2009-12-25 / Columnists

The Rockaway Beat

Some Days, The Diamonds; Some Days, The Coal
Commentary By Howard Schwach

As you get older, the year goes by faster and faster, like a freight train on a long straightaway. It’s the end of the year, and time again for awarding diamonds to those who have done right by Rockaway the past year and coal for those who have not.

As always, large bags of diamonds to those who keep us safe: police officers, firefighters, EMS wor k ers, those in the armed forces fighting for democracy on the frontiers of freedom and the lifeguards who keep Rockaway residents safe each summer.

Having said that, we have to offer at least a few bags of coal to officials at the fire department who put the kibosh on a new firehouse for the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department and the city officials who went along with their jealous tirade against the volies.

More diamonds for those who volunteer their time to work with kids: the Little League coaches, scout leaders, Rockaway Rockies coaches and all the others who put in their time to help kids grow into reasonable adults.

Coal to Bernie Walder’s son, Jay Walder, the new head of the MTA, for forgetting where he comes from and for forcing kids to make a choice between using their money for either a trip to school or for food. Walder and his cohorts also think nothing of forcing locals to pay a toll to drive to destinations within the same zip code, something that does not exist anywhere else in this large nation of ours.

A small bag of diamonds to Aviator Sports in Brooklyn. The sports complex, hard over the Marine Parkway Bridge, has provided Rockaway residents with the entertainment and sports complex that it always craved. The addition of a scrappy lowlevel professional hockey team, the New York Aviators, has added joy to lots of locals – kids and adults both.

Dozens of bags of coal to Democratic District Leader Geraldine Chapey (the younger). She sabotaged her own run for the City Council by refusing to tell anybody how she spent the million dollars plus in tax money that the city gave her over the past dozen years, even reportedly telling one voter to “sit down and shut up” when he questioned her non-profit’s financing. She lost the election and has since virtually disappeared from sight, her office shuttered. We would hope that some investigative agency would give her a close look, but her ties to the Democratic Party and to the attorney general’s mother, Matilda Cuomo (who is on Chapey’s board) seem to preclude any such investigation.

A few scattered diamonds to Arverne By The Sea and the YMCA for finally starting construction on the much needed Y on Beach 73 Street. Let’s hope that the construction continues in the spring and we have our facility sometime in 2011. Same for the people at Stop & Shop, who have put down the pilings for a new super market across the street from the new Y. Keep it up, guys.

A large coal bin for the people who want to build a massive sea island 15 miles off the shores of Rockaway Beach and use it to transfer and store Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). The facility is not only unnecessary, it is dangerous and Governor Paterson should veto the plan before it even gets traction and put it to bed once and for all.

Diamonds to NYPD Sergeant Timothy Smith, who was stabbed in the eye by a mentally deranged Far Rockaway man, pointing out once again that cops never know what they are responding to when they get a call for a family dispute or an EDP (emotionally disturbed person).

Coal to the hundreds of teenagers who annually use the St. Patrick’s Day Parade to get drunk and cause hell. It got so bad this year that religious leaders took to the pulpit to excoriate the teens and their parents who enable their drinking by providing the beer or simply looking the other way. The parade is one of Rockaway’s seminal events, and I would hope that the hooligans who blight the day will not force it to end.

Diamonds to the Lady Dolphins lacrosse team from Far Rockaway High School, who took the city championship last year to honor a school that will soon close after more than 110 years of yeoman service to the community.

A whole train-load of coal to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who found out that people don’t want him as much as his ego tells him they do and who has virtually destroyed any real education in this city in a drive to raise test scores. When Bloomberg’s stooge put out school report cards showing that more than 90 percent of city schools were either A or B schools, everybody laughed nervously. Now, with federal scores proving the true face of education in this city, people have stopped laughing and have begun to realize that our mayor is all smoke and mirrors.

Lots of coal to those who decided to close local schools this year: to the Sisters of St. Joseph who are closing down Stella Maris and to the DOE, which is closing Beach Channel High School.

And, finally, a thanks to those professionals who have recognized The Wave and its staff this year: to The Village Voice, who named us the Best Community Newspaper in NYC and to New York magazine, which called us “One of the Reasons to Love NYC.” See you all next year.

Return to top


Email Us
Contact Us

Copyright 1999 - 2014 Wave Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved

Neighborhoods | History