2009-09-04 / Columnists

Beachcomber

The Democrat candidates continue to dominate the buzz leading up to the September 15 city council primary for the 31st Councilmanic District - which includes Far Rockaway, Bayswater, Arverne and Edgemere. When the general election rolls around in November the Democratic winner will have to face off against a Republican challenger - Sherrie S. Murray. Murray, who lives in Rosedale, has two degrees from the City University of New York, one in Microcomputer Business Systems and the other Broadcast Journalism. She calls her effort a "grassroots" campaign for a new generation of leadership. "I am committed to the principles of a transparent and accountable government," says Murray on her campaign website. For those who want to find out more about Murray her campaign website is http://votemurray09.com/.

New York Post columnist Cindy Adams made Rockaway famous two weeks ago - sort of famous anyway. The headline on her popular column in the August 23 edition of the paper was "It's Broadway - not Rockaway." She wrote, "Could someone please kindly tell me what the frig is happening in Times Square? Why in the middle of what is Earth's most famous urban tourist attraction - aside from possibly seeing Brad Pitt's boxers - are people now lying around on cheapo, crappo, junko lawn chairs? I'm told that our Department of Transportation commissioner is a very nice lady. Good to her family, donates to charity, works for the care and feeding of aging, homeless manicurists. Has a lovely-sounding last name, but I mean, turning Broadway into Rockaway. The hallway to the Street of Dreams is now Beach 34 Street. What's next? Sand? A Boardwalk?" Thanks Cindy, for the nice plug. Some locals, however, took exception. In a letter to the Post, Dr. Peter Galvin wrote, "I take extreme exception to Adams' column comparing the trashing of Times Square to the Rockaways. There is more to New York than Manhattan - The Rockaways are one of the city's crown jewels. We have clean beaches, clean water, manicured properties and tree-lined streets. I suggest that the next time Adams decides to bash a city neighborhood, she should try visiting the area first."

The man who owns both the NSA Supermarket at Beach 87 Street and Key Food at Beach 105 Street, Rafael Diaz, has been warned by the city's Commission on Human Rights that it faces large fines if it does not comply with the handicapped access laws by the end of September. Those laws require "independent access" to the facilities, which are both now blocked by locked gates that can only be opened by an employee with the key. The city says that Diaz has to either remove the gates or put in a buzzer-access gate that will allow nearly instant access, rather than waiting for an employee to show up to open the gate.

The Daily News ran a story last week choosing the best ten New York City athletes in sports history. Of the ten, two were from Rockaway, one of only two communities that had multiple stars. At number five was Nancy Lieberman-Cline, the Bayswater native who changed the face of Woman's basketball and was the youngest woman basketball player in Olympic history to win a medal. Lieberman used to play in the PS 104 playground, taking on male opponents and beating them handily. She is in the Basketball Hall of Fame. At number six was Dick McGuire, who learned to play the game at the Beach 108 Street playground that is now the Rockaway Rockies Rink, nearby his father's bar - McGuire's (what is now Sung Harbor). McGuire, a seven-time NBA all-star, brought NBA and college stars to the playground on weekends to try their luck against the best in the game. He and his brother, Al, are the only two brothers in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Just in case you missed it, we have to tell you that our City Councilman, James Sanders Jr. went all out for you on August 29 in Springfield Gardens. Did he pass some important new law? Did he drag up some more money for local schools or youth programs? Did he make an important speech on health care? No, he hosted a Michael Jackson Birthday Celebration, complete with dancers, singers and a look-alike contest. Now we know why we pay Sanders the big bucks.

The city's Department of Buildings says that it will review the application to allow a developer to renovate a single room occupancy building at 186 Beach 113 Street. The city had given permission to restore the building to its SRO status of earlier years, something the community did not want to see. Jonathan Gaska, the district manager for Community Board 14 came up with a zoning regulation that said that a building with a non-conforming zoning use (such as an SRO) that was not used for two years for that purpose reverted automatically to it underlying zoning - in this case, a five-family home. The developer wanted to build 24 SRO apartments in the beach-block home.

Danny Ruscillo, the president of the 100 Precinct Community Council says that he got a promise from Mayor Michael Bloomberg that there will be another gun buyback program in Rockaway by the end of the year. The last one was successful, Ruscillo says, bringing in 168 weapons - 108 from the 100 Precinct and 60 from the 101 Precinct.

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