2011-08-12 / Columnists

Broad Channel Bits

By Dan Guarino

Last week I had the pleasure of returning from a trip to Ireland –fantastic in every sense of the word – and touching down on a hot and sunny day at JFK.

Quite some time ago my wife Liz and I were taking a plane flight out of JFK. It was my first time flying and her first flight in a long time. As we were tightly gripping our armrests on take-off, the plane banked left, the low mist parted and we were suddenly mesmerized by the sight of Broad Channel tilting just below our window. We were captivated.

Since then we’d been thrilled every time, usually on the flight back, to be greeted by our island sitting calmly in the Bay. In fact somewhere I have pictures I took, my first shot at ‘aerial photography,’ coming in over Broad Channel.

No matter whether you’re coming or going, there’s a Broad Channel word for what thrilled us so and calmed our first flight jitters. It’s called ‘home.’

The day dawned bright and sunny and even a little cooler and, of course, everything was extra green for the fourth annual Broad Channel Irish Festival last Saturday, August 6. A little rain later hardly dampened the spirit at the BCAC Memorial Field as music, dancing, food, rides, games, entertainment and clowns for the kids continued throughout the day. The numerous peaked tents that went up that morning helped, too.

Scheduled musical performers included Sheila Cassidy, the Cunningham Brothers, Dan Maher, the Hagen School of Dance, the NYC Department of Corrections Pipe Band and Tommy Flynn and the NY Show Band.

It was a great day for the family. And as you know all proceeds go to benefit the BCAC.

As you know the Irish Festival is part of the BCAC’s Golden Jubilee. That’s 50 years that we have had this hardworking organization supporting our community through programs for kids of all ages and making it a better place for all of us.

Broad Channel Bits’ very own Christine Sullivan took the opportunity to interview Mr. Marty Feeney of the BCAC. She files this report:

“One of the best qualities of the people of Broad Channel is their dedication to keeping their children happy, healthy, and entertained. Thankfully, this has not been a hard task to accomplish. In 1961 the Broad Channel Athletic Club was created as a football club for the town that viewed football as a way of life. Since the time of its first president, Mr. John Wagner, to its current president, Jack Allen, the BCAC has grown from a small town football club to one of the largest multi-sport, not-for-profit organizations in the city. The amazing growth and success of the club is truly thanks to the volunteers who have dedicated themselves year-round to the kids involved. According to past president and current board director of the BCAC, Marty Feeney, ‘People that are still involved in the BCAC, such as Peter Ward and Jack Conneely, have been involved in every decade and are very dedicated. When you’re volunteering at the BCAC, you’re volunteering all year. 24/7 we always have a sport going.’

“Well, the Broad Channel Athletic Club, whose slogan is ‘Home of the Youth,’ has been providing kids with fun and exercise for fifty years now. In celebration of the club’s 50th anniversary, there will be a gala event held at the Knights of Columbus in Rockaway on September 17 at 7 p.m. According to Mr. Marty Feeney, ‘People will be coming from all over the country. There will be a beautiful video montage about the club from the beginning in 1961 until now. It’ll be awesome!’ ”

For tickets to the BCAC 50th Anniversary Dinner ($60 per person) contact Charlie Ledogar 917-744-6935, Jack Conneely 718-634-6216, Marty Feeney 646-241-6929 or Mike Kelly 917-628-0413.

Don’t forget the $10,000 Giveaway raffle going on now. Get your winning ticket today.

Sorry We’re Late, But … To Sophia Michelle, born on June 8 and now one of our newest residents: Welcome!

“People can’t live without it.” Roll up your sleeves for a Blood Drive at St. Camillus, our sister parish, on Sunday, August 14 from 8:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Info: Call 718-634-8229.

Bright Lights, Broad Channel: Once again Broad Channel is the location of choice for film and television productions as crews come through to film here middle to late August. “Imogene,” which may or may not star Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening and Glee’s Darren Criss (the Internet can only tell you so much), will alternately be taking up various parts of Walton Road, Church Road and the Boulevard. Sure it can be a pain in the neck, but it’s nice to know we’re definitely ‘on the map’ as far as television and film location scouts are concerned.

Join our Broad Channel librarian Carol Scheper for fun and crafts for kids of all ages through August. Stop by the BC Library for a complete schedule.

You might also see a sign there which proudly proclaims “Many of these items were donated by your friends and neighbors. The Queens Library at Broad Channel thanks you for your support.” This is posted on the “New To Us!” shelf where you’ll find all kinds of new and interesting reads.

While you’re doing summer cleaning you might consider a new home for those books you’ve already enjoyed.

If you haven’t already, you may want to make plans to cast off one last time with the National Park Service’s Gateway National Recreation Area “Jamaica Bay Ecology Cruises.” Enjoy a Sunday afternoon on the waves August 21, 1-2:30 p.m. Cost is $12. They’ll be departing from Riis Landing, just across from the entrance to Fort Tilden. Cruise the Bay, watch the peregrine falcons, osprey, egrets, and herons and learn its ecology and history. For more information and reservations call 718- 318 - 4340.

News on upcoming Broad Channel events, organizations, meetings, happenings or fundraisers? Observations, history or something new in the neighborhood? Send it to workingstories@aol.com. Be a part of the column.

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