2007-09-21 / Columnists

Beachcomber

The good news is that the cops from the 101 Precinct in Far Rockaway have taken nearly 100 weapons off the street this year, more than the eight precincts that make up the Patrol Borough Queens North command combined. The bad news is that we have so many guns in Rockaway.

While many politicians have provided money for the planned YMCA on Beach 73 Street, some have not. Those who have reportedly not provided funds for the vital facility are City Councilman Joseph Addabbo, Congressman Anthony Weiner and Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton. Addabbo has said that the "City Council" provided $1 million, meaning both him and James Sanders. A spokesperson for Sanders, however, said that Sanders provided the entire nut and Addabbo provided not a dime. On the federal level, both Schumer and Weiner promised Rockaway a swimming pool at Riis Park. That never materialized, but we are sure some of the planning money for the "facility that never was" still exists somewhere. Now is the time to dig it out and use it to improve the new Y. By the way, the public official who provided the most money for the facility was Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who kicked in $1.5 million.

The people in Cedarhurst wanted us to remind you of their "Ready For Fall" sales and to tell you that the ad that recently ran in The Wave was incorrect. While the ad said that there would be free parking in all municipal lots on Saturdays and Sundays during the month, the deal is really good only at metered spaces in those lots.

Rockaway Bagels at 114-08 Beach Channel Drive put their money where their mouth is by providing free breakfast to all first responders on September 11 to thank them for serving their community. We thought that it was a nice thing to do and wanted to tell you about it.

Some schools go to ridiculous lengths to be politically correct. On the sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, a North Carolina school sent students home if they had any flag symbol whatsoever on their clothing or jewelry - even if it was the American flag. Officials for the school said that they banned the American flag as well as others because, "educators don't want to be forced to pick and choose which flags should be permissible." We wonder why any flag would be banned and then, why the symbol of our national unity should be banned from any public place.

The newly refurbished Sorrentino PAL center in Far Rockaway is getting rave reviews from kids and staff alike. The initiative to fix the building up came from City Councilman James Sanders, who put $1.4 million of his discretionary funds into the fix and then challenged the city to match him. Sanders says that the challenge worked and that the youth of Far Rockaway have benefited greatly.

Talk about a pyrrhic victory. The Broad Channel Athletic Club (BCAC), which supports youth sports for hundreds of local kids, is in danger of going out of business due to a lawsuit brought against both it and New York City by the local American Legion post. Officials from both the city's Corporation Counsel's office and the BCAC believe that they will win the day, now that demands for summary judgment have come from both sides. It is clear that the city had the right to deed the land to the BCAC and that the community's kids need the land more than the Legion, in our opinion. The suit has cost the non-profit BCAC, which operates on a shoestring at the best of times, upwards of $20,000 - money that would be much better spent on the kids. BCAC leaders tell us that, even if they win, the cost hurts. And, they expect that the Legion will appeal any loss, costing them even more money and, perhaps, putting them out of business. That would be a shame.

A drama that would have made a good television show played out on the oceanfront on Wednesday, September 12, when two errant kite-surfers got stuck about onehalf mile off shore and couldn't get back. When 911 was called, responders from EMS, NYPD and FDNY quickly came to Beach 96 Street. Although the first NYPD aviation units on the scene got a "thumbs-up" from one man clinging to the kite, it quickly became clear that he was in trouble. Acouple of divers went into the water from the copter and placed a man, later identified as Michael Walsh, 35, into a rescue basket. The copter planted him on land, where he refused medical attention. He did, however, kiss the ground and then hug one of the copter pilots. The second man was picked up by an FDNY fast response boat and brought back to shore, as well. He too was uninjured. The boardwalk was jammed with people watching the show and even the construction workers building new homes along Shore Front Parkway stopped work to watch the show.

The New York City Sanitation Department has morphed from an agency dedicated to picking up garbage to a revenue collection agency. Tickets for unclean sidewalks, tickets for failing to scoop your dog's poop, tickets for mixing recyclables with regular garbage, tickets for parking in a street sweeper zone even if the sweeper is miles away. Now, the department is poised to increase ticketing of those who throw their household or commercial garbage in street-side trashcans. That means, if you are cleaning out your car and there is a letter addressed to you in the trash, don't throw it in a public trashcan, or the sanitation police will ferret you out and give you a ticket. Dumping anything but "litter" in a public trashcan can bring a fine of up to $400. Now, if the department can tell us their definition of "litter," it might make it easier all around.

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