2013-03-22 / Columnists

Broad Channel Bits

By Dan Guarino

Wednesday afternoon a week ago the air was finally warm, and very fresh.

All across Rockaway and Broad Channel the sky was filled with light and color; beautiful, almost-sunset reds, oranges, purple and blue. Even the huge gray clouds coming in trailed across the sky with long ragged, downward wisps.

At the top of the Cross Bay Bridge the bay, the marshes and islands, the edges of the Channel, Brooklyn and Manhattan all came into view. Clear as anything.

Up above there was nothing but sky, stretching across our world like a beautiful, fresh painting. Even the pole lights along the bridge, just coming on, ran like glowing lanterns softly lighting the way home.

It began to rain, gently, very gently.

The morning had been cold, very cold. Though the skies were gray, there were great spaces where the sun shone through in soft, quiet shafts of early morning light. Where the sky parted to let the sun through, the clouds looked like the feathers on immense angel’s wings. For the first time in a long, long time, we were all reminded of how very beautiful it is where we live. It’s felt like years.

* * *

I am so glad to finally write about something like this: A Night At The Races! Where? The American Legion Hall, 209 Cross Bay Boulevard. When? Saturday, April 13th, 7 p.m. -10 p.m. What? DJ music, raffles, 50/50’s and more. Donation is $10. For? A Little Friend in Need.

The St. Virgilius Golden Age Club is happy to announce they are now meeting every Thursday at the Knights of Columbus at 333 Beach 90th Street Rockaway Beach, That’s from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Says Ellen Coumo, “We are very thankful that the K of C has made their hall available…to enable our Seniors to have a place to meet.”

Not quite in town? Did you know you can get The Wave at Ragtime in Howard Beach? Check the very top shelf of the newspaper rack.

I knew things were getting more back to normal around us when I once again saw someone doing a Howard Beach UTurn. On Crossbay Boulevard, that’s where you start from parking space on the far right, cut across three lanes of traffic, hit the turn bay and spin around (just clearing any parked cars) and throttle off in the opposite direction.

To be done properly, this must be done in one fluid motion, preferably while the light is still green.

Pre-hurricane there was a project underway to raise West 11th, 12th and 13th Roads. After the storm, as per the NYC Department of Transportation, it looked like the project would be delayed by at least a year.

According to the Broad Channel Civic Association, after a push from residents and inquiries by elected officials it looks like the endeavor is back on track.

It is now scheduled to go out for bids by June. Construction should start by August—-2013, not 2014. The Broad Channel Civic has expressed thanks to Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, Councilman Eric Ulrich, State Senator Joe Addabbo and Borough President Helen Marshall for their work on our behalf.

It is beginning to hit home what a toll Sandy has taken on all of us. None of us are alone in this.

Project Hope counselors from St. John’s Episcopal Hospital are in Broad Channel every Monday and Thursday from 12:30-1:30 p.m. if you need someone to talk to. It’s free. It’s confidential. It is something all of us could use.

To connect with the program or get information, call 718-474-2082 or e-mail JBerg@ehs.org.

On the West 12th Road Block Association website, you may come across a short video called “A Tale of Two Broad Channel Families.” It is worth watching.

It’s worth showing to other people outside the area. It may give them at least a small idea, help them understand, what it is that makes this place so special.

I think the quote on the website that introduces the film sums it up best.

“Broad Channel will survive as a vibrant and thriving community not because of FEMA, Governor Cuomo’s “Buy Out” Program, politicians or the Biggert/Waters Flood Reform Act of 2012. Broad Channel will survive because of families like the Barnes and the McDermotts!”

To paraphrase Theodore Roosevelt only slightly; if our town did not have such people in it, it would not be our town.

Our hats are off to you, the Barnes and McDermott families.

Have you noticed lately that people are no longer referring to our area of Queens as “Rockaway” or “the Rockaways”? Instead they are now talking and writing about us as “the Rockaways and Broad Channel.”

The Broad Channel Historical Society met for the first time since Sandy on Saturday, March 9th. Although much survived, about half of the collection was lost to the storm.

But you may have saved a piece of our Broad Channel. You may live out of town and have photos, memorabilia or documents still safe from harm. You may be local and have things that miraculously survived the flood. You might have uncovered family photos, journals or books when you were cleaning up, clearing out or moving.

If so, you have saved Broad Channel’s past. Please contact Barbara Toborg at abtoborg@verizon.net right away. Items can be copied and returned to you. Please get in touch.

Almost every morning there are two dozen or so cars parked along the northbound side of Cross Bay Boulevard near the bridge. They’re clustered near the service road, a wide, hard packed dirt and gravel path, that leads down to the A train tracks.

Every day workers head down that road, which runs partway through the Wildlife Refuge, to continue with the massive repairs to the hurricane damaged rails, track beds, equipment and systems.

Finally, I am honored to have articles I’ve written and photographed cited, featured, linked and passed along by various BC people and websites. Please keep the feedback coming.

Got Broad Channel news or information? Don’t keep it to yourself! Send it to workingstories@aol.com.

Thanks for reading.

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