2011-08-12 / Columnists

Looking Backward

What The Wave Said 20 Years Ago... McCrory’s, a variety department store at 86-01 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, was robbed at gunpoint on August 2 by a man in his 20s, who calmly walked out of the store with $20,000 and disappeared into the Hammel Houses across the street from the shopping center. Responding police found four people locked in the store’s cashier’s office, where the robber forced an employee to open the safe and supply the currency.

Four men who allegedly robbed a livery cab driver and his passenger at Beach 20 Street and Plainview Avenue on August 1 were chased by local police officers through the Five Towns (where Nassau County police joined the chase), Rosedale, Springfield Gardens and South Ozone Park before being caught. They are being held for a grand jury this week.

Business leaders say that Rockaway may soon lose three of its oldest and largest businesses due to “harassment by city and state agencies, forcing hundreds of workers on the unemployment rolls. One example given was WSI Carting, which employs 80 workers, 79 of whom live on the peninsula, while the other ten live in Broad Channel.

Look for the city to up the cost of parking at the street meters to fifty cents an hour. Now, we can pay $1.25 each way to get in and out of Rockaway and then fifty cents an hour to park and shop in our own neighborhood. And, all that after destroying our cars on Rockaway’s terrible roads.

The candidates for the City Council seat on the east end of the peninsula discussed Nehemiah affordable housing for the Arverne Urban Renewal Area. The Queens Citizens Organization, based in St. Mary’s Church in Far Rockaway, has been pushing for affordable housing on the site, while many in the community want market rate housing. All of the candidates but Rey Clarke backed some of the controversial housing. Clarke wanted nothing to do with it. The problem is, the QCO wants the entire site, all 183 acres, or nothing at all.

30 Years Ago...

Planning is underway to convert some of the unused hangers at Floyd Bennett Field in Gateway National Park for use as shelters for people removed from city institutions this coming winter. The plan has sparked some controversy in Rockaway even though the field is in Brooklyn, just north of the Marine Parkway Bridge.

Community School Board 27’s budget from the Board of Education is a “sham” says James Conway Sullivan, the school board vice president. “The budget will not allow for enough guidance counselors, security, or other essentials necessary to educate our children,” Sullivan said.

Free bus transfers put in use last week by the five private bus companies, including the Green Bus Company, do not include the buses that run to Rockaway, a city official said recently.

Gloria Warshofsky, the president of the Bayswater Civic Association, and City Councilman Walter Ward were honored at the organization annual dinner last week.

Two officers from the 100 Precinct anticrime team, Detective Robert DeLeon and patrolman Donald Moran, have been accepted to the Honor Legion of the New York City Police Department. They will be inducted later this year.

40 Years Ago...

It’s getting that nothing is sacred anymore. Vandals recently made off with one of the stone markers at the base of a tree at Memorial Circle at Beach 120 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard.

Walter Blum and Dean Georges went on a fishing expedition to Montauk last week and came home with 200 pounds of bluefish.

The steamer Catskill, which had been tied up at the bulkhead at Beach 109 Street most of the summer, has been an attraction for youngsters. Yesterday, its superstructure was a charred wreck following a fire on Tuesday night.

Tom Hetzel, Rockaway’s champion marathon swimmer, will leave by jet airliner Tuesday to prepare for his fourth and possibly fifth English Channel swim to tie Florence Chadwick’s record and perhaps to break it.

50 Years Ago... Threatening weather last Wednesday afternoon posed a problem for Moe Englesberg. As chairman of the Rockaway Fireworks Committee, he had to decide whether or not to send the barge out to sea and put on the weekly show. “It’s tough on my ulcers,” he said. The barge sailed and the show went on. Almost 1,000 teenagers are expected to attend the Miss Aloha Teen Dance at the Breezy Point Surf Club on August 23, when a teen queen will be selected to enter the Miss America Teenager Contest.

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