2009-07-17 / Columnists

Beachcomber

The newly-formed collaborative that plans to put the largest wind farm in America in the Atlantic Ocean just 13 miles from the Rockaway shoreline has moved ahead in those plans by issuing a Request for Information from firms that develop such wind farms. The intent of the RFI is to gauge the level of interest on the part of the wind power industry and other interested parties in developing the project. By the end of this year, a Request for Proposals (RFP) will be issued to seek proposals from private firms on actually developing the wind farm. Some locals wonder, however, if the plan will ever come to fruition. It seems as though some of the major players in the wind farm business, including billionaire T. Boone Pickens, are moving away from the new form of renewable energy because of the tanking economy.

Jon Gaska, Community Board 14 District Manager, is optimistic that the beaches will be fully manned this summer. He says that jobs and internships for college students are hard to find in this economy and many who would normally disdain a job on the beach took a second look - and a summer job - this year.

The city's Department of Transportation put out a press release last week patting itself on the back for creating 200 new miles of bike paths in the city over the past three years. "We can now state firmly that New York City is the bicycling capital of the United States," said the DOT's Commissioner. "This 200-mile growth has transformed our bike network into a robust transportation system, a true backbone that connects the city's neighborhoods and helps get cyclists to their destinations safely. By clearly marking out our road space, these new lanes also pull double duty as anchors to our traffic calming projects citywide, creating even safer streets for pedestrians and motorists." That statement proves you can put spin on just about anything, because it is at odds with what most New Yorkers believe about the new bike lanes that have made their onceplacid streets into battlegrounds between bikers and motorists.

State Senator Shirley Huntley will host the third annual "Children First Family Festival" in Broad Channel on July 18. The festival will be held at the park at 17 Road and Cross Bay Boulevard from 11 a.m. until sundown. In addition, the Broad Channel volies will host Movie Night Under The Stars on that same evening, July 18 at the BCAC field on 1 Road and Cross Bay Boulevard. The movie, "ET: The Extra- Terrestrial," will begin at 8 p.m.

During the 1975-1976 school year, the Board of Education (everything old is new again) piloted a program at Beach Channel High School. The program was called Reading Improvement Through The Arts (RITA) and it lasted only a short time, as with most Board of Education programs in those years. Now, an author is writing a book about the program and is looking for participants to talk about their experiences in the program. Those who did participate and want to help with the book should send their name and contact information to sylcorwin@ aol.com.

Next semester's public school calendar has been finalized. Assistant principals and school-based intermediate supervisors who are not annualized are due back to school on Monday, August 31. All other staff members are due back on Tuesday, September 8, the day after Labor Day. That day will give teachers some time to set up their room and also for some staff development. Students return on Wednesday, September 9.

There are many people in Rockaway who are titillated when a famous movie or television star comes to Rockaway for a shoot. They want to get close to the star, to reach out and get an autograph or a photo. There are others, however, that say the titillation is not worth the bother. For much of last week, Rockaway streets and bridges were blocked off for large chunks of time for the filming of a new movie, "The Bounty," starring Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler. Some gushed because they actually got to see Aniston, but more groused because they spent an hour or more in traffic at the Marine Parkway Bridge, at Beach 35 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard or in Far Rockaway, all because of the shoot. One local businessman said that the security people from the shoot sent traffic the wrong way on a one-way street, nearly causing several accidents. "What good does this do Rockaway," asked one angered motorist? "What do we get for not being able to use our own streets for a week?"

If you're interested in seeing better ferry service for Rockaway, get yourself to a meeting at Queens Borough Hall scheduled for Tuesday, July 21 at 11 a.m. The meeting is part of a six-month comprehensive citywide ferry study. It looks as if the plan is to leave Rockaway ferry service as is and to add stops at Floyd Bennett Field, JFK Airport and Astoria. Some locals say that our present service is not adequate because we need at least one more boat and that high-speed ferries are needed rather than a renovated fishing boat.

Two weeks ago we pointed out that this was probably the final year for the Far Rockaway carnival because of all the problems it generates. We said that Councilman James Sanders Jr. wanted the carnival for the community, but the Councilman called to say that he had nothing to do with it and, in fact, he does not want to see it come back.

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