Friday, August 29, 2014

Broad Channel Proud!

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.

Community Board 14 Meeting - September 9th

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Get Ready Broad Channel, the times, I think, they are a Changing!



Between the Bridges in Broad Channel

GET READY BROAD CHANNEL, THE TIMES, I THINK,

THEY ARE A CHANGING!

 
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 2014, the play, "Broad Channel", ran at the Cabrini Repertory Theater in Washington Heights.  The play's author, James Bosley,  lived inBroad Channel while in college, and described our community as being “very veteran friendly.”  

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.

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:  rtbetweenthebridges@gmail.com  or call or text: 374-226-1293

Boyleing Points



BOYLEING POINTS

BOYLEING POINTS: OH, THE IRONY BOARDS

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Boyleing_Pts_Bridge
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.

THE WHARF BAR AND GRILL: A HIDDEN GEM UNCOVERED



photo 1 WharfView

THE WHARF BAR AND GRILL: A HIDDEN GEM UNCOVERED

 

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.

Broad Channel Bits



By Dan Guarino
How else can you start this week’s BC Bits column with any other phrase but “Mardi Gras is coming!”
Get your very last chance to win $10,000. Buy a raffle ticket for $100. Buy it yourself or split with friends. But do it now. Call 718-839-4302 or 347-449-3955 ASAP!
On Friday, Aug. 29, the Broad Channel Athletic Club’s 3rd Annual Kickball Tournament at the BCAC field with DJ Miltey. Admission of $30 per person includes beer and hot dogs. Sign up at 7 p.m.The big Mardi Gras parade on Labor Day, Monday Sept. 1, will start off at West 10th and Cross Bay near the Ruffle Bar. As is long running BC tradition, it will step off promptly at 1 p.m… ish. Floats and marchers will head southward, come about at 20th Road near Grassys and head up the east side of town. There will be loads of Mardi Gras events over the weekend.
Saturday, Aug. 30, is Family Day down at the Field, starting at noon. There will be He-Man and She-Man contests, running races for all ages, kids’ games and rides, face painting, cotton candy, food, soda, beer and more.
Build Your Float Day and Bar Visitation Night happens on Sunday. Swing your hammers, rev up your electric saws during the day and build up a thirst for the evening. Come out and support the bars that have supported Mardi Gras all summer and BC all year round. Hit Grassys at 8 p.m. and Ruffle Bar at 10 p.m.
You can still register your parade float or group before Labor Day. Call 347-449-3955. There will also be parade day registration. You’ll need to send a representative to the BCVFD firehouse on Noel Roadbetween 10 a.m. and 12 noon.
The parade will end at the BCAC Field and trophies will be awarded. There will be rides for the kids, food, beer and soda. Then…drum roll please… the grand $10,000 raffle winning ticket will be pulled! Best of luck to all.
If you are unfamiliar with Mardi Gras here, here’s the very short version. Going back 100 years, Mardi Gras is a summer-long series of fun and creative events to see who can raise the most money for a local cause. This year it’s all for the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department.
It all winds up with a rollicking homemade neighborhood parade where people build their own creative and often hilarious floats, complete with costumes, signs and music.
