2010-08-27 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Belle Harbor resident Steven Slater has become an international celebrity. The former Jet Blue flight attendant gained fame by cursing a passenger, grabbing a beer and deplaning by using the emergency slide. Lots of people, probably unhappy in their own jobs, have made him a folk hero for metaphorically telling his bosses to take their job and shove it. He has been mobbed on the beach by adoring locals every time he ventures out of his Beach 128 Street apartment. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, however, is not among those who idolize him. Brown, in Rockaway for an unrelated event, told The Wave that he committed a serious crime by dropping the emergency slide and that he will be prosecuted for that crime. “If there had been people on the ground, he would be facing a charge of attempted murder,” Brown said. Meanwhile, in all of the tumult, somebody stole two bicycles from Slater’s driveway this week. Was the robber targeting Slater, hoping to sell the famous flyer’s property on E-Bay? Probably not, because there has been a rash of bike thefts in that area recently.

Kudos to Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and State Senator Shirley Huntley for finally working out a deal that allows the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department to begin construction on a new firehouse. The money for the new facility was in the federal 2005 Omnibus Transportation Bill, placed there by Congressman Anthony Weiner and then-Senator Hillary Clinton. The city, however, refused to sponsor the construction because the fire department issued a statement that the volies were not necessary for the community’s protection. After two years of working out a deal, however, Pheffer and Huntley got the state’s Dormitory Authority to sponsor the construction project. Hopefully, it will go forward expeditiously, because the volies need the new firehouse on Cross Bay Boulevard to replace the decrepit Noel Road structure, which has been there for more than 110 years.

The arrest of a 12 year old girl in an Edgemere drug sweep last week might have come as a surprise to many locals, but not to those who police the peninsula or who cover the drub epidemic for The Wave. Drug dealers like to use younger children to hold their drugs and their weapons because the youngsters are less likely to be checked and because the law generally goes easy on juveniles if they are caught.

Renovations at the Seaside Library on Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 116 Street will include some changes outside the building as well. The area has been a problem in recent years, with residents of the adult homes and SRO’s in the area using the planters as an area to sit and chat for hours at a time, frightening some of the seniors and young parents in the area and keeping them away from the library. The library has been working with Danielle McShane, of Danielle’s Florist on Beach 129 Street to beautify the areas in front of the library and make it less conducive to hanging out. The civic association in the area, now called My Rock Park, is working with library officials as well.

When a teenaged Nancy Lieberman was taking on all the boys at the basketball courts at PS 104 in Bayswater, everybody realized how great she was, but nobody expected her to have the career that she has had. She went from Far Rockaway High School to become the youngest Olympian ever and then to great college and professional careers. She quickly became the premier woman basketball player in the nation. Now, she has become the first woman to coach a professional men’s basketball team. This coming season, she will take over the Dallas Legends – the Dallas Mavericks’ D-League franchise. The Wave wishes her well.

The city’s Department of Parks has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for somebody to run the three dilapidated boardwalk snack bars and up to 20 mobile food carts next summer. The idea sounds great and we certainly could use some good food on the boardwalk, but the 60-page RFP might well scare off some bidders, detailing not only the exact items that can be sold, but the dimensions of the food carts and where they can be stationed (off the boardwalk) as well. In addition, the RFP has a long list of fines that will be imposed for breaking those rules. Seems to us that, although the RFP says that the agency will look for healthy ethnic food, it really wants more of the same chips and pretzels mentality that has permeated former food vendors. In addition, the snack bars, which have to be renovated to the agency’s specifications, can sell beer, but has to do so while keeping a low profile about the alcohol sale.

The latest poll numbers on the plan to place a Muslim Mosque near Ground Zero are enlightening. While 64 percent say that the developers of the mosque have the Constitutional right to place a mosque in that location, only 27 percent support the actual construction of the building. That pretty much says it all. The Muslim developer certainly has the right to build the mosque but he should be sensitive to the feelings of the 9/11 families and the majority of New Yorkers who say that it would be the wrong thing to do.

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