Unfortunately, it's an old Rockaway story. While the developers of Arverne By The Sea had a mandate only to build a "community center" as part of its development of the property, it went ahead and decided to build a YMCA with a pool. When the developers of ABTS were asked to change their plans for a six-foot deep pool to a nine-foot deep pool to accommodate lifeguard training, they did so for the community good, adding to the cost of the pool, as well as the cost of developing new plans (and testing the soil to insure it could handle a pool that deep). And, they added an aquatic center with a pool for seniors and children. Now, some advocates of an Olympic-sized pool have demanded that the plans be changed again and that everything that has been done be put on hold until their demands can be met. Wait for more money, they say. Wait for new plans. Each week we wait, the project becomes less likely to be completed. That is the way the city works. Strike while the iron is hot. The Y and the pool should proceed on schedule. It's too important to lose simply over a couple of lanes in a community pool.
West end commuters who use the QM16 express bus route to get to Manhattan are ecstatic at the extension of the route to Riis Park. Prior to this week, riders had to find a way to get to Beach 116 Street to take the bus each day, but now they can pick it up at a nearby street along Rockaway Beach Boulevard. The first run of the day is scheduled to start from Beach 147 Street at 6:27 a.m. It will then stop at Beach 141 Street, Beach 135 Street, Beach 127 Street, Beach 122 Street, Beach 115 Street, Beach 105 Street and Beach 95 Street before it goes over the Cross Bay Bridge. Buses will run from 6:27 a.m. until 7:47 a.m., at 20-minute intervals. Return buses will begin their runs to Rockaway at 4:40 p.m. Full information can be found on the MTABus Company website.
City Councilman Joseph Addabbo, who represents portions of Rockaway, at least for now, is having his political problems on the mainland. That's not good news for Addabbo, who is widely expected to run for the State Senate against Serph Maltese in the next election. His problems stem from his comments about an alleged bias attack in Hamilton Beach. A family was having some problems with the neighbors and alleged that the neighbors were trying to force the family out of its home for racial reasons. The family claims that some of their property has been vandalized and that neighbors constantly call the authorities to the home on false pretenses. In addition, the father claimed that a neighbor assaulted him with a baseball bat and spewed racial epithets. Addabbo made a televised statement in which he seemed to suggest that the family brought the harassment on themselves by committing a series of building code violations. That spurred Addabbo's would-be political rival, Albert Baldero, to call for Addabbo's resignation. "Councilman Addabbo is reckless and perverted," Baldero told reporter Brendan Brosh of the Daily News (Brosh was once a Wave staffer). "He should set a better example and not pit people of different races against each other." Addabbo said that WABC reporter Jim Dolan asked him a question while he was responding to another question and his response was taken out of context. Addabbo added that he did everything he could to work with the parties to come to an amicable conclusion, but to no avail.
Set your calendars this weekend, September 8 and 9, for a number of events that will be held in various venues within Gateway National Park. Three events will be held both Saturday and Sunday. The Rockaway Music And Arts Council (RMAC) will host its annual Fall Festival at the Riis Park mall on Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The New York Kite Festival will share the spotlight, filling the beachfront with kites, on both Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will be held, once again, at Bay 9, right by the flagpole. Across the bay at Floyd Bennett Field, the national park will host a "Fly-In" of vintage aircraft from 10 a.m. until dark. The final event of the weekend will be held on Sunday, when the Rockaway Artists Alliance will host opening receptions for two upcoming exhibitions at its Fort Tilden galleries. All in all, an exciting weekend with something for everybody.
The sixth anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center will be remembered this coming Tuesday, September 11. It is amazing that six years have passed since that day, but the memories of those local residents who died in the attack will always remain with us, even though they may fade with the years. Those who want to remember the heroes of 9/11 have only to go to Tribute Park on Beach 116 Street and Beach Channel Drive, where the names are memorialized in both a glass cupola and in a firefighter's memorial. It will be a good place to visit on September 11.
As reported in our August 24 issue, John Guerrero, of Mott Avenue in Far Rockaway, traveled to Philadelphia to try out for the upcoming season of the American Idol television show. Lydia Guerrero spoke with The Wave after her son auditioned on August 27. "They told him he was really good, but not what they were looking for right now," said the elder Guerrero. She said her son was not discouraged and intends on doing it again next year. In the meantime, he got a chance to sing for the camera of Fox 29 News in Philadelphia, which covered the event that brought more than 20,000 people to their city to try out for the show.