Neighbors with kids, carriages, coolers and folding chairs come out to watch the parade as it proceeds up one side of Cross Bay Boulevard. They then haul everything and everyone across the road to catch it all again as the line of march turns and comes down the other side of town!
Any part of Mardi Gras in Broad Channel, whether it is over the summer or this weekend, is something not to be missed, just in terms of fun and neighborhood spirit!
In other BC news: now is the time to sign up your
3- and 4-year-olds for the curriculum based Broad Channel Educational program. Half-day sessions from 8:45 to 11:45 a.m. Mondays to Thursdays will be held at Christ Presbyterian by the Sea on Noel Road. Contact Kerry at kerrylarkin76@gmail.com or Julianna at sanibelle593@aol.com regarding registration.
Registration is going on for BCAC Shamrock football down at the BCAC field from 6 to 8 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. Practice has started, but there’s room on each team. Contact Gene Guttieri atGitso4@aol.com or call 347-403-2591.
The BCAC meets at 7:30 p.m. on the second Thursday of every month at the clubhouse next to theAmerican Legion Hall on Cross Bay Boulevard. Next meeting is Thursday, Sept. 11.
As you park along the median, be careful of the tree fences, flower boxes and plantings. BC people have put a lot of time and care into these. Let’s keep our town looking good.
Assemblyman Goldfeder’s mobile office will be at Rock N Roll Bagels, East 21st Road and Cross Bay, on Tuesday, Sept. 9 from 3 to 6 p.m.
Father Richard Ahlemeyer was good enough to send a few parish updates. Here they are:
St. Camillus Catholic Academy will open on Wednesday, Sept. 3. There are many new exciting things happening. As an academy, the school will have a lay board of directors. These 11 people are parishioners from Broad Channel and Rockaway with a variety of experiences in education, administration, business, law, media and the community.
St. Camillus also welcomes a new principal, Mrs. Sheila Smith Gonzalez. Her family is no stranger to theRockaways; you may know them from the Rockaway Artists Alliance. She has previously been an educator and principal in Brooklyn and Queens
And St. Camillus will offer a free universal pre-kindergarten full-day program. “We will have 20 4-year olds,” Father Richie says.
The St. Camillus - St. Virgilius Religious Education Program (CCD) will begin on Wednesday, Sept. 10 at 3:30 p.m. in St. Camillus Church. Please call 718-634-8229 or email saintvirg2@aol.com. There is no fee for CCD. Sister Maureen Ahlemeyer PBVM will be responsible for the CCD program. Sister Maureen is a graduate of St. Virgilius School. She has taught grammar school and has been a principal. Her office will be located at St. Camillus Rectory.
St. Virgilius Senior Citizens Club will resume meeting at the Broad Channel American Legion Hall on Thursdays at 12:30 p.m., beginning Sept. 4.
St. Camillus Golden Age Club will meet on Wednesday, Sept. 10 at 12:30 p.m. in Springman Hall inRockaway.
Buildings update for St. Virgilius: “We have obtained a land survey and elevation survey. These have been submitted to the architect who is preparing plans for the extension on St. Virgilius and the new religious education building.”
Thanks, Father Richie!
Finally, Muriel Berry Stemmann recently noted in a P.S. “Is there anyone left in Broad Channel that remembers all the things I remember?”
Got an upcoming BC event? Don’t wait till after it’s over. Let’s tell everyone about it in BC Bits! Send info toworkingstories@aol.com.
Thanks for reading
.

