2008-06-20 / Columnists


The mainstream media has discovered Rockaway and a number of outlets have run stories about the boom of development on the peninsula and the problems it brings. Often, however, there are factual errors in the story that do not do service to Rockaway and the people who live here. Witness the lead of a recent story in Crain's. It said, "Riders exiting at the [A] train's final stop at Beach 116th Street are greeted by the sight of burned out buildings and vacant lots." We don't know what Beach 116 Street subway the writer stepped out of, but there are no "burned out buildings" or vacant lots that he could have viewed. We urge any journalists writing a story about Rockaway to actually come here and take a look. Give us a call. We'd be glad to show them the reality of Rockaway.

Congressman Anthony Weiner is in the news again. The headlines in the daily papers tell the story. "Weiner Hot For Émigré Model Babes," reads the New York Post's page five headline. "Bring On The Hotties From Overseas," rants the Daily News. What's it all about? Seems that our Congressman is pushing a bill that would open 1,100 new visa slots for foreign models. "The fashion industry is super-important in New York and [the bill] will make it easier for costume artists, makeup artists, models and designers to do their shoots in New York," a spokesperson for Weiner told reporters. There are those, however, who believe that Weiner is simply attempting to increase his dating pool. We'll have to wait and see.

Round up the usual suspects. Congressman Gregory Meeks, Al Sharpton and City Councilman James Sanders, Jr., were the sponsors of a "Journey to Justice March and Rally" on June 14. The stated purpose of the march and rally was to "create a fair justice system through building policecommunity relations that respect the lives and well-being of all." Perhaps their energy would be better spent fighting against black on black crime, gun violence and the proliferation of gangs.

The word from city officials that all senior citizen and youth programs located at New York City Housing Authority complexes may soon be closed has brought feeling of disbelief and anger. Maintaining facilities for the two most vulnerable populations in the city would seem to be a no-brainer, but the sharp pencils in NYCHA's headquarters believe that it is the only way to keep bankruptcy from the door. The city has turned to the state and the federal government for help, but there seems to be little in the way of enthusiasm from either entity to help out. Should the centers close next month, it will surely be a long, hot summer in Rockaway for both teens and seniors.

A new technology for cell phones, known as the Emergency Service Profile (ESP) might save lives. The ESP turns any cell phone into an emergency information delivery system by giving paramedics at the scene the ability to download the patient's medical profile into their cell phone. Experts say that cell phones and wallets are the first places responders look for information on the victim. The information downloaded to the cell phone would include medical conditions, medications and previous injuries.

The Irish Emigrant, an Irish-interest newspaper, recently ran a story on Rockaway and its storied ethnic past. It says, "The neighborhoods of Belle Harbor, Neponsit and Breezy Point, all south of 94th Street, still have a significant Irish population. A number of Irish Pubs still dot the landscape." The article goes on to say that the 2000 census shows that 25 percent of the residents who live in the zip code 11693 identify themselves as of Irish ancestry. What pubs does the story recommend? Connolly's Bar on Beach 95 Street, The Irish Circle on Beach 102 Street and The Kerry Hills Pub on Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 113 Street.

Community Board 14 has approved a resolution to rename the southeast corner of Beach 144 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard in the memory of arts activist Barbara Eisenstadt. It seems an entirely appropriate thing to do. Eisenstadt was a patron of many Rockaway organizations, including the Peninsula Hospital Center, the Rockaway Music and Arts Council and the Rockaway Artists Alliance.

Residents of the Dayton Beach Park apartments, which has a due water bill with the city that surpasses $1,000,000, say that the management is literally pouring the money down the drain by running the water that fills the swimming pool for weeks on end. "The pool water has been running continuously since early April," one resident said. "The pool is overfilled, and the water goes into an overflow and into the ground. We pay dearly for the water and we are pouring the money into the ground." Photographs that show the water pouring into the overflow accompanied the note. Residents believe that it makes no sense to keep the pool open as it seems to have a large crack. It costs lots of money and draws few residents, with the free ocean right across the street.

At its last meeting, Community Board 14 approved a test for the boardwalk that would allow for a concrete base topped with either plastic, wood or a composite material. The board's long-time district manager brought up the fact that former Wave Publisher Leon Locke, who sat on the board for many years, always advocated for concrete boardwalks in Rockaway. Now, several years after his passing, it seems that his idea will come to fruition.

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