Friday, November 27, 2015

Broad Channel Bits

By Dan Guarino

This may be coming to you after the fact, but I don’t believe in confining the spirit of a holiday to just one day.
So, Happy Thanksgiving, Broad Channel, and here’s to celebrating what you are thankful for all year round. As for me, I am thankful every day to live in such a beautiful place, where everyone makes it their business to make it a better community.
Congratulations to the winners of the 4th Annual Broad Channel Christmas Lights $5000 Giveaway. The drawing, and a great party, was held last Friday, Nov. 20, at the Bungalow Bar. Stephanie Wagner, who has been making this happen every year since the storm, posted, “[I’m] very proud to say we sold out at 400 tickets.”
From 10th to first place, the winners were Alana Davidson, the BCVFD, Debbie Cotton Lonnborg, Cindy Colleran Mangan, Pat Hanning, Terence Tubridy, Alana Davidson, Preston Howard, Shannon Barr-Jackowski and James Shea.
Thanks to all who attended the Turkey Karaoke at Grassy’s last Saturday. Thanks also to all those who croaked their hearts out. The BCVFD also drew the 10 winners of their annual Thanksgiving dinner raffle.
On Tuesday, Nov. 24, the BC American Legion Post was the host for the 37th Annual Turkey Trot Run by E-233/L-176, presented by NYC Fire Wire. Proceeds benefit various FDNY charities.
This Saturday and every Saturday the Broad Channel Library is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Come in and check something out.
Buckle up and sign up now for the 6 Hour Defensive Driving Class on Wednesday, Dec. 2 and 9 from 7 to 10 p.m. That will be at the St. Camillus Auditorium, 185 Beach 99th St. You must attend both nights. But you do get a three year, 10 percent auto insurance reduction and four points off your license. No test will be given, refreshments will be served. Your $45 fee guarantees you a seat and proceeds go to the St. Camillus Catholic Academy. Call Helen at 917-553-2409 or Don at 917-553-2408.
Come out to the BCAC Field as they make the season bright. On Tuesday, Dec. 1, at 5:30 p.m. they will be hosting the annual Christmas Tree Lighting. There will be Christmas music performed by the Broad Channel Girl Scouts and the PS 47 Chorus. There will also be a special holiday performance by Thomasina’s Dance Company. Enjoy Christmas treats and a special visit from Santa as we light our town tree. This year the BCAC is very happy to help with Debbie Spanburgh- O’Connor’s holiday gift drive for the Hematology/Oncology department at the Cohen Children’s Medical Center and Ronald McDonald House. Please bring unwrapped toys which will be donated to the drive.
The Broad Channel Crafters and the American Legion Auxiliary hold their 27th Annual Craft and Christmas Gift Sale on Friday, Dec. 4, from 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 5, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. There will be plenty to choose from and the kitchen will be open to purchase lunch and refreshments. Proceeds benefit the Wounded Warriors Project.
Stop by the Knights of Columbus in Rockaway for a fun Paint Party NY night on Friday, Dec. 4, starting at 7 p.m. Jennifer and Jessica will provide all materials and step by step guidance, for you to paint holiday lights, beer mug and wine glass painting! Appetizers will be served, a cash bar will be available and it’s a benefit for the K of C. plus you’ll have fun. Go to for tickets. You don’t need to be an artist to enjoy and join in!
The VFW is holding their Last Minute Christmas Bazaar on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 19 and 20. Vendors: Call now and reserve your tables! Call Crystal at 917-246- 3126. Proceeds benefit the VFW and all the programs they run to support our vets.
The BC Library invites you in for Guided Meditation on Wednesday, Dec. 16, from 5 to 5:45 p.m.
Need some uplift, friend? Stop by Christ Presbyterian by the Sea Church any Sunday. Services are at 9 a.m. You check in at St. Virgilius Roman Catholic Church on Saturdays at 4 p.m. or Sundays at 10 a.m. Or stop in at both churches some Sunday morning. I have!
The Broad Channel Christmas Choir meets at St. Virgilius Church on Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. Stop by and join in. You do not need to read music. We’re practicing numbers to perform at Christmas Mass.
Zumba with Cathy McCarthy is available every Thursday night at Christ Presbyterian Church, 7:30 p.m. sharp. Great to get in shape for the holidays—-and get back in shape after the holidays!
The 2016 Broad Channel Historical Calendars are out! High tide times are included, so you know when to move your car! Pick up all the calendars you need at All-American Channel Market, Rock n’ Roll Bagels and other businesses. You can also get them BC Historical Society members like Barbara Toborg, Dorothy Fraher, myself, Dan Mundy and others.
Relay for Life of Broad ChannelBreezy Point, the Rockaways and Howard Beach is having a general interest meeting this Wednesday, Dec. 2. That will be at 7 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus at 333 Beach 90th St.
Last year this group collectively raised a record $79,558 for the cause of fighting cancer. Want to see what you can do to make a difference? Stop by the meeting.
Finally, this week Broad Channel says goodbye to Eileen Smith, who died peacefully, on Nov. 20. Eileen was a beloved member of the Volies, serving as BCVFD dispatcher for more than 30 years. She was also a dedicated member of the Broad Channel Civic Association, served as recording secretary for more than 30 years. As a parishioner at St Virgilius, she also did volunteer accounting for the church. She will be missed by her family, friends and neighbors, and there will be an empty place in the heart of our community.
Thanks for reading!

