2009-09-18 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Now that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is running for a third term, he has inundated residents with advertisements extolling his past programs and promising startling new initiatives to make New York City even better. We have to wonder why he hasn't come up with those wonderful things in the first eight years. That aside, he has a new plan to make elections more inclusive by reforming ballot access and moving election day from Tuesday to the weekend. Bloomberg says that more people will vote if they don't have to go to the polls on a workday. We wonder.

The unpredictable Marine Parkway Bridge ramp closing schedule has changed once again. The ramp from the bridge to Breezy Point was supposed to be closed this week, but Bridges and Tunnels tell us that the new closure date will probably now be in October. Keep tuned to The Wave to find out the latest information.

There is a growing movement among Rockaway residents to say "no" to a Parks Department plan to put a miniature golf course on Shore Front Parkway. There are two complaints - the facility will become too noisy with all those beer-drinking miniature golfers and there is just no place to park along the parkway.

With the 9/11 ceremonies behind us, locals will begin gearing up for the November 12 commemoration of those who died when American Airlines Flight 587 crashed into Belle Harbor in 2001, just two months and a day after the terrorist attack that killed so many local residents. We expect that there will be a large ceremony at the Beach 116 Street memorial. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is scheduled to attend, but we guess that will depend on the outcome of the November 3 election.

Those who say that there is nothing to do in Rockaway should recant their words after last weekend. There was the Rockaway Music and Arts Council Fall Festival, the Rockaway Kite Festival, the Rockaway Artists Alliance opening weekend of ARTSLASH/ InkSplash, the ceremonies for the 9/11 victims, a street renaming in honor of civic activist Barbara Eisenstadt, the Richie Allen Surf- Out and various other outdoor activities.

A new book about the life of swindler Bernie Madoff tells a story about his time at Far Rockaway High School that may or may not be apocryphal. According to the book, "The Life and Times of Bernie Madoff," penned by former TV political correspondent Andrew Kirtzman, Madoff and his classmates were each supposed to read a book and make an oral report in class, but Bernie, "an average student," didn't get around to reading a book. So, when the unnamed teacher called on him, he announced that he would cover "Hunting and Fishing" by Peter Gunn (at the time, the show about the detective was all the rage, and you would think the teacher would have known that). He then fabricated a report about the book and sat down. Even then, he knew how to flim flam people.

The New York Times did a story about Neponsit on September 6, pointing out that it is a great place to live, if you can afford it. The article said, "The proximity to the ocean often defines Neponsit, from its blocks of waterfront mansions to the chummy neighborhood rituals that have sprung up to accommodate its beach-loving population. With street parking banned from May 15 to September 30, owners of houses near the beach routinely make their driveways available to neighbors, who sometimes leave their car keys in case homeowners have to run out. Its sandy beaches are largely left to its residents or outsiders with parking connections." The story goes on to point out that the parking ban "lends its beaches an air of exclusivity," pointing out that the population of 2,000 is 95 percent white, two percent Asian, two percent Hispanic and less than one percent black or multiracial. Is the Times trying to tell us something without really using the words?

Now that the summer season is over, the Department of Parks has closed the public bathrooms at Beach 116 Street. We wonder whether the agency could leave them open at least until the end of September so that people enjoying the boardwalk and beach (without going in the water, of course) can still have a place to go should the urge arise.

Now that the primary election is over the campaign for the November election campaign will really go into high gear. West end Democrats had to settle for primaries for the Borough President slot as well as for the citywide seats because there was no primary for the west end City Council seat. The battle in November will be between Democrat Frank Gulluscio and Republican incumbent Eric Ulrich. In Rockaway, the battle for the council seat will be a close one, even though neither of the candidates is from the peninsula. Ulrich has solidified his hold on the district in the few short months that he has been in office and Gulluscio is sometimes thought of as the missing man on the peninsula. In addition, the Democratic candidate carries Joe Addabbo's baggage, not always a good thing.

We received a letter this week that points out that the name of Firefighter Eric Allen was somehow dropped from the list of those who died in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. We apologize for the error, and hope that it did not cause anybody pain.

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