2010-01-08 / Columnists

Beachcomber

A Rockaway restaurant (of sorts) got a notice in the New York Times “Critic’s Notebook – 2009.” Rock - away Taco was named as one of the “Fabulous Freshmen of ‘09” by the paper. “After a trial run in the summer of 2008, this fantastic sum - mers-only surfer-shack taco stall opened with intensity for beach season 2009, with perfect fish tacos from Andrew Field, the chef, that are best eaten barefoot,” the re port says. Rockaway Taco is at 95-19 Rockaway Beach Boulevard.

Those who didn’t get enough thrills by jumping into the Atlantic Ocean on January 1 should mark their calendars for the tenth annual Take The Plunge for Cystic Fibrosis, which will take place at Beach 99 Street at 1 p.m. on February 6. There will be a pre-plunge party at the St. Camillus gymnasium and then the plunge itself, which usually draws hundreds of freezing participants. There will also be an after-plunge party in the church’s gymnasium.

Investigators are focusing on the relationship that our Represen - tative, Congressman Gregory Meeks had (or has) with accused scammer Allen Stanford, a Texas banker who pulled off a multi-million dollar Ponzi scam. Among 47 privately-funded trips that Meeks took between 2000 and early this year, trips valued at more than $175,000, were several funded by Stanford. Recently, reports have surfaced that say that Meeks did Stanford a favor before the latter was indicted for the scam. Stan - ford reportedly asked Meeks to speak with Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez and urge him to in - vestigate a top Stanford employee, who had blown the whistle on the businessman. Meeks did travel to Venezuela and did meet with Cha - v ez, who Meeks counts as a friend. It is impossible to know what Meeks said to the dictator, but the worker was arrested and tried shortly thereafter. That begs the question of why a Congress man would run an errand for a businessman, and a dirty one at that.

There are five Republicans in the City Council (out of 51 members), and three of them are from Queens. One of the three new Republican Council members is our own Eric Ulrich. “Our diversity is our greatest strength,” Ulrich says. “This is not the Archie Bunker party that some people would like to believe.” Ulrich, 24, is the youngest member of the Council.

There has been lots of reaction on the Rockaway peninsula to the city’s plan to turn the parking lot next to Keyspan Park in Coney Island into high-rise condominiums. The Brooklyn Cyclones, the Mets single-A farm club that plays in Kepspan has become a Rock - away favorite and you can always find dozens of local residents at the games. Some say that the availability of parking adjacent to the park was a big selling point be cause there is little available on-street parking in the area. The may or’s plan for the development of Coney Island seems to many to be selfdefeating because the revitalization of Coney Island is based more on its attraction as an amuse ment area than on its residential units.

The Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day Parade is not far off. The parade will step off on Newport Avenue and Beach 129 Street on March 6 this year. The parade committee has chosen Patrick McGowan, the CEO of MGB Builders as its Grand Marshal. The kick-off fundraiser, the Hearts and Shamrocks Ball, will be held at Springman Hall at St. Camillus (Beach 99 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard) on Jan uary 23. The Instal - lation Gala will be held at Antuns on February 20.

Despite that the Department of Ed - u cation is laying off school aides and cutting teaching positions and afterschool programs, it has handed out retroactive raises to 1,400 administrative managers. About 200 central staffers who earn less than $70,000 a year will get raise, as will non-union managers, who earn $102,000 a year, on average. The annual raises for those earning more than $100,000 a year will be capped at about $3.000 a year, officials say. A DOE spokesperson said that the raises were necessary to keep “the best people” working for the city agency. One union critic of the raises in a time of financial crisis said, “That puts the lie to the rhetoric about children first. Klein can find money for workers who have no contact with kids, while he lays off people who do.”

There are those who said it would never last, but the AirTrain JFK has just celebrated its sixth anniversary. The AirTrain connects travelers by rail to and from the airport and between terminals within the airport. The Port Authority, which maintains the light rail line says that ridership rose to more than five million in 2008 from the 2004 level of 2.5 million.

A confusing accident report led The Wave to publish inaccurate in form - ation on the front page of last week’s edition. We reported that a car driven by Rockaway Park wo man Nicole Lee struck an automobile driven by Shauna Friel at Beach 108 Street and Rock away Beach Boulevard on December 27 when, in fact, it was the other way round.

The city’s Department of Health has confounded us once again. After an - nouncing a contest to design a condom package, it has come out with a pamphlet entitled, “Take Charge, Take Care,” which shows how to shoot dope into your arm. We kid you not. The 16- page pamphlet features seven comic book-like illustrations and offers such advise as “warm up your body by jumping up and down,” and “find your vein before you start to inject.”

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