2013-10-11 / Columnists


One of Rockaway’s committed supporters in City Hall is Nanette Smith. She does a lot of jobs well and one of those is staying out of the limelight. While press conferences go on at the boardwalk she might be found picking up litter on the beach or helping to direct traffic on Shore Front. She’s a mover and shaker on a lot of big jobs and is called a force of nature by her many admirers. She’s now on the board of the new Jamaica Bay/ Rockaway Park Conservacy. Rockaway benefits from Nanette’s love for the place. Oh, and happy birthday, Nanette.

Committees are hard at work on the west and east end trying to figure out what to do with 20 some-odd million dollars coming via the Rising Community Program from the Governor’s office. We hope both committees consider using the money for widening streets. Rockaway Beach Boulevard from Beach 116th Street to Beach 111th Street needs to be wider. As soon as possible. If Beach 116th Street gets new development — and the chances of that are pretty good – the boulevard will be a bottle neck and cause traffic nightmares. Money can be spent to buy out property owners. In the event of evacuation, wider streets will make Rockaway safer. On the east end, Rockaway Beach Boulevard which becomes Edgmere Avenue, the street that runs from Ocean Village to Seagirt Boulevard, should be widened as well. As the 59th Street commercial corridor and Ocean Village prosper – and they will – wider streets will be needed here as well. Evacuation reasons apply here, too. Not sexy projects but now is the time!

Eric Ulrich touted some poll numbers that show a commanding lead over Lew Simon in the race for the City Council seat. We’re not sure what to make of it. The same poll of 400 people showed Bill de Blasio and Joe Lhota tied. And Phil Goldfeder only gets a 39 percent favorable rating. What’s that about? And if you take a closer look at the numbers you can see the race is up for grabs. When asked if who they were leaning to 77 percent said they did not know or refused to answer. Sounds like a race.

Bill de Blasio hasn’t been west of Beach 51st Street in more than 280 days. We don’t get it. Maybe he thinks marching in the St. Patrick’s Day parade is enough to appreciate the impact of Sandy.

Not that we need more law suits but someone asked us if any homeowners who ended up with a piece of the boardwalk in their living room sued Parks (for not securing the boardwalk).

The sewage plant has been nose-sore for a while. But it’s also an eyesore. Why not ring the entire plant with trees? Seems like two birds with one stone. There is a vacant lot where two unused lifeguard shacks or comfort stations sit. Maybe Parks, as part of its Million Trees program, could plant a stand of tree right there.

Diana Nyad, the long distance swimmer, raised money this week for Sandy relief efforts by swimming for 48 consecutive hours in a temporary pool set up at Herald Square in the City.

The MTA produced a long term planning report. Those hoping for reactivation of the Rockaway branch line were given some hope. The MTA said existing rights-of-way such as the Rockaway line should be considered as a way to improve transit in Queens. Phil Goldfeder, a longtime advocate for reviving the line, hopes to get some funding for a feasibility study.

The Parks Department brought a secret weapon to the Community Board meeting on Tuesday night. Greg Clancy from the EDC (Economic Development Corporation) is a walking encyclopedia. Ask him any engineering question which involves berms, baffles and bay walls, what the costs will be, and what contactor is doing the job and he’ll tell you without notes. He was a big reason the Community Board approved the new elevation of the boardwalk, the use of concrete, the height of the berms (dunes) and the continuous baffle walls which will run from Beach 126th Street to Beach 20th Street.

Thai Rock is open. We hear McDonald’s will open by the end of the month. Pico, formerly Rockaway Seafood, is waiting on one more permit before they open on Beach 129th Street.

The Small Business Services (SBS) department is holding a RUG day – RUG as in Rolling Up the Gates. It’s a day where landlords on Beach 116th Street who have vacant stores or lots can open up the spaces so potential renters and clients can have a look-see. RUG is scheduled for November 2nd. There might be some fun activities scheduled in some of the lots that day, too.

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