Sunday, September 21, 2014


***** VFW Hall – Shad Creek Road – 7:00 PM *****
September 25, 2014

This issue of the Newsletter is sponsored by
Allstate Insurance and
Cross Bay Hardware

Summer seemed to fly by, but most people I speak with appreciated the great weather--no major heat waves and not too much rain. With the end of summer the Broad Channel Civic Association will start holding monthly meetings again and as usual they will be on the fourth Thursday of each month and take place at the VFW Hall on Shad Creek Road. Big thanks to the VFW for allowing us the use of their hall!! The September meeting will be on Thursday, Sept. 25th and it will feature a number of updates for residents on a variety of issues that have occurred over the summer.
The side street repaving is underway as this is written. We had been informed in June, and it was reported to the community, that the side streets would be paved in September with FEMA funds. Then on September 5th we attended a meeting where it was explained that a number of side streets would not be included with the paving that was to begin within the week. The Civic Association objected to this ridiculous decision as did Assemblyman Goldfeder and Councilman Ulrich's representative, Ciara. DOT explained that they would have preferred to include these streets but this paving project was funded by FEMA and it was the decision of FEMA that these streets be excluded. That FEMA would be so stupid, moronic, brainless, dim etc. is of no surprise at all. After two years of dealing with this agency it is clear they are without a doubt the most dysfunctional agency in the entire federal government. In spite of this we are happy to report that Queens DOT Commissioner Hall has agreed to fund the milling and the paving of those streets that were omitted. The Civic Association wants to thank Assemblyman Goldfeder for his tremendous support on this as well as Councilman Eric Ulrich, and State Senator Joe Addabbo. We could not have got this changed without their numerous phone calls and emails supporting our position. 

The September Civic meeting will also include a presentation and Q&A with Amy Peterson. Amy is the head of the Build It Back programand the Civic has been meeting with her at monthly task force meetings that Queens Boro President Melinda Katz has been holding. While we have experienced some progress at these meetings on issues that we have brought up, the overall pace and progress of the program to date has been abysmal. There have been recent changes within the program and we are hoping that will help. Amy will give an update and will take questions from those who are still facing issues with the application process.

The street raising project has started with bulkhead, and water main work. Road bed construction work was delayed as the issue of where to move the temporary telephone poles to was addressed. The current poles have to be moved out of the way to allow for an emergency access lane and to be established during the construction. The poles will come out and the electrical, cable and telephone wires will be relocated to temporary poles while the work is done. It seems that the plan for this has been finalized and we will discuss this at the meeting. 

It is fitting that as we recently observe the 13th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that the Civic Association is able to report that "The Propeller" is on display in front of the American Legion Hall and that it displays a plaque that bears the name of Firefighter and American Legion member Raymond York. For those of you who walk by and see The Propeller and are not familiar with its history it is worth understanding how it arrived at the American Legion Hall and its connection to Broad Channel. The Propeller was sitting in the bottom of the Bay, only visible at low tide, for many decades attached to a vessel that sunk long ago. A group of local kayakers , including Ray York, would paddle by it and would spend some time when they could trying to hack saw thru the heavy metal shaft to free it and raise it out of the Bay. They saw it as a navigational hazard but also as a part of the Bays history that should be on display. They had not finished this task when 9/11 struck and Ray York raced to the Towers on his day off to assist in the massive rescue effort. Ray perished in the collapse of the Towers. Months later the remaining members of the group finished the removal and raising of The Propeller in Rays memory with an intent to put it on display at the American Legion Hall. The National Parks Service demanded to have The Propeller and promised that they would put it on display. When 3 years passed and they made no effort to do so the Civic Association intervened and contacted Daily News Columnist Denis Hammil who wrote a scathing piece on this miscarriage of justice. A short time later The Propeller was released to the kayak group who worked to have it restored and put on display at the American Legion Hall where Ray York's father is a member and where Ray himself was a member of the Sons of the American Legion. It is a beautiful and fitting memory to a local hero who instead of staying home on his day off and watching the tragedy play out from the safety of his home rushed into harm's way to help innocent New Yorkers escape from the buildings. Hopefully we will all remember him and all those lost each time we pass the beautiful historic propeller on display. The list of those who assisted in this effort includes: American Legion, Bracci Iron Works, Broad Channel Volunteers, Bryans Auto, Busters Marine, Channel Oil, Steve Badamo, George Barr, Bill Ford, Phillip Dagostino, Dorothy McCluskey, John Hanning, Mike Killearny, Paul Luzzi, Dennis Macrae, Dan McIntyre, Butch Meyers, Robert Miller, Andrew Mussler, Jan Nebozenko, Steve Olberding, Geoff Rawling, Ugur Ulutas, Tome Van Rossen, Tom Williams and Ed Wilmarth.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Between the Bridges in Broad Channel