Broad Channel Christmas Tree Lighting

Making The Season Bright

By Dan Guarino

Community celebrations across Rockaway and Broad Channel will start off the holiday season. 
Photos by Dan Guarino Community celebrations acrossRockaway and Broad Channelwill start off the holiday season.Photos by Dan GuarinoAs Thanksgiving leftovers are neatly wrapped up, and November turns to December, a host of new holiday celebrations are popping up in Rockaway and Broad Channel. Here are a few.
On Tuesday, Dec. 2, the Broad Channel Christmas Tree Lighting will start at 5:30 p.m. It will take place at the Broad Channel Athletic Club’s Memorial Field at 125 Cross Bay Blvd.
There will be Christmas songs from the Broad Channel Girl Scouts, the PS 47 Chorus and a special holiday performance by Thomasina’s Dance Company.
Visitors are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy for a children’s gift drive. The toys will go to children at the Cohen Medical Center’s Hematology/ Oncology department and Ronald McDonald House. Channel resident Debbie Spanburgh-O’Connor and her daughters are organizing the drive.
The Beach 116th Street Holiday Street and Christmas Tree Lighting kicks off in festive style on Friday, Dec 4.
From 4 to 6 p.m. across from the Firehouse on Beach 116th Street, all will enjoy complimentary refreshments and special holiday shopping coupons.
There will also be performances by Ms. Elaine’s School of Dance, the St. Francis de Sales Choir, J.U.M.P. Dance School, the St. Camillus Catholic Academy Choir and the PS/MS 114 Glee Club.
Santa will be making an extra special guest appearance at the event organized by the Beach 116th Street Partnership.
The Partnership along with local synagogues will be celebrating the start of Hanukkah on Sunday, Dec. 6. The Beach 116th Street Menorah Lighting Hanukkah Celebration will begin at 4 p.m.
The event honoring the Festival of Lights will take place on the center mall across from the Capitol One Bank, near Rockaway Beach Boulevard.
There will be complimentary refreshments and special coupons for holiday shopping, and the first light of the eight day holiday will be lit on the community menorah.
Sunday, Dec. 6, will also see the lighting of the popular Little North Pole at 144-03 Neponsit Ave.
The pre-show begins at 2 p.m. and features special guests including radio personalities Joe Causi and ‘Goumba’ Johnny Sialiano, along with Lucas Prata, France Jli, George Lamond and others. The main event will kick off at 3 p.m.
Many local school bands, glee clubs and dance schools will also be performing.
The Little North Pole, organized by Neponsit resident Joe Mure, is now in its 20th year.
Each year it raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
The celebration of the season will continue with events large and small throughout December. Check the Wave for upcoming details.

