Wave Update, November 13
‘Rapid Repair’ Glitches, Some Schools Set To Reopen
Two weeks after Superstorm Sandy devastated the Rockaway peninsula, there is good news that shows that the peninsula is slowly coming back, which cheers locals who have been forced from their homes and now are hunkered down in other parts of the tri-state region.
On Tuesday, Department of Education sources said that both PS 114 in Belle Harbor and the Scholars’ Academy on Beach 104 Street are tentatively scheduled to reopen on November 19. A DOE spokesperson said that the schools will have electricity, heat and hot water and that “construction has been going on 24 hours a day to get the schools back.”
That is good news to parents who have been sending their students to the temporary schools designated by the DOE or to schools nearby where they are staying until they can come back to Rockaway.
Landlords who do not live in the buildings they own, got some bad news this week. The city’s much-ballyhooed “Rapid Repair Program” designed to get homeowners back in their Rockaway homes does not apply to either businesses or absentee landlords.
Officials say that the program is only for those who own the homes they live in. Those who own homes while living elsewhere cannot get assistance from the program and those who own multiple homes can only use the program for the home they actually live in.
Rockaway Democratic Leader Lew Simon says that the plan discriminates against those who rent, slowing down recovery by denying assistance to the people who own the home in which they rent. He has been appealing to local politicians, he said, in order to get the program parameters changed so that anybody who owns a home in Rockaway can get help.
And, while some of the city housing projects have electricity provided by generators and while some of the large apartment buildings on the devastated Shore Front Parkway have electricity, LIPA officials further angered locals last weekend by telling people without electricity that they had to download certification forms from the internet in order to get power restored.
Nicholas Lizanich, LIPA’s vice president for operations told the crowd of 300 standing in front of the library across from the 100 Precinct that inspection forms can be had only from the internet.
When people screamed at him that they had no electricity and therefore no access to the internet, he said that he would make the forms available from LIPA’s service centers set up throughout the peninsula.
The law says that only New York City electricians can certify that a home is ready to receive electricity and when Lizanich was asked of an electrician from Nassau County could do it, he said they could not.
A number of celebrities have been assisting Rockaway in the past two weeks, published reports say.
On Saturday, NY Knicks star Amar’e Stoudemire was in Far Rockaway handing out food, clothing and blankets that he had donated.
Justin Timberlake and his new bride, Jessica Biel were on the peninsula passing out relief supplies at local churches.
And, while Jay-Z and Rihanna did not show up on the peninsula, relief items collected at a recent concert did show up in Rockaway late last week.