of the principal, Sister Agnes White, and her staff is commendable and unsurpassable. The school's intimate setting allows the teachers and students to get to know each other well and gives students and parents consistent opportunities for open communication, which is conducive to good learning and academic performance. I see the tradition of excellence in education is alive and thriving at St. Camillus, "our little school by the sea shore." Along with my many nephews who also attend St. Camillus, my daughter has had a tremendous growth mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. It is a priceless investment in my child's future and I am proud to be a parent at St. Camillus, where children learn to live their lives based on Catholic values in a loving, caring and supportive environment. In a world where there is a great need for peace and justice, being prepared academically is an empowerment and I feel blessed that my daughter is able to have such outstanding role models of life, faith, love and service in which to prepare her for a successful future.
When I drive by St. Camillus at lunch time and witness all the children outside in the school yard laughing and playing with their principal standing close by, I can honestly feel my heart smiling and my soul singing. What a very precious sight to behold, knowing my child is part of that, gives me great comfort and peace. So for anyone who is not sure what school to send their child I encourage and invite them to come and see all the wonderful happenings going on at St. Camillus School.
I would like to comment on the increasing danger of living on or near Beach Channel Drive. This past holiday weekend, my neighbors and I experienced a tragic event. While enjoying a barbeque with friends, a visiting dog got off the leash and ran into the street. She was immediately hit, and though the driver stopped and the dog was quickly taken to a veterinary hospital, she could not be saved.
We all realize that this was an accident and probably could not have been avoided. However, our thoughts immediately turned to the children who either live on the street or play on the side streets nearby, and to the drivers who do not respect the traffic lights or speed limit on Beach Channel Drive. Once Neponsit begins, both Beach Channel and Rockaway Beach Boulevard are residential streets and, as such, have a THIRTY MILE PER HOUR speed limit, not forty or fifty as many drivers believe. I would also like to remind drivers that a yellow light means SLOW DOWN AND PREPARE TO STOP, not speed up to make the light.
Part of the responsibility for this situation lies with the DOT. Though the red light camera on Beach 142 Street is a start, it is not effective in slowing traffic east of the area. In addition, there is only one 30 MPH speed limit sign between Beach 142 and Beach 116 Streets. A sign should be posted on every other block at the least. I encourage anyone concerned about this to contact your local politicians so they may rectify this egregious disregard for public safety.
Children often do not understand the dangers of moving traffic and act without thinking. At any time one could follow a ball or a friend and find themselves in a deadly situation. It is my hope that this problem can be remedied, especially with the busy holiday season upon us. Thank you for your time.
Wave Wrong On
Your transparent contempt for growth and development in the Rockaways, in general, and The Ocean Grande condominium in particular, continues unabated.
The most recent example ("Beachcomber," June 1) is your second attempt to denigrate The Ocean Grande's just-concluded auction, which was conducted to sell the remaining units in the building. Your earlier story cast the event as some kind of "distress" sale, while you failed to note that some 70 units had already been sold at strong market prices, and that the present owners are thrilled beyond words with the overall running of the building and its amenities.
Your June 1 item took another shot at the auction process while failing to note its benefits. After mangling the lead sentence (which seemed to be missing some words that might have made it more intelligible), you quickly adopted an approach that has become all too familiar to your readers: " We have heard …," you say, that some owners are angry about the sale and are concerned about the possible resulting reduction of their equity in the building.
"We have heard ?" That's your sourcing? That's your back-up? Did you even try to reach any of the current owners to get a more specific or balanced indication of actual reaction, either on or off the record? Had you done so, you might have discovered an overall sense of satisfaction with the results of the auction and with the very strong prices that the available units brought. But that might have gotten in the way of the overall negative thrust of your item, and, indeed, of your whole attitude towards the building and what it represents.
To your credit, you indicate that you attempted to seek specific details about the sale prices from the appropriate building and auction officials. It should not be surprising that such confidential information was not made available to you (although with a bit of digging, I'll bet someone would have shared some measure of what actually took place). And perhaps one phone call to a qualified, impartial real estate broker or attorney (not associated with The Ocean Grande) would have confirmed that a fully-sold building is a benefit to all owners rather than something that reduces their equity.
And as to the continuing theme of these stories: you continue to overlook what the building has done to improve the profile of Beach 116 Street. It might be more constructive for The Wave - and for the neighborhood - for you to direct some of your negative judgments towards the boarded-up buildings and run-down condition of so much of the rest of the street.
If The Wave is content to serve as a weekly advertising circular and source of local happenings (punctuated by the occasional high-profile arrest, body dump or car crash), then so be it. Those are time-honored and legitimate functions of a community newspaper or a pennysaver, and have a role to play in the lives of your readers.
But if that is your editorial philosophy, the paper should avoid crossing over into the area of substantive news if you're not prepared to do a bit of the legwork associated with actual journalism; it's called "reporting," and you would be well advised to try it from time to time.