2008-07-11 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Beach 74 Street, from Rockaway Beach Boulevard to Shore Front Parkway, will become one-way southbound (towards the beach) beginning on Thursday, July 17. Angled parking will be marked on the west curb of the street to allow for additional parking on the street. Beginning on July 17, motorists will no longer be able to transit the street northbound between Shore Front Parkway and Rockaway Beach Boulevard.

The captions accompanying the article on the ordination of the Reverend Peter Dennebaum on page 80 in last week's edition should have noted that the ordination was conducted by the Reverend Michael Caine, Regional Conference Minister for the Metro- Suffolk Association of the United Church of Christ. The Wave apologizes for this oversight.

The media has discovered Rockaway and the rapid development that has overtaken the peninsula. Hardly a week goes by without one daily paper or another carrying a story about the peninsula and its problems. Many of them are incorrect, such as the one we discussed a few weeks ago that said that visitors coming from the subway on Beach 116 Street faced empty lots and burned out buildings. The latest article came on Wednesday, July 2, when the New York Post ran a column by Julia Vitullo-Martin quoting Community Board 14 District Manager Jon Gaska. Gaska, the point man between city agencies and the community, gets a lot of play in the articles and does his best to dispel the myths that others write about without actually coming here. Richard George, who heads the Beach and Bungalow Preservation organization also gets lots of ink over his lawsuit against the city and developers. Basically, the articles all say the same thing - Rockaway is overdeveloped and does not have enough infrastructure to handle all the new people coming to the peninsula, but that the new city rezoning plan will make it all right. We just wish that some of the writers of these articles would come to Rockaway and take a look around prior to writing about our problems.

The City Council has trimmed some of its $50 million of "pork" that it doles out to community groups each year. The problem is, some of those groups just don't exist and others are not really registered as non-profits and therefore don't deserve the money. Even with the cuts, more than 2,000 nonprofit groups will get city council member item money for 2008. Most of those organizations are deserving of council help and actually use the money for the public good. In Rockaway, they include the RAA, the RTC, RMAC, little leagues and senior citizen groups. Without groups such as those, Rockaway would be a little worse off. Constant vigilance is needed, however, to insure that phony groups and those who seek to use the money for their own good don't apply.

New York Water Taxi has expanded its service to the weekends, in an attempt to bring tourists from Manhattan to Riis Park and other local venues. The boat will depart Pier 11 in Manhattan at 9:15 a.m. and 11:45 a.m., arriving at Riis Landing in Rockaway at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., respectively. The boat will depart Riis Landing for Wall Street at 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. Those boats will get you to Manhattan at 3:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.

Rockaway has been flooded with police officers recently due to the spate of killings in Far Rockaway and on the subway platform at Beach 98 Street. Those cops, however, are from specialized units and the annual summer detail. The actual number of cops assigned to our two precincts is down by ten percent, officials say. In fact, the citywide number of cops is down to 35,700 officers from a high of 40,800 in 2001. The present levels are the lowest the city has seen since 1992. There are 1,800 openings, with far too few recruits to fill the quota. What that translates to is fewer cops on patrol, fewer patrol cars on each tour and a slower response time to crime. Unfortunately, the same holds true for the emergency medical service. In one recent case, a local had to wait more than one hour for an ambulance to show up from Howard Beach because all three of Rockaway's ambulances were tied up on runs. Just last week, the police requested an ambulance for a "heavy bleeder" in Rockaway Park and were told that no ambulance was available, that the EMS was "in alert," which means it had more jobs than it could handle, and that the next available unit would be sent to their location, but that it would take a while. That is just not acceptable.

The Wounded Warriors are coming back to Rockaway this weekend. On Saturday, July 12, Flip Mullen and his wife, Rita, will host a fundraiser. It will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. on the beach block of Beach 134 Street.

The eighth annual Function At The Junction will be held on Saturday, July 26 at Bayswater Park, Bay 32 Street and Beach Channel Drive. This annual get-together for former Rockaway residents is open to all, and will run from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Pointing out how tough it is to park in the local area, we have to wonder why Congressman Anthony Weiner would hold a Sunday meeting at PS 114 in Belle Harbor when it is near-impossible to park anywhere near the school during summer months. In the same vein, why would the Rockaway Republican Club host a strategist for presidential candidate John McCain in Breezy Point, a place where non-residents have to get permission to enter and where parking is unavailable except by permission of the cooperative and the payment of a parking fee.

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