2008-11-28 / Columnists

Beachcomber

In The Wave's editorial in our November 14 issue, we wrote that Community Board 14 wanted to hold off on the planned development for east end parkland until more parking slots were allotted. In fact, while some members of the board indicated that they wanted more parking built into the plan, there was no official move to ask for more parking or to put a hold on the project. We regret the error and apologized to board district manager Jonathan Gaska for our error.

The City Council will soon vote on a proposal that would allow the city to build market-rate housing on land within its public housing complexes. While the present plan is to build the market-rate, middle class housing on the west side of Manhattan at the Harborview Terrace houses, it is clear that this is an experiment that will be replicated elsewhere, including Rockaway, should it be successful in Manhattan. The plan is to take a present parking lot and playground and build a high-rise building that would rent to middle-income residents. With land in Rockaway at a premium (location, location, location), you can bet that the peninsula is on the housing authority's radar for a similar program.

We recently wrote about a local man named Paul Schubert, who was reportedly designated as a poll reporter for the Associated Press, who was asked to leave a polling place by Lew Simon. We got a phone call from the AP this week, and Shannon Roberts, a spokesperson for the organization, told us that Schubert had no official standing with the AP and that he had most likely printed his "credentials" from the Internet.

More than a dozen civic activists showed up last week at the abandoned city firehouse on Rockaway Beach Boulevard at Beach 59 Street to look over the property and to decide whether it was worth renovating for use by their organizations. The city is offering the 80-year-old building for one dollar to any nonprofit organization that will take it over and make it into a usable space. The 7,200-square-foot building was abandoned about four years ago when a new firehouse was built further east, on Rockaway Beach Boulevard Beach 49 Street. City Councilman James Sanders Jr. has long coveted the building for a trade school, but now says that he has given up that fight because the city is just not interested in funding such a school in Rockaway. The city hopes that some arts or performance group will take over the unused building. Any group interested in obtaining the building must make a proposal to the city's Economic Development Corporation. The city says only that it wants a proposal that "would benefit the community."

Congressman Anthony Weiner, who is actively running for mayor, was at the foot of the Joseph P. Addabbo Bridge in Howard Beach last week to take a look at the trash problem in the park at the foot of the bridge. The Addabbo Bridge, which links Rockaway and Broad Channel with the rest of Queens, is supposed to be maintained by the National Park Service, but Weiner says that the federal agency is doing a bad job. When Weiner got to the park under the bridge, on the shores of Jamaica Bay, he was surprised to find religious iconography and the remains of sacrificed animals, something with which locals who use the bridge were all too familiar. Two weeks ago, there were the remains of a beheaded goat under the bridge and candles are often floated into the bay on little plastic plates. "We want all New Yorkers to enjoy our beaches, but we cannot have circumstances where there is animal cruelty," Weiner said.

Speaking of Congressman Anthony Weiner, the aspiring mayoral candidate has spent so much time in Rockaway that we are ready to make him an honorary resident. Two weeks ago he was in Broad Channel to speak about cleaning up Jamaica Bay; then he came to Beach 85 Street in Rockaway to talk about dumping unused subway cars into the Atlantic Ocean to form artificial reefs. Then, he moved on to the Addabbo Bridge to talk about cleaning up the beach under the bridge Two months ago, he was in Gateway Park to talk about more lifeguards and then he moved to Belle Harbor to talk about missing and improper street signs.

Far Rockaway resident and congressman, Gregory Meeks was appointed to the state assembly when a seat became vacant and then was appointed to Congress when Floyd Flake stepped down and left his seat vacant. Now, should Hillary Clinton take a spot with the Obama administration, he is poised to be named to the Senate. Meeks is one of the three insider members of Congress who have been named regularly by the press as having a fast-track to the job. The others are Nita Lowey and Steve Israel. Of course, the job could go to some outsider such as Caroline Kennedy or even Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

While Democratic District Leader Lew Simon has not yet announced that he will run for the City Council slot that will be vacated by Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. when he is sworn in as a State Senator on January 1, he has indicated a number of times at various events, including his own annual dinner, that he is planning to run. Under our own fairness doctrine, we will be suspending his column after this issue. At the same time, we will suspend the Making Waves column written by Eric Ulrich, a Republican candidate for the same position. So far, several people have indicated that they covet the position. There's nothing like a vacant political position to get the blood boiling. The special, non-partisan election will probably be held some time in February.

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