2011-08-26 / Columnists


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For those who live to gamble, there is good news. The Racino at Aqueduct Racetrack received its first shipment of video lottery terminals a week ago and they are being installed as you read this so that the gambling facility can open its doors in October. The association that represents Racinos throughout the state has appealed to the Lottery Commission to allow them to install table games such as blackjack and roulette as well, something that’s now against state law. Recent news reports indicated that the opening has been delayed from earlier this month to October because of mountainous piles of pigeon droppings, which could be deleterious to the health of those who attend the gambling venue. Some wags have suggested that the name of the facility should be changed to “Aquadump.”

Breezy Point resident Jane Deacy, who is running for the Assembly seat vacated by Audrey Pheffer, recently signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge sponsored by the national Tea Party. The pledge is a written commitment to “always oppose and vote against any tax or fee increases.” With the state in such a tenuous financial situation, that might be a tough pledge to keep.

Last September, for the first time in more than 25 years, the Rockaway Music and Arts Council, a local arts group, was forced to suspend its highlysuccessful Fall Festival because the costs demanded by the National Park Service for the use of Riis Park became onerous. This year, however, the NPS has contracted with a group called Nassau County Craft Shows to do a twoday show on the boardwalk near the Riis Park Bathhouse. The publicity for the show says that there will be a limit of 25 vendors and they are looking to service those who come to the busy beach. The RMAC festival, by contrast, brought thousands to Riis Park on festival weekends buying art and crafts from nearly 100 vendors. We wonder why the NPS would allow a large Rockaway community festival to wither on the vine and then offer space to a small group of outsiders. We will try to find out and let you know when we do. By the way, the NPS has a plan to double the parking fees at Riis Park.

A newspaper in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania recently did a story on trips that could be taken on one tank of gas. One of the destinations noted in the story is Fort Tilden State Park (they just don’t understand that not all parks belong to the state). The story says that the reason to visit the state park is, “Fort Tilden’s quiet secluded beach which is a favorite of day-trippers from the city.” It adds, “The park offers hiking trails teeming with wildlife and panoramic views of the lower bay from atop historic military structures.” Makes it sound like a paradise, doesn’t it?

The New York Times did a half-page piece on the Rockaway Rockies on Sunday, August 14, focusing on the older guys who play roller hockey at the Beach 108 Street rink. Many of those players, who skate weekends during the summer, come back to coach the younger kids (some as young as 3) during the early winter leagues.

It is interesting how word spreads throughout Rockaway, even if the information is not true. When the check cashing place at 87-12 Rockaway Beach Boulevard was closed down a few weeks ago, everybody was convinced that there was a robbery at the store, reportedly by a man masquerading as a bank guard. We heard that story wherever we went on the west end of the peninsula, but the truth is more mundane. The store was seized by the feds for violation of the banking rules which require, in the wake of 9-11, reporting on any transaction that deals with $10,000 or more.

The photos of the work to put World Trade Center steel into Tribute Park on Beach 116 Street were taken by photographer Richard Santaga. We apologize for omitting his photo credit on the story, which ran in the August 12 edition of The Wave.

Former Rockaway resident Nancy Lieberman, who may well historically be the world’s best female basketball player, will soon bring her teenage son, TJ, on a tour of her years in New York City. The first stop will be the PS 104 playground in Bayswater, where she learned to play the game, as well as the Beach 108 Street hockey rink, which was once a playground where the best players in the nation came to play pick-up games each summer. The hosts for the playground games were often Al and Dick McGuire, both of whom played for St. John’s and the New York Knicks. It was in those games against the best that Lieberman learned that she could hold her own on any basketball court. She then went on to Christ the King High School and Old Dominion University, winning an Olympic gold medal for the United States while still a teenager.

The mayor has started another argument with the other branches of government by stating that he’d like to see a red light camera at every street corner in the city. Cameras have become a big money-maker for the city, although the mayor continues to say that they are there for safety reasons. Studies done by the feds, however, say that the cameras make no difference in the number of accidents.

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