2013-03-01 / Columnists

Broad Channel Bits

By Dan Guarino

There we sat last Friday night, my good friends Geoff and Sophia and me.

We just came from a great time at Rockaway Artists Alliance workshop held in LIC, and stopped off at a great Greek restaurant on Steinway Street, Astoria.

Like RAA (of which I am vice president) we’ve each gone far afield. Before, we were Rockaway, Rockaway and Broad Channel. Like many we are now “temporarily” displaced— to the Bronx, East Elmhurst/Astoria, South Ozone Park.

What the future holds, none of us knows. When we will get home, no one can say.

But wherever we are, we bring where we are from, we bring Rockaway, Rockaway and Broad Channel, with us. It is who we are.

And whenever it is that we do get home, we will bring back a piece of where we have been. All of us in Rockaway and Broad Channel have gone further, done more than we have ever done; all because of Sandy. We are all now more than we have ever been.

Boy, will we have some stories to tell when we get back.

“Displaced.” If you’ve wandered on Youtube, you might have seen this short film by BC’s Michael Benedetto. Mike is a singer, musician (I’ve had the privilege of playing/singing at a few of the same shows as him), songwriter, active and concerned Channel resident, poet, filmmaker and more. Shot, I am told, on his iPhone Mike covers a lot of a lot of ground, both geographical and emotional, in 11 minutes and 57 seconds. With images, people, words, poetry and music, he tells parts of a story we have all experienced firsthand in these post- Sandy days. Take a look.

Small world after all? Wherever you go you can’t help meeting BC people. Good to meet you, again, Jennifer Porcheddu, at the LIC workshop.

We all know many, many people from BC have been, and still are, displaced by the storm, some of them pretty far.

If you’re reading this column from somewhere out there, write in and tell us where you are. Tell us what you’ve found in your new, temporary neighborhood and how you and yours are doing. Let’s see who’s the furthest Broad Channel person out there!

Yes! The BC library is re-opened. The doors are open, as of Tuesday February 19th, and the staff couldn’t be happier to be back!

The official grand opening is Wednesday, March 6th, 11 a.m. Come and celebrate.

Makes you really appreciate all the hard work of a community determined to have a library here in the first place.

BTW, the red box mini-library is still around and there are plenty of free books inside. Just picked up “The #1 Ladies Detective Agency” and can’t wait to read it…. after finishing “The Everything Theodore Roosevelt Book” (a gift) and “Before You Were Born,” a recollection of family and growing up in Broad Channel, by Marguerite Rocholl.

The author of “The #1 Ladies Detective Agency,” set in Botswana, is of course a Scotsman, and professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh, Alexander McCall Smith. I’ve read his scholarly works on forensic science, pathology, medicine and the law. I hope this will be just as interesting.

It’s a Party! The Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department presents its 108th Annual Dinner Dance. Join them for the ceremony and fun on Saturday, March 16th. It’ll be at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 333 Beach 90th Street, 8 p.m. to midnight. Tickets: $45 per person. For tickets please call 917-995-2390 or 718-474-6888 and ask for Jill.

I did say last column that we’d like to let everybody know about Broad Channel places now re-opened for business.

Thanks, Cindi Ciapetta, for the following: “Good Morning, Dan-

I just read your column in this week’s Wave asking for updates on businesses reopening. My husband and I own the Ruffle Bar on Cross Bay Boulevard. We are closed for rebuilding, but are scheduled to have our grand reopening on March 8th. Thank you, Cindi.”

Here’s to you, Ruffle Bar! Welcome back.

Speaking of which, what new businesses would you like to see in BC? What do you think would go?

Personally, I’d like to see a laundromat. Quite a few people still miss The Laundry Channel. Closed for some time now, I fondly remember when it opened.

So, what can Broad Channel use now?

BTW the Bay Gull folks tell me the post office will be back soon. The store is indeed open, but repair still needs to be done in the back area.

Did anybody else see the car pitched up on the huge dirt pile in front of the still in progress All-American Channel Market last Saturday morning?

These days sometimes that need to get to higher ground just overtakes everything.

Let me share the following e-mail with you: “So, what can we do to get a unified bulkhead going in Broad Channel? It is cool they are raising the streets... but a bulkhead would go a long way protecting the other side of our homes...

I figure you could get a dialogue going in (the BC) Wave column…Just think it would be a good idea. -Scott”

So, let’s talk about it. Send your thoughts on this idea (and any other BC news you might have) to workingstories@aol.com.

Saw a few large trucks, clearly marked “asbestos” containment, and many workers, some with hazard suits and masks, over, around, in and on the sub roof of the Broad Channel subway train station. That was Saturday, February 16th. Looks like the MTA is hard at work rehabilitating the station and the A line.

I had the pleasure of recently leading a portion of two tours of urban planning students—one group from NYU, one from Harvard- learning about our post- Sandy world.

When we stopped for lunch in BC, one of the Harvard students asked if we had passed into Brooklyn. Otherwise why would we have paid a toll to go someplace in the same borough?

A very, very good question. Let’s make the answer simple. Let’s just get rid of the toll once and for all!

Thanks for reading.

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