2013-03-15 / Columnists

Broad Channel Bits

Commentary By Dan Guarino

Snow was blowing in our faces last week Friday. Saturday was sunny and bright. Every speck of snow had melted away as if it was never there.

I’m not the first to say it, but I think we are all just plain sick of the weather.

The Weather Channel (not the National Weather Service) has begun naming our storms. So we’ve had Super Snow Storm Nemo, a blinding swirl of hype, and now Super Scary Saturn, the blizzard to scare your snow pants off. Can we look forward to Nor’easter Pluto? Or Goofy the tornado?

Note to the Weather Channel: Drop the stupid names. This is not entertainment. Its people’s lives.

Tides were the topic of conversation last Saturday. Evening and morning tides were unusually high.

Saturday morning East 6th Road was a river around 8:36 a.m. Water came up Walton Road all the way to the crosswalk line at Noel Road. Over on the west side, the Bay came three-quarters up the block on West 14th Road.

As disturbing as that is in the Channel, tides like this can be terrifying in the Rockaways, especially where much of the beach is gone and the ocean is a lot closer to your front door than it used to be.

Just got this from Assistant BCVFD Chief Ed Wilmarth about their upcoming Annual Officers Installation Dinner Dance.

“As I’m sure you know all five of the Queens volunteer fire departments were rescuing people during the storm and in the process we all lost 90% of our firefighting, EMS, and radio equipment.

“We are hoping that our dance will be a major fundraiser for us and want to get the word out as much as possible. Here are the particulars: Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department’s 108th Anniversary Officers Installation Dance, Saturday, March 16th, 8 p.m.-1 a.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 333 Bch 90th Street. $45 per ticket includes dinner & drinks. Please come out and help us honor the brave volunteers who risked it all to save lives during

Super Storm Sandy.”

I could not have said it better.

The BCAC has been doing a great job as a distributor of funds from the Robin Hood Foundation. As was explained at the last BC Civic meeting, there are any number of rules and regs for them to follow regarding how, how much, when and to whom the money can be distributed.

But they are handling it admirably.

It seems like just last month I was folding clothes at a laundromat when I looked up to see a commercial for the massive “12-12-12 Concert For Sandy Relief.”

With a start I realized “Hey, they’re playing for us.” Sure we’d all seen things like this for other places and causes. But I never thought in my life I’d see a concert event put on to benefit where I live and everyone I know.

During the December broadcast it was good to see some Broad Channel faces right up there on the screen. There were neighbors and friends Kevin Callaghan and Mary Lou Illuzzi and a few others in there, talking about Sandy, where we’ve been and where we’re going.

It was only three months ago, but it feels like years have passed.

There was a packed house at the reopening of the Ruffle Bar on Friday, March 8th, which featured an open bar from 8-10 p.m.

Over at Grassy’s there was great music from Breezy Grass and Cat Cosmai. It was a great night to be out and about in the Channel. People were still talking about it the next day.

People have asked what kind of damage the A train line sustained during the hurricane. If you want a graphic answer, Google “MTA Sandy Rockaway images” to see pictures very few people have seen.

There are twisted rails, blasted away track beds, debris covered stations, ripped up power lines and boats. According to an MTA source, more than 40 boats, as well as things like outdoor furniture and decks, were found on the tracks.

A month or so after the storm, I stood in the deserted Broad Channel overhead subway station. It was very still. The token booth and everything inside looked exactly as it did through the night of the storm, all as the last departing clerk left it just before the hurricane hit. It could have been abandoned just the day before.

Looking down at the tracks curving away towards Howard Beach, I could see teams already hard at work on the tracks.

Time will tell how long it will actually take to get that great stretch of track back in operation. Joe Young tells me that he watches the train bridge that runs to and from the north end of the island.

With all the electrical equipment damaged, destroyed or simply ripped away by the hurricane, it is completely dark every night.

Joe says that when he sees the lights go on again along the bridge, he’ll know significant restoration progress has been made.

Dorothy, who’s still displaced out to Massapequa, had asked why the gates to the parking areas at the north end of the Channel by the Joseph P. Addabbo Bridge are still closed.

In better times, people would stop there at almost all hours to gaze out at the water, breathe in the fresh air, watch the seagulls, relax, nap or even enjoy a quiet breakfast or launch.

Near as I can tell, both sides are under the National Park Service as part of the Gateway National Recreation Area. Gateway sustained heavy damage during the storm. There is much to clean up. So while other areas are opened, many units, like Fort Tilden and Riis Park, are still closed.

Looks like the areas by the bridge are, too.

Finally: fan mail from afar. This just came in from luce@ysfamily.com “After reading “Broad Channel Bits”, despite never having been in the community, I’m sorry I can’t be there with you folks hangin’ at the Ruffle Bar tonight. Best wishes from way inland in Minnesota.”

Thanks for reading!

Got BC news, information, happenings, business re-openings, organization info? Send it to workinstories@aol.com!

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