2014-03-07 / Columnists

School Spotlight

PS 114

In the aftermath of Sandy, there has been a resurgence of love for the Rockaways. The consensus of the residents who remain is to not simply rebuild, but to make the Rockaways better than ever. My fifth-grade creative-writing students at PS/MS 114 surveyed their parents, relatives and neighbors regarding the organizations, facilities and stores we need to service, support and enhance life in the Rockaways. Following, are some of the answers based on the first question, “What can we do to improve our commercial districts and keep our residents more satisfied shopping locally?” – Joan Diehl, Creative- Writing Teacher, PS/MS 114

I have lived in Rockaway my whole life. My parents were born and raised in the Rockaways. Both sets of my grandparents didn’t live in Rockaway from the start, but visited over the summer and eventually made Rockaway their home. I love hearing stories about the old Rockaways and looking at pictures of the way Rockaway once was. The Rockaway of 2014 is very different from Rockaway way back then. I think Rockaway should be like it was in the olden days that I see in pictures and hear about in stories. There was always something to do. Games and rides filled the boardwalk. People could go to movies and eat at wonderful restaurants. My neighbors said we need a shoe store, a fishing store, clothing stores and a 99¢ store. - Thomas Burke

Rockaway needs improving. We are a delightful community, but we are far from perfect. Sandy taught us much about what is important and what we should value. Everyone I spoke to agreed that we don’t need any more banks or Dunkin Donuts, but a clothing store would be great. Shoe stores hit the top of the list, too. There is a lack of necessities here on our great peninsula. - Kathryn Hickey

I would like to go on record and state that we do not need any more nail salons or Dunkin Donuts. I think we have those covered. I would like to see more healthy options in take-out or fast food, whether they are privately owned such as Rockaway Taco, or chains such as Everything Yogurt and California Tortilla. It would be nice to have quick, healthy meal options when life gets crazy and there is no time to cook. – Christian Banker

We need stores with healthier options. Some stores with healthier options are Whole Foods and Trader Joes. We could also use more clothing stores such as Justice and Forever 21. The clothing stores should provide a variety of options, from formal attire to casual wear. Lastly we could use sporting stores such as Modell’s to get sporting equipment for the new YMCA! Sporting stores will increase attendance at the YMCA and produce healthier, more active lifestyles. – Katie Jackson

I asked a few people in my neighborhood what they feel would make the Rockaways a better place to live. I asked my Mom, Galina, what stores she would need. She said we need some department stores. Whenever my mom needs to buy something, such as clothes, she needs to drive all the way out to Brooklyn or Long Island. My neighbor Ann thought we needed a Jewish Bakery, a fish store, a fruit store and a shoe store. There should also be more places to park cars. When my mom drives to 129th Street, she has to go around the block three times to find a spot. – Samatha Yershov

After talking with my family members, we all agreed that parking lots would make a difference in the Rockaways— it would be nice to spend more time shopping than finding a parking space. If we had more parking lots, it would increase the likelihood of people shopping at local stores. – Jaclyn Allcock

Rockaway is a beautiful beachfront town, however, it could use some sprucing up. First of all, there is no decent shopping at all. If you need to buy a shirt, pair of shoes or a pair of gloves for that matter, you have to drive over the bridge and go to Kings Plaza. In order for Rockaway residents to shop locally, we need clothing stores like the Gap, Old Navy and Target. Another store that would help tremendously is a sporting goods store like Modell’s or Dick’s. So many kids in the Rockaways play one or more sports. Equipment like cleats or baseball gloves are always needed and again we have to drive to Brooklyn to buy these items. – Mackenzie Markle

My dad came from a long chain of local Irish residents, and he said that he would open a store that sells Irish goods such as Irish clothing and foods. We also need sporting good shops, family-friendly restaurants and more parks, he added. – Lily Mikell

We can keep Rockaway unique by offering the right types of stores. For example, Brown’s Hardware does very well offering higher-end service and small parts than Home Depot. That’s the model we need to keep in mind. We have enough pizzerias already and we have a number of $30/plate dinner places. We need more middletier restaurants where you can sit down and enjoy a decent hamburger. We need to rebuild the Harbor Light. Further, I think we need to rely less on cars and more on public transit options. The transit options need to be fast and reliable. More cars on a small peninsula create problems with traffic on single lane roads. It already takes 30 minutes to drive to the end of Far Rockaway, and it’s only a few miles long. Our commercial districts are already jam-packed with cars, so adding more to the equation wouldn’t be beneficial. – Max Farrell

We need a Payless or something comparable- a place where we can buy sneakers and socks locally. We should not have to travel over bridges and pay tolls and use gas to get shoes and socks. We could use an Applebee’s. It is a reasonable restaurant where you can get burgers or a steak and sit in a comfortable establishment. We have too many fast-food places, banks and nail salons. - Gerard McManus

I believe a department store like Target would greatly improve shopping in the Rockaways. Residents would have access to “one-stop-shopping. We could visit one store and fill our multiple needs at great prices. - Giancarlo Conti

This is a great question because I have heard just about every adult I know complain that there isn’t any good shopping in Rockaway. My mom has to travel any time she wants to go food shopping or clothing shopping. We do have Waldbaum’s, but the fruits and vegetables go bad within two days. I think we need some farmers’ markets for healthy foods. We could also use a Trader Joe’s. My mom says the food is good and the prices are even better. - Gregory Tracy

There are many ways we can improve Breezy Point. We can improve Breezy Point by making sure that our residents shop locally. We can add new stores such as clothing stores, restaurants, pet shops, bigger supermarkets, shoe stores and bookstores to give our residents a variety of options to shop from. – Stephanie O’Conner

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