by: Peter Mahon
September 18, 2014

Lost Now Found!

So I was sitting at the kitchen table last Thursday reading my copy of the Rockaway Times when what to my wandering eyes did appear?  Well, I'll tell you what didn't appear - our weekly Between the Bridges in Broad Channel column! I carefully re-read the paper several times to no avail.  The column was gone, vanished, missing. awol, astray, playing hooky, a no show!  

I quickly contacted the paper's Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Kevin Boyle, at his magnificent corporate offices on Beach Channel Drive  (you know - the taxi stand with the bicycle on the roof), to ascertain what had become of the wayward column.  Turns out the column's absence was nothing more than a simple oversight with the column not being included in the computerized desktop publisher edition prior to being sent to the printer. Mystery solved!  An honest and very understandable mistake.  After all Mr. Boyle, having an "ET" moment, was preoccupied with placing a bicycle on the top of his taxi stand.

Of course, the accidental absence of the column in last week's edition then led me to worry -  "What if nobody notices the column is missing?"  Thankfully I didn't have to worry for too long.  By Sunday afternoon I had received hundreds of emails....okay, maybe not hundreds but I did get quite a few. Okay,okay, truth be told I received a total of four very short and to the point emails about the missing column.  They were as follows...

* "Finally, a column I understood!"
* "Fall off one of your bridges?"
* "Great read, short, concise, to the point!"
* "What happened? Did Boyle wise up and replace you with Facts You Probably Don't Need?

I admit the underwhelming response to the missing column didn't leave me feeling like Sally Fields during her emotional 1985 Oscar acceptance speech moment when she tearfully stated to the audience, "You like, you really like me", but I'll take what I can get wherever and whenever I can get it.  

For those of you who might be interested, last week's column, the one you couldn't read in the paper because someone was busy placing a bicycle on his roof, was dedicated to Broad Channel's own Kevin Conklin who enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and left for recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina this past Sunday. His going away party at Broad Channel's  VFW Post was a great affair, crowded with family, friends and neighbors. Prior to departing Broad Channel for Parris Island, Kevin delivered thank you notes to the homes of all those who attended his party. What a class act!  His parents Bill and Vickie Bowden and the entire community of Broad Channel can be rightfully proud of this young man. Although the column never made it into the paper, you can view it on the Rockaway Times online edition unless someone is now busy placing a large station clock on his roof next to the bicycle! 

Next month will see the 1st anniversary of the passing of Broad Channel's unofficial Mayor, good friend and neighbor, Al McCarthy.  Al had been instrumental in the decades long struggle to have the city address the issue of tidal street flooding in Broad Channel. As work started in earnest this week on the construction of a new bulkhead at the end of West 12th Road I couldn't help but think that somewhere in Heaven Al is grabbing St, Peter by the arm while pointing down towards our little town in the bay and stating "About damned time!"   

The recent tidal street flooding which accompanied the September 9th full moon can best be described as off the hook!  During the 9 calendar day period of September 5th through the 13th, areas of Broad Channel sustained 14 instances of tidal flooding with high tides, some of which were 8 feet in height!  On a happier note, the 2014 Hurricane season continues to be kind to our area here on the coast with Hurricane Edouardo, the 4th named storm of season,  tracking far off the coast, out to sea. 

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

Contact Info: email or call or text 347-2261293.  

Summer's Leaving - Had a "falling out" with Autumn!

Although I am sure you don't need me to tell you but our 2014 summer season is quickly drawing to a close.

