2012-08-03 / Columnists

Simon says...

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

For once in a long time Rockaway wins something good. The much needed sand replenishment for the Rockaway Beach and Rockaway Park communities will finally be delivered. New York City’s Bloomberg administration agreed to provide $3 million for sand replenishment. Back in May, with the help of Senator Chuck Schumer and Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, the Army Corps of Engineers agreed to allocate $4.5 million to bring hundreds of thousands of yards of sand from the East Rockaway inlet to Rockaway. The new money was needed to bring the sand to the areas in the Beach 90’s and lower 100’s.

This is only a temporary fix. God forbid another nor’easter or hurricane hits before the sand is replaced and parts of Rockaway may be wiped out. It has been a proven fact that rock jetties and T groins are the way to keep the sand where it is needed. The expensive studies have been going on for years and have cost our government millions of dollars.

We would like to credit two outstanding community activists, John Cori and Eddie Pastore, who spent thousands of hours rallying, letter writing, and using social media such as Facebook to get the community together and keep on top of their elected officials. We would hope that Congressmen Bob Turner and Gregory Meeks will deliver us from the constant need to fight for sand replenishment or face the threat of major floods. Congress must authorize the Army Corps of Engineers to begin the permanent work.

We are very upset with National Park officials at Gateway. We thought that having a national park in our community was a blessing. For many years nonprofit groups such as the Rockaway Little League, volley ball, soccer groups and the Rockaway Music and Arts Council paid nominal amounts to use the facilities at Gateway to provide free or low cost activities for residents and visitors. These groups will be completely shut out of Gateway due to the exorbitant charges that Gateway is now demanding.

For years we fought the commercialization of Gateway. When a commercial group tried to bring in a major amphitheater for concerts for thousands of people we fought to keep them from disrupting our park and community. Gateway has always been a multiuse area for residents and visitors from the country. It hurts when they shake down our volunteer organizations. Surely the Rockaway Little League, soccer, volleyball and non-profit theater groups add to the enjoyment we can get from Gateway.

Responsible groups that provide community benefits take pride in maintaining and cleaning the grounds they use. They should get a written contract with a $1.00 usage fee. These groups provide a good outdoor athletic experience for the youth of our Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy communities. Under the new rules, Gateway even tried to close a parking lot used by the Wounded Warriors who were welcomed to our community and park. Gateway seems to have no regard for our children or veterans. We all need to come out to speak at the public hearings on new management plans for Gateway on Saturday, August 4 and Friday, August 11 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Riis Park.

We may be required to pay to park in their parking lot, but it is worth it. As a member of the Rockaway Music and Arts Council, we attended the summer concerts they presented seven times each summer that welcomed people from our community and visitors from the whole region. Admission and accessible parking were free. Gateway then forced RMAC to move to an area near the Riis Park bathhouse where there was a long walk to paid parking and was not handicapped accessible. They demanded exorbitant fees from the RMAC for the Fall Festival which brought outstanding crafts people and artists to our community.

The late Barbara Eisenstadt and others gave many years of their lives to select exhibitors of the highest quality and raise funds to pay for the expenses of setting up the fair. The Fall Festival brought tens of thousands of people from all parts of our community and the tri-state area together in our beautiful national park. What a major loss to our community and to all the people who love the outdoors. It is time we demand our community park back.

It is coming to the time of the year that I celebrate my birthday on August 17. It would be great if everybody pays their dues or makes a donation to the Good Government Regular Democratic Club. The dues are $25 a year. Send your check to our office at the Good Government Regular Democratic Club at 114-20 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Rockaway Park, NY 11694.

Our beautiful, accessible and air conditioned office is available for your professional use or as a meeting place for your organization. If you have a small legal, accounting, real estate, tax preparing, or defensive driving practice we can share our space. Civic, religious or social groups can schedule meetings. Our acoustics may be good for band practice. Call 718-945-1216 to discuss your ideas.

We welcome a new business in our community. The Ocean Cafe & Deli at 160 Beach 116 Street has delicious food at reasonable prices. You can get a homemade daily buffet for $5.50, homemade apple turnovers, cheese burgers, home made potato, cole slaw or macaroni salad. Drop in and try them out.

Another Beach 116 Street business that is one of our best kept secrets is RockaPup at 145 Beach 116 Street. They are a full service pet store offering pet food, supplies, grooming, training and also supplies for fish tanks. They are available seven days a week. On August 18 they will host an ASPCA adoption event and spay and neuter truck. We welcome these businesses that help make Beach 116 Street a vibrant community shopping area.

The Zumba Dance and Exercise program continues every Wednesday evening from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the Rockies roller rink at Beach 108 Street and Shorefront Parkway. The expert instructor Lisa G. leads the program. Admission is free and children are welcome.

When will we find out about the plans for the new ownership at Peninsula Hospital? Bids were in by April 24, 2012. All we hear about is that they are making big bucks by selling off valuable equipment paid for with public funds and contributions from members of our community. A source in the office of the trustee told Norman Silverman that they have been reviewing a number of proposals and the results would be disclosed in open court. They suggested that this could happen in about two weeks. We must keep contacting our elected officials especially Governor Andrew Cuomo to make sure that the State Health Department makes it possible for the new owners to resume operating the hospital.

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THANKS LEW FOR ALL YOU DO FOR

THANKS LEW FOR ALL YOU DO FOR US EDDY with a Y LOL


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