2013-05-03 / Columnists

Broad Channel Bits

By Dan Guarino

It was a month after the storm. Everything I had left was moved, stored or given away. Then, after everything was done, in short order my watch, my glasses and my sneakers (purchased just days before the storm) broke or fell apart.

Maybe I was too exhausted or driven, but I wasn’t upset. No, instead I marveled at how everything held together for just as long as I needed it to.

It’s now six months later. Yeah, it’s hard to believe.

But I think we, too, will also all hold together for as long as we all need. However long that may be.

Good news, the two bay front parking areas near the Joseph P. Addabbo Bridge have been re-opened. This beautiful, relaxing spot was enjoyed by many, at almost any hour of the day, before the storm closed it. It was also greatly missed.

I was at an NYC Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency (SIRR) meeting not long ago at Russo’s on the Bay. I had the pleasure of meeting and working with some very nice people from Old Howard Beach and Arverne by The Sea.

When they asked us what things we would put at the top of the restoration list, what would help the community, our little group agreed these areas on the bay should be opened up right away. We all agreed it was a place to restore and renew, look out of the Bay and be at peace, that all of our communities very much needed in the midst of everything we were going through.

Now they’re back.

Reports from the MTA are that the A train is still expected to be operational by mid-June. I can say on the ground there seem to be more and more workers and more trucks and material going down the access road at the north end of the Channel. We’ll see.

The A train not only runs through Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, it runs through Broad Channel and New York history.

The A train is the single longest line in New York City transit system, which is itself one of the largest in the world. The portion that reaches from Howard Beach to Broad Channel is the longest stretch between two stations anywhere in the system. Stretching out over the waters on Jamaica Bay, it is certainly one of the most beautiful.

Of course, we’ll see what that looks like once “The Great Wall of Broad Channel” is completed.

This subway route actually started out as a line on the New York, Woodhaven and Rockaway Railroad. Before it was built in 1879-80, people coming to the Rockaways or Broad Channel from Manhattan or Brooklyn had to come by boat.

An 1883 newspaper declared “For Fishing Excursions, Jamaica Bay is without rival within the limits of a day’s trip from New York. Boatsmen with boats for hire, for hunting and fishing parties are to be found at each station.”

A railroad advertisement mentioned “Rapid Transit To The Sea, “A most beautiful ride across Jamaica Bay on one of the longest bridges in the world” and “Hourly excursions.”

In 1881, Broad Channel became a stop on the railroad, which later became part of the LIRR. It was this event that allowed people to make their homes here and was truly the beginning of our wonderful town.

Christ Presbyterian By The Sea Church can still use your help. If you have building skills, can raise or donate funds or furnish building supplies, contact Don Minor at 347-703-3600. Always welcoming, always hard working, let’s help this steadfast congregation in their hour of need.

Just saw this on the “You’re Probably From Broad Channel” Facebook page: “Trying to locate a girl by the name of Laura Roman that lived on 11th Road. If any information, would appreciate. –Heather Fecht.”

If you know or know of Ms. Roman, log on and add to the lively online discussion. Or just check out the page when you get a chance.

After the hurricane, Howard Beach was the first place I saw coming out of Broad Channel. Traffic was jammed up all over. It was night. There were no lights. No house lights, no streets lights, no traffic lights.

But even just within the headlights, the devastation I saw was shocking.

That was after Sandy. For a truly disturbing picture of Howard Beach during the height of the storm, check out the April 18th Courier Sun newspaper, page 8! Chilling.

Father Richie reminds me that St. Camillus will be offering Pre-K for the first time this September. Call the school at 718-634-5260 to register.

Coming Soon: A Tree Grows In Broad Channel! The Broad Channel Civic’s Beautification Committee has been hard at work repairing, replacing and repainting the storm damaged tree boxes along the Boulevard. Look closely at the “Sandy Was Here: A Six Month Retrospective” photo spread in last week’s Wave, on page 60, and you’ll find a ‘before and after’ look at those tree boxes. (Thanks, Judy Zack.)

On Saturday, May 11th, starting at 10 a.m. there will be the annual Adopt-ATree and Spring Planting and everyone’s invited to plant, spruce and fix up the greenery on the median along Cross Bay. Flowers, flags and treats will be distributed.

The Shamrocks were home once again, playing St. Matthias on Sunday, April 28th. Our BCAC players won! When asked how many runs the BC team won the game by, one player said “I don’t know. But it was a lot!”

Why stay home? The weather’s getting nicer and the St. Virgilius Golden Age Club is meeting every Thursday 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus on Beach 90th Street. Get out, join old friends and make some new ones!

* * * * *

Thanks to Donald D’Avanzo and Frances Locke for bringing their Hurricane Sandy Book Drive to Broad Channel last week. Visit them at 209 Beach 101st Street on Sundays from 12 to 3 p.m. for more books!

Got BC news? Put it in an e-mail, address it to me at workingstories@aol.com and press “Send.”

It’s that simple! Broad Channel is waiting to hear from you.

Thanks for reading.

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