Saturday, November 22, 2014

JFK Assassinated 51 Years Ago Today

51 years ago today in 1963, as I was attending Bishop Loughlin Memorial H.S. in Brooklyn, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and Texas Governor John Connally seriously wounded during a motorcade in Dallas. 

Later that same day suspect Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested and  Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as America's 36th president.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Words from a simpler, but much more discerning era - Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation

The below Thanksgiving Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln was written 150 years ago and yet the words contained therein remain as powerful today as they were back then.

Lincoln's simple juxtaposition of the misery of the ongoing Civil War  and the "blessings" enjoyed by the citizens of this great nation is one all of us should keep in mind during this coming holiday...

"No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things.  They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy."

Might I be so bold as to suggest that this Thanksgiving we have our school aged (and older) children read this proclamation and then discuss it with them as I am sure they will not be exposed to this document in our schools.  

Washington, D.C.

October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,

Secretary of State

American Littoral Society's Northeast Chapter's 25th Annual Holiday Fundraiser Party!

Please join us as we celebrate a year of great accomplishments and our shared vision of protecting and conserving our coastlines!
We look forward to celebrating with our friends and supporters! Kick off your shoes and join us for a fun evening of music, food and drink, raffle prizes, silent auction, "Ugly Auction", a nature walk and special guests.
Join us as we honor the NYC Dept. of Parks' Jamaica Bay Rockaway Park Recovery and Resiliency Corps with the American Littoral Society's Coastal Conservation Award, recognizing outstanding work in leading efforts to preserve and protect Jamaica Bay. 
Help us spread the word and invite your friends and family!
25th Annual Holiday Fundraiser
Saturday, December 13, 2014
3 - 4:30 PM  - Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Nature Walk led by Chapter Director and naturalist, Don Riepe. (meet at visitor center)
5 - 9 PM - Party!
Award Ceremony: American Littoral Society presents Coastal Conservation Award 

Tickets: $75.00 per adult, $35.00 kids under 16
Your support helps the American Littoral Society's Northeast Chapter continue our work preserving and protecting our coastal communities, work that began in 1982 by Chapter Director Don Riepe. These funds go directly to support our ongoing programs: The Marsh Restoration Initiative, Jamaica Bay Guardian, New York State Beach Cleanup and Operation Cleansweep. A special thank you to all of the volunteers, community members and funders who helped us in our mission this past year. 
For sponsor information, please contact: Elizabeth Stoehr at or (718) 474-0896.
Have questions about American Littoral Society's 25th Annual Holiday Fundraiser - Northeast Chapter? Contact American Littoral Society

News from Assemblman Goldfeder

November 21, 2014
In This Issue
Working on the Railroad
Support our Vets
Funding for St. Johns
Abandoned Homes
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
Dear Neighbor, 
Last week, I joined Queens College President Felix Matos Rodriguez, my colleagues, union leaders, and transit advocates in releasing the final results of the Department of Urban Studies study of the potential uses of the old Rockaway Beach Rail Line. This is the only comprehensive and objective study done by local students and experts. They found that reactivation could cost less than $1 billion and service would generate up to 500,000 trips a day. Theseresults clearly indicate that complete restoration or the rail line is affordable, will increase transit options, create quality jobs, boost our economy, ease commutes and clean our environment by taking thousands of cars off the road.
The MTA has already agreed that utilizing the old right of way is the most cost effective way to increase transit options in Queens and provide quick access to JFK airport from Manhattan. This study is another step in the right direction and I will keep working to make our dream a reality.

You can read the full results of the study 

Once again, I want to thank Queens College and the hard work of the students and faculty in the Urban Studies Department for bringing us one step closer to reactivating the line. 

You can stay up to date with community news and daily updates by following me on Facebook and Twitter.

Stay Strong,

Honoring Vets at PS 232
I celebrated our true American heroes at "Take a Vet to School Day" at PS 232 in Lindenwood. I want to thank Principal Lisa Josephson, the faculty and students at PS 232 for organizing this beautiful ceremony. It was both very moving and a great celebration of those who proudly served our country! 
Funding for our Hospital 
Proud to announce that I have secured $500,000 in state funding for St. John's Episcopal Hospital in Rockaway. This funding will go a long way to ensure that St. John's can modernize, grow and continue to provide quality and accessible healthcare for our families in southern Queens and Rockaway. 
Clean Abandoned Homes
In an effort to combat growing rodent infestations in our communities, particularly around Sandy-damaged properties, I called on the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to do a comprehensive inspection of abandoned properties and place rat traps and rodenticides to curb the growing health emergency. Taking proactive steps will prevent the problem from spreading and help our families recover and our communities to remain strong.

