2007-06-29 / Letters

What's Happening On SFP? Dear Editor,

What's Happening On SFP?

The following letter was sent to the special projects director for the New York City Department of Buildings and to The Wave.

Dear Mr. Ferrante,

First let me thank you for your letter dated April 10 2007 (ref. C#3485), an answer to my April 4 letter to Mayor Bloomberg. I never received the original of this letter addressed to me, but Councilman Avella sent me a copy of it. Thanks to him.

You may remember that the subject of my letter was illegal practices in which the owner of the six pieces of property, 140 Beach 94 Street (aka 9306 Shore Front Parkway), located across the street from my house, 138 Beach 93rd Street in Rockaway Beach, was engaged in working without a permit on weekends and after the hour of 5:00 pm on weekdays. This made resting time difficult on this block.

Shortly after I sent my letter to you, four rectangular pits were dug along the width of the property, between Beach 93rd and Beach 94th Streets, parallel to Shorefront Parkway. The pits filled with water up to ground level at high tide. At low tide, the water was pumped out. According to rumors that I heard on the street at the time, unsuccessful attempts had been made to drain these "pools" into the sewer. I went away on a vacation and when I came back to Rockaway a couple of weeks ago the "pools" had been filled with concrete. Work is continuing on weekdays from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm, except for the Saturday before last, June 16, when a man showed up shortly before 9:00 am and kept digging and cutting PVC pipes for a few hours. This past Wednesday a concrete slab was poured covering the entire property surface.

I just took a look at the Department of Buildings (DOB) website and found out that a permit (402483013-01-NB) to build a six-story building encompassing 49 apartments was granted on May 10, 2007. The website also states that at least one violation (March 10, 2007) is still pending.

In your April 10 letter you invited me to contact you "for any further assistance" if necessary. I am doing so wondering how a permit can be granted in this case when violations have not been resolved. Are we witnessing another case of expeditor miracle making here?

Again, thank you for your help.

JOELLE BALLONZOLI

Defaced A Memorial

Dear Editor,

I am very upset that some kids would deface the new lifeguard shack on Beach 117 Street.

It is sad when kids graffiti a memorial, but that is exactly what they did.

No, they did not deface the memorial on Beach 116 Street, but the Mayor gave the funds to rebuild the shack so that when the families of those who died on American Airlines Flight 587 come to pay their respect, they would have bathrooms and the surrounding areas would be nice for them....

Maybe someone might just be upset enough to report the names of those who did this horrible thing to the police department....

BARBARA MORRIS

What's Wrong

With Dogs On The Beach?

Dear Editor,

Why are the police quick to tell people to get off the boardwalk with their dogs at 7 a.m. in the morning, when only the regulars are around, but can't stop the bicycles from whizzing by all day long?

One officer told me that they don't enforce the bicycle rule, but the dog rule is strictly enforced.

I can see not having dogs on the boardwalk during the heat of the day - but at 7 a.m.

Maybe they should pay more attention to the drug dealing and the kids running in gangs and threatening people in the 116 Street environs than to dogs on the boards in the early hours.

I am a long time resident who's sick of all the things the people who live here can't do on the beach and boardwalk.

G. FRANZ

Annoyed And Fatigued By Parks Department Actions

Dear Editor,

As The Wave lead editorial comments, Rockaway Beach'ers across the Peninsula are pretty much annoyed and fatigued with Parks Department management of the lifeguard situation. Not that the young and strong aren't doing great work - certainly they are - but that they are too few and far between.

One excuse not reported on is the obstructionism by the lifeguard unions. District Council 37, Locals 461 and 508, are run by disgruntled, reactionary misogynists who are presently abusing the city, the Rockaways and their own brother and sister lifeguards.

At a 2006 CB14 meeting held at the old Beach House, Dan Mundy asked Parks officials why weekend lifeguards - part-timers, who were full-time lifeguards in years past, but are now cops, teachers and firemen - couldn't be called upon to fill in. Parks officials said it was neither feasible nor safe to do so: paraphrasing their remarks, "These fill-ins - cops and fireman - might fall asleep in the chair, etc., etc., or maybe their reaction times would be dulled by their full-time jobs." When it was pointed out that Jones Beach employs this practice, Parks officials then stumbled through explanations but said they'd look into it.

Regrettably, Deputy Kavanagh and Commissioner Benepe and Queens Commissioner Lewandowski are unwilling to confront the lifeguard unionists on this "temp" issue, nor the all-too-important swim test issue. These union leaders - running closed shops for decades - are their own self-described Boss Tweeds.

Further, our mellifluous City Council members - surprise, surprise - do nothing either. They will stand up and sing for people like Howard Dean and Sonny Carson, but when it's time to sit down and manage sticky and thorny city management issues, they sit on their hands.

My question is: who sets NYC policy...the union or the city? From the circumstantial evidence of one-third to one-half of our beaches still closed (Mundy, in last week's Wave), I can only conclude it's the union, not the city.

Regrettably, this posturing by lifeguard unionists - if not confronted - will only harm, long-term, their fellow orange-clad life savers.

PETE STUBBEN

Construction On Veterans

Memorial Bridge

The following letter was sent to Mr. Jonathan Gaska, manager of Community Board 14, from David Moretti, acting president of the MTA

Dear Mr. Gaska,

I wanted to let you know that we will begin a project to rehabilitate the thirty-seven-year-old deck of the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge sometime in the second half of July. This $56.9 million, three-year, major rehabilitation project will also include replacement of the Rockaway ramps.