Santa’s Special Broad Channel Elves

By Dan Guarino

Last year, sisters Anna and Amanda Spanburgh-O’Connor, along with big sister Allyssa and their mom, Debbie, collected more than donated 725 gifts for children with cancer. This year they want to distribute even more. 
Photos by Dan Guarino Last year, sisters Anna and Amanda Spanburgh-O’Connor, along with big sister Allyssa and their mom, Debbie, collected more than donated 725 gifts for children with cancer. This year they want to distribute even more. Photos by Dan GuarinoEach year, something special starts to happen in and around a home on Broad Channel’s west side. As the days get shorter, the house lights burn longer and toys, games, dolls and stuffed animals begin to pile up on every surface in the Spanburgh O’Connor home.
Broad Channel resident Debbie Spanburgh-O’Connor and her daughters, Anna, age 11, Amanda, 9, and Alyssa, 16, have gathered hundreds of gifts to deliver to children in need.
“Our daughter, Anna, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010,” O’- Connor explains. One year “around Christmas time, we were leaving the hospital and she was concerned that her friends upstairs and the other children would not be getting a visit fromSanta Claus. It was a heartbreaking reality that they were not going home for Christmas.”
Neither she nor Anna was ready to leave it at that. “We needed to make sure the children on Med 4 got toys for Christmas.”
Med 4 is the children’s cancer ward at the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center.
O’Connor said, “Anna and I talked about it on the ride back. When we got home we posted on Facebook and the response and help we got was amazing. This will be our third year donating hundreds of toys to the children who weren’t going home.”
Last year they had more than 725 toys in their home. As she says, they come from “anyone who has been touched by cancer in a child.” Particularly, she is “grateful for our community of Broad Channel and surrounding neighborhoods like RockawayBelle HarborBreezy Point and Howard Beach.”
Even friends and family from Florida have helped.
This year the toys will be distributed at Cohen and also Ronald Mc- Donald House. “It’s a great place doing amazing things for families and children who are sick.”
This will mark the third year for the toy drive and it really is a family project.
“They count, they stack, bag, load up the vans,” she says of her daughters, “They work hard!”
And, she says, “they thank everyone who drops off something.”
Having cancer affect their own home has given them a deeper appreciation of things. “Nothing has made me prouder than watching them help me do this! Their hearts are big and kind.”
As for the children receiving the accumulated gifts, O’Connor notes, “Any child getting toys on Christmas morning has to feel such happiness, no matter if they’re home or in a hospital. That is our goal.”
Along with various events at which toy donations will be accepted, the O’Connor family welcomes all individual donations. “Anyone can donate to this.”
Those who would like to donate and add to the already gathering mountain of toys can go to Debbie Spanburgh-O’Connor’s Facebook page. They will find “3rd Annual Holiday Toy Drive Benefits Children Fighting Cancer” under the Events tab, and the location to either send or drop off gifts.
Toys will be collected up to Friday, Dec. 11.
Expressing their own understanding of how cancer affects families, and explaining why they are doing what they do, O’Connor adds this for her family. “Our prayers and thoughts go out to the families and children of anyone who has to go through this difficult journey.
“We wish you all happy holidays and good health in the coming New Year.”
Certainly each child will go into that New Year knowing for certain that, yes, Santa visits hospitals, too

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Rockaway Times November 25th Edition (pdf)

Goldfeder Encourages Families to Apply to Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)

Assemblyman Goldfeder Announces open application for HEAP financial assistance, heating equipment repair and replacement work to help reduce home heating costs

Goldfeder: No family should be left in the cold this winter

Far Rockaway, Queens - With winter fast approaching, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D - Far Rockaway) is encouraging local families to take advantage of open applications for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), a federally funded program designed to reduce heating costs for vulnerable families. 

"No family should be left out in the cold this winter," said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. "HEAP helps ensure that our most vulnerable families won't have to choose between heating their home and putting food on their tables. With the application period now open, I encourage every family to consider applying for this valuable assistance." 

Starting last week, the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) is offering financial assistance to families that spend a high portion of their household income on energy costs. The benefits are part of the 2015-2016 HEAP program, a federally funded initiative that helps keep families safe and healthy through the cold winter months. 

To ensure that families have working heating systems, the HEAP program can provide eligible homeowners with assistance repairing and replacing boilers, furnaces or other heating units. Applications for this program initiative began on November 9th. The program also provides emergency heating assistance to families at risk of having their utilities shut off. Applications for this assistance begin on January 4th, 2016.

For information regarding HEAP benefits in New York City, dial the toll-free number at 1-800-692-0557. You can also find more information regarding the benefits by going to
To learn more about HEAP, you can contact the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance by calling the toll-free number at 1-800-342-3009, or you can visit the OTDA website at You can also review your eligibility by visiting In addition to those resources, you can contact Assemblyman Goldfeder’s Office for any assistance by calling 718-945-9550 or emailing

