2007-09-14 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Last weekend was a banner one for Rockaway, with three major festivals that drew thousands of people to Gateway National Park. Riis Park was the venue for both the Rockaway Music And Arts Annual Fall Festival and the New York Kite Festival. Once again, both festivals exceeded expectations. This year, the Fly-In or historic aircraft at Floyd Bennett Field, right over the Marine Parkway Bridge in Brooklyn, provided an additional incentive for people to visit the area. For one weekend, we all saw what Rockaway could be during every summer season, if only our politicians had a little vision.

The rejuvenated Rockaway Rockies have a problem It's tough to skate around dog do. For a few years, the Rockies did not use their Beach 108 Street rink and many locals became used to using the rink as a dog park. Now, with the kids back, Billy Burns, who runs the program, asks that they refrain from using the rink for that purpose, even if they pick up their dog's mess. There is always a residue and even that can cause problems for skaters.

The statistics keep rolling in, and they don't lie. Nearly 1,600 illegal guns were taken by Queens cops last year, nearly 7,000 in the entire city. Of those 7,000, 393 of the recovered guns used in crimes came from Virginia. Another 317 came from Pennsylvania. 309 from Georgia and 289 from South Carolina. All of those states have lax guns laws that allow locals to buy handguns with virtually no criminal records or mental health checks.

In the August 31 issue of The Wave, we misidentified the area where the open water hydrants flowed freely. While the open hydrants were between Beach 38 and Beach 45 Street, they were on Rockaway Beach Boulevard, not Beach Channel Drive as we stated in our original story. We apologize for the error.

Vince Castellano, who bills himself as the "only licensed real estate broker in NYC exclusively specializing in DAS and Section 8 tenants," recently released a list of the new rates for those tenants should you want to rent an apartment to people in those programs. The government will pay $1,621 a month for a three-bedroom apartment with gas and electric. It's no wonder that so many developers build with section 8 and DAS tenants in mind. Pretty soon, those rents will reach the market-rate rents people will be willing to pay for those apartments.

The Daily News once again has the wrong information on Rockaway. The paper recently ran a pull-out section on hot places to live in New York City and Rockaway Beach (but not the rest of Rockaway) made the list. It lauded Arverne By The Sea for both cost and amenities and then went on to say that Beach 116 Street has "gourmet restaurants, surf shops and hotels." We only wish the street was as nice as the Daily News made it sound, and we wonder just which hotels it was talking about.

Dr. Boggiano reports from Belle Harbor that John O'Neill is the unidentified lifeguard in a photo accompanying Frank Weiss' "It's My Turn" column, a retrospective on lifeguarding in Rockaway that appeared in the August 17 edition of The Wave. O'Neill is standing with pals Weiss and Larry Sunsire.

Another "Stupid Judge Of The Week" entry. Cops see a man walking on a subway station in Brownsville, Brooklyn, They notice that he has a knife clipped to his belt that appears to be an illegal gravity knife. They stop the man and search him, finding a .25-calibre semi-automatic pistol with its serial number filed off. A check finds that the man is an ex-con with a gun record. Judge Jack Weinstein, however, threw the case out because the knife turned out to be a common folding knife used to cut wallboard. Since the knife was legal, the judge ruled, the search was illegal and therefore the gun they found could not be used in evidence against the man. So, we have another gun on the street and probably another person willing to use it on anybody and everybody who happens to get in his way. The cops searched the man in good faith and that gun should have stayed in evidence.

When Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his "historic" deal to make Snapple New York City's official drink making the company the only vendor eligible to provide drinks to schools and city offices, he made a point of how much the city would earn due to the deal. That was two years ago. Last year, the deal was reduced because of slow sales. This year, the company failed to make its goals once again. In fact, the deal was revised downward by more than 90 percent, according to those in the know. In the original deal, Snapple promised sales of five million bottles a year. Now, the deal calls for 350,000 bottles a year and experts doubt that Snapple will even meet that quota.

Lieutenant Governor David Patterson wants non-citizen residents of New York State to have voting rights. "The United States used to be a land of opportunity," Patterson told the throngs at the recent West-Indian Day celebration in New York City. "We can bring that back again [by allowing non-citizens to vote.]" This is not the first time that Patterson has pushed for voting rights for non-citizens. When he was in the State Senate he proposed similar bills.

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