One lane in each direction will be closed on the bridge beginning in late July and it is expected that the bridge will be able to handle the traffic. The ramps will need to be closed for rehabilitation, but this will only be done in the off-season, not between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

The detours during ramp closure were carefully worked out in conjunction with Community Board 14 to minimize inconvenience.

The detours were planned last year when the contract was initially scheduled to be awarded, however, bids came in higher than expected and were cancelled. The project was reformulated with the deck and ramp replacement work going forward, and was awarded this spring. The substructure work was postponed until the next capital program.

The construction involves the 3,000-foot asphalt roadway deck, and the deck expansion joints. New concrete barriers and railings along the sidewalk will also be installed. The work is necessary after more than three decades of wear and tear by 7.3 million vehicles each year and the salt-water environment.

Your initial interest in our facilities and our efforts to maintain them in a state of good repair are greatly appreciated. If you have any questions about the project or would like a detailed briefing, please contact Catherine Sweeny at 646-252-7421.

DAVID MORETTI

ACTING PRESIDENT MTA

Why Not The Broad Channel Subway Station?

Dear Editor,

In the June 8 Edition of the Wave, there was a story about funds being allocated to renovate the A Line Stations in Rockaway.

There were ten stations mentioned as being on the list to be renovated. I would like to know why the Broad Channel Station is not on that list???

Broad Channel is an important station. It is the transfer point for people taking the S train from Rockaway Park.

The Broad Channel station is in the same need of renovation as the rest of the Rockaway stations. It is not ADA compliant, so while a person in a wheelchair can enter the transit system at Rockaway Park and take the S train, they cannot transfer to a Far Rockaway Bound A train at Broad Channel. The only choice for them is to continue north on the A train. On the weekends many beachgoers utilize this stop and many people during the week drive their cars from Rockaway to park on West Road and Noel Road in Broad Channel in order to take the train (without waiting for the shuttle).

Many improvements should be considered for the station and the immediate area, such as: Elevators for both platforms and to the street; more garbage pails; the walls on the east side of the station should be railings instead of walls (with some areas of shelter for protection from the rain) so that the natural beauty of the wetlands would be the back drop instead of concrete or steel planks with graffiti. Telephones should be repaired. The other exit could be reopened with Metrocard style turnstiles for quick access.

Also, on West Road, to help manage the people that come there to park and ride, garbage pails should be installed right outside the station and the entirety of West Road should be converted into 90 degree parking (as opposed to only half of West Rd.) This could be done easily by removing the sidewalk north of the station (which serves no real purpose anyway). This would add ample parking and ease the overflow of cars onto the other streets. I hope that the MTA is considering this and if not that Sen. Smith would go back and ask for it to be included... It is only for the good of, not just Broad Channel, but for the Rockaway A and S train riders as a whole.

SCOTT BATTAGLIA

PS 215 Students Praised

By A Stranger

The following letter was sent to Ms. Hofmann, principal of PS 215, and The Wave.

Dear Ms. Hofmann,

Yesterday, on Tuesday June 15, I was on the A train going towards Manhattan. There was a group of students from your school on that train also. I think it was a field trip to the Central Park Zoo.

I just wanted to say that I was amazed at how well behaved they were. When I asked a teacher what school they were from, I thought she would say "St. Whatever" but when she said PS 215 I was floored. Their good behavior is a reflection of what they learn in your school. In this day and age when most children are ill behaved at best, and downright rude at times, it is refreshing to see a school where good manners are taught.

Thank you for doing an excellent job at your school and please convey my thanks to your staff.

JAMES GERRISH

Proper Coverage

Dear Editor,

Thank you for your excellent coverage of the Donna Murtagh tragedy. I am (was) a friend of Donna and Tommy and unfortunately I know of Edward Bain as well. I find your coverage more than fair and thank you.

From what I know about Edward Bain - those anonymous emails/letters, well...

ROBERT WEIGAND

Good Old Days

I no longer live in Rockaway, but I grew up in Wavecrest and have to comment about what I saw on the peninsula when I took a quick tour as part of the Far Rockaway High School 50th Reunion festivities that took place last weekend.

First, let me say that despite the fact I have travelled far and wide and haven't been back in Rockaway in more than forty years, the peninsula will always be my home.

I remember Rockaway in the "Good Old Days" when the population swelled from 35,000 in the winter to 500,000 on Memorial Day. The games and rides on the boardwalk as well as all the food were a constant summer treat, but in the winter, Rockaway was like a small town within the largest city in America.

I did not see Rockaway in what people tell me were the "Bad Old Days." I am glad that I didn't. I want to remember it as it was when I was a teenager.

I did see it last week, however, and what I saw was startling. The boardwalk devoid of amenities. New homes being built on virtually every empty lot from Far Rockaway to Belle Harbor. Roads that are closed or impassible. Crowds of young people desicrating the beach with garbage and venom. Closed stores. No movie theaters, no bowling allies, no recreation centers. Decaying schools.

I am sad to see Rockaway for what it is today when I remember what it once was.

I will probably never be back in Rockaway again, and I am sad about that, but I hope that it gets better.

ROBERT FOEHN

Proper Coverage

Dear Editor,

Thank you for your excellent coverage of the Donna Murtagh tragedy. I am (was) a friend of Donna and Tommy and unfortunately I know of Edward Bain as well. I find your coverage more than fair and thank you.

From what I know about Edward Bain - those anonymous emails/letters, well...

ROBERT WEIGAND

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