Friday, August 29, 2014
Kyle Steinhoff with Victoria Mahon
Congratulations to Kyle Steinhoff, 17, of Shad Creek Road in Broad Channel and recent graduate of N.Y.C. Harbor High School on Governor's Island. Kyle just completed his New Cadet Indoctrination Program at SUNY Maritime where he will major in Marine Transportation.
The demanding “INDOC” training prepares the new cadet for life in the regiment and aboard the Training Ship for those in the license program.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Between the Bridges in Broad Channel
GET READY BROAD CHANNEL, THE TIMES, I THINK,
THEY ARE A CHANGING!
August 28, 2014 By Peter J. Mahon
It wasn’t that long ago that even the most seasoned New Yorker might be hard pressed to tell you where Broad Channel is. Our small island neighborhood, reached only via a long journey on the "A" train, was known only as a a sparsely populated maritime community where roads are few, water plentiful and boats as common as houses, a neighborhood you passed on your way to Rockaway. The hidden in the shadows existence of our community appears to be changing for several reasons.
A certain amount of media attention has been paid to the ongoing Capital Project to address tidal street flooding on several streets in our town. I would venture to say that when the project is compete, with new end of street bulkheads, raised streets with new water and sewer infrastructure and the unique “shared space” street concept, media attention will be even more intensely focused on Broad Channel.
Social media has also been contributing to the recent resurgence in the new found conspicuousness of our community. Broad ChannelFacebook pages, blogs and Twitter abound with stunning photos of winter ice boating, summer sunsets over Jamaica Bay and stories about everyday life in our small town.
The Broad Channel Civic Association achieved national notice for its focused and continual attention paid to those myriad of serious issues which arose in the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy.
Just recently, a "Bing" photo-mapping car was seen documenting the streets of Broad Channel for Microsoft's mapping service and last week a Daily News article focused on dining in Broad Channel.
Additionally, the entertainment industry maintains a strong interest in Broad Channel. Last Friday evening a film crew was shooting a scene from the CBS crime series “Elementary” at the end of W12th Road. In speaking with one of the assistant directors I was told that when it became known a house with a scenic water view was required for this particular scene, the location crew, without hesitation, told the director, "Go to Broad Channel!"
Not surprisingly, our beautiful island community has been featured in several motion pictures, television series as well as Broadway and Off Broadway Plays!
In 2011, Broad Channel was renamed "Ocean City New Jersey - America's Greatest Family Resort" during the filming of Imogene, later released as Girl Most Likely, starring Saturday Night Live alumna Kristen Wiig.
Back in 2010, scenes from the film Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock were shot on the E12th Road boardwalk in Broad Channel.
A Law and Order: Criminal Intent episode. entitled "Broad Channel", with scenes shot at Smitty's Boat Yard and other areas in town was filmed in 2010.
Tween heart throb, Jesse McCartney, filmed portions of his Beautiful Soul music video in front of "Pops" Christian never ending garage sale on Cross Bay Boulevard in Broad Channel in 2004.
Back in 2003 another play titled "Broad Channel", authored by Anna Therasa Cascio and Doc Dougherty, about a young man growing up in our town in the 70’s, opened at the Phil Bosakowski Theater on W45th Street in Manhattan.
Will this new found interest in our little hamlet on the bay prove beneficial, bothersome or both? Only time will tell but to paraphrase Bob Dylan, Get ready Broad Channel, the times, I think, they are a changing!
Can you believe it? This Monday is the Broad Channel Labor Day Mardi Gras Parade with all the attendant festivities leading up to it this weekend. As the Cajuns down in Louisiana say… “Laissez les bons temps rouler!”
Broad Channel – Why would anyone want to live anywhere else? See y’all next week.
Contact info: email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text: 374-226-1293
Because I’m a Summer-Ends-on-the-Fourth-Of-July kind of guy, pay no attention to me now. I’m not going to declare the summer over again.
I just have to fess up: I never got in the water this summer. In a way, the weather was too nice.
Of course, some people never set foot on the beach – the sand is like the Empire State building or other NY attractions. New Yorkers like the fact that the Empire State building is there — but they have no intention of visiting it.
Some people say they’re all about Rockaway and say they have sand in their shoes.
And you gotta ask, how? Did the sand blow down the block and land in your shoes? In my pathetic case, I was on the beach but not in the water. I guess this newspaper thing confused me. I put a surfing column in the paper and it makes me feel like I’ve got water and sand in every crevice.
The truth is, I was hoping The Parks Department was going to keep the boogie board ban in place. That would’ve given me the chance to join the protesters. I would have grabbed a board and jumped right in. Though maybe not. I’m not sure if the boogie boards in the garage are covered with Sandy goo or just regular beach goo (Hey, it’s been a while). To be safe, I might have had to go old school and used an ironing board.
Yep, ironing boards were used in a pinch before Rockaway became the coolest place on earth. It’d be even more cool if there was a tournament of surfers using ironing boards. Just for a day.
Though it might drive Parks crazy. Get out of the water, that’s a flotation device. No, it’s not. It’s an ironing board. Tell me where in the Parks’ rules it says we can’t use ironing boards.
Next week’s headline: Parks Say No To Ironing Boards.
Of course, with Rockaway fashion – where most shirts are as wrinkled as choppy surf – maybe ironing boards these days are like de Blasio, hard to find.
