With our offices inundated by four feet of flood ocean water, The Wave moved to the internet and social media over the past four weeks, uploading stories and photos to our website at www.rockawave.com and tweeting the news from Rockaway to our followers. During the storm and its aftermath, most news moved on social media sites such as Facebook and Twtter.
There will be a benefit concert for the Rockaway victims of Superstorm Sandy on December 2 at 7 p.m. at KJ Faerrels, 242 Pettit Avenue in Bellmore, Long Island. To make a donation, make checks payable to the Graybeards. Send checks to Dan Schneider, 2 Park Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10016.
One of the major problems in the wake of Sandy is that some stores working on the edge of extinction because of the fiscal crisis prior to the storm will not be able to recover and rebuild their businesses. One of those vital businesses is Brown’s Hardware on Beach 116 Street, a long-time anchor on the once-busy shopping street. Owner Noni Signoretti told a Daily News reporter that Brown’s lost all of its stock in the flood water and that it may never reopen. “Flooding wiped out all of our selling floor,” Signoretti said.
“We basically lost all of our stock as well as our heating and electrical systems.” Like many Rockaway businesses operating on a small margin, Brown’s cannot take on more debt, even the loans offered by FEMA and New York State.
One of the many victims of Sandy was Whalemina, the statue of a whale that was donated to Rockaway many years ago and then decorated by Rockaway’s artists. The large whale apparently returned to the sea during the storm, leaving only its tail behind to remind us of her passing.
Two of New York’s top sports stars were in Rockaway last weekend to serve needy resi-dents. Knick center Tyson Chan-dler and his wife have set up their own charity, Rebound for Rockaway. “It reminds me so much of New Orleans,” he said. “It was so familiar.” Another star, New York Jets Quarterback Mark Sanchez, who served food at PS 215 in Wavecrest. Observers say that he did not fumble the food plates.
Congressman Gregory Meeks and former Congressman Anthony Weiner teamed up to write an op-ed piece for Wednesday’s Daily News. In the piece, which was entitled “The Rockaways, on Solid Ground,” the two politicians call for the completion of a study that started in 2004. The study, the two say, is only one year from completion and they are sure that it will call for jetties to be built along the ocean front. They note that the boardwalk still stands in areas where there are jetties in place. In addition, they call for a continuation of the affordable ferry service that was recently started by the city and is to remain in place until A Train service is resumed. The third recommendation is to reopen Peninsula Hospital Center or to replace it with another health and emergency care facility.
A quick tour of the Beach 116 Street shopping area reveals that many of the stores are up and running, albeit with reduced abilities. It seems that the shops on the north (Jamaica Bay) end of the north-south street fared far worse than stores on the beach end of the street, just as the American Airlines Flight 587 Memorial on the beachfront fared much better than Tribute Park, right on the bay. It seems strange than none of the banks on the street have been able to reopen and some locals worry about the valuables that they had in the bank’s vaults when the storm hit.
While the rest of the city seems to be moving ahead as if nothing important happened late last month, Rockaway and the rest of the south shore continues to suffer. Nancy Cregan recently pointed out that the city was focused on the Christmas Tree lighting while she had no power or heat, no place to shop locally, no vehicle, a cable provider who says that her service cannot be restored until mid-January, a massive, toxic garbage pile nearby at Riis park and the inability to get to the motor vehicle office to turn in her plates. She says not to worry, however, because she got her LIPA bill demanding payment even though she has had no power for more than three weeks.
While Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his hand-picked lackey Dennis Walcott continue to crow about graduation rates and while many of the city’s high schools got high grades for its graduates, the fact is that just 29 percent of public high school graduates are prepared for college-level work. There were only 25 high schools in the city where the majority of the students were college-ready, including two in Rockaway – Scholars’ Academy and Channel View School for Research. “Kids in a handful of schools are prepared for college, but tens of thousands in other schools are not, and that’s the problem,” said one insider. “That’s not a success by any measurement.”