2013-03-01 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Call 311. Like if you see something – like a steel structure that might fall—- hanging off the Park Theater at 148 Beach 116th. Please call and report it. Maybe community input will wake these negligent building owners.

Weather permitting, there will be a ribbon cutting Friday, March 8th at 1 p.m. for the Dome that will be erected at Beach 94th Street in the parking lot. The geodesic dome will have various programs and serve as a meeting center.

Sal Albanese stopped by The Wave on Friday. He’s the first of this year’s candidates to come by the office. (John Liu hadn’t announced when he paid us visit a few weeks back). Sal is pushing some big ideas regarding transit for the City. We know what transit means for Rockaway. He’ll be pushing express buses and lower tolls on the Marine Park Bridge. In his comprehensive draft of transit ideas (available on his website) he generally supported more ferries but did not offer ideas about Rockaway ferries. Made us wonder. We hope his next draft updates the JFK – Rockaway _ City ferry. We also gave him a tip about “smart traffic lights.” Why do we sit at red lights, idling and wasting gas, when no cars are coming in the other direction? Especially late at night? Rockaway is a unique place and we can’t expect all mayoral hopefuls to be as fully informed as locals but they might be at least aware of the Rockaway Branch of the LIRR as an option for Rockaway commuters. Sal wasn’t. (And we warned his staff to be ready with Rockaway specific transportation ideas). Overall, we liked him (especially after issuing a press release demanding that a task force be set up to address flood zone/insurance issues). He gets a B.

Currans will open on Beach 116th at the end of April. So the firehouse is an official landmark and now a landmark business is calling 116th home. 116th is showing signs. And yes, the Sand Bar will reopen for the summer.

Waldbaum’s reopened and you would have sworn Rockaway had won the lottery.

How about those closed banks? Capital One and HSBC on Beach 116th still haven’t reopened. What’s the matter, they can’t get a loan?

If you’re not happy with your property tax assessment bill, take a look at the effective market rate. That’s the number that matters. If you think your house is worth less than that you can protest and maybe you’ll get your taxes lowered. The deadline is March 15th to file. Go to NYC Finance for forms.

Geoff Rawling, may be the artist laureate of Rockaway, designed the shamrock on the front page. He’s also working on a container in Broad Channel and making it look like a cottage.

The issue of raising houses is not going away. New construction will certainly require building above flood levels. Homeowners will be facing tough decisions as to whether to raise their homes or pay outrageous flood insurance rates. Although a legislative process will delay things a bit, a day of reckoning will be here before we know it. It’s up to everyone to stay on top of this issue with FEMA and politicians. It’s not too early to write and call Schumer, Meeks and Cuomo.

We have no news on the Rockaway Beach Volleyball Season although alternate sites are being considered. Riis Park has been home to the popular league but there is concern Gateway won’t have Riis ready for the summer. For all the knocks City Parks rightly takes, the National Park Service makes Parks seem like a model of efficiency and transparency.

Congratulations to Donovan Richards on his Special Election win in the City Council 31st District race edging out Pesach Osina. He’ll have his hands full in these exciting times for Rockaway.

Great to see the large turnout of Arverne-By-The-Sea homeowners at the Community Board committee meeting with Parks. They let their displeasure be known about Parks saying the placement of a comfort station was a “done deal.” Great to see Rockaway’s newest community is engaged.

There’s a big push for Farmer’s Markets to come to Rockaway. An online petition at Change.org has gathered more than 500 signatures. That’s just one group, There are several looking to do the same.

The Friends of Rockaway Beach will be taking to the steps of City Hall on March 23rd to express the group’s dissatisfaction with beach protection and replenishment efforts by the government. They’ll be expressing the concerns of many. In many places, there simply is no beach. Attend if you can.

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