Friday, October 24, 2014

News from Assemblyman Goldfeder

October 24, 2014
In This Issue
Sandy: 2 Years Later
Fix Our Roads Now
PSEG Moving In
Summer Reading Challenge
Office Locations

Ozone Park  
108-14 Crossbay Blvd
Ozone Park, NY

Rockaway Beach
2-14 Beach 96th Street
Rockaway Beach, NY 11693
Albany Office
LOB 834
Albany, NY 12248

   Quick Links

Sandy: 2 Years Later...  
As a community and family, no matter how dark the night or difficult the day, we rise and carry on together toward recovery.

We have made tremendous progress rebuilding our community and lives, however, many are still struggling. I will continue to work tirelessly in each community until every family is safe and secure back in their own home!
Stay Strong,  
Fix Our Evacuation Routes
Recently, I teamed up with Nassau County Legislator Howard Kopel in a rally to fix the 878 and alleviate our congested roadways, build new infrastructure and provide our families with quick and safe evacuation routes!
Thank you to everyone that joined the effort to make safety and infrastructure a priority. After years of neglect, our roadways including Cross Bay Boulevard, Beach Channel Drive and the 878 are unable to handle the daily traffic, let alone a possible evacuation. Please sign my petition and send a strong message that we can't wait until the next disaster to fix our roads!

PSEG At Home in Rockaway
Together with PSEG, we made history this week by cutting the ribbon on the first ever electric utility office to be located within Rockaway. This new customer service center at Arverne by the Sea is another example of PSEG's strong commitment to every neighborhood they serve. In only a year since taking over electrical utilities in Rockaway, PSEG has already proven to be a responsive and proactive community partner in our recovery from Sandy and our emergency preparedness for the future.  

Celebrating Young Readers
Once again, the Summer Reading challenge was a huge success! I personally presented certificates to hundreds of young readers at PS 232 in Lindenwood, PS 47 in Broad Channel, PS 63 in Ozone Park, PS 114 in Belle Harbor, St. Camillus in Rockaway Park, PS 146 in Howard Beach and St. Rose of Lima in Rockaway Beach. To earn a certificate, students need to read at least 15 minutes a day for 40 days during their summer vacation. Congrats to all the students and a huge thanks to parents and all the principals and teachers for encouraging such strong participation. 

W12thRd Tidal Flooding - Friday October 24th 2014

October 24th, 2014
6.1 foot high tide at 9:00 am
[Note the newly emplaced Verizon utility pole at the end of Chip Gray's driveway]

W12thRd New Bulkhead Construction Work Schedule Bulletin (Ocober 27th - October 31st, 2014)

Although Verizon has been busy almost every afternoon this week working on relocation of their utility poles, actual construction work at the end of W12th Road for the new bulkhead has not been seen since Thursday, October 16th.

Delivery and offloading of walers and cofferdam sheeting was originally scheduled for earlier this week (Wednesday and Thursday, October 22nd and 23rd) and the installation of cofferdam sheeting piles was originally scheduled to begin today, October 24th.

Hopefully, according to the below work schedule bulletin, this project will get back on track next week.

Between the Bridges in Broad Channel

Between the Bridges in Broad Channel
Peter J. Mahon

Mayor de Blasio held a press conference in Broad Channel this past Monday to speak about the achievements of the city's Build It Back program thus far and his new goals for that program.  The presser was held in front of the home of John and Jayme Galimi on Cross Bay Boulevard.  Their house, demolished after being severely damaged by Sandy, is one of the few being rebuilt by the Build It Back program and it looks like the Galimi's will be back home by this Christmas.  Dan Mundy Jr., President of the Broad Channel Civic Association, attended the press conference and stated, "There is a lot that has not gone right with the program but Amy Peterson and her group have changed a lot and I think the program is getting better.

I hope Dan is right because just half a block from where the Mayor was standing in front of the almost completed Galimi home lauding the "new and improved" Build it Back program stands a vacant lot on West 12th Road that once was the home of Lenny and Sophia DeVirgilio which was also destroyed by Sandy. The DeVirgilios are among the 90% of Build it Back applicants who are still awaiting assistance from the program.  Wouldn't it have been a great public relations move if, just after talking to the Galimi family in front of their almost completed home on Cross Bay Boulevard, the Mayor had walked across the boulevard and talked about the enormous amount of work still left to be addressed by Build it Back with the Devirgilio family in front of their boarded up, still empty, lot?