It is easy to notice the later dawns and earlier sunsets.  During the day you can also easily discern the southern shift of the sun's arc across our sky.

As of late there has been a noticeable chill in the air and the fashion conscious among us are no longer wearing white shorts or T-shirts!

The Autumnal equinox, which will bring summer to a close and usher in the start of the 2014 Fall season, will occur in our area here in Broad Channel at 10:29 p.m., Tuesday evening, September 22nd.

Broad Channel Street Resurfacing Project (Forum)


The city DOT and DDC have agreed to repave side streets initially left out of the Broad Channel Resurfacing Project. The additional work is scheduled to begin immediately. Photo by Peter Mahon
The city DOT and DDC have agreed to repave side streets initially left out of the Broad Channel Resurfacing Project. The additional work is scheduled to begin immediately.
Photo by Peter Mahon
Elected officials this week announced that after some prodding, the city agreed to repave side streets initially left out of the Broad Channel Street Resurfacing Project.
The program initially covered the area along Cross Bay Boulevard from West 5th Road to West 20th Road. After meeting with Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park), City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) and Dan Mundy, Jr., president of the Broad Channel Civic Association, officials from the city departments of Transportation and Design and Construction added Shad Creek from West 9th to West 10th, East 6th Road, and about a dozen others. DOT announced new milling contracts to finish the work for all damaged side streets.
“The Broad Channel Civic Association wants to thank Assemblyman Goldfeder and Councilman Eric Ulrich for their tremendous efforts in reaching out to DOT to ensure that all the side streets in Broad Channel are included in the current round of repaving,” Mundy said.
The work is scheduled to begin immediately, and is expected to be completed by the end of the month.
“It’s good—definitely worthwhile,” said Pete Mahon, president of the West 12th Road Block Association.
“By investing in our infrastructure, DOT is giving Broad Channel the attention it deserves,” Ulrich said. “Since Hurricane Sandy, my office has been working closely with Assemblyman Goldfeder to ensure that every community affected by the storm receives its fair share of city services. Together, we have fought with community leaders to recover, rebuild and restore our way of life.”
The recently-added streets were left out of the original plans due to lack of funding.
“This is a huge win for our families in Broad Channel,” Goldfeder said. “I commend the Department of Transportation and Department of Design and Construction for listening to our community’s concerns and ensuring our families make a complete recovery after the storm. I want to also give a special thank you to Dan Mundy and the Broad Channel Civic Association for their hard work and constant advocacy.”

By Michael V. Cusenza

Friday, September 19, 2014

Build it Back program shows some progress

Posted: Thursday, September 18, 2014 10:30 am

Build it Back has been circulating some updated numbers on its progress in South Queens, and although it has been slow, the program seems to actually be moving forward with the reconstruction of hundreds of homes damaged in Hurricane Sandy.
According to statistics from the program, 22 homes in South Queens neighborhoods hit hard by the storm nearly two years ago have already had construction completed through the program, though that’s of more than 8,500 that have signed up. Though the number of homes that have been completed is small, until last March, not a single Sandy-damaged home in the city had work finished through the program.
In the 32nd Council District, which includes all of Howard Beach, Broad Channel and the Rockaway Peninsula west of Arverne, Build it Back has recorded 6,426 active applications into the program. Of those, 5,594 have had their initial intake meeting and 3,027 have been through the damage inspection process. The city says 1,836 option review meetings have been held and 969 homeowners have selected options. There have been 380 design consultations for homes in the district.
A total of 1,904 homeowners in the district who have applied to Build it Back have withdrawn their applications or have not responded to callbacks.
Build it Back has handed out 187 reimbursement checks to single-family and multi-family homeowners — 184 of which are for single-family homes for a combined total of $4.1 million. Construction has commenced on 113 homes and finished on 19.
In the 31st Council District, which includes Far Rockaway, the eastern portion of the Rockaway Peninsula and Rosedale, 2,154 homeowners have registered for the program, 1,733 have had their intake meetings and 1,037 have had damage inspection done. A total of 509 homeowners have had option review meetings and 273 have selected options. Sixty-one homeowners have had design consultations.
Thirty reimbursement checks have been sent out, 29 of which are for single-family homes, worth a total of $436,000. Construction has started on 36 homes in the district and three have been completed.
A total of 714 homeowners in the 31st District have withdrawn their applications.
“Build it Back is finally starting to produce results for homeowners,” Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), who represents the 32nd Council District, said in a statement. “This progress is long-overdue but good news nonetheless. As I’ve said since the very beginning of this program, the day when every family affected by the storm can be restored and made whole again cannot come soon enough.”
Build it Back, established by the Bloomberg administration in June 2013, was riddled with problems for its first eight months. Among the complaints were too much bureaucratic red tape, little community outreach, missed appointments and lost paperwork.
The de Blasio administration overhauled the program in April, installing a new head, Amy Peterson, and embedding staff in the offices of area officials, including the Howard Beach office of state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach). Previously Howard Beach residents had to go to Rockaway or Brooklyn to access a Build it Back center.
Mayor de Blasio said he wanted to start construction on at least 500 homes by the end of summer. City Hall said last year they had met that goal.

