2013-04-19 / Columnists

Broad Channel Bits

By Dan Guarino

I saw a ghost. Just last week, there it was—gleaming in the daylight. A train.

Maybe you saw it, too. A few cars long and pulled by a yellow work engine at either end, it rolled along the track from Rockaway to Broad Channel.

No, it is not the A train service that we all know, love and thoroughly take for granted. Not yet. But it is progress.

In other ways there may be no comparison, but after 9/11 there was the conspicuous absence of the sound of planes taking off and landing at JFK. Lying in bed in the morning I was very aware of not hearing them crossing the sky over the Channel.

I was so completely thrilled, when one morning out of nowhere, I heard that first jet engine sound. It was far off at first but coming closer. It was invisible for some time, but then there it was. A big, beautiful plane.

It was a sound and a sight I felt I had not experienced in… forever.

Likewise I have memories that feel like they came from another lifetime of hearing the A train very early on summer mornings. Through my open windows on Noel Road, I would hear that peculiar subway sound, that ‘bongbong’ tone, which would very clearly sound to indicate the train doors were opening and closing.

Then the trains would glide out of the station, the sound of the wheels rattling away into the distance.

Maybe someday soon I will hear that sound again. Maybe it will be sooner than later. Maybe.

If you’ve got some memories, some history, family stories about Broad Channel, come and share those with future generations. This Wednesday, April 24th, there’s a Community History Night at the Broad Channel library from 4 to 7 p.m.

The Queens Memory Project and the “Jamaica Bay Lives” filmmakers are asking Broad Channel people to “bring your old family photographs and home movies and tell your stories on camera to help preserve the community's history at this important time.”

Register to tell your story by contacting

Dan Hendrick at jamaicabaylives@gmail.com or 917- 207-8715. The event is free. To keep things organized, the registration is required.

Share your story and let BC’s story live on.

Missed the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge? Take a ranger led stroll along the West Pond Trail. Enjoy watching the sunset over Jamaica Bay and the rise of the full moon, called the Pink Moon. When? Thursday, April 25th, 6 to 8:30 p.m.

All-American Channel Market really put the GRAND back in “grand reopening” last week Saturday when they officially opened their great new store.

Rob Pisani along with his beautiful family and super staff put on quite an event to launch the new, expanded store.

There were balloon animals, face painting and lots of running around for the kids. Even Toy Story’s Sheriff Woody stopped by.

For the grown up guests, elected officials, neighbors, friends and well-wishers, there were warm greetings, t-shirts and a beautiful new store.

It is bigger and better looking than ever, from the new floors to the great ceiling to a new sitting area.

Stop in!

It’s official! The Perfect Pet Spa is back in business. Stop and see them at 907 Cross Bay Boulevard, between West 9th and West 10th Roads. Your dog or cat will thank you for it.

Last week’s column photo was courtesy of Jean Bohne Ryan and the Broad Channel Historical Society.

There was a huge turnout for the Night at the Races at the Legion on Saturday, April 13th. People were packed wall to wall, and those lucky enough to have a seat had to maneuver carefully to get back up again. Everyone had a fantastic time. And everyone there, and those who contributed but could not go, definitely did a good deed for a little friend in need.

“Nonprofit Helps Queens Sandy Victims "Rebuild A Room.” You’ll find the story about the non-profit group Family to Family helping 150 Broad Channel families at the NY 1 News website. As reported by Agnes Chung, they raised money to distribute $28,000 worth of rebuilding supply gift certificates from Breezy Point Hardware and Breezy Point Lumber.

A big part of that project has been Broad Channel’s own Alison Kase, who also was named NY1’s Queens Person of the Week.

Said Matt Crocker on camera, “Alison has been a gift to the community.” Amen to that.

By the way, all Sandy stories, all 1,042 of them, are freely available at NY1News.com, without even a login.

You might have seen the April 16th Daily News story, written by Lisa Colangelo, which features Broad Channel’s own Dan Mundy Jr. He was talking about the state project the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers and the American Littoral Society have been put in charge of to help rebuild 28 acres of the Bay’s salt marshes.

It was Dan, by the way, who first clued me into this whole Biggert- Waters issue. I took that and told as many people about it as I could.

Even now, months after the storm, you can’t go anywhere in Broad Channel or the Rockaways without hitting a pocket of hurt. Your eyes burn, your throat gets tight and the weight of our new world settles on your shoulders. But remember, you are never, ever alone in this.

Besides leaning on each other, Project Hope has come into our community. Via the West 12th Road Block Association blog, Matthew Roohan of the program had this to say, “The number to our Project Hope Office is 718-474-2082.”

“If anyone is interested in participating in a recovery group, would benefit from individual counseling (house visits) or is just curious about some of the resources out there that might be useful to them, they can call our office and we will be glad to help in any way we can. All of our services are free.”

Project Hope, operating through St. John’s Hospital, is in Broad Channel and reaching out. You don’t have to carry what we’re going through entirely by yourself. Reach back.

Got BC info? Send it to workingstories@aol.com.

Thanks for reading.

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