But then, what do I know? 

Speaking of the Mayor, for more than a year now local area activists and elected officials have been entreating Mayor de Blasio via letters, emails, press conferences, demonstrations, petitions, etc., to develop the means to permanently fund the continued operatoin of the Rockaway/BAT Ferry Service. The Mayor responded by distancing himself from this issue and had Kyle Kimball, President of the N.Y.C. Economic Development Corporation issue various rhetorical assurances that the ferry service was being taken as, "we are evaluating costs and funding solutions....the ferry is a considerable cost that is unsustainable... the ferry has requires an operating subsidy that equates to several million dollars of added expense to the city's budget....simply raising fares is not the answer....the city must focus on fiscal responsibility, sustainability and transportation equity....while we continue to evaluate inventive ways for ferry service to continue, the key determinant will be financial responsibility and sustainability of service, given its high expense." 

Last week Mayor de Blasio, at long last, personally addressed this issue while speaking with the press in Far Rockaway.  Unfortunately his statement that the Rockaway Ferry was always deemed a temporary, interim measure, which is no longer required at the end of this month because the subways are back running at 100% essentially sounded the death knell for this much needed transportation alternative for our area.

Regarding the imminent closure of the Rockaway Ferry service, Danny Ruscillo wants everyone to know that "On Friday October 31st at 8:45 P.M. the last Ferry boat will arrive at Beach 108th street and Beach Channel Drive Ferry landing. We will be there at 8:30 pm to witness the termination of Rockaway's only form of water transportation and our total disgust at Mayor de Blasio's refusal to fund the continuation of our Ferry service. If anyone would like to join me it would be appreciated. I will be reaching out to all my media contacts in order to give this Mayor a last kick. Oh yes if coming bring a flashlight and signs since it will be dark. We will only remain at the dock no more than 30 to 45 minutes."

Rebecca Elliott is a Phd candidate in sociology at UC Berkeley.  Her dissertation examines ongoing efforts to price disaster, with an empirical focus on insurance institutions and the financial management of flood risk from rising sea levels. Rebecca's fieldwork focuses on how recent changes to flood insurance are affecting New York City.  Ms. Elliott is also currently serving as the Flood Insurance Expert for Zone A New York, a non profit organization helping to rebuild, relocate and return people to their homes after Hurricane Sandy. She is very interested in talking to residents of Broad Channel and neighboring areas about their experiences dealing with flood insurance following Sandy as well as the recent changes to flood maps and to the National Flood Insurance Program. Rebecca will be in New York through November 6th.  If you are interested in participating in her research she can be reached via email at or by calling 703.927.0283

Verizon is busy on W12thRd installing new utility poles and relocating service equipment from the old poles which will be removed. These utility pole relocations are necessary to accomodate the new raised street and shared space design which will take place after new bulkheads are installed on W11th, 12th and 13th Roads. 

Back in 1983 the New York Post ran a headline "Headless Body Found in Topless Bar!"  As soon as I saw that headline I knew it was a keeper and I managed to safeguard a copy of that paper's edition for some 29 years until Sandy stole it.  Earlier this week I came across a headline from a Times Ledger story, dated October 12th, which proclaimed: "Dead Man Found Unconscious in Corona by NYPD!Yep...another keeper! The headline left me scratching my head wondering whether they dropped him off at the E.R. or the morgue?