Mayor de Blasio - A very "Uncivil" Servant!

Between the Bridges in Broad Channel

Peter J. Mahon

Mayor de Blasio - "A Very Uncivil Servant"

By now almost everyone is aware that our Mayor was late in arriving at the Flight 587 Memorial Service on Beach 116th Street in Rockaway. 

Just before 9:16 am when a bell was to be tolled to commemorate the exact time of Flight 587's demise, the Mayor still hadn't arrived.  When asked where the Mayor was, the stock reply was "He'll be here in a few minutes." As 9:16 am rapidly approached all of the Mayor's minions simply stood around looking clueless with their hands in their pockets.  

Suddenly, Miriam Estrella, who lost family on Flight 587 back in 2001,  rose from her seat and took charge of the situation.  Ascending to the podium Ms. Estrella announced to the crowd "Sorry, our Mayor's not here but it is time that exactly 13 years ago our family members passed away and we will now toll the bell."  Thankfully, the bell was tolled on time and the assembled mourners shared a moment of silence to reflect on the 265 lives lost when Flight 587 fell from the sky and exploded in Belle Harbor.

Shortly thereafter Mayor de Blasio arrived embarrassingly late at the ceremony on Beach 116th Street and at the conclusion of the memorial service, with no apology for his lateness, damage control on the part of Mayor's staff went into high gear.    

The Mayor's spokeman, Marti Adams, explained that the Mayor decided to travel to Rockaway by police boat because that was the quickest means of transport but was delayed because of unexpected heavy fog.  Really? Are you kidding me? Considering this is the same Mayor who killed our Rockaway Ferry service only 2 weeks ago, you really have to assume that he thinks little of rubbing salt in that wound! By the way. I guess nobody paid any attention to the Dense Fog Advisory for the morning of the Flight 587 Memorial service issued by the National Weather Service some 19 hours prior to the Mayor's boat trip. (Are we expected to believe that the Mayor's police launch was bereft of state of the art GPS and radar?) The Mayor's spokesman also conveniently forgot to mention that de Blasio was scheduled to leave Gracie Mansion via NYPD boat at 8 am for the ceremony but instead left 35 minutes late.

Realizing that the boat and heavy fog excuse wasn't gaining any traction, the Mayor then stated that he was late because he had a really rough night, couldn't sleep and was feeling off-kilter. What a bunch of malarkey! All that was missing from Bill's "woe is me" statement was Linda Ronstadt standing beside him singing  Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me!

A few days after the Flight 587 memorial, when asked by the media about his continual lateness, rather than apologizing and attempt to place this embarrassing matter behind him, Mayor Bill took the course of a true politician - never retreat...never retract...never admit a mistake - and simply dismissed the issue of his constant tardiness as "inside baseball." 

"Inside baseball" really? The Mayor would be well served to heed the sage advice of the editor of the Rockaway Times, Mr. Kevin Boyle, who cautioned in a recent Boyleing Points column that "You gotta be careful using inside baseball stuff because if you go too inside, you'll be the only one there."

This entire fiasco could have been avoided if only he had the common sense to take a pittance of time at the conclusion of the memorial service to address those in attendance and offer a sincere apology for his inability to arrive at that solemn gathering on time, recognized and expressed his gratitude to Ms. Estrella for rising to the occasion and salvaging the timeliness of the event and  expressed regret for his insensitivity in utilizing maritime transport to travel to the event after having terminated our Rockaway Ferry just 2 weeks earlier, this incident could have been a one day story. 

Bill de Blasio's lack of common sense and ensuing insensitivity to those he serves can only lead us to believe that our career civil servant Mayor is quite comfortable believing that his time is more valuable than ours.  

This character flaw only serves to paint our Mayor as a very uncivil servant!

Broad Channel - why would anyone want to live anywhere else!

Contact information: email: or text/call: 347-226-1293.