Broad Channel Lags behind all other communities in Post Sandy Recovery

A little more than three years after Sandy hit, the city's "Build it Back" repair program is finally hitting its stride. About a third of owners eligible for construction help have seen work begin. 
But progress varies widely by neighborhood: In Midland Beach, more than 70 percent of the jobs are underway, though the Staten Island community was seriously flooded by Sandy.
In Broad Channel, a low-lying island in the middle of Jamaica Bay, the number was just about 11 percent as of Friday, according to the latest figures from the city.
Amy Peterson, the director of the Build it Back program, says most Broad Channel homes in the program sustained such severe damage that they need to be raised up on higher foundations, or completely rebuilt, a process that takes longer and requires more permits.
"Where you see regional differences in the numbers is based on the damage," she said. "If someone is getting reimbursement or getting their home repaired, that's obviously a much quicker fix than actually doing the elevations and rebuilds."
Broad Channel residents are frustrated that the program has taken so long. But Dan Mundy Jr., the head of the civic association, says the city has undertaken a number of recent changes that he expects will accelerate rebuilding.
"You can't look back," he said. "You have to look forward."
Mayor Bill de Blasio has promised to complete all construction work in the Build it Back pipeline by the end of 2016. All homeowners who made repairs themselves have already been reimbursed, according to spokesman Sam Breidbart. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Parking Update: West 12th Road

WEST 12th Road

Earlier this week the "Street Closed Due to Construction" signage was removed from the entrance to West 12th Road.  Additionally, the previous signage parking restriction signage prohibiting any parking on the north side of the street between the hours of 7 am and 6pm, Monday through Friday, have also been removed.

The "No parking Anytime" signage for the south side of the street remains in effect to ensure the emergency access lane for emergency and other vehicles remains unencumbered.

During that period of time that West 12th Closed was officially "closed" many residents started to angle park their personal vehicles on the north side of the street during the overnight and weekend hours in order to accommodate the maximum number of parking spaces possible. 

We have explored several avenues of approach in order to authorize a continuance of the practice of angle parking on the block to no avail. As such, all West 12th residents should be aware that since the street is no longer officially closed, continued angle parking of personal vehicles may result in Parking Enforcement staff visiting W12th Road and issuing violations to such cars as angle parking, unless specifically authorized by DOT signage, is illegal.  

Consequently, I would recommend all residents immediately return to the previous practice of parallel parking their cars in order to avoid possible and costly violations.

DOT has been requested to expand the number of designated displaced parking area on both sides of the Cross Bay Boulevard median and we are expecting a decision from that agency in the near future.

New Saturday Hours for Broad Channel Library!

Expanding Hours of Service!
Thanks to an historic investment in libraries by Mayor de Blasio and the NY City Council, Queens Library will be expanding its hours of service as of the week of Nov. 15, 2015. The new schedule for all Queens Libraries may be found here.
Every library in every community will be open at least six days a week! That means there will be more opportunities to take advantage of all the great programs and services Queens Library offers. They include more story times for our youngest library users, new Saturday classes for adults working towards their high school  diplomas, more time to use library computers or borrow a tablet to take home, more chances to grab the latest best seller. Watch for information about special.
The new schedule for our Broad Channel Library is now...
Monday:   12-8 
Tuesday: 1-6 
Wednesday:  10-6
Thursday:  12-8
Friday:  10-6 
Saturday:  10-5 (New additional hours)

Between the Bridges

Between the Bridges: The Barbarians Are at the Gates

My apologies for the on again, off again status of this column over the past several weeks but I was laid low with a bout of pneumonia.  Feeling much better by late last week I started to pen a new column which I quickly placed aside Friday evening as I remained glued to my TV, radio and the internet through Saturday morning following the horrific events which took place in France.
As most of us looked on with anger and disgust at the carnage visited upon the city of Paris last Friday evening by radical Muslim extremists, I was actually ashamed and embarrassed (but not surprised) as University of Missouri student activists utilized social media outlets to express their annoyance that the coverage of the massacre in Paris had replaced front page coverage of their protest activities. One budding student genius actually took to Twitter to opine, “Interesting how the news reports are covering the Paris terrorist attacks but say nothing about the terrorist attacks at #Mizzou.”
Nurtured with academia’s continual assertions that the students have a “right” to be free from “hostile environments” and “microaggressions,” a right to a “comforting, safe space” while on campus, a right to be free of the tyranny of “white privilege,” a right to “income equality,” a right to be free from language with an inherently violent and discomforting nature regardless of our Constitution’s First Amendment, a right to political correctness, and a “right” to a free college education, many of our colleges and universities are giving rise to a generation of infantile, me-centric, spoiled brats, attending school on Mommy and Daddy’s or the taxpayers’ dime and apparently are incapable of thinking for themselves.
This new generation of supposedly educated American youth viewed the bloody streets of the City of Lights last week through a prism of selfish eyes and could only wonder aloud, “But what about us?” In the minds of many of these of these students, their “right” to a free education, unfettered by any situation or circumstance which might make them feel uncomfortable, somehow trumped the rights of those hundreds of innocent civilians killed or injured by terrorist guns and explosives in Paris. How dare the slaughter and injury of hundreds of innocents eclipse the media coverage of the much more important issue of these students’ struggle for their litany of perceived “rights?”
I can only wonder how these very same professional student activists would feel if they had lost a family member on 9/11, the Boston Marathon or, god forbid, had they actually been inside the Bataclan Theatre in Paris on Friday evening when terrorists clearly defined the difference between perceived inherently violent language delivering a sense of discomfort and actual violence which delivered death and destruction upon hundreds of innocent concertgoers.
I, for one, have had enough of spoiled, selfish, ungrateful, overly sensitive, safe-space seeking, college loan collecting students to last me a lifetime.  It’s time for all of them to grow the hell up and finally realize that there is no such thing as a free lunch and that they have to exist and live in the real world, which does not revolve around them.
It is also time for many (not all) of our college academics to ask their proctologists to locate their heads, place them firmly back on their shoulders and start teaching these kids how to think for themselves rather than what they want them to think. The atrocities of the radical Muslim extremist attacks in Paris last Friday clearly depicts that there are far more serious issues that we as a nation must be concerned with and that no matter how wide the ocean, we are not safe.
Whether you want to admit or not, the barbarians are at the gates and there is no “safe and comfortable” space any of us can retreat to at school, at work or at home.