Broad Channel - why would anyone want to live anywhere else?
Contact information: email - or: call or text: 347-226-1293

Broad Channel Bits

By Dan Guarino
Fall is here. For us in Broad Channel that means a few things. Cooler weather? Most days, yes. Celebrating Halloween? Absolutely!
It also marks another year since Hurricane Sandy. In one night, it engulfed our little town and all around us, and slammed all our lives into a new and unexpected direction.
Whether you’re thinking about it or not, I am sure you’re finding your thoughts drifting towards that Fall two years ago.
You’re probably thinking of that night and all the extraordinary days that followed.
More than that, you may be thinking about how far the Channel has come since then.
There’s still a long way to go, but we have traveled a long way so far since then. Wherever you are, today I hope you are a little bit closer to being home and being whole.
Well, the swans are back. The other day I saw this feathered family, all six of them, gliding along in a row at the edge of the bay.
I almost thought I heard them say, “Thanks for the mention in The Wave!”
Seriously though, I do truly appreciate the feedback, the observations and even the ‘keep up the good work” comments.
Get the kids dressed up and come out to the Halloween parade this Saturday, Oct. 25. They’ll love getting to wear their costumes more than once this year.
The Vollies are hosting this happening, which will kick off at 1 p.m. at 17th Road Park. It will end off at the BCVFD firehouse on Noel Road, where there will be refreshments! Join the fun.
For the big kids the American Legion’s Second Annual Halloween Party is coming up on Saturday, Nov. 1, from 8 p.m. to midnight! There will be great music by DJ’s@Work, cash prizes for best costumes, hot dogs, 50/50s, cash bar and more! Tickets are $20 and all proceeds go to support programs for our vets.
Get out of your coffin and call Carol at 917-930-0546 or Karen at 347-306-4851 for tickets. Last year’s party was a blast!
There is a Legion Auxiliary meeting on Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. There will be a brunch at the Legion on Sunday, Nov. 16. Proceeds will go towards the Children’s Christmas Party.
Planning an event? Call Joyce Adamiszyn at 718-479-3580, leave a message and hold a date for the Christ Presbyterian by the Sea Church Hall.
Stephanie Wagner’s Broad Channel Christmas Lights 2014 is having a super $5,000 Giveaway raffle, with nearly $10,000 in cash prizes in total. Check it out on Facebook. It’s $50 a ticket, and only 400 tickets will be sold. The drawing will be at the Bungalow Bar on Nov. 22 at 8 p.m. Donations of every size are also accepted at www.gofundme.- com/bclights.
As you know we are about to mark our collective second Oct. 29 since Sandy. First, my thanks to Judy Zack, Joyce Adamiszyn, Barbara Toborg, Father Ahlemeyer and Dan Mundy Jr. for their time and input on the “BC: Two Years After The Storm” article that appears elsewhere in this paper. Thank you, Broad Channel, for really writing the rest of the story itself.
Let me share with you a piece of the first BC Bits column I wrote after the storm. It opened like this:
“Last week I woke to thick, hazy fog just outside my window. But nothing else outside or in was the same. Then I realized I wasn’t in Broad Channel at all. Oddly there were street lights, cars, sounds and people going back and forth outside. Inside there were heat, lights, electricity and television chattering. Even telephones, cellphones and internet. A warm bed, hot water, hot food and refrigeration.
“Nobody else where I was staying after Hurricane Sandy could exactly understand why this was so strange to me.
“Like many Broad Channel people displaced by the storm, I am also living, temporarily I hope, elsewhere. Right now Broad Channel people are spread as far and wide as upstate New YorkVermont,PennsylvaniaFlorida and Texas. I’ve met neighbors living in their half gutted, cold, unheated homes while repairs are made and the rest of the family is living elsewhere. We have stood in their ripped out living rooms, all the furniture and years of their lives gone. It’s slow going but they plan on coming back once the work is done.”
A little later, when we more settled into the bizarre new normal of our world, I wrote about “You’re probably from Broad Channel if...”
It included things like “…you’ve had more meals at the American Legion than at McDonalds” and “…you’ve done more shopping at the VFW than at Waldbaum’s.” Also there were gems like “… you are still holding for FEMA,” “…you have a t-shirt that says The Red Cross came to town…and all I got was this blanket!” and “…you couldn’t find your street because they finally moved the boat that landed there.”
And there was the classic “…you consider coffee a beverage, a meal and a heat source.” People were still asking me about that column, and quoting from it, nearly a year later.
I closed that ‘You’re Probably From BC, if” column with “…wherever in the world you are right now, whenever people ask, you will always proudly say ‘Me? I am from Broad Channel.’”
Two years later, I am looking now at both where we have been and where we are going. Something I wrote right after the storm I think sums things up, and is what I’d like to finish with today.
“It’s not possible to really set down in words the wreckage that Hurricane Sandy brought to Broad Channel, our home, our community. Along with neighbors I watched waves from the bay, as deep as 5 or 6 feet, roll down our streets.
“The morning after that terrible storm I met a woman walking down Cross Bay Boulevard. What she said to me then is what I wish to leave you and yours with now. ‘God bless you. You’re alive. God bless you, at least you’re alive.’
“For that, neighbor, I am most profoundly grateful.”
I still am.
Thanks for reading

