2010-06-25 / Columnists


The Far Rockaway rally to save Engine 328, one of the three fire companies assigned to the Big House on Central Avenue was well attended and speakers made their point that the east end community is indeed a special case because of its isolation from the rest of the city and its growing community. It is not hyperbole to say that the closing of that one engine company could well endanger the community. Local resident Mordecai Rosen has launched an on-line petition and urges residents to sign at www.petitions.com/petition/ fren gine328/.

The Long Island City courthouse that was the scene of the recent Rockaway dog mauling case is one of the most historic buildings in the city. It was originally built between 1872 and 1876, with all the attendant political scandals, kick-backs and delays. The building was rebuilt after a massive fire in 1882 and another in 1904. Many notable trials have taken place in the building, including the 1927 murder trial of Ruth Snyder and her lover, Judd Gray. Snyder later became the first woman to be executed by New York State. It was while on trial in the third floor courtroom that famed bank robber Willie Sutton was recorded as answering a question about why he robbed banks with his quote, “That’s where the money is.” The basement jail where Sutton and other noted criminals were once held was turned into a parking garage in 1988. A number of Rockaway people testified in the recent case, brought by the victims of a wild dog mauling on the boardwalk at Beach 68 Street in late December of 2001, including Wave editor Howard Schwach, Community Board 14 District Manager Jonathan Gaska and doctors from Peninsula Hospital Center.

The Catholic community in Rockaway Beach is up in arms over the desecration of a statue of Jesus Christ that stands at the Knights of Columbus’ clubhouse on Beach 90 Street. The unidentified vandals cut off the statue’s fingertips as well as a part of its beard. Organization officials say that it is bad enough to vandalize a building, but a religious icon should be off limits. Detectives from the 100 Precinct are investigating and the organization has offered a $1,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who committed the vandalism.

Those on Medicare are finding it both more expensive to get their medicine and more difficult to find a physician who will treat them. A recent study, reported in the New York Times last week, says that one-third to one-quarter of all patients do not regularly take their medication as prescribed and onequarter never fill their prescriptions in an attempt to save money. The study points out that many who do so just get sicker and then have to pay more for their medical care. In addition, The Medical Rights Center says that more people on Medicare are being told by their doctors that they will no longer see Medicare patients due to a 21 percent cut in the amount paid to doctors who treat patients in that system.

Julie Solas emailed us to say that she was walking on the boardwalk at Beach 126 Street on June 16 when she spotted a pod of three dolphins out in the ocean. She said that they seemed to follow her as she walked to Beach 118 Street and that they were swimming and jumping out of the water. “It was really cool to watch,” Solas said.

Mandi Schwartz, a member of the Yale University women’s ice hockey team, needs a stem cell transplant as a treatment for her acute myeloid leukemia. Her family is looking for somebody with German, Russian and Ukrainian ancestry who might be a match. If you want to help and think you might be a match, you can contact her doctors at Yale University at berit.johnson@ yale. edu.

Those who keep track of such things will soon see a change in the way milk sold in New York City is dated. The present system has two dates – one for NYC and the other for the rest of the state. That’s because city rules now say you can’t sell a fluid dairy product nine days after it was pasteurized, up to six days sooner than the rest of the state. Under the new rules proposed by the city’s Department of Health, the city will now use the date used by the rest of the state – and the nation, allowing consumers a few more days before they have to throw out that half-empty container of milk.

Forbes Magazine says that Rockaway is among America’s best urban surfing sites. In a recent edition, the magazine wrote, “Surfers pursue their sport in some of the most beautiful, far-flung spots on Earth, but the great thing about surfing is that once you’re in the water gazing into the rolling swells, you are effectively in physical contact with nature – even if you’re really just one caught wave from being beached in a borough of 2.3 million souls in the most urban spot in the U.S. That would be Rockaway Beach in Queens. That’s right, with its consistent break off a jetty, Rockaway Beach is debatably one of the best places in the country to surf. So, don’t be surprised if you find yourself sharing a ride on the S subway line with someone holding a surfboard.”

Officials in Glen Cove on Long Island broke ground two weeks ago for a ferry terminal that will serve 140-passenger high-speed ferry boats that will run between the north shore community and lower Manhattan. About $11 million of the state’s stimulus money was used to pay for the first phase of the project. A boathouse and restaurant will be added in a later phase. Once again, somebody else gets the gravy while Rockaway gets the beans.

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