2010-11-19 / Columnists

Looking Backward

What The Wave Said 20 Years Ago...

Local teacher Eileen Schmidt was killed on November 19 when the automobile she was driving crashed at Beach 144 Street and Beach Channel Drive. Schmidt, 50, of Brooklyn, was driving west on the boulevard when she reportedly drifted into the eastbound lane, colliding with a Pontiac sedan driven by Patricia Lewis, also of Brooklyn, and smashing into a light pole. The fatal accident was only the latest to occur in that same general area, and many local residents are clamoring for a traffic light and lane dividers to be constructed at that location.

A stabbing on Friday evening and shooting on Sunday morning have led to local residents demanding better police protection at the Beach 90 Street subway station.

City Council members Walter Ward and Archie Spigner will speak on Wednesday night at a town hall meeting hosted by local Democratic leaders Sy Sheldon and Geraldine Chapey at their clubhouse on Rockaway Beach Boulevard at Beach 92 Street.

The Rockaway Freeway may have to be closed. That possibility was raised by engineers hired by the Queens Borough President to do a study of the accident-prone road, which runs from Beach 108 Street all the way to Far Rockaway. “One of our recommendations is that the death-trap road be closed,” an engineer told a meeting of locals last week.

Kevin Buckley, who ran the Statue of Liberty park for the National Park Service, was named this week at the superintendent of Gateway National Recreation Area, which includes Riis Park, Fort Tilden, the bird sanctuary in Broad Channel and Floyd Bennett Field.

Sam Rogoff is recuperating from surgery, and all of Rockaway is anxious to see him back behind the counter at Rogoff’s on Beach 116 Street, a store that he opened more than 50 years ago.

The identity of a body that floated up in the Rockaway inlet on November 18 remains unidentified at press time. The body was spotted by boaters, who notified the Coast Guard, who in turn notified the New York City Police Department. A police launch brought the body to the Coast Guard Station in Breezy Point, where it was transferred to an ambulance.

Years Ago... 30

Broad Channel residents voted overwhelmingly last week to allow the United Community Organization and the Homeowners’ Association to represent them in negotiations with the city that they hope will lead to the sale of the land by the city to the homeowners. Representing the community will be the Reverend Kiernan Martin, Charles Fay, George Riekers, Chris Gallas, Dan Tubridy, Dan Mundy, William Mills and Frank Harnischer.

In response to demands that the police deal more aggressively with the soaring crime problem in Far Rockaway, Captain Bernard Weber, the commanding officer of the 101 Precinct, has promised to add mounted patrolmen to the day tour and to institute a park, walk and talk program in the shopping area.

Rockaway motorists who are eligible for the toll reduction program on the two Rockaway bridges will no longer have to purchase toll tickets through the mail. Tokens are now available at the token booths of both bridges.

40 Years Ago...

Landscaping at the Cross Bay Bridge plaza is almost complete. Pete DiNapoli, of Belle Harbor, is a member of the firm that completed the work.

The way the towering apartment houses are going up on the oceanfront at Beach 20 Street, it appears that there is no limit to their height and they will soon reach the sky.

Two new elementary schools will be included in the Arverne Urban Renewal Area and are now awaiting the completion of plans.

The local school board is casting around for a location for a new school which its members believe will be made necessary by the new housing project soon to be constructed in the vicinity of Beach 28 Street.

Years Ago... 50

Feeling nervous? A petition signed by local hospital authorities claims that the noise and vibrations of low-flying planes cause “symptoms of irritability, fatigue and nervousness.”

A community Thanksgiving service held at both Far Rockaway and Rockaway Park next Thursday morning carry on a local tradition that had its beginnings just after World War I.

As a Rockaway resident from “way back,” Municipal Court Justice Abe Margulies is one of many who deplore the way the city has failed to take advantage of the natural attractions offered by the Jamaica Bay bayfront.

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