Then And Now: Broad Channel Two Years After The Storm

By Dan Guarino

Photo by Dan Guarino Photo by Dan GuarinoTwo years after Sandy came to Broad Channel, resident Barbara Toborg was asked, “Are you still out of the area?”
“No!” she said.
Where are you now?
“Home!” she gratefully replied.
On a sunny October Sunday afternoon, Toborg and other members of the Broad Channel Historical Society hosted a semi-annual Historical Day at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Prince-Wynn Post 260 just off Cross Bay Boulevard on Shad Creek Road.
Within the newly rebuilt VFW Hall, more than 100 years of the island community’s collective history, in the form of photographs, artifacts, newspapers and personal accounts were on view.
The last Broad Channel Historical Day, also at the VFW, took place on a windy Sunday afternoon, October 28, two years ago.
On the Monday evening that followed, October 29, a raging Hurricane Sandy engulfed this “small town in the big city.” Overnight in Broad Channel, events went from recalling history to becoming living history itself.

Then: Sandy changed Broad Channel in one night. Here family and neighbors pick up the pieces on Church Road, saying goodbye to the home that has been in the family for generations. 
Photos by Dan Guarino Then: Sandy changed Broad Channel in one night. Here family and neighbors pick up the pieces on Church Road, saying goodbye to the home that has been in the family for generations. Photos by Dan GuarinoSome evacuated ahead of the storm. Many stayed put, citing the eventually underwhelming experience of Hurricane Irene the year before.
All have vivid recollections of what they found the next day.
“After the storm, Father Dunne and I walked Cross Bay Boulevard. I never realized how hard it would be to put into words my thoughts and feelings about what happened,” said Father Richard Ahlemeyer, pastor of Broad Channel’s St. Virgilius RC Church.
With deep family roots in Broad Channel, Ahlemeyer grew up in the community where neighbors have lived near each other for generations and newcomers quickly adopt its way of life.