This week's online edition of the Rockaway Times

Broad Channel Bits

By Dan Guarino
After a reasonable summer and a hot and humid Labor Day weekend, the weather has turned. For months I’ve been going to bed with a fan on, with a great half hour timer. The other night I suddenly woke up with a chill and pulling up a blanket wasn’t enough. Casting around in the dark, I pulled a big beach towel off the door and happily curled under that.
I am checking the after-summer sales to see if the towel comes with a matching pillow case.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Channel…
Broad Channel’s own Matt Smilardi and an amazingly energetic Rockaway Theatre Company cast knocked the socks off the opening night audience for Godspell last Friday. If you have not reserved your ticket, put down this newspaper and go do that. Go or call 718-374-6400. It’s okay, I’ll wait till you get back.
… oh, you’re back. Following Godspell, RTC’s next production is Damn Yankees. If you’ve never been down to experience this fantastic theatre company, do yourself a favor and ‘discover’ them. If you have, come down and bring others.
Just to mention, one of the favorite features in this year’s Mardi Gras parade were the two boxers in trunks, robes and gloves. The ‘referee’ held up a card announcing their entry as “Rocco’s vs. Tommy’s Pizza Battle.” Hands down, people thought it was hilarious — and so did Broad Channel.
Meanwhile, I hope you made it to the 2nd Annual “1/2 Way To St. Patrick’s Day Party” on Thursday, atRuffle Bar. Corned beef and cabbage as well as beer and drink were on tap. Oldies, requests and Irish favorites were rolled out by DJ K Tunes.
Did you know there’s an American Legion Brunch coming up? From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. BC Legion’s Auxiliary will be rolling out the eggs, coffee, omelets, desserts, pancakes and rolls on Sunday, October 5. A perfect way to enjoy an October morning!
The Legion is located at 209 Cross Bay Boulevard, in case you are coming from out of town.
Also that weekend VFW Post 260, is having a Flea Market. That’s on Saturday and Sunday, October 4 and 5 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you are interested in a table, call Liz at 646-744-9230. It’s a great deal at $10 per table per day. The VFW is located at 705 Shad Creek Road.
Mark your calendars in pumpkin orange and witch’s cat black.
The Legion Auxiliary is gearing up for their 2nd Annual Halloween Party on Saturday, November 1. More information to come.
Last year’s party was a riot of color and costumes and fun. I am actually out looking for a mask now…in case they ask me to be a judge again.
All the proceeds for Legion and VFW events go to keeping the organizations going and their services to our veterans going strong.
America now has more returning veterans than at any time since World War II. The transition to civilian life is not always an easy one, especially during less than great times back home. If you are a vet or know a vet, contact these two fine Broad Channel organizations. You’ll be among people who know exactly what you’re talking about.
Christ Presbyterian by the Sea Church Social Hall is now fully renovated and reopened. It has been some job, done by dedicated volunteers, to bring back from the ravages of the storm. But now everything inside is freshly painted, too.
So if you are looking for a hall to rent for social events, showers, birthday parties, weddings, etc., you found it. Contact Joyce Adamiszyn at 718-479-3580. Leave a message and get your dates in now.
Interested in the Scouts? Broad Channel Scout Troop 282 meets every Monday at 6:30 p.m. Cub Scouts meet at the American Legion Hall209 Cross Bay Boulevard. More details? Call Joe Panetta at 917-238-1507 or Fred Ciappetta 718-877-3467. The Boy Scouts meet at the Shad Creek Association at 529 Cross Bay Boulevard. Call Fred Ciappetta at 718-877-3467 or Jon Paul Rasinya at 718-440-0565 for more information. There is open registration every Monday.
Last Monday the BC Library got a thorough outside clean up and an allaround trim. Say something nice if you stop in.
By the way, I just finished one of the great Playaway books on audio from our library, All These Years: Tune In by Mark Lewisohn. Forty-four hours later, I now know more about the Beatles than they do. And that’s just Volume One! Playaway books come already recorded on a small player, like an iPod. Just hook up your ear buds, headphones or car audio and go!
The St Camillus-St Virgilius CYO Boys Swim Team registration is on for one more day. This Friday, September 19, at 4 p.m. at the Far Rockaway High School pool. The cost is $175 per child. Make sure your child wears a bathing suit, as there will be practice! Call 917-435-9094 for more details.
The St. Virgilius Senior Citizens Club meets at the Legion Hall every Thursday at 12:30 p.m. The St. Camillus Golden Age Club meets on Wednesdays at 12:30 p.m. in Springman Hall in Rockaway.
The Flood Mitigation Project is ongoing on the west side. Watch out for parking restrictions as work continues. Designated space is available on the Boulevard.
By the way, can anyone use a whole mess of plastic hangers? As I am clearing out the storage I rented after the storm, there are things which I can’t use or fit, but I don’t want it to go to waste. I am driving my neighbors nuts by hauling them back from the curb on garbage days.
They are yours if you want them. Just come by and pick up the whole beige gray bin at the side of my house, at 1430 Cross Bay. Put them to good use!
Thanks for reading


