Fridays are usually a slower day at The Wave. After delivering the paper, and catching up on events that happened after we went to press on Thursday, most of the rest of the day is spent on planning for the week ahead.
Last week was a little different.
“They are dumping filthy sewer water in the street, this is unbelievable,” cried a woman, calling The Wave at around 12 noon from her cellphone. “This is disgusting! I am going to call the cops!”
As stated in our cover story this week, she gave her location, asked for The Wave to cover what was going on, and said she would stay until someone got there. However, before she got off the phone, she said something that resonated so deeply, it was the motivation for this editorial.
“How can these people just come and do this? Do they think no one cares? People live here!” said Elisa O’Toole, who remained on site until The Wave arrived on the scene. “It’s awful, it doesn’t matter what part of Rockaway this happens in, you dump on them, you dump on all of us. We’re all the same.”
Elisa doesn’t live in Far Rockaway, but she was driving along Edgemere Boulevard when she saw – and smelled – what was happening. She was infuriated that someone would just come along in broad daylight and pour sewage into the street.
To her, it didn’t matter what street, or in what neighborhood it was happening.
Shortly after, another man driving along saw something going on as well. He stopped to ask Mrs. O’Toole what was happening. His name is David Hooks, and he is from Far Rockaway. He also saw – and smelled – what was in the street, He called Assemblyman Goldfeder’s office, and he called Congressman Meeks’ office, and waited for someone else to arrive.
“(The workers) didn’t tell me anything,” Hooks told The Wave when we arrived. “You smell that?”
We did, but we also saw something else. We saw two people from opposite sides of the peninsula with sad – and angry – looks on their faces.
We saw two people, united for a common purpose.
We saw one Rockaway.