2012-02-17 / Columnists

Looking Backward

What The Wave Said 20 Years Ago...

What happens if you give a party and nobody comes? That was the situation in Rockaway last week. State Senator Jeremy Weinstein had contracted for bus service to take Rockaway residents to Manhattan for a critical hearing on redistricting the peninsula. While the bus was at the Dayton Shopping Center at the appointed time and a number of politicians and a Wave editor were there to see it off, no participants showed up to go to the hearing and the bus went back to the garage.

Con Edison is warning local residents about a scam that is now running on the peninsula. It seems that thugs are posing as Con Ed workers and entering homes only to steal money and other valuables. The power company reminds residents that its workers drive trucks with company logos, that they are in uniform and that all carry company identity cards.

The recent report issued by the schools’ chief investigator leaves no doubt that board member Muriel Russell and board chair James Sanders Jr. believed more in political horse trading and the smoke-filled room than they did the children of the district. There were five candidates for the superintendent’s job. On the first go-around, four board members voted for Vincent Grippo; three voted for Celestine Miller and two voted for Beverly Hall, the candidate who eventually won. Between the first and second vote, lots of deals were made, especially by Sanders, who was backing Hall. In that second vote, all of those who voted for Miller in the first round shifted their vote to Hall, putting her over the top.

The new political district maps are out and although they are almost impossible to read, it is clear that even a strong community like Bayswater can get the shaft when politicians get together to do their damage. That community is split in half from east to west, with Mott Avenue as the dividing line. Locals who cross that line will be going from one State Assembly District to another and from one City Council district to another as well.

Filing is now open through March 11 for the written examination for United States Park Police Officer. The exam will be used to fill openings at Gateway National Recreation Area and Staten Island.

30 Years Ago...

Local politicians are chomping at the bit, waiting to see what the new district lines look like, both for the Assembly and for the City Council.

There is a lot of confusion in Rockaway about whether or not the tolls will soon go up on the two bridges that bring access to the peninsula. Some officials have told residents that the toll will be increased to $1 on April 1, while others say that the toll increase has been rejected by city officials. Still others say that the increased tolls are needed to fund the new convention center in Manhattan and will be in place by the summer. The rumors also say that, should the tolls go up, local residents will be able to buy reduced fare tokens.

Two men wearing ski masks held up the Citibank branch at 113-03 Beach Channel Drive early Tuesday morning.

Burglary squad detectives and anticrime officers of the 100 Precinct have stamped “closed” on approximately 31 crimes, some going back to 1981, with the arrest of an unidentified 15-year-old boy from Rockaway Park.

40 Years Ago...

Sylvester O’Connor began to despair over his skiing prospects for the winter, so he took off for Munich, which has better skiing and where he spent much of his youth with the U.S. Army during World War II.

The winter’s worst storm arrived on Friday night, but it brought more rain than snow. One motorist and his female passenger got stuck in the “lake” that was once Seagirt Boulevard in Far Rockaway and had to leap into the icy water up to his knees to push the car out of the water. Our local Democratic District Leader, Sy Sheldon, thinks that Borough President Donald Manes is the greatest thing since white bread. He’s young and full of energy, Sheldon argues.

The Department of Parks responded to local complaints two years ago and replenished the beach. After the last storm, however, we are right back where we started.

50 Years Ago...

Jim Murray, the local Boy Scout representative for Rockaway, is greatly pleased with the support that scouting gets in this area. The number of troops is increasing, and he predicts that there will be even more in the coming months.

The medical staff at Peninsula General Hospital gave Doc Langer a testimonial dinner last week, and it was welldeserved. He’s been serving local people for a long time, and many can remember when he was in uniform as an Army Lieutenant during World War I.

There were a good many days this month when a skating rink at Riis Park, much-demanded by local residents, would have been put to good use.

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