2011-06-10 / Columnists

Looking Backward

What The Wave Said 20 Years Ago...

“We’re upset about being split in two,” said Jonathan Gaska, the district manager for Community Board 14, speaking about the redistricting commission’s decision to set up two city council and assembly seats in Rockaway. “They had alternatives, but they didn’t go for them.” The decision has brought a large amount of discontent to the peninsula.

There has been a large drop-off in the number of people visiting Rockaway’s beaches during the midweek period, which locals attribute to the stories about fewer lifeguards and closed beaches. Storeowners have been complaining to the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce that business has been slower this year than any in recent memory. Locals are reminded that when a red flag is up on a beach, bathers go into the water at their own risk.

Councilman Walter Ward has sent a letter to city officials demanding that the Edgemere Landfill not be capped with sewage sludge after it is closed down. “I am vehemently opposed to that plan,” Ward said in his letter.

The Beach Channel Class of 1981 will hold its tenth reunion at Russo’s On The Bay in Howard Beach on June 10.

The Daily News ran a two-page story on the beaches within driving range of New York City. What did the story say about Rockaway, the community with the most beautiful beaches in the city? It said, “Unless you’re a native and know your way around, stick to the beaches at Beach 116 Street and Riis Park.” The story intimates that the rest of Rockaway is dangerous and should be avoided by visitors.

Lew Simon tells us that he will challenge Sy Sheldon for the Democratic leadership in the upcoming election. Should make for an exciting election season.

With the repaving of Rockaway Beach Boulevard being put on hold for budget reasons, perhaps it is time to get rid of the washboard surface of Beach Channel Drive in the 80s. There are a number of car-killer potholes throughout the peninsula, particularly at Beach 118 Street and Beach 124 Street and the Boulevard.

They’re still dumping on Rockaway. This time, it’s the fast-moving trucks that make their way into the Edgemere community, dump their debris and then move out quickly.

30 Years Ago...

The Queens Parks Commissioner, Diana Chaplin, assured the Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways this week that her number one priority is keeping both the beach and the boardwalk clean for the summer season.

Vincent J. O’Connor, the director of the Rockaway Committee for Casino Gambling, reminded the New York State Assembly Committee on Gambling that a newly-formed organization to fight gambling in Rockaway is “made up of

hotel men that had gambling interests in other states and other lands.”

David Arnemann of Broad Channel recently caught a 16-pound Bluefish in Jamaica Bay. Old-timers say that a fish that large has not been seen in many years.

Assemblywoman Gerdi Lipschutz points out that a legislative resolution mourning the martyrdom of Irish Freedom Fighter Bobby Sands now hangs at the Pier 92 restaurant in Rockaway Beach. The resolution calls for the British Government to assure the uniting of all of Ireland.

40 Years Ago...

Just what the wildcat strike of municipal employees will accomplish remains to be seen. By tying up the bridges and tunnels, they are just making a lot of people angry.

Dean Georges won the Rockaway Park Bowling League’s Sportsmanship award, reportedly because he was sponsor, captain and anchor of the team that came in first.

Congressman Joe Addabbo, who represents Rockaway is urging a feasibility study into wetports as a way of alleviating crowded conditions at our local airports. Mario Russo, a longtime foe of airport noise, thinks that it’s a great idea.

50 Years Ago...

There is a great deal of comment locally about the spot barricade of main thoroughfares by the Far Rockaway police as they inspect licenses and search for stolen cars. Many motorists say that the inconvenience is well worth it if the police catch some miscreants.

The recent shattering of the world’s pole vault record is wonderful, says Kenneth Caldwell of Nameoke Street. He was a champion vaulter at Far Rockaway High School and Cornell University a few years ago.

Joe Smyth’s friends say that he is really better looking than the photographs taken of him at Borough Hall last week when he was sworn in as executive manager for the Borough President’s office.

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