Broad Channel Bits

By Dan Guarino

I had the pleasure of catching the opening night of the Rockaway Theatre Company’s Damn Yankees.Great musical show. This is the last weekend, so grab a ticket, if you can.
Anyway, years ago I worked with a fellow named Bill who generously offered to lend Liz and I movies from his collection. Damn Yankees was one of the offerings.
But every time I mentioned it to Liz, she really wasn’t keen on it. I could not figure out why.
One weekend I brought it home anyway. We watched it and both enjoyed it.
So I asked Liz, “Why didn’t you want to see this movie?”
Damn Yankees?” she said. “I thought it was some kind of Civil War picture!”
Walking around to my place last week I spotted a flyer which had blown out of the mailbox and down the drive. It was for an event that was taking place on Friday.
It was too late to get it out in the paper, but I did what I could to pass the information on.
Hopefully the event was a big success. My point being though is I will gladly publicize anything and everything going on in the Channel, especially upcoming events. I’d like to help make as many things as possible be successful here.
If you have something coming up, send it to me at workingstories The earlier the better! Let’s get the word out there! Thanks.
This weekend the winning ticket will be drawn for the Broad Channel Christmas Lights 2014 fundraising raffle. That will be at the Bungalow Bar on Saturday, Nov. 22. The grand prize is $5,000, and there is $10,000 in prizes in all. There might be one of those only 400 tickets left. But hurry! It doesn’t pay to be 401. Go to their Facebook page right now and take a chance. It all goes to a good cause.
Come by for a Craft Fair at PS 479 Power Road, this Tuesday, Nov. 24, 6 to 8:30 p.m.!
There will be several local vendors selling a wide variety of unique items which make great gifts. Enjoy an evening of shopping and support our local vendors and school! Refreshments will be available.
The Altar-Rosary Society will meet on Monday, Nov. 24 at 12:30 p.m. in the American Legion Hall
Parents, there will be no CCD classes on Wednesday, Nov. 26.
On Thanksgiving Day, the Mass at St. Virgilius will be at 9 a.m.
You can bring non-perishable food to be donated to those who have less. Also, families are invited to bring something they will use at their family meal. (The turkey can, however, stay at home.)
Mass at St. Camillus will be at 10 a.m.
Speaking of good deeds, on Saturday, Nov. 15, the Vollies presented a big check to Susan G. Komen to support that group’s fight against breast cancer. Komen CEO Linda Tantawi accepted the check for $2,500 at the firehouse.
The BCVFD announced a portion of their 2014 fund drive would go to them, so in a way this was a gift from all of Broad Channel.
If you missed it last time, BC Civic Association president Dan Mundy Jr. noted we have “received a number of complaints about the American General Contractors. We are looking to find out if other Sandy damaged residents in the Broad ChannelRockawayBreezy Point area have had any experiences with this company where money was paid and no work was performed. If anyone has had such an experience and would like to share it, please forward an email to”
I had a great chat with former resident Charlie White (no relation to Father Charles White). Turns out his dad, William ‘Bill’ White, is celebrating his 90th birthday on Friday, Nov. 17. His family lived in Broad Channel. Bill was born and lived here from 1924 to 1947. He knew all the old time places and neighbors. He enlisted in the Navy and saw action in WWII. He was one of five brothers who together served in the Navy, Army and Army Air Corps. In 1977 he retired from the FDNY and now lives up north, in Howard Beach. His younger brother, who will be 87 in January, and his family got together to celebrate his big day. Bill, a most happy birthday to you from BC!
Relay for Life’s Team DOMinators is running a holiday shopping trip to Tanger Outlets in Riverhead, N.Y., on Saturday, Dec. 6. Pick up is at 7 a.m. at BCAC on Cross Bay Boulevard. The bus will leave Tanger Outlet at 5 p.m. to come back. For $35 per person you get round trip transportation, a Tanger Outlet Coupon Book, breakfast, snacks and cash door prizes. Reserve your spot now by contacting Michelle at 917-572-7643 or
All proceeds benefit Relay for Life and ACS.
Tuesday, Dec. 2, at 7:15 p.m. at St. Virgilius see a celebration of the memory and the life of the four American churchwomen killed in El Salvador on Dec. 2, 1980. One of the women, Maryknoll Missionary Sister Maura Clark, was from Rockaway.
All are welcome to come and be part of honoring these brave souls and remembering others.
The 26th Annual Craft and Christmas Gift Sale will be at the American Legion on Friday, Dec. 5, from 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 6, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Broad Channel Crafters and the American Legion Auxiliary are hosting it and all proceeds go to the Wounded Warriors Project. Look for homemade jewelry, ornaments, baked goods, raffles, seasonal decorations and items and more. Kitchen will be open to sell hot soup, chili, hot dogs and knishes and more.
This week Broad Channel says goodbye to Mike Ross Sr. Mike was a longtime Elder and Member of Christ Presbyterian Church.
Our thoughts are with his family today. He will be missed by them, by his friends and neighbors and theBroad Channel community.
Thanks for reading.
And Happy Thanksgiving, Broad Channel!

