2012-08-17 / Columnists

Looking Backward

What The Wave Said 20 Years Ago...

Police and Coast Guard personnel have given up the search for 14-year-old Deon Jeffrey, who drowned last Saturday, August 8, in the waters off Beach 19 Street in Far Rockaway. “The only thing we can do now is wait for his body to float ashore,” said a spokesperson for his family.

Residents from all over the peninsula are calling for an end to the plan that would turn the Shalom Home for Adults on Beach 85 Street into a shelter for homeless men. Local politicians say they have been negotiating with City Council President Andrew Stein and other city agencies to stop the plan.

Al Rizzo, who was found guilty of auto fraud and auto stripping, now faces three years in prison. Rizzo, of 8800 Shore Front Parkway, will be sentenced early next month.

Mayor David Dinkins’ vaunted Field of Dreams program now has three sites in Rockaway – The Bayswater Park site will soon have a state-of-the-art soccer field; the parking lot at Beach 52 Street will soon be a softball field, and the parking lot at Beach 69 Street will become a multi-use athletic facility.

Members of the Association of Yale Alumni awarded its prestigious Yale Medal to Neponsit resident Jean Kaplan Fox. Fox is the local president of the school’s alumni association.

Congressman Charles Schumer spoke last week at the annual dinner of the Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways. Schumer, who was recently redistricted into Rockaway, spoke to the business leaders about the beauty of the Rockaways and how he would attempt to bring more business to the peninsula.

The Rockaway Music and Arts Council will hold its highly-popular Fall Festival at Fort Tilden on September 12 and 13.

30 Years Ago...

Cantor Reuven Caspe of the Bayswater Jewish Center was found at his Bayswater home last week, bludgeoned to death. Caspe’s body was found after members of the local congregation became worried when he did not show for services or for Bar Mitzvah lessons for local children.

Transit police officers have arrested a youth wanted for the vicious mugging of a 73-year-old woman exiting the Holland Avenue subway station a few weeks ago. Police sources say that this is a pattern crime and that the same youth had perpetrated several similar assaults in the past. Governor Hugh Carey has signed legislation cracking down on after hours clubs in New York State. Senator Jeremy Weinstein has labeled those clubs “supermarkets of crime.” Assemblywoman Gerdi Lipschutz joined Weinstein in sponsoring the bill.

Police assigned to a special “Beach Patrol” nabbed the “bootlegger” who had been selling rum to bathers on Rockaway beaches this summer. The man was spotted in the Beach 98 Street men’s room, selling rum to a Brooklyn man and was arrested by officers.

Several west end residents have written to the city, urging the Parks Department to designate Beach 149 Street as a surfing beach.

40 Years Ago...

Weatherwise, last weekend was almost perfect. Large crowds of visitors mingled with Rockaway residents on beaches from both ends of the peninsula.

One reason for the scarcity of parking spots on Beach 116 Street is the fact that beachgoers continually go from the beach to their parking meters to put in another dime so that they can stay on the beach.

News of Francis Grogan Faust’s death last week stirred many memories in Rockaway old-timers who remember Grogan’s Famous Restaurant on Beach 92 Street. There was a time when the voice of Mrs. Grogan would delight the patrons each night.

The approaching end of the summer season calls to mind that it has been some years since there was a post season Mardi Gras to extend the season past Labor Day, the traditional end of the summer season.

50 Years Ago...

When the furnishings were taken from the courthouse on Beach 92 Street last week, along with them went portraits of such judges as Kelley, Weiner, Morris and Marguilies that had hung on the walls. Families of those judges were not given the opportunity to retrieve the portraits before they were put into storage.

Former State Senator Frederick Hammer did a good job of welcoming Governor Rockefeller when he visited Rockaway last week.

At Rohr’s Confectionary on Beach 116 Street, Tom McCafferty has been having a good summer, even if the weather has left something to be desired.

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