2008-07-25 / Columnists


The Department of Education will host an open house for two of the new schools that will inhabit the Far Rockaway Educational Campus in September. The open house will be held on July 31 at the new Queens Public Teen Library Cornaga Avenue and Beach 20 Street) in Far Rockaway from 5 to 8 p.m. Principals from each of the two new schools will be on hand to speak with potential enrollees, and the promise is that those who attend will get priority admissions to the school, should they qualify. The two new small schools will be the Academy of Medical Technology and the Queens High School For Information, Research and Technology, which is a College Board school that will prepare its students for college entry and is affiliated with the Queens Public Library.

Cable television competition has officially come to New York City, but what that means for the Rockaway peninsula is unclear. On July 16, the state's Public Service Commission approved Verizon's plan to offer high-speed FIOS service in all five boroughs. The company, however, says that it will wire Staten Island first, and then Manhattan. Obviously, that's where the money is. Staten Island should be completely wired by the end of 2009 and Manhattan by 2010. A Verizon spokesperson said, however, that parts of each borough will be wired as well. The entire city will be wired, the company says, by 2014. Where does that leave Rockaway? Some areas, particularly the west end and Rockaway Park, should be online by this winter, a company spokesperson told us "off the record." The rest of Rockaway, and that means the east end and Arverne, may well wait until 2014, but that's still not in stone, company officials say. The upside is that prices may come down for those who already have Time Warner service.

Commissioner Adrian Benepe and other officials from the city's Department of Parks and Recreation has told us numerous times that beer drinking can't be tolerated on the beaches of Rockaway because there is a rule for all city parks that alcohol is not allowed. And, after all, our beaches are part of the park system. That doesn't hold, of course, when Benepe and Mayor Mike Bloomberg are hosting their champagne fundraisers in Central Park, nor does it, apparently, for the agency's free movie series in Bryant Park in the Bronx. There, on the front page of the New York Times Metro Section last week, was a photo of people drinking wine at the park as part of the movie series. Were they chased away by the parkies? Were they issued summonses by local cops? Of course not. That happens only in Rockaway. One person quoted in the accompanying story said of the permitted drinking, "It's a summer thing. Drinks are cold, the city is hot and the days are long." Why doesn't that go for Rockaway as well?

New Yorkers like Mayor Mike Bloomberg, but they like term limits even more. That's the finding of a new Quinnipiac poll that shows that 38 percent of the respondents like Bloomberg for mayor in 2009, but that 65 percent favor keeping the present term limit rules for city officials. "It's a little inconsistent," the poll director said, "but you can understand the sentiment. It would be nice if [Bloomberg] could stick around, but we shouldn't change the rules [to allow that to happen]." Asked who they would like to see as mayor, Bloomberg topped the list, followed by Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly (12 percent), Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz (11 percent) and Representative Anthony Weiner (10 percent). By the way, Weiner may be fourth in the new poll, but he's the tops in getting campaign cash. His campaign has raked in twice as much as that of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who did not make the top five in the poll. According to published reports, Weiner amassed about $1.4 million for his 2009 mayoral bid during the last campaign filing period. Quinn reportedly picked up about $600,000 during the same time period.

The New York Times says that Breezy Point's zip code, 11697, has (or had) perhaps the highest per capita consumption of Budweiser Beer in the entire world - that's right, the entire world. What an honor! In the article, Times reporter Cara Buckley, who tried to get into the private community to speak with beer-drinkers, says, "Breezy Point is overwhelmingly Irish-American, with an official year-round population of 4,226, a figure that is estimated to more than double in the summer. It is also fiercely insular, a private community that is run as a cooperative with its own security force." The reporter and her photographer, Christian Hansen, met the security force close up and personal. Security asked the two to leave the community, taking them to security headquarters for a short interrogation before officials granted them one hour to do their story and leave.

The Bayswater Jewish Center, Congregation Darchay Noam, got some good press two weeks ago, making the Daily News "Faith In The City" section. Like many older conservative congregations, the Bayswater synagogue faces a challenge of finding younger members to fill the vacancies left behind by those who moved away or passed on.

Don't forget the Graybeards Family Run this evening, Friday, July 25, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with the children's races. The Special Olympians run will take place at 6:45 p.m., followed by the one-mile race at 7 p.m. The longest run of the night, the 5 kilometer race, will step off at 7:15 p.m. Walkers are welcome. More than 500 runners participated in last year's event, and this year's promises to be even bigger. The races will take place on Beach 129 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, across from the St. Francis de Sales Church playground, and the playground will once again be the venue for the after-race party. Registration will begin at the playground at 4 p.m. this afternoon.

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