Goldfeder: Transportation is a top priority

Official Point of View

By Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder

We are currently at a crossroads in Rockaway. While we have the opportunity to increase transit options, ease commute times and provide our local economy and small businesses the boost they desperately need, we must remain strong and united.
For years, I have made transportation a top priority and have worked by fighting for the residency rebate on the Cross Bay Bridge, fighting for improved service on the A line, fighting for permanent ferry service and fighting for the reactivation of the Rockaway Beach Rail Line. Our resilience after Sandy was illustrated boldly in our ability to stick together, work together, recover together and, most importantly, fight together!
I am proud of our accomplishments and tireless efforts to achieve better transit infrastructure for our families. First, I successfully secured riders free parking at the National Grid MGP site on Beach 108th Street when the ferry first began. As our community was faced with multiple threats during the two years of service, I worked hard to locate state grants and develop creative plans for alternate revenue streams to fund ferry service. I fought to ensure the Rockaway West NY Rising Committee funding allocations were put in motion quickly to potentially act as a stop gap measure for ferry service. I met with our community partners at Resorts World on the ferry and proposed the idea of linking ferry service from their location in southern Queens to Rockawayand the rest of the city. I also brought Port Authority to the table and called on them to fund ferry service as a permanent waterways link to JFK Airport. Most recently, I proposed that the city implement a tourist-only fare for the Staten Island Ferry to subsidize Rockaway ferry service. The city’s own Independent Budget Office concluded in a 2006 study that this could generate as much as $4.5 million a year, enough to fund ferry service for the Rockaways.
Long before Sandy, we have rallied, screamed, and petitioned to demand city hall make the ferry permanent. We collected thousands of signed petitions in support of the ferry and took them to the steps of city hall with our local transportation advocates to handdeliver to the mayor. I have joined countless rallies with civic leaders, transit advocates, elected officials and residents to keep our ferry. And, at the 11th hour, I joined my fellow elected officials in a meeting with the mayor to convince him that the Rockaway Peninsula needs the ferry. Despite all our collective efforts, City Hall still chose to ignore our transportation needs and kill the ferry.
Like you, I am severely disappointed in Mayor de Blasio and the Economic Development Corporation but I have not, and will not, give up the fight for permanent ferry service in Rockaway.
Another great option to improve transportation for Rockaway families and the entire city is restoring the Rockaway Beach Rail Line. For years, I have been a staunch and vocal advocate for revitalizing the rail line. Beginning in the early ‘60s, parts of the railroad located in southern Queens and Rockaway were consolidated, sectioned off and eventually closed. However, today the right of way for the rail line still remains intact and could potentially provide residents and visitors with safe, affordable and expedient access to other parts of the city with 40 minute commutes or less to Midtown Manhattan. I’m proud to say that last week we took an important step forward when the Queens College Department of Urban Studies released its comprehensive study on restoring the rail line. While supporters of a park plan spent half a million dollars on consultants to produce a one-sided study that ignored transit, the Queens College study took our brightest young students and had them look into all options for the rail line and see what people really want and need.
The study concluded that as many as half a million trips a day could be taken on the rail line if reactivated. It also cited recent feasibility studies done by the MTA and New York University that estimated the cost of reactivation to be less than $1 billion. By comparison, just the first phase of the new Second Avenue Subway line in Manhattan will cost over $4 billion.
The study also recognized the alarming lack of transportation options for residents of the Rockaways. It pointed out that in the 50 years since the Rockaway Beach Rail Line was deactivated, the population on the peninsula has doubled. Today, Rockaway residents have some of the longest commute times in the city, even longer than many Long Island residents.
At the study release, we were joined by an unprecedented coalition who came out in support, including Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Congressman Gregory Meeks (NY-05), Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) State Senator Tony Avella, City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen and John Cavanagh, political coordinator for Iron Workers Local 361. Our growing coalition and the Queens College study prove that reactivating the rail line is the best and most cost-effective way to improve transportation access for thousands of residents in Queens and across New York.
The MTA has even included the restoration of the rail line in their Twenty-Year Capital Needs Assessment, which serves as a blueprint for the MTA’s vision to repair, rebuild and expand NYC public transit infrastructure between 2015 and 2034. In the report, the MTA declared that the Rockaway Beach Rail Line would be a realistic, efficient and inexpensive option that would significantly improve transit options for Queens residents while creating jobs and helping the environment.
That’s why I’m now calling on Governor Cuomo to use part of the state’s new $5 billion budget surplus to fund the reactivation of the Rockaway Beach Rail Line. When I was elected in 2011, I made a promise to the residents of Rockaway that we would fight together to improve our communities. Now that you have honored me with two more years of service this past election, I promise to continue our work.
We have seen what happens when we are divided, but we have also proven what can be accomplished when we stick together. We are not at the end of the struggle but only the beginning and must remain united so Rockaway can continue to succeed and grow.

