2012-08-03 / Columnists


A few hundred people attended the march against gun violence in Far Rockaway last week. The issue has been put on the front burner both by the Colorado movie shootings and the spate of gun violence in Rockaway and the rest of the city. Marches and prayers are good, but they are not the answer. The problem is that guns are available on most Far Rockaway street corners and that has to be stopped. Anybody from Rockaway can jump in a car, drive to Pennsylvania, Virginia or Florida and find a local who is willing, for a hundred bucks or so, to go into a gun store and buy four or five semi-automatics. Those guns are then brought back to Rockaway and sold to gangbangers and gun-thugs who use them to kill each other as well as innocent bystanders. Something has to be done on the federal level to end the easy availability of guns throughout the nation and then local police have to be allowed to take whatever guns that get through off the street. That is the only thing that will stop the gun violence that pervades portions of Rockaway. Unfortunately, the great portion of our federal legislators are afraid of the National Rifle Association and what that right-wing organization can do to defeat a candidate who stands up to its brand of lunacy.

With the Peninsula Hospital Center gone if not forgotten, and with all of the drugs, furniture, supplies and equipment sold, the money has begun draining from the hospital to lawyers involved with the bankruptcy. As of now, more than a half a million dollars has been billed to the bankruptcy trustee by her own firm, the attorneys hired by her as counsel and the groups that were hired by her to sell off the hospital’s assets. The numbers, at least to a layman, are staggering, but legal experts say that happens all the time. A perusal of the court records shows that one half-hour conversation between attorneys and some copying by a paralegal can be billed at more than $2,000. By the way, the next bankruptcy court hearing, now set for September 28, might well include the sale of the real estate property now associated with the hospital, insiders say. Rumors say that the hospital will be bought by a local nursing home operator. You’re going to see a lot about the National Park Service and Gateway National Recreation Area, because the park’s plan for redesigning both the physical park and its relationship to the local community is up for grabs. There are three options in play, as outlined in last week’s Wave. Anybody who is interested in seeing the park retain a special relationship with Rockaway and Broad Channel should make sure they get to one of the two meetings being held at Riis Park tomorrow, August 4 and Friday, August 10. Both meetings begin at 11 a.m. and run until 3 p.m. It is your chance to have your voice heard.

One of the big stories citywide in the past few weeks was the attempt to raise money to send a Brooklyn Little League team, the Brooklyn Blue Storm, to Georgia for a championship series. As usual, New Yorker’s came to the front and funded the trip. One of the players who will go to the championships is left fielder Reid Heyman, 9, who is from Rockaway.

Forty years ago last week, 11 Israeli athletes where taken hostage by a group of Arab terrorists at the Olympic games in Munich, Germany. They were all killed when the German army botched a rescue at the city’s airport. U.S. officials called for a minute of silence during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics, which took place last week. The International Olympic Committee refused, saying that it was both “inappropriate for the opening ceremonies” and that it “would anger the Muslim nations, who might then pull out of the games.”

Rockaway has been discovered once more. It seems that there is a multipage story in the daily papers almost every week now about Rockaway as a “hipster haven” and how it has been discovered by those from outside the community. This week, the Daily News did a two-page spread in its Sunday edition entitled “Insider’s Guide to Belle Harbor and the Rockaways.” It focused on realtor Laurice Keating, surfing and Beach 129 Street. The article says that Keating said, “In 15 minutes, you can be in the city.” If she is talking about Manhattan, I would love to know how you get from Rockaway to Manhattan in 15 minutes, outside of using a helicopter.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg started a brouhaha last week when he suggested that cops throughout the nation should strike if their local federal legislators failed to do something about gun control. “I don’t understand why the police officers across the country don’t stand up collectively and say ‘we’re not going to protect you until you stand up and pass laws that protect us.’ ” The next day, Bloomberg was reminded that New York City cops are prohibited by state law from striking, and he said that he didn’t mean it literally. “The cops should all contact the [federal] politicians and tell them they want stricter gun laws,” he said.

The Belle Harbor Property Owners Association is reminding local homeowners that city law prohibits the watering of lawns between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. In addition, automatic lawn sprinklers must have a rain sensor.

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