Beachcomber (The WAVE)




Working with NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Housing Recovery Office (HRO) has identified more than 1,500 homeowners eligible for a NYC Build it Back nonrefundable credit of $750 on their next water bill. These people have been determined to have been out of their homes for a significant period of time between Nov. 1, 2012 and June 30, 2014 and as a result, had a minimum charge applied to their water and sewer bill. If any homeowners think they are eligible call the Build It Back Customer Service Line at 212- 615-8329 or e-mail housing@recovery.nyc.gov.
Dan Hendrick, producer, co-director and creator of the Jamaica Bay movie project: “I'm starting to see the light at the end of this tunnel. This will be one great film that we hope will make you and the Jamaica Bay community proud.” The project is funded through public donations and can still use contributions.
A film crew was at work on Friday evening, Aug. 22, on Broad Channel’s West 12th Road. They were shooting a scene for the CBS show, Elementary. Show stars Lucy Liu and Johnny Lee Miller did not appear to be present. Photographer and community activist Victoria Barber asks a simple but important question. “I'm polling Rockaway beach residents and visitors. What do you think or do you know what these cranes are doing off shore at our beaches?” Answers anyone?
The staff at South Island Medical Associates, including doctors, nurses, and administrative staff will be participating in the ALS ice bucket challenge. On Tuesday, Sept. 2, they will donate $500 and will challenge another major medical facility to participate in the ice bucket challenge.
A piece of Rockaway’s past emerged this week as workers cut through the pavement on Rockaway Beach Boulevard and revealed the cobble stone street below.
Last week’s article “Battle Goes On Over Mold House” highlighted a situation many saw coming right after Sandy. Abandoned houses where mold grows unabated and structures have deteriorated are a problem. Owners or landlords may have walked away, not having had the physical, emotional, financial ability to go forward. Or new regulations may have stopped them. Or grants, insurance and various help programs may have failed them. Or they are still waiting for that assistance. But it’s still a problem, for the whole community, and still needs a solution.
The big buzz on the boardwalk is that the NYC Honey Fest is coming to Beach 97 Street on Saturday, Sept. 13. The overall idea, of which Rockaway’s event is a part, has been so successful that it now known as NYC Honey Week.
Aug. 28 marked three years since Hurricane Irene came to Rockaway. Little did we know what was coming a year later. The actors of The Rockaway Project put on an outstanding performance event at Rockaway Artists Alliance’s T-7 gallery on Saturday, Aug. 23. Billed as a “Documentary Theater and Photography Exhibition About the Spirit of Rockaway Beach,” it featured performances by Ooma Roche, Carolyn Kettig and Jasai Chase- Owens and photography by Rosa Polin. More than 70 people attended.
This is the last weekend for the Rockaway! exhibition at Fort Tilden and the RockawayBeach Surf Club. The summer long arts festival is open up to and on September 1, from 12 to 6 p.m. There will be a Labor Day concert by Tree Laboratory, aka musicians Jessie Paris Smith and Eric Hoegmeyer, at 5 p.m. in RAA’s T-7 Gallery, Fort Tilden.
Rockaway!, was created through a partnership between the Rockaway Artists Alliance, the Museum of Modern Art/PS 1, National Park Service and the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy. Next year’s planning will soon be underway.
The Rockaway Theatre Company’s production of Godspell opens on Sept. 12. Seeing how fast every August performance of Gypsy sold out, you may want to reserve tickets now.
“The problem is this city has so many departments. Well, they don’t communicate together so well. They’re good people. But they need to work together.”- Hank Iori, Belle Harbor Proper Owners Association.
Hank Iori and others have also suggested having ferry parties. Go out Thursday or Friday late afternoon, enjoy Manhattan for a few hours, then come back on the boat back.
With A Name This Good: Spotted on a car bumper sticker on Cross Bay Boulevard “Beachcomber Camping Resort, Cape May, N.J.” Got an emergency on the beach? Call 911, just like you would on land. FDNY/EMS has special equipment and is ready to respond wherever they need to go.
“Build a sports stadium on it” one resident said about how to save the ferry. “This city has no money for schools, for hospitals, for ferries. But someone says they want a sports stadium? Suddenly there’s money, the city will clear out property owners and it’ll get built in no time! And they always say ‘And it won’t cost the taxpayers a thing’!”
Speaking at a Neponsit Homeowners Association meeting, State Senator Joseph Addabbo said that if the city is going to count ridership, they should run the ferry on weekend, and then get a true number on its usage.
Lew Simon recently received a “field promotion” courtesy of the AM NewYork. In a recent article about the ferry rally at City Hill, attended by “dozens of Far Rockaway residents,” the free Manhattan newspaper referred to him as “City Councilman Lew Simon.”
For hundreds of years the west end of Rockaway’s peninsula has been extending further and further out due to the geological drift of tide, time and sand. What is now the farthest point is not what it was a century ago. So even large parts of Rockaway didn’t originally come from around here
!

Flocking to see the flocks at Gateway near Broad Channel


Flocking to see the flocks at Gateway 1
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.

Jamaica Bay movie is nearing completion







slicata@queenscourier.com | 

Photo via  Jamaica Bay Lives Flickr
Photo via Jamaica Bay Lives Flickr

A new documentary about Jamaica Bay is set to open in spring 2015.

Jamaica Bay is on the verge of getting its own little taste of stardom as a new documentaryabout the body of water and its surrounding habitats is officially in post-production.
The documentary film titled “Jamaica Bay” was started about three years ago. It will cover the bay’s history, environmental issues and local residents’ way of life, according to Dan Hendrick, producer of the film.
“The overarching theme of the film is that right now, Jamaica Bay is a good national park but it has the potential to be great one,” Hendrick said. “We hope that this film will inspire people.”
Hendrick and his team started his work on the film in August 2011. He said he wants to highlight how the bay has made such a remarkable comeback from where it was 30 years ago. They have over 100 hours of film of the bay including shots from before, during and after it was devastated by Superstorm Sandy.
“People care about the bay more than ever,” Hendrick said. “The pollution has subsided from where it was 30 years ago but there is still a lot of work to do.”
The team hopes to get the documentary out to both local TV channels and movie theaters by spring of 2015.
Due to limits on public television, the television cut will be less than an hour long, but the producers hope for the full film to run up to 90 minutes.
To learn more about the film check out jamaicabaylives.com.

