A Gratuitous And Wrongheaded Look At Rockaway
The Wave does not usually respond to comments made about the peninsula in other periodicals because they are generally written by people who do not know Rockaway. Last weekend, however, Daily News columnist Denis Hamill, who does know the peninsula, delivered such a scathing diatribe against Rockaway that we felt we needed to respond. Hamill wrote: “When the thermometer hit 80 degrees last week, I checked for a Far Rockaway summer forecast. No other city beach community is as dangerous in the summer as Far Rock, where the Queens District Attorney has a special unit to prosecute local shootings. If you escape the crossfire between the Bloods and the Crips in this forgotten netherworld with no local industry except the drug trade, a neighborhood that houses 20,000 families in projects next to the sea, you might still drown in the most treacherous waters in town.” Hamill goes on to write about Floyd Smith, who has been trying for years to prove that there are more lifeguards in “the lily-white end of Rockaway at Belle Harbor” with little success, because we have addressed the story and found that it is false. Yet, Hamill bought into Smith’s fantasy and trumpeted it as if it were the gospel. Smith also complained of the NYPD observation tower at Beach 67 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, calling it a “Nazi concentration camp.” He says that it towers over the beach, but it is actually two long blocks from the oceanfront. Three years ago, Smith went after the federal park service at Riis Park, demanding more amenities and longer beach hours. He was singularly unsuccessful there as well. One has to wonder what Hamill was thinking when he wrote the words printed above. They were just plain wrong, and we invite him to come to The Wave and we’ll take him for a ride to show him all the good things that are happening in Rockaway, the place he described as a “netherworld with no local industry except for the drug trade.” Indeed!