Kudos to the firefighter spotted on Beach 116th Street Friday morning. Not only did he sweep the sidewalk clean in front of his ‘house,’ he went and swept in front of his neighbors across the street.
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” From the Rockaway’s Sandy Relief Free Flea Market Facebook page.

If Sandy taught us anything, it is that there is more than one way to solve a problem.
There were standing ovations on the Rockaway Theatre Company’sGodspell opening night. Applause to the cast, the phenomenal band, director Frank Ciaiti, and all the crew and company that made this high energy performance possible.
AM New York newspaper, in its “Outer BoroTransit Dreams:A Wishlist Of Service Improvements” article, concedes that “Manhattan is still the center of New York’s universe when it comes to planning transportation projects.” But it does note “Queenstransit advocates believe a 3.5-mile piece of Long Island Rail Road track that has been abandoned since 1962 is the best hope to slash travel times to Manhattan and other far-flung neighborhoods in the city’s largest borough.”
There is a larger than you think space in Rockaway, between just letting things happen here and stomping your feet and yelling “no, no, no” to everything. That’s the space where progress happens.
Bard on Rockaway. Acting the part of a traveling troupe of gypsy players, Brooklyn’s Dzieci theatre group will perform a mesmerizing, one of a kind Macbeth at RAA’s T-7 Gallery on Saturday, Sept. 20, 7 p.m.
Noted without comment: Forgotten New York website article headline, “Borderline Crazy Part III: FarRockawayQueens.” (Okay, one comment: the “borderline” refers to Far Rock being right next to the Five Towns and Nassau County.)
Rockaway Artists Alliance’s ARTSplash, the first exhibition after the successfulRockaway!, clocked in an impressive 67 participating artists, more than 150 artworks and more than 200 people at its Sunday opening reception. Among others, former RAA presidents Geoff Rawling and Stephen Yaeger each stopped in. “Best of…” ribbons were awarded by exhibition judge Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer, executive director of the QueensCouncil on the Arts.
“I won’t give away the subway stop that I take to Far Rockaway, as our spot is not crowded and I want to keep it that way. HINT - it’s next to the surfer’s beach. Far Rockaway is the cleanest and quietest beach I’ve found in NYC thus far, which is why it’s our favorite!” –From a contributor’s review of Rockaway’s beach on The site also advises “Recommended length of visit: More than three hours,” and describes Rockaway as a “popular destination for New Yorkers in mid- 20th century, still pleasant to visit.”
In recent weeks, a wedding photo that was found near 9/11’s Ground Zero 13 years ago was returned to its owner. A bracelet honoring a lost 9/11 firefighter was returned to his widow, after it was lost 10 years ago. Small items, perhaps. But they speak largely to the endurance of memory and loudly to the relentless human instinct to reach out and help.
HBO’s 1920’s era Boardwalk Empire may have folded its tent, so to speak, but Rockaway and Broad Channel retain their own, real life Prohibition legacies. So popular a spot was island-bound Broad Channel with rumrunners, that it was nicknamed “Little Cuba.’ Some older homes in Rockaway still have the hidden hatch in the floor where illegal booze could be offloaded from beneath the house—usually by cover of night.
This week’s Monday Motivation from the ArverneYMCA:“If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse.”
