2011-12-16 / Columnists

Broad Channel Bits

By Dan Guarino

As the subway poster says, “holidays may come and go …” And a week from now plus a day or two, Christmas will be coming to Broad Channel.

It might be snowing. Or it might be raining. Or we might have just the nicest ‘spring-like’ temperatures and sunny skies. Maybe we’ll even welcome in the New Year in short sleeves! We never know.

But Christmas will come, no matter the weather. For you it may come with all the hustle and bustle, or with all the fuss of family and friends. Or it may feel like it’s over as soon as all the bright paper wrappings are torn away and tossed. Or you might be trying to stretch an already well stretched dollar just a little further and finding it harder to summon a little Christmas cheer for your kids. Times are hard.

But Christmas will come. And whatever you are doing, stop if even for a moment. In every holiday greeting, there is a message for you. In every card and in every smile, warm handshake and hug. In every moment of quiet, no matter how rare they might be, and in every moment we are given to look up and remember the wonder of the night sky, there is a small message. Just for us. “Be of good cheer,” it says in the darkness. “Glad tidings,” even now, are coming indeed.

Merry Christmas, Broad Channel.

Who knew Old Saint Nick was a Broad Channel Volunteer? Well, if you’d seen the “Have You Seen This Man????,” flyers around town with Santa dressed in his Vollies best, you’d know, too!

As they have done for many Christmases past, this year the BCVFD is accepting reservations for Santa to make a special visit to houses in Broad Channel from 6 to 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve. And as can only happen here, the jolly Man in Red will arrive in style by fire truck!

Call the Broad Channel Fire Volunteer Fire Department any night between 6 and 11 p.m. at 718-474-6888 and make your reservation. Recommended donation: $25 per household. (That’s so our Vollies can continue to be Santa all the rest of the year.)

Says the Broad Channel Historical Society: “Broad Channel 2012 Historical Calendars make great Christmas gifts!” For $5 dollars each, takes a beautiful trip into Broad Channel’s past while turning each month’s page into the future. Every calendar is guaranteed good for 12 months! As you know, this year’s edition is lovingly dedicated to Joe Carey and Liz Guarino. “Get yours at a neighborhood store today!”

Mrs. Stathis and Mrs. Vitale of PS/MS 47 announce that “on Wednesday, December 21 the First Grade and Kindergarten will be getting together to celebrate the book ‘The Polar Express.’ We’ll be watching the movie and eating piz-za!” As a special treat students are invited to wear pajamas (with proper shoes) to school, just like the kids in the story!

There’ve been lots of Christmas and holiday goings on and gatherings in and around the Channel. Unfortunately, most have occurred in between columns. I hope you have been going out and supporting and enjoying all those events. And let’s raise a glass of Christmas cheer to all those people of our community who work so hard now and all year round to make all those things happen. They’re Santa’s real elves.

Now for gifts that you wish would stop giving, or we all wish we could stop giving to, you can still help fight the Cross Bay Bridge toll. You can sign the petition online at http://assembly.state. ny.us/mem/Phillip-Goldfeder/story/ 44683/. Or sign and send the notice you probably got in the mail from Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder. It is that important.

Said Mr. Goldfeder recently, “some people have said, ‘but we’ve tried this before.’ But that’s no reason to not try it again.”

After all, Broad Channel knows something about fighting a good fight. And an end to the Cross Bay toll would be one present everyone in the Channel and in the Rockaways would be quite happy to open well before next Christmas.

Speaking of community efforts, on our behalf the Broad Channel Civic Association has brought a first time appeal before the Public Service Commission regarding bringing gas lines to our island. Says BCCA President Dan Mundy Jr., “Our position is that it is long overdue that the National Grid company supply this town with a natural gas line for both domestic and commercial use. Their argument that it is not cost efficient for them is rather hollow …”

The BC Civic Association, along with the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers, has also met with Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder and Congressman Robert Turner to brief them on “issues affecting Broad Channel and Jamaica Bay.” Says President Mundy, “We are expecting their support on a number of issues affecting our town as well as the waters and islands that surround us. We have secured a letter of support from the Assemblyman on the gas line issue … and hope to receive the same from our new congressman.”

Those issues would also include the so far proposed expansion of JFK runways into Jamaica Bay.

Unfortunately crime does not take a holiday break, not even for Christmas. Recently a neighbor had two air conditioning units stolen from just outside his house. In general, if you see something, hear something, know something – the 100 Precinct will be glad to have that information. Call 718-318-4200. Sometimes Santa comes in blue uniform. Or plainclothes. Especially if you’ve got toys that don’t belong to you.

News from up the road: There was a great reception last Sunday at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge visitors center for the Rockaway Artists Alliance new “RAA on Jamaica Bay” exhibition. As well as the great artwork, some by Broad Channel members, an enthusiastic audience also enjoyed and became part of a great performance by RAA’s musicians and RAA’s Writers Group. A highlight was BC’s own Gary Russo belting out some great standards.

Got BC News? BC info? Send it to workingstories@aol.com or drop off in the right hand mailbox at 126 Noel Road.

Thanks for reading.

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