2012-06-15 / Columnists


Don’t forget to mark your calendar for a number of upcoming events. The Sunset in the Park fundraiser for the Friends of Tribute Park will be held at the Beach 116 Street park at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 22. As usual, there will be fine food, good music and the best sunset in the nation. The Relay for Life will be held on June 23 at Riis Park. Event coordinators are still looking for teams and other support and the next meeting will be held on June 21 at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Beach 90 Street at 7 p.m. Also, although a little further away, the Wounded Warrior Weekend is coming on July 12 with the welcoming parade, followed by a number of events that weekend.

The young teen who had a heart attack on the beach on Memorial Day has passed away. We want to offer our condolences to the Benitez family in their time of grief. The Graybeards and other organizations are helping the family to raise money to pay for the youth’s funeral and one local businessman who has asked to remain anonymous has reportedly donated $5,000 towards the cost. The young boy’s mother works at the local Stop and Shop on Beach 72 Street, and they, too, are taking donations.

There has been lots of flooding on the west end of Rockaway with the coming of the evening high tide. Insiders say that the problem is that the storm gates that keep the bay water from backing up into our sewers are not working properly. The city’s DEP says that it is working on the problem.

More than a thousand locals lined the bayfront on a hot Sunday afternoon to catch a glimpse of the Space Shuttle Enterprise as it moved through Jamaica Bay from John F. Kennedy Airport to its final resting spot at the Intrepid Museum in Manhattan. In some places, the onlookers were two or three deep between Beach Channel Drive and the bay wall. There were also large crowds at Beach Channel High School, the Bungalow Bar, The Wharf and Riis Landing. We haven’t seen so many cameras since the space shuttle flew over Rockaway on the back of a 747 a month ago.

The operators of two substance abuse facilities around Beach 116 Street have promised 100 Precinct Community Council President Danny Ruscillo and Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder that they would beef up security and send their employees into the vital shopping area to round up those who have been chasing shoppers from the street with their aggressive panhandling. They have promised to set a curfew for their residents and to enforce it. We’ll have to wait and see what those promises mean for the street.

Now that the discussions between the gambling giant, Genting, and state officials about a massive convention center for the Aqueduct Racetrack site have broken down, it seems less likely that the old LIRR White Pot Junction line will be reactivated. The possibility of the line’s reactivation gave some hope to Rockaway commuters for a much quicker run to Manhattan than possible on the A Train. However, politicians who represent those in the neighborhoods where the long-unused tracks lay, have stated their opposition to the line and only the governor, with the promise of billions from a new convention center and the need to move those conventioneers to Manhattan each day could change that opposition. While the Governor says he will continue to push for two casinos and a convention center, it is highly unlikely that either would be at Aqueduct without Genting’s participation.

It’s amazing to us the money that is freely given away in frivolous lawsuits against the city. Last week, the city’s law department agreed to pay $150,000 to a Brooklyn career criminal who was shot by a cop shortly after he had robbed a man. When the man, who had been told by the robber that he had a gun, pointed out the thug to the cops, the man reached into his waistband. The cops shot him. He sued the city, arguing that the cops had violated his civil rights. The man pled guilty to robbery and had a prior record of 26 arrests. The city did not fight the suit, but agreed in arbitration to pay him the money, saying that it was cheaper than fighting the suit in court and perhaps losing even more money in a jury decision.

The city’s Department of Health has begun a spraying program in many parts of the city, including Rockaway, to stop the mosquito spread this summer. Experts say that the mosquito population is expected to be large this summer due to the warm winter we just finished. Spraying has already begun in the Edgemere and Arverne communities on the peninsula, with spraying being done by helicopter on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Impacted areas are mostly right around the bay.

item in the Post – the hipster bible – a few weeks ago mentioned that Patti Smith and Klaus Biesenbach (the head of MoMA PS1) were seen strolling on the Rockaway Beach boardwalk. We wonder if somebody tipped them off, or if Page 6 has spies on the Rockaway boardwalk. In any case, a blog that noted the listing asked, “Is the Hamptons-byway of-Williamsburg categorically ‘over’ for the cool kids” now that Page 6 is on the scene. “First came the Taco Stand, then the trend pieces, then the hoteliers and now the Page 6 Item,” the blog said. “Rockaway Beach, a well-established Hipster Hamptons of sorts for the last few years, a place many thought would fever pitch sometime this summer, the moment when – like Williamsburg and Bushwick and Red Hook and hell, the rest of the entire borough of Brooklyn before it – well-heeled Manhattanites discover it, and then, ruin the fun for those who were here first.”

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