It might be new news to the New York Times, but there’s no surprise that many New Yorkers, as well as all of us local residents, are dedicated to stretching the Rockaway summer well past the “Labor Day deadline.”
From the Epoch Times: “Two jet skiers were rescued Sunday morning (9/14) after falling off their watercraft in the Ambrose Channel several miles west of Breezy Point in FarRockaway.” Other than the geographical impossibility of being several miles west of Breezy Point and ending up in Far Rockaway, we’re glad the jet skiers were OK.
It has been heard, but not yet confirmed, that the renovated supermarket building on Beach 105th andRockaway Beach Boulevard will reopen as a (somewhat smaller) Key Food.
Several new stores are set to open up on Rockaway Beach Boulevard in the Beach 90s. One is “Rockaway Rosters” gourmet coffee and organic juice bar.The other will be a sit-down Chinese restaurant. The third has a red and yellow awning that says “Dollar Value Liquid” and has a big phone number. Can’t wait to see how this all turns out. A special Beachcomber shout-out to all the Rockaway scrimshaw enthusiasts out there.
Coffee sales all over Rockaway may be expected to dip, if and when the roads are finally repaved. There will be less of the hot beverage spilled inside of cars and less of a reason for drivers to buy more as they navigate the peninsula.
The Far Rockaway library branch is now accepting letters for Santa. Parents need bring their children, from newborn to age 12, to register i.e. write a letter to the jolly man in red. This would be during library opening hours up to Friday, September 26, 2014. It might too early for Christmas shopping, but it’s never too early to bring a smile to children.
We are sad to note that Susan Schwach (nee’ Calvin), wife of former Wave editor Howard Schwach, passed away on Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at the age of 72. She was raised inArverne and Far Rockaway, grew up in Wavecrest and attended Far Rockaway High School. She raised her children in Bayswater and later moved to Rockaway Park. You can’t get any more Rockaway than that. Our condolences to Howie and her children Robby (Belinda) and Amy (Miguel) and grandchildren Ryan, Corey, and Lauren, family and friends

Big Win For Broad Channel

By Dan Guarino

Broad Channel Civic Association President Dan Mundy Jr. 
Photo by Dan Guarino Broad Channel Civic Association President Dan Mundy Jr. Photo by Dan GuarinoThe road for the island community of Broad Channel, weathering as it has — a history of high tide flooding and the devastation of Hurricane Sandy — has not been an easy one, but at last, it will be paved.
“I’ve lived her for 20 years,” Channel resident Alison Kase said. “My husband has lived here all his life. We have never seen this kind of working going on.”
Speaking about the news that the city’s Department of Transportation has agreed to greatly expand the number of Sandy-damaged streets to be completely repaved, she said “I’ll be honest with you; it’s great that it’s happening here.”
On Monday, Sept. 15, it was announced that after a push from Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, Councilman Eric Ulrich, BC Civic Association President Dan Mundy Jr., and Senator Joseph Addabbo, the DOT and the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) agreed to repave side streets initially left out of the Broad Channel Street Resurfacing Project. The additional work is scheduled to begin immediately.

