2010-02-12 / Columnists

Beachcomber

The art of Wave editorial cartoonist Elgin Bolling was featured recently at the opening of the ZSpace Gallery in Brooklyn. Bolling’s piece, entitled “Bloo,” was part of his “Subwaysurfer Extreme Life Drawing” series. His work, along with the work of may other artists will be on view at the gallery, 2291 Nostrand Avenue through the month of February.

The New York Times ran a piece on February 3 stating that one-third of Madelaine Chocolate’s 450 workers are from Haiti. That number, the paper says, represents the most Haitians employed by any company in Queens, and perhaps in the entire city.

Visitor activity permits for Gateway National Recreation Area are now available in the Ranger Station at the entrance to Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, just north of the Gil Hodges Marine Parkway Bridge. That office issues permits for fishing, off-road beach access, kayaking, canoeing and surfing. Permits will no longer be issued at the headquarters building in Fort Tilden or at the Riis Park Bathhouse. The Ranger Station is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Monday through Fridays, but will be closed on Mondays from February 15 to March 31.

We recently came upon a story from the New York Times of May 22, 1876. The story says, “The steamer Americus made her two regular trips to Rockaway Beach yesterday. The boat was very well filled, taking out about 350 passengers in the morning and 400 in the afternoon, unusual numbers considering that the season has not yet fully opened. The companies were eminently respectable, and made up of men and women with their families, who went out solely for the sake of getting a few sniffs of the salt air breeze. There was an entire absence of the rowidyish element which formerly has seemed to take almost exclusive possession of the excursion steamers out of New York. Many of the visitors to the beach engaged in hunting shells, and they were in some instances very successful. The trip to Rockaway is one of the pleasantest excursions from New York and has always been favored by the liberal patronage.”

Rockaway and Broad Channel were all abuzz over the past two weeks with the shooting schedules of some major productions that came to the area for location shoots. Broad Channel saw a three-day shoot on Cross Bay Boulevard for the popular “Law and Order – Criminal Intent.” Far Rockaway saw a shoot by famed director Martin Scorcese and his upcoming HBO series “Atlantic City.” Seems like the remaining bungalows around Beach 26 and Beach 27 Streets along the boardwalk were more like Atlantic City in the 1920s than Atlantic City is today.

Many locals are wondering what will happen to the Beach Club property on Beach 116 Street now that it has been sold to an unidentified buyer for $2.75 million in cash. The Manhattan realty company that brokered the deal so far has declined to identify the buyer and the sale has yet to be registered on city websites. The only thing revealed in the company’s press release is that the building will be renovated and rented out.

Beware of letters bearing phony checks. A number of locals have recently received letters from Lotto Super 7, a company in British Columbia. The letter says that the recipient is the winner of the grand prize and has to call a Mr. Michael Smith at a designated 778 area code number in order to get their money. There is an enclosed check for $7,000 to cover “insurance fees, legal fees and documentation fees.” We called the number and asked Mr. Smith what company he worked for. He hung up. The check looks valid, drawn on J.P. Morgan, but the local Chase branch says that they wouldn’t cash it. Our advice is to rip it up and throw it away.

There are reports that the U.S. contract post office in Fort Tilden will stay open until at least May 31 to give Dorothy Farrell, the concessionaire and post office officials a chance to make a longer-lived deal. The extension was brokered by Congressman Anthony Weiner, officials say.

After everybody laughed at the last round of school report cards because such a high percentage got A’s and B’s, the Department of Education has quietly decided to put a quota on high scores on this year’s round. “The point of the progress reports is to improve student learning,” a DOE spokesperson said. “This isn’t perfect by any means. We haven’t at any point along the way said that we have this figured out perfectly.” Last fall, 84 percent of the city’s elementary and middle schools got an A grade. “These grades were phony,” said education expert Diane Ravitch at the time. “It is unfortunate that the DOE will not acknowledge that rising test scores were caused by lowered standards on the state tests.” This time, officials say, the schools will be graded on a curve, with only 15 percent of the schools eligible for an A.

In last week’s issue, we called for an investigation into the machinations of Senate President Malcolm Smith, who represents all of Rockaway in the State Senate. Both the New York Daily News and the New York Post have also called for investigations of Smith and Representative Gregory Meeks, as well as former Representative Floyd Flake, the minister of the Allen AME Church in Jamaica. The investigations should center around the slush fund that took in lots of money designated for public use that seems to have disappeared as well as their actions in relation to the recently-announced Aqueduct deal, in which Governor David Paterson gave the million dollar deal to Flake and his friends, and Smith’s actions in relation to the Beach Channel High School closing.

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