2009-01-30 / Columnists

Notes from the High C's

Rockaway Music and Arts Council
by Sharon Gabriel

Happy New Year to all of our friends and neighbors. All of us here at the RMAC wish everyone a happy and healthy year and that in 2009 we see the economy start to turn around, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan end and our servicemen and women come home and that there be peace between the Israeli and Palestinians.

We have been working like little beavers here at the RMAC, meeting with Gateway personnel to get our Summer Concert Series underway. We do not want any concerts on the parade grounds; we are working with them to find another venue in the park that is appropriate for the concerts. That not only includes the place for the concerts but parking as well. We will keep you advised as we go along.

Our Fall Festival is already set for Saturday and Sunday, September 12 and 13 at Riis Park. Right at the moment we are looking for vendors, so if you are interested in participating please let us know and we will send you an application. As you may be aware, vendors must submit pictures of their work along with their application, which is judged and, if appropriate, the vendor is notified of acceptance. There is a sliding scale admissions fee for vendors with cut-off dates for submitting your application; the earlier you apply the lower the cost. We will only accept items that have been made by the vendors. You cannot bring flea market products to the event, as they will not be accepted. Specifically, as the name says, we present a "craft fair" and so we are very particular as to the types of items accepted. If you have been to the festival in the past, you have seen some very beautiful items, from children's furniture to clothing and jewelry to preserves, everything is handmade. As time goes by we will keep you informed as to what's happening.

We are presently looking into our Spring Museum Trip. Our thought was to go to Albany and visit the State Capitol, visit with our representative, Audrey Pheffer, stay overnight and see some of the other sights. However, at present, we find the cost would be more than we would like to charge and so we are looking at other interesting places for a day trip. This week I will be making some calls to follow up on something very interesting here on Long Island. A little clue, think about that old song that talks about the "Surrey with the Fringe on Top." Once again, I will keep you informed via this column as we proceed.

On December 6, the Rockaway Music and Arts Council was honored by the Rockaway Park Homeowners/ Residents, Inc. in recognition of "their dedication to promoting and supporting Community Appreciation of The Performing, Visual and Literary Arts." Both I and our board member, Mary Ognah, accepted the award for our board. I would like to personally take this time to thank the Rockaway Park Homeowners/Residents, Inc. for this great honor. It makes all that we do so much more important.

In reading a recent copy of The Wave, I came across Emil Lucev's column, "Historical Views of the Rockaways," in which he showed pictures of three businesses that had been in Far Rockaway when I was a child. The first picture was of the Far Rockaway Palace Restaurant which was the only Chinese restaurant in Rockaway in those years. It was upstairs over the Central Deli in the middle of Central Avenue. My parents would take me there practically every Sunday for dinner. In those years it was egg drop soup, chow mein, chop suey, and for a treat, shrimp in lobster sauce.

Maybe the whole bill came to ten dollars and that is probably an exaggeration. We had our special waiter, Mr. Lee, and he would serve us every week. One week he explained he was going back to China to get his family out but he never returned. The second picture is of Skolnick and Kravit Jewelers.

They were a little further down Central Avenue from the restaurant and I remember they had lovely things in their windows. I loved to stop and look at the watches and jewelry. Of course, Central Avenue changed and many of the stores moved away.

In saying that, must tell you that you can go home again. I have a friend I have known since we were four years old. Her family and my grandparents live in the same house on Beach 93 Street in Rockaway.

We started kindergarten together and went all the way through Far Rockaway High School before going our separate ways.

A few years ago, she called me, after some 50 years, and we picked up where we left off as though no time had passed. When she visited me in Rockaway a few months ago, we took a walk on the boardwalk and came to Beach 93 Street and decided to go see "our house." We stopped in front of the house and wondered if anything had changed inside. What would happen we wondered if we rang the bell and asked to see the inside? So, we proceeded to open the gate, which was not there when we were kids, and proceeded to the front door. We rang the bell and a very nice man answered. He probably wondered who these two crazy women were, but we explained our history with the house and asked if we could see the inside. He graciously invited us in and we became 4 years old again.

While some things had been modernized, the rooms were much as we remembered them. I even mentioned that there had been a cellar door in my grandmother's kitchen and he pointed it out to me. Somehow that door seemed much smaller than I remembered.

Upstairs in my friend's apartment, rooms had been changed around and used for different purposes, but it still looked the same. We had a wonderful visit and thanked the gentleman for his time.

He had mentioned he lived there with his wife, who was not home at the moment, and I can only imagine his explaining to his wife about these two crazy ladies who stopped in to visit. It was great fun and as I mentioned above, you can go home again.

In a few weeks we will be having a local election for our council seat in City Hall. There are seven people running for the seat that was held by Joe Addabbo. Since three of those running are from Rockaway, we should elect one of our own. It should not be the one who shouts the loudest but the one who can get things done for Rockaway and bring some intelligence to the position. Remember to vote, it does count. See you in the neighborhood.

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