2013-01-04 / Columnists

Broad Channel Bits

Commentary By Dan Guarino

BC Sandy demolition debris continues to pile up, like here on East 7th Road. (Photo by Dan Guarino) BC Sandy demolition debris continues to pile up, like here on East 7th Road. (Photo by Dan Guarino) The standard greeting between Broad Channel neighbors these days is more likely not “how are you,” but “where are you?”

As the New Year now rolls in, many Channel people are still living elsewhere, still displaced by hurricane Sandy. We’re spread out all over Queens, Brooklyn, NYC and out to other states.

The other day I heard about a Rockaway woman who’s now in California for the duration.

Many are now realizing they’ll have to manage this ‘temporary’ arrangement for much longer than they expected. More than a few people I have talked to told me they really don’t know what the future holds for them at this point.

Even Sandy and its aftermath though could not stop Christmas from coming to Broad Channel. Sunday December 23 saw two donated toy giveaways, one at each end of town.

The Jet Towing Company brought jolly Saint Nick in atop a huge brightly decorated flatbed truck to East 17th Road Park. Children were thrilled to receive brand new toys. Parents and bystanders were thrilled to see smiles on their children’s faces.

The three brothers who run the Brooklyn company said they recognized our kids have had a hard year and they wanted to do some good.

(Note: Yes, I did get my picture taken with Santa. I could just hear my granddaughter saying, “You know him?”)

Under sunny winter skies down by the BC Memorial Field the BCAC gave away more donated toys and spread Christmas cheer. The BCAC’s efforts are especially extraordinary in that every single member has been dealing with Sandy’s upheaval in their own lives.

There’s a reason why the BCAC and other BC organizations like it are the backbone of our community.

Overheard on Crossbay Boulevard, “My sister just got the best present ever- an oil delivery! Just before Christmas!”

Progress is slow here and elsewhere. Coming through the Channel at night you may notice there are fewer houses with lights on. Some you can see right through from back to front. Others have furniture piled up on the sidewalk and still have debris coming out of them. A few are boarded up, a few in mid-reconstruction.

Still more and more there are houselights shining, often on second floors, and in pockets there is the flicker of life as it was. Elsewhere new house fronts are going on, newly replaced furniture or new fridges and stoves going in.

And what was commonplace just last year, Christmas window lights and decorations somehow illuminate the whole street and manage to bring warmth to our town. If you were able to decorate your house this year, know that you have brightened the heart of more than one person in BC this year. Thank you.

Deputy Inspector Scott Olexa, 100th Precinct: “Broad Channel is a shining example of how a community should come together to help each other after a disaster. You should all be proud of yourselves."

Didn’t get the Wave in the mail? Like the rest of us, the newspaper was hit hard by Sandy. All computerized subscription data was submerged. Once retrieved papers will go out again and subscriptions will be extended for the time you didn’t get it.

Meantime the Wave is completely available at www.rockawave.com. Also check out www.w12thrd.blogspot.com for great updates and solid information from Pete Mahon and the West 12 Road Block Association.

Also check out the “You’re Probably From Broad Channel” page on Facebook.

As you are salvaging, cleaning, saving, consider that some of the photos and items you’re finding are a part of Broad Channel history. Much was lost from the Broad Channel Historical Association collection. Even current items like inspection notices, FEMA documents, even that Red Cross blanket still in the bag will tell people a hundred years from now who we were and what we lived through.

“Although I am not a BC resident and did not suffer the effects of Sandy like BC did, I am an ‘outsider’ looking in, observing what my wife and I witnessed as we drove through BC after Sandy. As Sandy is behind us and the residents of Broad Channel are starting to pick up the pieces of their lives, they proceed ahead and come together as a community; they exemplify the strength and endurance which in my words earns them the title of being, “The Queen of New York City.” - George Pizzo

Anybody have a bike tire to spare? The decorated white bicycle on the median near the Joseph P. Addabo bridge is missing a front wheel. A memorial to riders lost, it held fast through the hurricane. A new wheel would make things just a little bit more ‘right’ again.

Since renters in Rockaway and elsewhere have asked, here’s what I know. According to the Civil Court of NYC and private attorneys I have consulted 1) evictions have been suspended in hurricane-affected areas, 2) eviction ‘due to Sandy’ is not legal grounds, 3) tenants may file an illegal eviction motion with the court or 4) an HP petition which, if granted, compels the owner to restore the rented unit back to a livable condition or face substantial fines for each day out of compliance.

A new poll shows more people now think global warming might be real and a threat. Awfully good to know that we and half the Eastern seaboard did not have to get completely cleared off the map for some folks to consider that sea levels are indeed rising and hurricanes and tornados are unnatural in New York.

Got BC news or info? Send it to workingstories@aol.com. There’s a lot going on out there your neighbors need to know about.

Finally, you might remember an episode of M*A*S*H showing the 4077’s New Year’s celebration through each succeeding year of the Korean War.

Each time the medical unit’s commander Colonel Potter raises a glass and says wearily, “Here’s to the new year coming in . . . and may she be a damn sight better than the last one."

So as 2013 quickly comes in, let us say “Here’s to a new year, Broad Channel… and may she a damn sight better than the last one!”

Happy New Year, BC. Thanks for reading.

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