2009-12-04 / Columnists

East End Matters...

Time For Rockaway To Win
Commentary By Miriam Rosenberg

James Sanders, Jr. James Sanders, Jr. The Wave received a press release earlier this week from Councilman James Sanders Jr. In an effort to keep a promise from this year's campaign to be more accessible, as of November 30, his offices in Far Rockaway and Laurelton are going to have extended hours. On Thursdays his office in Far Rockaway will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. instead of the usual 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In Laurelton, his office will be open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays.

One day of extended hours for the east end and two for the mainland. As I remember, during a meeting with members of the bungalow community in Far Rockaway, the councilman said the peninsula would get a much larger amount of his attention during his third term in office. So, why not give the same expanded hours to both the Far Rockaway and the Laurelton offices? It would seem to make sense.

I am not forgetting some of the things the councilman already has in the pipeline, such as an Olympic size track at the Goldie Maple Academy, which he funded; and a $2 million band shell on Beach 17 Street near O'Donohue Park. Yet, so much more needs to be done and expanding the extra hours for his Far Rockaway office to be on par with the office on the mainland would be of tremendous benefit to his peninsula constituents.

While we are on the subject, Sanders promised to bring his office to the people who live in the Beach 24 to Beach 27 Street bungalow community. I hope that day is just around the corner. These are just friendly reminders of what his constituents have on their minds as we head into 2010.

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Speaking of the bungalows, there was fear that two more of these buildings were targeted for demolition on Beach 26 Street. Seven bungalows on Beach 26 Street were torn down last month. To bring people upto date an application was approved in 2006 to turn the one-family bungalow at 168 Beach 26 Street into a two-family home. Earlier this month, an inspector from the Department of Buildings found that there was no basis for a complaint that the bungalow at 168A Beach 26 Street was in a deteriorating state. While these two buildings seem to be safe for now, it appears that the more-than-century-old bungalow community in Rockaway is under attack for demolition. Councilman Sanders has already promised his support to help preserve the bungalows. As the senior councilman from the Rockaways, he needs to bring his colleague Eric Ulrich - who represents the west end - to the fight as well. While we are at it, we need our members of the state legislature - Senator Malcolm Smith, along with Assemblywomen Audrey Pheffer and Michele Titus - to actively take part in the effort to save Rockaway's history.

During that meeting with bungalow owners, the councilman talked about some of his plans for the future. What he said could echo what many of those now in the bungalow community believe. "It is our time to win," said Sanders. "Rockaway doesn't get too many wins." I couldn't agree more.

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You know, a reporter's job isn't the easiest. We run to fires, shootings and disasters when others run away, leading some to believe that we need our heads examined. Sometimes we get a chance to cover an event that can make you burst with pride and actually believe there is hope for this little peninsula of ours. On November 14, the Civil Air Patrol christened the Lt. Col. Michael R. Noyes Middle School Cadet Squadron during a ceremony at the KAPPA VI Middle School at Far Rockaway High School. While many of us Far Rockaway High School graduates lament the school's closing, you can't help but have a good feeling that this CAP squadron and another for high school students will be calling our alma mater home. This is a win for us and a win for CAP. Welcome to Far Rockaway CAP!

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Tomorrow, December 5, is another one of those events that makes Rockaway shine. It's one that this reporter enjoys covering every year. It is when the "Little North Pole" will light up the Rockaways. The Muré family of 144-03 Neponsit Avenue will flip the switch at 6 p.m. and eyes young and old will open wide with amazement and delight as the family's home lights up so that even Santa without the help of Rudolph on a stormy night couldn't miss it. There'll be entertainment and food. Money from the fundraiser will go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and The Children's Diabetes Center of Peninsula Hospital. Of course the guy in the red suit and the Mrs. - Santa and Mrs. Claus - will be there to give out gifts to all the children. To those of you on the east end who have never been to the lighting of the "Little North Pole" - it is an event you will never forget. So, hop on a Q22 bus and head to the west end for a great evening. Oh, and if you see someone wearing a Wave jacket having her photo taken with the Clauses, Elmo or some other noted figure, that will be this big kid in adult's clothing.

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December 11 is the first night of Hanukkah - the Festival of Lights. So stock up on the gelt, have some latkes, spin a few dreidels and enjoy the holiday. Happy Hanukkah everyone!

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