2011-10-14 / Columnists

Boyle-ing Points

Famous Faces – The Rockaway 64
Commentary By Kevin Boyle

Are you a Rockaway 64? Or a Rockaway Classic or Rockaway Icon? These are the people of Rockaway that everybody knows by sight if not by name. Those familiar faces – some famous, some infamous have triggered some inspired thinking.

Some creative types are suggesting a coffee table book, photographs of Rockaway icons. Wouldn’t be great to flip through the pages and say, “Oh yea, that guy, I’ve seen that guy everywhere. Who is he?”

The front cover might feature the guy with the orange beard and bird on his head. If you don’t know who I’m talking about you’ve either just arrived here or have a serious case of agoraphobia.

Oh, by the way, I’m not saying you have to be an eccentric to be a Rockaway Icon, you just have to be a recognizable face to many. Rockaway resident, somebody who they see each day without really seeing them.

A bunch of young, funny guys said there should be an elimination tournament like the NCAA Basketball Tournament which starts off with 64 teams (hence the name Rockaway 64).

They said that a committee would form to do the seeding – obvious famous Rock-away characters would get top seeds. Lew Simon would be a Number One Seed. Because everyone knows Lew. Orange Beard and Bird (who actually goes by the name Miss Columbia) would also be a Number One.

They might not be top seeds but familiar icons include that guy often seen on a recumbent bike or a certain attorney who often wears black jeans and has a distinctive voice.

Higher and lower seeds would face off and residents would vote to see who moves on in the tournament as the classic rep of Rockaway. Little League officials might be high seeds and civic and charitable group leaders might be tournament favorites as well.

A certain Fedex Man is like the Duke of characters and might be odds on to win. Then there’s the guy bent over at the waist who can be seen almost every day on the Boulevard around Beach 122 Street. Icons, all of ‘em.

The Rockaway 64 brackets would probably fill up quickly with the familiar and the quirky.

There are some distinct and familiar faces that’s for sure. There’s a lady with a white streak of hair often seen on Beach 116; there’s another lady who’s in her 80s, I’m guessing, with a head of hair like Ronald Reagan’s. You’ve seen her, you know. She’s the one who glares at you (or at least me).

There’s another lady who rides a tricycle which must be powered by voice because she does more talking than pedaling. I’m tellin’ ya, non-stop yapping.

That’s all it takes. Somebody who is instantly familiar. Like the Bag Man – a little guy always seen carrying plastic bags in each hand. There’s another guy in glasses who walks like a penguin. You see them all the time. Or not for a long time but then they suddenly reappear.

I actually might qualify because I look like one of these oddballs always on his bike – but hey, I’m just doing field work. There’s another guy who’s always riding his bike on the boardwalk like he can’t find an off ramp. He’s always there riding, back and forth.

There’s a guy who jogs with a French Foreign Legion hat; a heavyset sunbather on the boardwalk. You might not know them, but you know them.

In addition to an online poll to determine who is Rockaway’s most familiar figure, there’s talk that the picture book might actually be out by Christmas. It will showcase Rockaway All Stars, good and bad. Oh, there’ll be a new edition every year because the Rockaway 64 always changes. The list of icons is by no means permanent.

Remember the guy who walked around in a shower curtain? Or the long-haired guy with one leg on crutches often seen outside Pickles and Pies? There was Look Away Louie the cop followed by the Ticket Tough Guy cop. And Al Stabile. They would’ve been in the book but they’re all long gone now.

We have to memorialize these people, to let Rockaway know who they are and how they became who they are (or were).

So I guess from now on, when you’re talking to someone about someone, but you don’t know the name, you might say, “You know him. He’s a Rockaway 64.”

Let the voting begin. Keep your eye out for the book.

***Man, am I glad Peninsula Hospital is still open. I had to go to the radiology department and was in and out in no time. The x-rays were done, copies made and given to me. Smiles abounded. Major thumbs up to the people at Peninsula.

***If you watched the Yankee games with a close eye you might have seen the commercial featuring Giuseppe’s Barber Shop on Beach 129. The place is decked out as a Red Sox haven. Hmmm…what’s that about? Must be Mets fans. Oh, the infamous Third Chair might be a Rockaway 64.

***Great weather last week. Who do I talk to about getting more Jewish holidays put into action?

***Contact info: krockaway@gmail.com or on twitter at @boyleing_ points . Thanks.

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