2008-07-04 / Columnists

Beachcomber

We have heard that the last ferry leaving Manhattan for Rockaway each Friday has become the local "party boat" in every sense of the word. Beer flows and so do the good times, as the ferry plies its way from Pier 11 in Manhattan to Riis Landing. We wonder if there are designated drivers involved?

Congressman Anthony Weiner was in Belle Harbor for a stealth town hall meeting on Sunday, June 22. We say that it was a stealth meeting because The Wave never received notification about the event, and therefore, few local residents knew about it. Those who were present said that locals questioned Weiner on topics both local and global, ranging from gasoline prices to the overcrowding at PS/MS 114, where the meeting was held.

Seven precincts have recorded double-digit crime hikes so far this year, including the 100 Precinct, often called one of the quietest precincts in the city. The precinct has shown a 16 percent jump in crime, mostly due to the stabbing on the A Train platform at Beach 97 Street two weeks ago, the rash of burglaries in Belle Harbor and the shooting of a women sitting in her car outside of the Hammel Houses. The jump really reflects not an increased crime wave, but a small rise in the few crimes that were committed last year. If, for example, you have one murder in a year, and you have two the following year, that is a 100 percent increase. Statistics do not always tell the entire story.

In the middle of April, Commissioner Adrian Benepe, who heads the city's Department of Parks and Recreation, accepted a ceremonial $10 million check from the two state Assembly members who represent the Coney Island area. The money is earmarked for reconstruction projects along the Coney Island boardwalk. Makes you wonder what Audrey Pheffer and Michelle Titus are up to. The Rockaway boardwalk could use a real makeover, but only selected, small portions of the six-mile structure will be fixed as a test because there is no money for the remainder of the fix.

Those of us who are old enough to look at Bob Dylan as a musical icon might not know that he and his entourage once came to Rockaway seeking spiritual guidance. According to Varda Branfman, writing in the Jewish World Review, the star drove to Far Rockaway sometime in the early 1980s in his limo and with his bodyguards to speak with Rabbi Sholmo Freifeld, and was interested enough to request another meeting. That was when Dylan was going through his Jewish ethnic period. There is even a 1983 photo of Dylan at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, wearing tefillin, the prayer boxes with the long leather straps that Orthodox Jews wear while praying.

NYPD Captain Thomas Barrett, the commanding officer of the 100 Precinct in Rockaway Beach, says that west end residents must be more careful about locking their homes when they leave. There have been a rash of burglaries lately, the majority of them in Belle Harbor homes where the door was not locked against intruders. In most cases, only small items such as jewelry and cash were taken. Since the burglaries were carried out in the daytime, it is clear that a person carrying a television set or a large computer would have been noticed immediately.

State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said last week that he will sue both CVS and Rite Aid for selling expired products after an investigation by his office found that the two chains were selling outdated baby formula and overthe counter medications. Cuomo said that his investigation found that 142 CVS stores and 112 Rite Aid stores were selling outdated goods. Two weeks later, his investigators went back to those locations, and found that 50 percent of the revisited CVS stores and 40 percent of the revisited Rite Aid stores were still in violation. Cuomo said that many of the stores were in New York City, but would not elaborate on exactly where the stores were located.

Lisa Eckert, who many locals blame for the problems they are having with the National Park Service, will be leaving her post as superintendent of the Jamaica Bay Unit of the park and moving on up to the Horace Albright Training Center, located at the Grand Canyon. Those of you who read this paper regularly know that the NPS has forced a change in venue for the highly-popular Sunset Concert Picnics run by the RMAC and has increased charges to local arts, sports and music groups for their use of the park, forcing some groups to rethink their very existence.

There are many critics of the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) who believe that it has a liberal, anti-government stance. This week, the PBS station in New York, Channel 13, ran a documentary entitled "The War of the World: A New History of the 20th Century." The documentary posits that the allied victory in WW II was "tainted" and may not have been a victory at all. The documentary charges that the war could only be won by making an unholy alliance with Joseph Stalin, who was just as brutal as Hitler and the others we were fighting. In addition, it calls the American policy of bombing civilian centers "pitiless" and "remorseless."

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