Now: Two years later, Broad Channel is continuing to rebuild. This home on Noel Road, now finished, was one of the first to be raised. Now: Two years later, Broad Channel is continuing to rebuild. This home on Noel Road, now finished, was one of the first to be raised.“My initial reaction was memories of Hurricane Donna in 1960. I was 10 years old. The images of the boats and destruction were similar.”
But, he said, “Sandy brought just a sense of sorrow and loss.”
What were things like in Broad Channel? Longtime Channel resident Judy Zack recalled, “The destruction was brutal.”
“I saw boats that had floated up and wedged themselves between houses, fences, including my own, had floated (out) to the sea without a trace. Houses floated off their foundations. Things were so out of place, as if we were a board game that got knocked to the floor. Nothing was where it was supposed to be. (There was) no heat, or electricity and no gasoline.”
“But I was frozen with heartbreak when I opened my front door. The devastation was so great I didn’t even recognize some of my own belongings.”
BC Civic Association President Dan Mundy Jr. noted Broad Channel “looked like something out of a war zone. Boats and debris, including large items such as shipping containers, (were) strewn across the streets and boulevard.
But, Mundy points out, that was also the point where things began to turn around. “Initially residents could be seen just walking around checking on their neighbors and surveying the damage. Within hours homeowners could be seen getting to work, throwing out mattresses, clothes, and all sorts of personal items to the curb and sweeping the remaining water out of the homes.”
On the second day after the storm, Mundy and others began to clear the muck and saltwater debris from the floor of the American Legion Hall. Shortly afterward, more than 400 residents, mostly on foot, came and crowded into a town hall informational meeting there.
Later, the hall became a hub that was feeding and supplying up to 1,000 people a day.
“We overcame this massive natural disaster by coming together and helping each other without any formal assistance from the federal or state agencies.”
“While that type of tight knit community is something Broad Channel has long been known for it was never on greater display then in the months following …Sandy.”
“Everywhere you looked,” Judy Zack added, “neighbors were helping other neighbors. Everyone shared what little they had. The first one on my block to get their stove in running order made coffee and tea and went door to door handing it out.”
Barbara and Fred Toborg, like many, also experienced firsthand the impromptu help of others.
After their daughter Lili posted photos of their destroyed first floor on Facebook, her former classmates “at Trinity School in Manhattan, where Fred coached soccer for 30 years…started the ball rolling for an avalanche of help from the Trinity ‘family.’ A group of alums came to our house with food, cleaning supplies, rolled up their sleeves and helped.”
Judy Zack added, “I remember people from out of the area setting up a food kitchen in the park and someone from Pennsylvania brought hot food and set up tables on the top of the block. The generosity was amazing. I think of all the things that came out of the storm, the kindness and compassion are the things that I will remember most.”
Like many communities hit by a storm that barreled up from the Caribbean to Canada, the journey from October 2012 to October 2014 has not been an easy one for Broad Channel.
“I really can’t answer how things are,” Joyce Adamiszyn replied candidly. “I am still waiting for ALL the right permits to go through so I can rebuild.”
“Every time we think that construction is going to start, something else gets in the way.”
Not only do new requirements delay the process, she says, “but that also changes the architect plans, so new plans need to be drawn up. And also this needs more money.”
“I guess, she notes, “having flood insurance we thought would pay in full was a joke.”
“I have a deeper appreciation for the suffering of people when I hear of disasters in other parts of our country or around the world,” said Father Ahlemeyer.
“At the recent Civic meeting, I felt the frustration, anger, fear and uncertainty of many as they try to navigate the waters of FEMA, Insurance, Build-It- Back and other programs.”
But he says, two years later, “at least the same resolve which carried our community through the weeks and months after the storm is still strong.”
“As I reflect on the experience, I must admit that the resolve, compassion and hard-work of the people of Broad Channel give me a sense of hope. The true spirit of our community came out and people worked together, cried together, suffered together and helped one another through very difficult times.”
As the people of Broad Channel continue to chart this new chapter in the community’s history, Dan Mundy Jr. reflects, “Things have improved dramatically in the two years since Sandy. Residents have rebuilt their homes, most families have returned to the town, the stores are open and new and improved, the streets have been repaved and look great, [and] the street raising project is underway…”
“We continue to work with the head director of the Build it Back program,” he says, “and while it has been seriously flawed it is getting better and I believe that we will see many homes rebuilt and elevated thru this program and residents reimbursed as well.”
On Monday, October 20, Mayor Bill de Blasio stood on a Broad Channel street with Mundy, residents and other officials, specifically to tout progress in the city’s rebuilding programs across New York.
Meanwhile, as a community perched on an island, Mundy notes “We are working actively with the Army Corps of Engineers to identify many projects that they may fund such as large tidal gates, berms, dunes, oyster reefs and wetlands to help reduce the impact of the next storm.”
Many of these ecologically based resiliency efforts and initiatives go back decades in Broad Chanel.
And, Mundy details, “We have seven great projects that will improve the town’s resiliency that have been approved by the state’s NY Rising project, and that should be funded shortly.”
Broad Channel also led the way in what became national fights against such things as the Biggert-Waters Act and FEMA elevation requirements.
As they have always done, people in Broad Channel take the life of their community very personally. That bond is even more evident now after the storm.
There is still a great deal of work to be done, and recovery is very much a work in progress. Even now it seems like it has taken two years of struggle to get many rebuilding projects finished, or even started.
Still, as the second anniversary of Hurricane Sandy approaches, as Judy Zack put it, “How astonishing to see this little town come back to life. Day after day, week after week, we shouldered the burden but never abandoned hope.
“Every day the sounds of hammers, saws and drills proved we are a neighborhood of doers not whiners. To see the homes and community buildings being rebuilt, and in many cases, better than they were, to see the town working collectively for a common goal of repair and improvement, should be a point of pride for all of us.
“There is no doubt about it; we are a community on the upswing.”
Whether still displaced, rebuilding or finally returning, Barbara Toborg summed up the feeling of many towards the Channel.
Referencing the fantastical journey of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, which likewise started with a great storm, she said, “The line often quoted is very true. There’s no place like home.