You can’t mention the days of surfing on ironing boards without tipping your cap to Dee McLean, the first Rockaway surfer to win an endorsement contract. Using real surfboards he, his brother Dennis, and a handful of others were way ahead of the wave about surfing here. Sometimes it takes a few decades for things to catch on. So don’t give up, we might be all dead and buried, but Rockaway is gonna catch on.
Anyway, from ironing boards to irony. I know I could still get in the water but well, with the Jewish holidays just ahead, the pattern will repeat itself. The weather’s just gonna be too nice to get wet.
* * *
Boyleing Over: Loved the recent Beef Chip column in which he confessed to being won over by the Rockaway Beach Volleyball experience and is now part of the cult.
On the other hand, it was another reminder of how a thousand of my closest friends play and never ask me to join. Thanks.
Unless you’ve heard of it through word of mouth, come upon it during a boat outing in Jamaica Bay or discovered it through social media, you would never expect to find a waterside restaurant and bar with quality food and breathtaking views hidden behind a gas station. The Wharf Bar and Grill is a hidden gem that has served locals for decades.
There are no flashy billboards indicating “The Wharf is here” along the bayside of Beach 116th Street and Beach Channel Drive. Yet The Wharf hasn’t been a secret to locals and now those coming down for the day have started to uncover one of the peninsula’s best kept secrets.
Ever since Bill and Mavis Bulloch originally opened The Wharf as a bait shack and private club, the property has maintained a sense of exclusivity. “Bill Bulloch wanted to pick and choose his customers and that’s just what he did. There were no signs, no advertising. If you were welcome one evening, you could come back the next day and not be allowed in,” current co-owner Bobby Leckie recalled.
When Leckie and Jimmy Bulloch became co-owners in 1979, they opened The Wharf to the public, but still managed to keep it somewhat secret. “I chose not to advertise or put signs out because I wanted to keep the idea of it being a hidden gem in people’s minds,” Leckie said. However through a quick Google search of places to eat around busy Beach 116th street, the secret of The Wharf is out.
Over recent years, visitors to the peninsula have started to discover the Wharf as one of the perfect places to end a beach day while watching the sunset along the city skyline. “I don’t think people in general come to the Rockaways for the cuisine, but here, I think they come for the waterside and the beautiful views of the city,” Leckie said.
Leckie also takes pride in the food that the Wharf serves. “This is not a local fast food place where you drive in and out in 10 minutes. It takes time to cook fresh items,” he said. Being by the water, some of the house favorites include seafood items like broiled scallops, but Leckie says some of the most popular items are the marinated steak platter and the fish tacos, which he says were on the menu years before other places found acclaim serving them.
The restaurant has been home to some locals for many decades. Some staff members, like the cooks, have been working there for more than 30 years. Staff member Joanne has been there 23 years and daytime manager Maureen Lynch has been there for 17 years. Many locals got their first taste of the workforce at The Wharf. The owners have a longstanding tradition of hiring young locals to work as busboys and busgirls. “We’ve helped family, friends and anybody I’ve met along the way who want to put their kids to work,” Leckie said.
Leckie says The Wharf has seen more than 100 bartenders behind the bar in his 36 years as co-owner. Including the kitchen staff, bartenders, barbacks, waitresses, managers and busboys, the restaurant has about 50 current employees, each of which are treated like family.
The bayside building took a beating during Sandy, but Leckie and Bulloch had it open just four weeks after, so residents had somewhere to go and so staff members could continue to support their families. “I can proudly say, nobody missed a paycheck here,” Leckie said. With insurance and FEMA help lacking, staff members returned the favor by chipping in to help renovate the restaurant.
For many generations, The Wharf has been a place to create memories. “We’ve had proposals here, weddings here, 50th anniversaries here, birthday parties for God knows how many people,” Leckie says. With more people discovering The Wharf, more memories are sure to me made for whoever stops by. “There was a time when I didn’t understand Bill Bulloch’s approach to business, but I understand it now. I only wish I could pick and choose my customers, but that’s not the case nowadays. But, the more people, the better business should be,” Leckie said.
The Wharf is located at 416 Beach 116 Street and is open seven days a week starting at 9 a.m. Some locals whisper the Sunday brunch can’t be beat. The kitchen is open until 10 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on the weekend. Make sure to hit the ATM before sitting down, as it is cash only.
PHOTOS BY DON RIEPE
Thursday, August 28, 2014
It’s a bird, it’s a plane ... actually, yes, it is a bird.
Approximately 125 birders from across the tri-state area came out to enjoy the day-long annual Shorebird Festival at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge near Broad Channel last Saturday.
The event, held every year two weekends before Labor Day, was sponsored by the American Littoral Society in partnership with NYC Audubon and the National Park Service and brings birders to popular sites for shorebirds including East Pond and West Pond, where the feathered creatures are enjoying the last days of summer.
Highlights of the day included, clockwise from top left, flocks of sandpipers, oystercatchers, and a rare Marbled Godwit seen on East Pond.
More than 30-plus species use the refuge ponds as stopover sites where they feed and replenish their body fat during their long journey southward to Central and South America for the winter.
Also seen were the many egrets, herons and other species found in Jamaica Bay during summer.
During the day presentations on shorebird identification, behavior, photography and conservation were given by bird experts Kevin Karlson and Lloyd Spitalnik as well as Don Riepe, president of the American Littoral Society’s Northeast Chapter.