2008-12-26 / Columnists


A local man called us this week to say that he had given up his two long-held tickets to the New York Ranger games at Madison Square Garden and instead bought four season tickets to watch the Brooklyn Aces play hockey at the Aviator Sports complex at Floyd Bennett Field, just over the Gil Hodges Marine Parkway Bridge. He said that the two Ranger's tickets cost him more than $150 a game. Parking added another $40 and food another $50, meaning that a typical game cost him about $250. And, he adds, he had to fight traffic to Manhattan. Now, he says, for far less money, he is 10 minutes from home and can take his kids to each game. With $4 beer and $2 hot dogs, he says he enjoys the local games far more than he did the major league Ranger games.

Batters and Doughs, which closed its doors on Beach Channel Drive a few weeks ago, has relocated to the Busy Bee store on Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 114 Street. All of the products that were available at the Beach Channel Drive shop are now available at Busy Bee, including the Rockaway favorite, the Blackout cake.

The city's Emergency Medical Service, the fire department unit that operates the ambulances, has announced that it will no longer take heart attack patients to hospitals that do not have a new machine for lowering a victim's body temperature, therefore providing a better chance for survival. St. John's Episcopal Hospital is reportedly "discussing the therapy," while Peninsula Hospital Center says that it already has the technology. That's good news for Rockaway residents, who will now have access to this new, life-saving technology.

City Councilman James Sanders called last week to thank us for our prayers after his recent traffic accident. Sanders said that he "has had better days," and that he is "60 to 65 percent most days, although that drops to 30 percent on some bad days." Sanders added that he is "blessed and highly favored" to be alive after the rented SUV he was riding in lost control in a rainstorm, hit a median and rolled over several times. He said that the doctors in the upstate hospital thought at first that he had spinal damage, but that proved not to be the case, and that he should be "100 percent in three or four months." He added that he plans to run again next year for his City Council seat now that term limits have been extended. Sanders was one of the 29 Councilmembers who voted in favor of the extension and, although Sanders says this will be his easiest election, there are many in Rockaway who have vowed never to vote for him again.

Bernard Madoff, Far Rockaway High School, class of 1956, has become one of the most-reviled men in New York City after stealing more than $50 billion from individuals and institutions in the world's largest ponzi scheme. Madoff reportedly started his nest egg by working as a summer lifeguard at the Silver Point Beach Club in Atlantic Beach, a job he was given by FRHS swimming coach Richie Serra, nearly 50 years ago. Madoff reportedly earned $5,000 in his Rockaway years and later parlayed that nest egg into a multi-billion dollar business firm. Madoff was reportedly one of the stalwarts of the swimming team. He also met his future wife, Ruth Alpern, at the school. She is now under investigation for her part in the scheme. We haven't been able to find anybody who knew Madoff at the school, and if you fill that bill, give Wave editor Howard Schwach a call, or send him an email.

In last week's paper, we ran a letter that came in to our office by email, titled "Transparency, Please," purporting to be from local resident Eugene Nagel. Nagel's wife called on Monday, however, to say that her husband did not write the letter and does not agree with its sentiment.

Those who look at the loony bike lanes in Rockaway should know that they're only part of a citywide lunacy. Mayor Michael Bloomberg had mandated that there be 1,800 miles of bicycle lanes in the city before he leaves office (we hope that is next year). The Department of Transportation, however, says that it can put in about 75 miles per year, keeping them well short of the mayor's mandate. The DOT says that more than $8 million was spent on bike lanes in 2007 and that more will be spent next year. Add that to the $1,000 a tree that it costs to put in each of the mayor's million trees, and the city could most likely find a better way to spend the money. When Jonathan Gaska, the district manager for Community Board 14, challenged Borough President Helen Marshall about the cost of the trees and an alternate way to spend the money, she called his comments inappropriate and shut him down. We think, however, that an alternate use for the money should be found. Trees are nice, and bike paths are fine where they are appropriate, but this is getting silly.

City Council candidate Eric Ulrich called to say that the Board of Elections erred when it said that he worked as a part-time temporary clerk at the board at the same time he was involved in the campaign of Tony Nunziato. Ulrich, who is running hard for Joe Addabbo's vacant seat, had the Board of Elections fax us a letter that said that his name does not appear as an employee as of January of this year. That clears Ulrich of any wrongdoing.

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