2013-03-01 / Columnists

Simon says...

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

Lew M. Simon Lew M. Simon This Saturday come one, come all and show your support for our local Queens County St. Patrick’s Day Parade. We kick off at 1 p.m. from Beach 130th Street and Newport Avenue, and then march down Newport to Beach 116th Street and then along Rockaway Beach Boulevard to Beach 102nd Street. Show your love, support and unity in the community. May this parade bring back everyone’s wonderful smile. If you can be kind enough to help us to pay for this parade, please send a check to the Queens St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, P.O. Box 521, Rockaway Park NY 11694.

Congratulations to Eddie Pastore on his election as Executive Vice President of the Rockaway Beach Civic Association. We know that they will be well represented.

On Thursday evening we attended Community Board 14 Park Committee meeting. We all figured that it would be another BS meeting. We were all mortified when they announced the redesign of new modular comfort stations 15 to 20 feet high. It looked like a child’s dream of a tree house. Once again we in the community were told that we would have a chance to speak out and have input on what we wanted. Decisions were already made.

When questions were asked about the height of the boardwalk and beach walls the only answer was the sand would be replaced to the height that existed in 1994. More than 100 people from Arverne by the Sea voiced their outrage to the new monstrosities that would block their view. It’s quite apparent that agencies that need to speak to each other do not. The Parks Department knew nothing about the concrete walls along the beach walls that are maintained by the Department of Transportation. It is now time that heads of agencies from NYC Parks, the Army Corps of Engineers, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, NYC Department of Environmental Protection and the National Parks Service must meet in one room so that their plans are coordinated.

One of my biggest bones of contention is that immediate rebuilding of the Rockaway Boardwalk has not started. They are repairing the remaining sections while they say that they cannot replace the parts that are gone. Why hasn’t the rest of our boardwalk been started? How long will we wait for Beach 84th Street to Beach 126th Street to be replaced? Why is the sand not being dredged as we speak? We must all stay vigilant and attend every meeting and speak out every time we have a chance. We must demand our right to have input in the design of our new boardwalk, parks and other structures.

We are so happy that Waldbaum’s is up and running. Our new store manager, Joe Prongay is absolutely as friendly as can be. On Friday evening we spent time in the store meeting and greeting our community, We kept asking each person how they did during the storm. One very lovely lady with tears running down her cheeks said that her home on Beach 130th Street had burned to the ground. I never cried so much. It’s great to see our family store open and so many of our neighbors back to work. We look forward to seeing all our businesses rebuild and reopen.

It was great to meet the people who actually help small businesses get started again. Oscar Santana, Deputy Director of Emergency Response Business Outreach/ Emergency Response Unit of NYC Small Business Services, will work to help local businesses. We have put Santana in touch with Congressman Meeks who has offered to make his conference room available for Santana to meet with local business people. There are now a number of programs and grants for businesses that have a larger staff.

On Saturday evening we attended the beautiful wedding of Stephanie Kogut and Nicholas Baumann. I have known Stephanie since she was a baby and her family prior to her birth. I knew her mother Lillian since 1972. The Baumanns are from Roxbury. As we went around saying hello to everyone in the room, it was sad to see how many people in Roxbury and Breezy had their homes burned down. My heart aches for them. The reception was at the Knights of Columbus.

On Sunday evening we were invited by the Mormons for a lovely musical concert, special treat for our community. We had the pleasure of speaking to and personally thanking them for the outstanding hard work that they put in to help rebuild our community. May god bless each and every one of them. Please remember to send thank you letters and if possible make a donation to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 116 Country Club Drive, Port Washington NY 11050.

As the Good Government Regular Democratic Club struggles to rebuild we need your continued support. We expect to start our open meetings with citywide officials and candidates in April. Our yearly dues is $25. You may send your dues or a contribution of any size to the club c/o Ocean Promenade Rehab, 140 Beach 113th Street, Rockaway Park 11694.

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