Goldfeder: Use surplus cash on rail line

Use surplus cash on rail line: Goldfeder 1

Posted: Thursday, November 20, 2014 10:30 am
His way is not the QueensWay.
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park) on Monday called on Gov. Cuomo to allocate part of the state’s $5 billion surplus for the reactivation of the Rockaway Beach rail line.
“This is a one-shot infusion of money that should be used for infrastructure that could provide Queens and the entire city with the transit options it so desperately needs,” Goldfeder said in a written statement. “What better use of state dollars than for the restoration of an abandoned rail line that could create jobs, remove congestion from our roadways and improve transit options for up to 500 thousand riders per day.”
In a Nov. 17 letter to Cuomo obtained by the Chronicle, Goldfeder tells the governor that “the rail line will increase transit options, stimulate the economy, improve our environment and create jobs for our local residents.”
“The MTA signaled its willingness to restore the rail line in their twenty year plan and Comptroller DiNapoli agreed restoring service on the line would be the most cost effective way to speed commutes between South Queens and Manhattan, improve travel within the borough, promote economic development and prepare our neighborhood for future growth,” Goldfeder’s letter to Cuomo states.
The state has a surplus of about $5 billion, which comes from settlements and fines of financial firms who were prosecuted by the state in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.
Goldfeder believes the surplus should be used on “major infrastructure improvements.”
“A small portion of the $5 billion still waiting to be allocated could improve transit for millions of residents and provide additional access to JFK airport,” the assemblyman said in his written statement. “In the best interest of our Queens families and to the benefit of every resident across New York City, I strongly urge Governor Cuomo to use our state’s surplus dollars to fund the restoration of the Rockaway Beach Rail Line.”
The cost of reactivating the rail line would be somewhere between $600 and $900 million, according to Goldfeder’s letter to Cuomo.
The letter to the governor comes a week after a survey Goldfeder commissioned through the Queens College Department of Urban Studies found that 500,000 riders could benefit from the reactivation of the long-abandoned line per day.
The survey also showed that roughly 40 percent of people along the rail’s right of way would rather see a train on the tracks than have it turned into the QueensWay, a 3.5 mile stretch of parkland.
Goldfeder cited the survey in his letter to Cuomo, saying it showed that “roughly 40% [of people] favored reactivating the rail line.”
A spokesperson for Friends of QueensWay, an organization advocating for the parkland proposal, said in a written statement, “When the facts are presented, the overwhelming impacts and drawbacks associated with rail reactivation are obvious.”
“The Friends of the QueensWay and its thousands of supporters continue to believe that the QueensWay is the best and only way to maximize the quality of life and economic development benefits that will be realized when this property is adaptively reused for the community,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson also disputed claims that the MTA has given its support to the rail line project, and added that DiNapoli has also supported the QueensWay proposal.
Goldfeder’s proposal to have the state’s surplus money allocated to the rail line was supported by Philip McManus, president of the Queens Public Transit Committee.
“The Queens Public Transit Committee highly urges Governor Cuomo to provide funding to address our dangerous overcrowding problem in our transit system and our slow unproductive congested roadways,” McManus said in a written statement.
“It’s time our state restore the Queens Rockaway Beach Rail line and create a one seat ride to Midtown Manhattan and Queens, including a 40 minute or less ride to the Atlantic Ocean, Jamaica Bay, JFK Airport, Resorts World Casino, Forest Park and Queens Mall.”

The Rockaway Times Online Edition - Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Construction Schedule for Thanksgiving Week - W11th,12th and 13th Roads