2009-08-21 / Columnists

Looking Backward

What The Wave Said 20 Years Ago...

Three parked automobiles were crushed beyond repair on Sunday, August 20, about 11 a.m., when the front wall of Leon's Auto Collision Inc. shop at 272 Beach 116 Street (near Beach Channel Drive in Rockaway Park) fell apart and crashed into Beach 116 Street.

Telephone cables in Rockaway are being cut time and time again this month; and the New York Telephone Co., is so concerned it is offering a reward of up to $25,000 "to the person who first provides information that results in arrest and conviction of any person or persons for intentional destruction of telephone facilities."

One of the new attractions this year will be a United States Coast Guard Dolphin HH065A helicopter. The twin engine Dolphins have replaced the aging Sikorsky Sea Guards. They can operate up to 150 miles off shore and will fly comfortably at 150 knots for three hours.

Approximately 12 pounds of marijuana was found in a suitcase on a 37-foot sailboat berthed at the Barren Island Marina (just over the Marine Parkway Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge from Rockaway) the evening of August 5.

Dr. William Campagna, as he claimed to be, was indicted by District Attorney John Santucci who accused him of posing as a doctor of psychiatry and filing false medical insurance claims for clients he "treated" at his Rockaway Park office.

At press time - almost a week after her body was found at the edge of the ocean at Beach 111 Street, Rockaway Park - an Oriental woman about 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighing 110 pounds, wearing blue jeans, a white shirt and white sneakers still was not identified.

Rockaway Summer Jobs Program, cosponsored by Community Board 14, the Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways Inc. and the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation, is continuing to match up local residents with full and part-time jobs on and off the peninsula.

30 Years Ago... 

Has anyone walked along the beach lately? Within the course of a week erosion has once again set in. West end beaches show at least two feet of sand that has disappeared. We hope another few million dollars is not about to be spent on renourishment.


Now that the new sewers are being installed at Seagirt Boulevard, how about the west end? Every time it rains Beach 130 Street and Newport Avenue looks like an extension of the bay. Some day "Peter's Place" may be the only floating restaurant in the Rockaway.

Why can't the old wooden jetties be removed at low tide? All it would take is some quick work with a chain saw. This would save the lifeguards the trouble of whistling everyone out of the way of the jetties end when the tide comes in.

40 Years Ago...


A highway repair crew has been working at a manhole on Rockaway Beach Boulevard near Beach 80 Street where there is flooding at every rain storm.

Fishermen are finding their way to the new Cross Bay Bridge, but it's so high above the water that hauling in a fish is something like an endurance contest. No statistics yet on how many fish drop off the hook on the way up.

Last week the death of former Queens Democratic Leader James Phillips revived many memories. He quit the leadership when James Crisona was nominated for the borough presidency over Phillips' opposition.

Since extensive repairs were made to the Beach 116 Street firehouse, firemen say their sleep is interrupted by loud banging in the steam pipes. They suspect that some corrections are needed in the steam plant.

50 Years Ago...

Some people believe that Rockaway will be empty next Monday because so many local people say they are going to take part in, or watch, the Labor Day parade in Manhattan. Don't make any bets on it if the weather is warm.


Last week a 150-pound manta ray was taken from the bay at Beach 115 Street. The skin divers seen occasionally carrying a spear gun to the beach now don't look quite so foolish. But, maybe the big game is in the bay after all.

When heavy rain threatened Saturday afternoon, the Cross Bay road was jammed with traffic northbound. So, fire apparatus, heading in the same direction used the south bound land and had clear sailing.

One new sidelight on the annual firemen's parade has come to light. The bars are well patronized, but there is an unusually high loss in glasses. It seems the ladies sometimes leave the bar hurriedly when their apparatus rolls by, carrying their unfinished drinks with them.

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