It’s been quite an exciting time to be part of the maiden voyage of the new Rockaway ferry with Mayor Bill de Blasio, Councilman Donovan Richards and Lisa George representing State Senator James Sanders Jr. among others.
It was quite an historic day for the Rockaway community. We started off with a press conference and then we were invited onto the ferry. Laura Deckelman, godmother of the ferry, did the christening of the boat. Terry MacRae, CEO and chairman of Hornblower, broke the bottle.
We had a breathtaking ride on the upper deck with the wind blowing on us. The mayor was in seventh heaven enjoying the fact that he was able to do this. I personally thanked the mayor on behalf of the Rockaway community. I told him what an asset Justine Johnson, assistant vice president of the NYC Economic Development Corporation has been. I had a great conversation with Cameron Clark. Hornblower vice president of Development and Special Projects and with chairman and CEO Terry McRea.
I got the mayor and chairman’s ears to request that the boat dock in Broad Channel where use of a free parking lot would allow passengers from Broad Channel, Howard Beach and Ozone Park to avoid a bridge toll. I asked that a free shuttle from Broad Channel be started immediately. While I had the mayor’s ear I reminded him of the importance of bringing back the old Rockaway Beach Line explaining why we needed better transportation to central Queens, Manhattan and Long Island. I told the mayor how the customers of Resorts World Casino would benefit. It will help to keep reminding our elected officials that the ferry did not finish the job.
On May 2, we were there for the grand opening ferry party hosted by Linda and Danny Ruscillo. Unfortunately due to the heavy wind Linda was unable to join us. We must never forget to thank them for the long hours and hard work Linda and Danny put in. Eddie Pastore was DJ. We all had a wonderful time.
After the event we proceeded to the Bungalow Bar for the Rockaway Beach Civics meeting to discuss the hot topic of parking on the south side of Shore Front Parkway. As many of you are aware there is an attempt by the NYC Department of Transportation to put parking with meters along the beach side of SFP in order to get marked crosswalks. I vehemently opposed the suggestion. I urged that the medians be realigned to allow residents to take left and right turns when entering and exiting their homes on SFP. They shouldn’t have to travel several blocks extra to get to their home. I reiterated the need for a traffic light at Beach 81st Street as we had gotten on Beach 84th Street. Dolores Orr and the Rockaway Beach Civics have made a list of 100 locations where additional parking spots could be created between Beach 73rd Street and Beach 108th Street between SFP and BCD.
At the CB 14 Transportation Committee the next night 99 percent held up signs, NO PARKING ON SOUTH SIDE, for Queens DOT Commissioner Nicole Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner Al Silvestri. We’ve been working for years to see that SFP was done correctly. We don’t see the need for two bike lanes on the south side although some bike riders said the boardwalk is too crowded for safe biking. We are awaiting the CB 14 meeting on Tuesday to see how they will vote.
On May 4, I spoke with the owner of CHAI on Beach 125th Street and Ocean Promenade. This building was damaged by Hurricane Sandy and is an eyesore. We are trying to get the owner to fix it up. The community is up in arms since 2013 when the owner said he wanted to renovate to use the location for an assisted living center. Now he wants to increase the number of patients from 70 to 160 by building taller and wider. In the next two weeks I will be sitting down to look at the plans and will be setting up, God willing, a meeting for the residents of the surrounding community to speak about it.
I am extremely saddened by the accident that happened to Alvin Claudia on Sunday April 30. His life was changed forever when he passed out and fell. Alvin became a quadriplegic due to his injury. He is in critical condition in the ICU at Jamaica Hospital. His wife Edna is unable to work due to a hip disability. His youngest son Alex, 20, is in the Marine Corps and is going on his first deployment next week. A lot of pressure is on Alex Jr., 26. They are in desperate need of assistance. We urge everyone to go on gofundme.com click on to support Alvin’s medical funds organized by Hunter Hennessy. Please. This is one wonderful family that needs help.
The Good Government Regular Democratic Club welcomes your membership. Send your dues to GGRDC c/o Beacon Rehab140 Beach 113 St., Rockaway Park NY 11694. I am available to assist you with any community issue or to speak at your meeting. Call 718-945-1216.