2011-02-04 / Columnists


Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his Queens transportation commissioner Maura McCarthy actually looked shocked at the booing and catcalls they engendered at a recent Bayswater meeting by talking about how proud they were of all the bike lanes they put on Rockaway streets. A few days after the January 24 meeting, the mayor told reporters at City Hall, “I don’t think we have done a very good job at explaining and planning [the bike lanes].” He added, however as an afterthought, “There are plenty of people that do like them.” His bike-crazy DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn, who was not at the Bayswater meeting, said, “We will redouble our community outreach while further improving street safety.” Some people just can’t take a hint.

Senator Charles Schumer is warning residents about the “phony 9/11 coin scam” that has recently hit the television circuit. While the coins are advertised as “officially authorized,” Schumer says that they are not, nor are they made of silver found in the debris of the World Trade Center. “These are blatant rip-off’s,” Schumer said. “Much needs to be done to ensure that the company stops marketing and manufacturing this worthless bric-abrac with false and misleading claims.”

Beginning December 3, the New York City Department of Sanitation requires residents to fully encase within a sealed plastic bag all mattresses or box springs left on the curb for collection. Full enforcement of the rule began on January 3, and the fine for disobeying the rule is a $100 summons.

Maria Snarska was hit by a car on Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 116 Street on October 20 of last year. She is seeking witnesses to the accident. Anybody who saw Snarska get hit can reach her at 718-318-3753.

Thirteen City Council members out of 51 donated their lulu’s, the money they get in lieu of pay for serving on committees, to charity. Councilman Eric Ulrich was one of those who eschewed the money for personal use. Our other Councilman, James Sanders Jr., does not appear on the list of those who donated.

Everybody knows that the New York Yankees won the World Series in 2009, but lost out last year. Most of our other sports teams have not fared as well. The last Mets championship was in 1986. The Knicks haven’t won a championship since 1973 and the Nets have not won one since 1976. As for the Jets and Giants, the green machine hasn’t won since 1968 and the big blue since 2007. As for our hockey teams, the Rangers last won in 1994, the Islanders in 1993 and the Devils in 2003.

The First Congregational Church on Beach 94 Street was highlighted in the Daily News “Faith In The City” column two weeks ago. The

church has been at its present location for 70 years and has “100 members of very diverse backgrounds.”

The MTA started a pilot program this week on the Henry Hudson Bridge that will install cameras at toll booths so that cars without an EZ-Pass device can pass through without paying at the booth, but will be billed later by the agency. “This is the beginning of the end of toll booths,” said MTA chief Jay Walder. Billing by camera is expected to be expanded by late next year to all the bridges and tunnels run by the agency, including the Gil Hodges Marine Parkway Bridge and the Cross Bay Memorial Bridge.

Bicyclists beware. The NYPD has begun a crackdown on what it calls “brazen bicyclists.” In a one week period earlier this month, the cops handed out more than 1,500 summonses throughout the city. While Manhattan saw the most tickets, there were 167 given out in Queens. “Bicyclists should travel like vehicles and must obey the same laws,” an NYPD source said. “The department and the public are sick of [bicyclists that break the law].”

Some state politicians have proposed a bill that Mayor Mike Bloomberg can embrace. After targeting distracted drivers, those lawmakers want to go after distracted walkers. The proposed law would make it illegal to use IPods, music players and cell phones while walking and crossing the street. “We have people who are literally dying in the streets,” said State Senator Karl Kruger of Brooklyn.

Two weeks ago, the New York Times presented a story about the diverse communities of New York City. The most diverse community in the city, with at least 100 residents

from each of the nine major racial and ethnic groups is Queens Village. The least diverse community in the city? The community with the largest group of native whites is Breezy Point, with 95 percent. The percentage would be much higher, we believe if the census counted all whites and not just those that were born in the Untied States.

The U.S. Postal Service is contemplating closing as many as 2,000 post offices throughout the nation. In addition, the agency is looking at 1,600 more that run at a deficit. What does that mean for Rockaway? While post office officials won’t say which stations will be closed, the shuffle might well mean that two or three of the present offices will remain as substations where carriers pick up the mail for their routes, but the Far Rockaway office might be the only one to survive as a customer window facility.

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