BILL DE BLASIO: A FERRY BAD MAYOR


AUGUST 28, 2014

Demonstrators converge on City Hall demanding the mayor keeps ferry service running in Rockaway. PHOTO CREDIT: Jamie Pisani
Demonstrators converge on City Hall demanding the mayor keeps ferry service running in Rockaway.
PHOTO CREDIT: Jamie Pisani
Two buses left Rockaway last week to shuttle concerned residents to the steps of City Hall in the name of saving the beloved Rockaway Ferry before service is suspended in October. It was a nearly two-hour ride, which many argued provided tangible proof that the peninsula was desperately in need of alternative means of transportation.
The ferry, which began service after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, was first implemented as a temporary transit option between the Rockaways and Manhattan while subway service was suspended. Since that time, thanks to community advocates, it has been extended a total of four times.
But now, the new mayor said he was discontinuing funding for the ferry in his latest budget, putting the quick, affordable and reliable option of travel in danger of becoming extinct.
On hand for the rally – side by side with Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy Point residents – were several southern Queens politicians signing onto the fight for the permanent ferry service.
“This is a necessity, not a luxury,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park). “The Rockaways are still recovering from the storm. The mayor cannot take away the ferry, which has been a lifeline for our residents. We are here on the steps of City Hall for him to hear this message!”
But as the residents shouted, “What do we want – the ferry! When do we want it – now,” the mayor made it very clear that he was not hearing their message.
Surrounded by security, he exited the building with his back turned to the protestors and scurried to his car without making notice of the group.
“Our mayor is not human,” said Rockaway resident and longtime community activist Dan Tubridy. “He didn’t even give us a wave to acknowledge us as citizens of this great city!”
Despite urgings from the crowd, Mayor de Blasio turns his back on the group failing to even offer an acknowledgement of their presence.  PHOTO CREDIT: Jamie Pisani
Despite urgings from the crowd, Mayor de Blasio turns his back on the group failing to even offer an acknowledgement of their presence. PHOTO CREDIT: Jamie Pisani
Furious at the act of avoidance and rejection, the crowd changed its chant to, “No ferry, no votes! No ferry, no votes!”
But jeers were met with a slammed car door.
“The ferry connects hardworking people to good-paying jobs,” said Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park). “People rely on it to support their families. To turn their backs on us is a slap in the face.”
It was a slap in the face not only to residents and Ulrich, but also to other politicians who spoke at the rally, including Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Public Advocate Letitia James, State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) and District Leader Lew Simon.
“The mayors’ administration has ignored the untapped potential of the Rockaways even before Sandy,” Addabbo said. “The resiliency of its people is louder and stronger than ever and we will be heard!”
Maybe heard, but ignored. At least for now.
“This is a no brainer,” James said. “The ferry is an economic engine for Rockaway and we are not going down quietly!”
And the message, which the protestors shouted with force on the steps of City Hall, although publically unacknowledged by the Mayor, was loud and clear.
“We need the ferry and we need it now!”
So what can we, as a community, do to save the ferry?
1. Ride the ferry! Ride the ferry! Ride the ferry! Take the ferry to work, bring your family on a tour of the city complete with amazing photo opps of the Verrazano Bridge, Coney Island, downtown Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, or take the ferry for a cheap and fun “Happy Hour.” Every trip is counted and more ridership proves we are utilizing this great transportation opportunity.
2. Published on page [9] of the Rockaway Beat is a letter to the Mayor you can copy, sign and send to City Hall.
3. Assemblyman Goldfeder has also created a website where you can sign a petition to continue the ferry service permanently.
(Visit www.keeprockawayferry.com to sign.)

By Jamie Pisani