Repeating History In Broad Channel

Greeting visitors at Broad Channel Historical Day were (l to r) Dorothy Fraher, centenarian Hazel Lewis, Mary O’Connell and Jane Mary Tubridy.
Greeting visitors at Broad Channel Historical Day were (l to r) Dorothy Fraher, centenarian Hazel Lewis, Mary O’Connell and Jane Mary Tubridy.
On Sunday, October 19, the Broad Channel Historical Society hosted a showing of its extensive collection of memorabilia. Greeting visitors were Dorothy Fraher, centenarian Hazel Lewis, Mary O’Connell and Jane Mary Tubridy.
New pictures were obtained for the collection, and old historical calendars were available to those who lost theirs due to Sandy.
A lively discussion at the semiannual Broad Channel Historical Day centered around a vintage map of Jamaica Bay. Brought by Charlie Lehr, it outlined the then proposed Jamaica Bay Boulevard, which is now known as Cross Bay Boulevard.
Visitors could browse through collections of photographs and new articles on everything from Broad Channel through the decades, Mardi Gras, sports, Broad Channel Day Camp and more. There were samples of Broad Channel newspapers, The Banner, The Record and The Grapevine, which was sent to troops in Vietnam.

Pouring over the past in BC. Pouring over the past in BC.There was also a full place setting from Weiss’ restaurant.
Although a portion of the Broad Channel collection was lost during the hurricane, much was finally saved.
Binders containing much of the historical collection are available for public viewing at the Broad Channel library.

Rockaway and Broad Channel have become popular cinematic backdrops

New Film Shoots In Rockaway

By Dan Guarino

As Rockaway business owners and pedestrians look on, production crew members set up to shoot the new movie, Freeheld, at the Waterview Care Car garage and the Wave gas station. As Rockaway business owners and pedestrians look on, production crew members set up to shoot the new movie, Freeheld, at the Waterview Care Car garage and the Wave gas station.Rockaway and Broad Channel have become popular cinematic backdrops for everything from movies to commercials to cable and network television shows.
The latest entry is Freeheld, a feature film which has been shooting in and around Beach 102nd StreetRockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach Channel Drive and other locations.
On Monday, Oct. 13, a small platoon of production crew members, hefty miles of cables and scores of lights out of a dozen large trucks, turned the Waterview Car Care garage into a movie set. They started early in the morning and could be seen well after nightfall, continuing the shoot in the rain.
Freeheld dramatizes the true story of 23 year veteran New Jersey detective Laurel Hester. Diagnosed with rapidly spreading terminal cancer, Hester sought to pass her pension benefits to her domestic partner, Stacie Andree.

Photos by Dan Guarino Photos by Dan GuarinoAlthough this option was available to heterosexual spouses, in 2005, the Board the Chosen Freeholders of Ocean Countyturned down this request,
Hester and Andree’s struggles and the national issues that it raised became the subject of an award winning 2007 documentary titled Freeheld.
The current film, which takes the same name, stars Julianne Moore as Hester, Ellen Page as Andree and also features Steve Carrell.
Both Moore and Page have been spotted filming in the Rockaways.
Renee Radenberg, who lives on Beach 102nd Street, said “They used my house, well, the front of my house (for the shoot). They filmed them walking down the drive between my house and my neighbor.”
Radenberg related that the movie’s location scout “said they specifically wanted to film in Rockawaybecause of Sandy. They wanted to support the community and create jobs for people here.”
A release date for Freeheld has not yet been announced.
To date the area has stood for New Jersey locales for at least two productions. Rockaway has portrayed various parts of Prohibition-era Atlantic City for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Broad Channel, featured in early episodes of the same series, also became Ocean City, New Jersey for the comedy Girl Most Likely,released in 2013.