2010-09-10 / Columnists


The A train was crowded on Friday morning with passengers loaded down with wetsuits and surf boards heading for the surfing beach at Beach 90 Street. The two dedicated surfing beaches (the other being at Beach 67 Street) were mobbed by surfers braving the strength of Hurricane Earl, waiting to ride the perfect wave to shore. “This is what [surfers] wait all year for,” said one young man as he ran for the incoming waves. “This is the perfect surfing day.”

Word is that Far Rockaway resident Nicole Paultre Belle is getting ready for a run for the City Council seat left vacant when Thomas White passed away last week. A special election to fill that seat will be held on November 2. Bell came to prominence when her finance, Sean Bell, was killed by undercover police officers in front of a Jamaica strip club the night before their wedding almost four years ago. She has since become an activist, involved with the Reverend Al Sharpton and his Action Network. Since she lives in Far Rockaway, and that is outside the Councilmanic district, she would have to move in order to run. Published reports say that she is still registered to vote at her parent’s home in Suffolk County.

Straphangers in Rockaway have lost Manhattan-bound service at three local A-Train stations. The disruptions will last until the fall of 2011, MTA officials say. Commuters using the Beach 25 Street, Beach 44 Street and Beach 67 Street stations will have to use other stations on the line or will have to “double back” by taking an eastbound train to a station where the Manhattan-bound service is available and then crossing the tracks to access that service. In addition, the MTA says, Rockaway-bound trains will not stop at Beach 90 or Beach 105 Streets. The service changes are all part of the ongoing station renovation project.

The spate of shootings in the 101 Precinct has local politicians and police officials seeking a solution. Part of the problem is that, in many of the shooting incidents, the victims are not cooperative with the detectives seeking to find who shot them. To the police, that most often means a drug or gang connection to the shooting.

“The Bungalows of Rockaway,” will be shown on two Public Broadcasting System (PBS) stations in coming weeks. Channel 13 will feature the fine documentary on September 16 at 8 p.m. On September 21 at 7 p.m. the program will be shown on Channel 21. The program highlights the history of the Rockaway bungalow colonies and discusses the possibility of making some of the existing bungalows historic sites. Free flu shots for senior citizens are being offered by JASA Rockaway Park at its offices at 106-00 Shore Front Parkway on September 13. Those seniors who want the flu shots must be qualified and must register in advance at 718-634-3044.

School is open, and all motorists driving in the vicinity of schools are urged to drive carefully. Those who park near schools to pick up their children are also urged to stay away from areas where kids access their school buses and to not block crosswalks.

Many locals are angered at the new $.99 store that took over the former bank building at 211 Beach 116 Street – in the heart of the west end’s major shopping center. The building’s owner, Neponsit resident Alex Shulman, has not been responsive to the needs of the community, they say. The Department of Buildings put a stop work order on the building, but the work went forward and Shulman was fined $15,000. Those who oppose the store say that the continuous placement of “schlock” merchandise on the street, coupled with the placement of half-way houses and SRO’s for former mental patients will force businesses and shoppers away from the street.

St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway will host its annual Ocean Walk next Monday, September 13, at 4:30 p.m. The walk, to benefit the hospital’s OB/GYN unit, will step off from the hospital’s flagpole at 327 Beach 19 Street and will go to the boardwalk at Beach 9 Street and then back. A dinner for all participants will follow.

One of the most important places you can be tomorrow, September 11 is at the 9/11 Memorial at Tribute Park on Beach Channel Drive and Beach 116 Street. There are two memorial services scheduled — the first at 8:46 a.m. and the other at 6:30 p.m. This year marks the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed more than 70 local residents and it is incumbent upon us all to make sure that they are remembered.

The second most important place you have to be is at the polls for the primary elections on September 14. If you are registered for one of the two major parties, you should show up, ready to vote for your favorites. If you are registered as an independent, you’re going to miss all the fun.

Those who like to surf should get to the Richie Allen Memorial Surf Classic at Beach 91 Street on Sunday, September 12 at 10 a.m. The memorial, dedicated to Firefighter Richie Allen, who died in the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, will include a surf contest for younger surfers as well as contests for older surfers. In addition, there will be a “paddle out’ in honor of Allen.

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