2012-04-27 / Columnists

Looking Backward

What The Wave Said 20 Years Ago...

Six white, female students on their way home from Stella Maris High School in Rockaway Park were victims on April 15 of what police are calling a ‘bias crime.” The girls were on a northbound C train when 15 black male and female students entered the train. While the train was on the trestle over the bay, a number of the black girls entered the car where the white girls were riding and called them “white bitches.” Then, police say, one of the males pulled out a black handgun and robbed the girls.

With the attacks on those who use the dollar vans that run up and down the peninsula on the rise, a 17-year-old Rockaway teen was robbed at gunpoint of his new sneakers and his winter jacket after he boarded a dollar van at Mott Avenue in Far Rockaway.

Rockaway resident Michael F. O’Connor was sworn in last week as the new Chief of the New York City Transit Police Department. O’Connell is a 27- year veteran of the police force.

We are curious about how an abstention at a community board meeting automatically becomes a no vote. A recent vote on George Russo’s plan to build a mini-mall at the former little league field is a good example. The vote was 21 in favor, 15 opposed and four abstentions. When those abstentions were added to the no votes, the tally became 21 to 19. Why not just force everybody to vote either yes or no and get on with it?

Merchants on Beach 116 Street are complaining about all the parking space being used by the Transit Police cars that often line the street. In addition, many fire department cars from outside of the city are left on the street while their drivers use the subway to commute to Manhattan. The merchants say that the parked officials’ cars cut down drastically on spaces available for their customers.

There has been a spate of thefts of flowers growing in the front yards of west end homes. Those homeowners want to remind outsiders that the flowers are on private property and not theirs for the taking. Look, but do not touch should be the motto, they say.

There are lots of arguments on the peninsula about the planned boycott of Rockaway schools scheduled for next Monday. Those in favor say the one-day boycott will show the chancellor how they feel about his failure to get a new District 27 superintendent in place. Those opposed say there is no excuse for keeping kids out of their schoolroom seats. It remains to be seen how effective the boycott will be.

30Years Ago...

Rockaway motorists have quickly discovered that the old bridge tokens issued by the MTA are about the same size and weight as the newer, more expensive tokens. It is only a matter of time, however, before the supply of the cheaper tokens has run out and locals will have to pay the higher price to use the bridges.

Fire marshals are looking into the cause of a fire that destroyed a Beach 131 Street home on Tuesday night. The all-hands fire completely demolished the two-story home.

The recent bi-partisan meeting called by Republican leader James Sullivan and Democratic leader Geraldine Chapey quickly became acrimonious, with the residents in attendance screaming at the politicians that Rockaway is being treated badly by the city and the politicians are doing nothing about it. The main focus of their ire was the welfare hotels that line Beach 116 Street and drive customers away from the shops that line the shopping street. It was reported that more than 400 people showed up for the meeting, something of a record as far as Rockaway meetings go.

40 Years Ago...

The St. Francis de Sales baseball program started its fifth season this week under the direction of Kevin Raphael.

Ladder Company 121 was seen recently trying out its new ladder on some of the taller buildings that remain in the Arverne Urban Renewal Area.

The Hammels All-Stars, led by former Far Rockaway High School standout Mel Utley, defeated the Rockaway All-Stars 124-87 in the finals of the Rockaway Basketball League Invitational Tournament held at JHS 198. Utley received the league’s MVP award. Attendance for the games averaged 500 this year.

Buster Paterson has returned from a trip to Europe, where he spent some time in both Barcelona and Madrid.

50 Years Ago...

Soaring temperatures last week seemed like summer to many Rockaway residents. One of the stores on Beach 116 Street had a sign offering summer specials.

Borough President James T. Clancy apologized to the Irish-American Band when he visited St. Camillus last week. Seems he congratulated the band when it played at opening day at Shea Stadium, but he called the band by another name.

Watch for all sorts of ideas to be put forth about what to do with Public School 44 now that it has been emptied of students by the opening of PS 183 last week.

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