2009-07-10 / Columnists

Beachcomber

There have been rumors in the Rockaway community that Aviator Sports at Floyd Bennett Field is in danger of bankruptcy and will soon close its doors. We have been assured by a spokesperson for the National Park Service, which runs Gateway National Recreation Center that the rumors are not true. There is some semblance of fact, however, that the Brooklyn Aces may not be coming back to Aviator for the next season. We understand that Alan Friedman, the Brooklyn man who owns the team, has been looking at the Abe Stark Arena in Coney Island as an alternative site. Abe Stark, however, is owned by the city and Mayor Bloomberg has plans for its destruction as part of the Coney Island Development Plan. We have attempted to contact Friedman to find out what's happening for the many Aces fans in Rockaway, but so far have had no luck.

Photographer Nate Kensinger took his camera to Far Rockaway and shot dozens of photos of the crumbling bungalows. He apparently sold them to Gothamist.com for a photo essay entitled, "A look at Abandoned Far Rockaway." Let me get this straight. You take photos of bungalows that were probably built in the late 1930s and haven't been repaired for 30 years and you use those photos to show that Rockaway is crumbling and abandoned. Just another day in the sun. We wish Kensinger would come to the real Rockaway and take a look. He might be surprised.

When the City Council honored Michael Jackson last week, several Council members walked out of the chamber. Two of those were Council members James Oddo and Eric Ulrich, our new representative in the council. Oddo said that he walked out in protest. Ulrich said that he walked out to talk with Oddo on an unrelated matter.

The City Council recently voted overwhelmingly to close the public schools on two of the holiest Moslem holidays - Eid al-fitr and Eid al-adha. The Mayor said he would veto the resolution because "one of the problems you have with a diverse city is that if you close the schools for every single holiday, there won't be any school." Proponents of the plan, however, point to the fact that the schools are closed on a number of Jewish and Christian holidays. They argue that the schools should be closed on all the important religious holidays or none at all.

Where are they now, and will they come back? That is the question being asked by school-watchers who wonder if local community school boards such as our CSB 27 will be brought back in light of the end of mayoral control of the schools. The board last served eight years ago, but it was the last elected school board, and failing a new election, they are technically still in office. That final board was made up of Steve Greenberg (President), Rowena Schwab, Jim Adams, Shalom Becker, Ernest Brown, Donna Caltabiano, Delores Bellevaqua, Art Beroff (since deceased) and David Hooks. At least some are on the new Community School Councils and might be willing to serve the district once again. Greenberg, for one, told The Wave that he is ready to go.

The deadline for those who want to participate in the Tribute Park photo contest is a July 11 postmark on those sent by mail and July 13 for those who want to hand-deliver the photos to the Rockaway Artists Alliance at 260 Beach 116 Street in Rockaway Park. Winners will be announced at the Sunset In The Park fundraiser on July 30 and will be displayed at One-Stop Photo on Beach Channel Drive.

A year ago this week, The Wave ran front page stories on two events that are still percolating. The first was that a Queens Supreme Court judge overturned the murder conviction of Kareem Bellamy, who was in prison for the 1994 murder of James Abbott in Rockaway. The judge's ruling was based on a tape that purported to be the voice of another man confessing to a murder at about the same time that Abbott was killed. That touched off a soap opera of charges and counter-charges that will finally come to a head in September. The other story detailed the plan to remove the "toxic washing machine" under the soil at the former LILCO Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP) at Beach 108 Street and Beach Channel Drive. After much controversy and community input, the removal of the toxic soil was begun two months ago and seems to be on target, with the soil in the first section already trucked out to other states.

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