2012-08-03 / Columnists

Looking Backward

What The Wave Said 20 Years Ago...

Residents of Rockaway, especially those in the Bayswater section of the peninsula, were shocked this week by the discovery of two bodies of well-known community activists in the home they shared on Bayswater Avenue. The bodies of Marion Polichak, the president of the 101 Precinct Community Council, and Jim Dwyer, the commander of the American Legion post in Rockaway, were found by Polichak’s daughter.

Decrying the “visibly dreadful condition” of the building, the Shalom Home for Adults at 318 Beach 85 Street, formerly the Rockaway Beach Hospital, politicians and city officials have ordered the home to be closed and sold.

The fireworks scheduled for August 1 have been cancelled “due to events beyond the chamber’s control,” according to Harold Cornell, the executive director of the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce. The concert that had been planned for the same evening at Beach 37 Street and the boardwalk has been cancelled as well, officials said.

In a poll conducted in The Wave over the past month, Rockaway residents voted overwhelmingly, by a margin of 64 percent to 36 percent, that the parking restrictions in the west end for May to September weekends should be abolished. In addition, 88 percent said that Americans should have the absolute right to own firearms.

Challenger Lew Simon has announced that he has an adequate number of petition signatures to appear on the next ballot for Democratic District Leader against the incumbent Sy Sheldon. “God has put me here to help people,” Simon said as part of his prepared statement.

Some residents of the 500 block of Beach 121 Street have taken the law into their own hands, painting the No Parking May 15 to September 30 Week-ends and Holidays signs with dark black paint so that they cannot be read.

The Edgemere Landfill was included this week in a list of toxic landfills by the U.S. Government. The feds say the site, at Beach 40 Street, “is a significant threat to public health and the environment.”

30 Years Ago...

Shocked friends and neighbors mourned the loss of Patricia Shea at a Mass at St. Rose of Lima Church. Shea, a Rockaway resident, was found strangled in Prospect Park in Brooklyn at the beginning of the week.

Home Curtain Company, a long-time Rockaway manufacturing firm located at 51-01 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, will close its door for good this week. The company’s CEO told The Wave that it was no longer economically feasible to manufacture in Rockaway and that the plant was being relocated to the southern part of the country.

Danny Pagan of Bayport Place in Far Rockaway has been indicted for the murder of a Chilean immigrant in February. Pagan was picked up by detectives of the 101 Precinct for questioning on a local robbery and it soon became evident that he was involved with the murder, in which the man was stabbed more than 30 times.

40 Years Ago...

Harvey Finkel of Bayswater attended the informational meeting on the Arverne Urban Renewal Area held by Borough President Donald Manes last week and came away dismayed by what he heard. Finkel says that the plans are to turn Rockaway into “another Disneyland,” with hundreds of thousands of tourists coming to Rockaway by high-speed ferries. Finkel calls the plan, “grandiose at best.”

Discussions are under way between the Rockaway Park Merchants Association and the Department of Transportation for changes in the parking lot on Beach 116 Street. Under the proposed plan, the city would be required to acquire land now owned by private interests.

The new Rockaway Industrial Park has already effected a transformation at the foot of Beach 80 Street, where a new fenced-in and clean site replaced the unsightly automobile graveyard that was there previously.

50 Years Ago...

Bullet holes through the windows of a sedan at Leon’s Body Shop are evidence of the police’s quick action in stopping an auto theft last week.

One indication of the changes in Rockaway is that many local businessmen are taking summer vacations. At one time, it was considered impossible for that to happen. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Guerra of Broad Channel celebrated their 23rd anniversary this week.

Tom Fitzpatrick’s new compact car is finished inside and out in bright red. That’s an appropriate color for a man who was a battalion chief in the fire department for many years.

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