Boyleing Points

Boyleing Points: Education Vacation

Dear Diary – Going to Florida for the weekend. Taking son to visit colleges.
Side note: the idea of Florida colleges was mine. It’s like the gifts I buy – I get stuff I like so if the recipients don’t have any use for ‘em, I’ll get to enjoy them.  A few days in sunny Florida before the cold dark days of winter?  Sounds like a plan, whether or not my son likes it or not.
The plane is delayed for an hour and a half for who-knows-why.  The plane came in late from who-knows-where.  We get to the Florida hotel at midnight.  But who cares.  It’s warm.
The next day we get to campus and the delayed flight is a distant memory.  It took an extra couple of hours to get to paradise, so what.   As we take the tour, one thing becomes clear: I want to go to college more than my son.
I don’t want to study but I do want to use that gym, that pool, and have my choice of fine dining in a dorm that puts our hotel to shame.  The tour guide says the campus has staff that cleans the bathrooms – which, of course, are in each dorm room – not down the hall like back in the day.  I start thinking – forget the Rockaway Times.  I should take the SAT and run the student newspaper.
The library lends books but they’re like artifacts, they’re so retro.  What you really want to do is borrow a GoPro camera, a drone (I’m not kidding!) and an iPad.
The auditorium is a Broadway theater and the campus infirmary has a doctor (maybe two) 24/7.  Not on call.  There.  Just waiting to care for you.   Turns out, I should’ve made a visit but more on that later.
We go to a second campus because maybe there’s something better than paradise.  But first we stop at a Five Guys for a great burger. Of course, it’s a bit of hardship for students who’d have to walk 100 yards off campus to get there.
The second campus is smaller but offers the same luxuries. It might get the nod because the dorms overlook a scenic river.
We’ve got a third campus to visit the next day across the state.  As we’re driving, I start to feel a little discomfort in my lower abdomen, like a stitch.  I man up and keep driving.
At the next stop, the college dining room has the largest collection of Tiffany stained glass windows in the world.  This is quite impressive but my stomach pain is now more acute and I grimace my way through the tour.
We have an early Sunday morning flight but my son suggests changing the flight to Saturday night because, well, he didn’t really want to hang out with me that much.  I pay the extra couple of hundred bucks to change the flight to Saturday evening at 6:15.  My pain is fairly steady.
I have plenty of time to contemplate the pain because this flight is delayed for almost FIVE hours.
The delay gives me time to wonder about all the ailments or diseases I might have.  And the delay gives me time to look up my symptoms online.  I wonder out loud, maybe hoping for some sympathy from my son, maybe I have pancreatitis.
He is not sympathetic:  Who are you, Steve Jobs?
Never mind Steve Jobs had pancreatic cancer, not pancreatitis.  The point, I guess, he was calling me a hypochondriac and an egomaniac at the same time. Which reminds me of that old inscription on a cemetery tombstone of an accused hypochondriac:  Now do you believe me?
Anyway, I will call my doctor when I land but until then I continue research.  But you know how it is these days.  You can’t just have just a stomach ache; you’ve got to have a cataclysmic disease.
I self-diagnose through the long wait in the airport.  Then I see STRESS as a possible cause.  Then it dawns on me.  I’m not going to college.  I’m just paying for it.