Councilman Eric Ulrich and Assemblyman Philip Goldfeder were instrumental in getting an expanded street repaving plan approved in Broad Channel. Here they confer at a BC event earlier this year. 
Photo by Dan Guarino Councilman Eric Ulrich and Assemblyman Philip Goldfeder were instrumental in getting an expanded street repaving plan approved in Broad Channel. Here they confer at a BC event earlier this year. Photo by Dan GuarinoAt the heart of the issue was the original plan to deep-mill a number of streets, most at the north end of the island, but significantly leave nearly a dozen others untouched.
Civic Association president and longtime community activist Mundy said, “We looked at the map and said wait a minute! You’re skipping other places like Channel Road,” which runs parallel to Cross Bay Boulevard on the east side.
He also pointed out that while other streets such as Power Road and West 9th and 10th roads which border PS/MS 47 School were scheduled to be redone, Shad Creek Road was not. Shad Creek, which runs behind the school, is the one roadway between it and Jamaica Bay.
Notable also was the exclusion of East 6th Road which runs from Cross Bay Boulevard down to West Road near the Broad Channel subway station.
“How could you not do a place like East 6th Road which floods regularly?” Mundy asked. Social media also lit up with interest and complaints.
The problem, Mundy explained, was in the funding. Money for the project was coming from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA outlined the initial streets which would be redone, and excluded others.
In a meeting with local electeds, DDC and DOT officials, Mundy was told, “They said FEMA chose this. FEMA’s paying for the project.”
To DOT’s credit, “they asked FEMA to come down and re-evaluate, to see the actual streets. But “FEMA turned them down.”
Displaying the commitment the tight knit community is known for, Mundy continued, “We said we’re not accepting that. DOT said; let’s see what we can do about this.”
Later, he said he was pleasantly surprised to get a phone call. “They came back and said we’re going to do it all.”
“The side streets are being done with 90 percent FEMA money, and the rest is DOT. DOT stepped up and is paying for the additional streets.”
“The fact that we have a good rapport with DOT and such great support from our elected officials made this possible.”
After the announcement on Monday Broad Channel resident Jon-Paul Rasinya posted on Facebook a “thank you to Assemblyman Goldfeder, Councilman Ulrich and Senator Addabbo for helping us in getting 6th Road, and the other streets not included in Broad Channel, put onto the paving schedule. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.”
Mundy also singled out Queens DOT Commissioner Delia Hall.
He also pointed out Bhavani Ravanan, the project manager and liaison who arranged the initial meeting, who he says has gone above and beyond. “I had a call about a water main break at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. She said, ‘We’ll get to it today.’ And sure enough by 8 o’clock they were out there.”
Councilman Ulrich stated that “by investing in our infrastructure, DOT is giving Broad Channel the attention it deserves. Since Hurricane Sandy, my office has been working closely with Assemblyman Goldfeder to ensure that every community affected by the storm receives its fair share of city services.”
Goldfeder noted “This is a huge win for our families in Broad Channel. “I commend the Department of Transportation and Department of Design and Construction for listening to our community’s concerns and ensuring our families make a complete recovery after the storm.”
While this is going on, Broad Channel is working towards a number of other improvements. After years of planning, a flood mitigation project is underway to raise West 11th, 12th and 13th roads.
According to Mundy, West 14th to 19th Road, which are not included on the current DOT plan, will be part of the next phase of street raising. “The time table is moving up. The city said they’re going to fast track. The new administration is anxious to have the opportunity to make a town like Broad Channelmore resilient.”
Likewise East 10th Road will be redone as part of a future project. Meanwhile officials are working on getting Cross Bay Boulevard resurfaced from East 1st Road to East 5th through Federal Highway funds. Early this year the one roadway which connects Rockaway and Broad Channel to mainland Queens was done up to that point.
“It’s a big project and there are going to be some growing pains,” Alison Kase reflected. “As such it’s a mess, it smells bad.”
“But in the end it’ll come with a great payoff. It would be great not to have to work through puddles when the tide rises. And the community will look beautiful!”