2013-03-29 / Columnists

Broad Channel Bits

Commentary By Dan Guarino

People are talking.

The other weekend I enjoyed a great St. Patrick’s Day celebration, hosted by friends Ann and George Murray of Belle Harbor. The dinner was fantastic; the company was grand.

There were friends and neighbors. Some knew each other; others did not. Some very nice people from Valley Stream; the rest of us were from different parts of Rockaway and the Channel. Some were displaced; others were just back in their homes.

Before long, and I am sure someone mentioned it, we noticed that our main topic of conversation was the storm. We all had a different story, but all had the same threads running through them.

And, near on five months after Sandy hit and hit us hard, it is the one thing we seemingly can’t stop talking about.

But maybe that’s as it should be. It is not that our lives don’t go on, but this was more than a getting a flat tire or even losing a job. In many ways we are still feeling the impact of that hurricane just as surely as if its waves were still chasing us down the street.

It would be a surprise, and probably not healthy, if we didn’t talk about it. There is so much we still have to say.

One of those things is: We are not alone. We may think, “What’s wrong with me? Everyone seems to have gotten over this. Why am I still dwelling on it?” We may think that, but we’d be wrong.

That fact is we are all still dwelling on it.

Many thanks to Ann and George—for a wonderful dinner, a gathering of great people, and the chance to talk about what’s on all our minds and realize, we are not at all alone.

If you’ve got something to talk about, as mentioned in last week’s column, Project Hope’s counselors, from St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, are in Broad Channel every Monday and Thursday 12:30-1:30 p.m. and Wednesdays 4:00- 5:00 p.m. It’s free. It’s confidential. It is something all of us could use.

Connect with the program/get information. Call 718-474-2082 or e-mail JBerg@ehs.org.

Christ Presbyterian By The Sea Church has always been a warm and welcoming congregation. The church itself was hard hit by the hurricane. Like its members, it has been struggling to recover.

So it is with great joy that in this season of renewal that they invite everyone to join them for Easter services on Sunday, March 31st, at 9:30 a.m. This will be at the Broad Channel Athletic Club’s clubhouse, 125 Cross Bay Boulevard.

“The AC has offered us the use of their building for our service, says Joyce Adamiszyn, the Clerk of Session for the church. “We would LOVE to see a great turnout for Easter which will be the beginning of our coming back.”

The last time I was at Christ Presbyterian it was for a celebration. I had marked it on my calendar in August.

Sunday, November 18th, was the day, after 25 years of service to the Broad Channel community, Reverend Andrea Zarou would hold her last service and retire.

Circumstances changed, for all of us, before that date.

That calendar came with me as I was first displaced to one place and then to another. The rest of everything was packed or given away in the process of moving from a home to which I may likely never return.

The day came nonetheless and we gathered in the church. Blankets were passed out to keep us warm as we sat in the pews. There were no lights, no electric. Under our feet the floor was uneven and clearly the inside of the church had been touched by the flood and its aftermath.

And there with great grace, powerful emotion and love, Reverend Zarou conducted her final service. So that it would not be an entirely sad occasion, we all sang a cheery Christmas song (Joy To The World?) to which all us remembered most of the words.

Afterward the congregation presented her with a gift, a commissioned painting of the church. Not storm battered as it was, but whole and beautiful as it always would be. It was a gift meant for different times, but was now perfect in that moment.

As Joyce Adamiszyn says to our BC community today, “We have not forgotten all of you and we ask that you not forget us and keep us in your prayers.”

There’ll be an Easter Vigil at St. Camillus at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 30th. Easter Sunday Mass will be celebrated March 31st at St. Camillus at 8:30 and 11:30 a.m. and at St. Virgilius at 10 a.m. and 12 noon.

St. Camillus is at 99-15 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Rockaway Park. St. Virgilius is at 16 Noel Road. Fittingly the website for the co-joined parishes shows a dark and lightening-crossed sky. Boldly inscribed across this ominous gathering are the names St. Camillus and St. Virgilius and the words “Two ports in a storm in Rockaway Park and Broad Channel.”

Don’t forget the Night At The Races at the American Legion Hall, 209 Cross Bay Boulevard on Saturday, April 13th, 7 p.m. -10 p.m. DJ music, raffles, 50/50’s and more. Donation: $10. It’s all for A Little Friend in Need.

Kevin Ortiz, MTA spokesman, Tweets: “MTA is working hard to restore service to/from the Rockaways as quickly as possible—June is our target.”

I‘ve heard about and seen directly some of the massive damage the hurricane did to our A train.

More recently I have seen trucks and workers along the tracks working to put it all back together.

Strolling down the ‘service’ road at BC’s north end, (it runs through the Wildlife Refuge), I can tell you there are MTA people toiling away even on Sundays.

Ladies and gentlemen of the MTA, may you aim well and hit your target date. And, if you’re new to reading this column, Broad Channel is a lovely stop along that A train line.

Stop off and see us sometime!

Something happening in BC? Send me the news at workingstories@aol.com.

Thanks for reading.

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