Sunday, August 31, 2014

The O'Toole Family of W12thRd Broad Channel and the Christmas Miracle of 2012

Gwen and Frank O'Toole of W12thRd Broad Channel

The O'Toole's have left West 12th Road.

Gwen and Frank O'Toole, their children, Haley, Madison, "Lil" Frank and their dog "teddy bear" have  moved from their long time home rental on West 12th Road and now live across town, on Noel Road.

Immediately after Super Storm Sandy the O'Toole family served as an inspiration for all their neighbors on West 12th Road.  Less than 48 hours after the October 29th, 2012 storm surge while the rest of us were walking around like zombies feeling sorry for ourselves, Gwen and Frank quietly decided..."Screw Sandy, we have small children and Christmas is coming - our family will be back home in time for the holiday!"

Gwen and Frank then immediately set about the process of of demolition - ripping out water damaged sheet rock, insulation and wall studs, removing water damaged appliances and furniture and sanitizing their home on W12th Road.  This was a family who had decided there would be no sitting around waiting for some  government agency to come to their rescue. 

Within weeks, they were already hard at work rewiring electrical systems even before power was restored, fixing the plumbing and shortly thereafter, they began the process of studding out, and insulating, and sheet rocking new walls.  It was truly amazing to watch as this family was busy bringing new construction materials into their house while the rest of us were still overwhelmed trying to empty our homes of water damaged debris!

During all the post Sandy madness Gwen and Frank always found time to go out of their way to visit with their neighbors on W12th who remained in their houses after the storm to see if anyone needed anything.   

Like many of us, the O'Tooles would trek up to the American Legion for a hot meal and maybe a side trip to the VFW for sanitation supplies only to immediately return to continue work on their home on W12th Road as there was still new paint that had to be applied to the walls of their newly renovated 1st floor.

If you happened to be on West 12th Road on the evening of December 24th, 2012 as I was, less than 2 months after Sandy, you would have been witness to a true "Broad Channel Christmas Miracle".  The O'Toole house was the only finished residence on the street, newly furnished and brightly lit with a big Christmas tree with all the trimmings visible through the window.  If you listened closely you could hear the soft sounds of holiday music coming from within. The O'Toole family was, indeed, home for the holidays. One neighbor who was with me that evening  remarked  "I guess we'll all get through this thing OK!"

It should also be mentioned that immediately after New Years 2013, Gwen and Frank O'Toole set about arranging and planning for the First Annual Post Sandy West 12th Block Party which has become an annual event for our block.  More importantly, despite the family's move to Noel Road, Gwen O'Toole has stated for the record that she will continue to arrange and plan for the annual West 12th Road Block Party!

All of us remaining on West 12th Road will truly miss the O'Toole family, but our Broad Channel neighbors on Noel Road are the better for it!

NWS: Hazardous Weather Outlook

Hazardous Weather Outlook

452 AM EDT SUN AUG 31 2014

452 AM EDT SUN AUG 31 2014










Photo courtesy Peter Mahon
Photo courtesy Peter Mahon
A CBS film crew landed in Broad Channel this week to shoot scenes for an original crime series at the end of West 12th Road.
Photo courtesy Peter Mahon
Photo courtesy Peter Mahon
“Elementary,” a CBS crime series starring Johnny Lee Miller as a contemporary Sherlock Holmes, set up shop in southern Queens on Friday evening for the shoot. Peter Mahon with the West 12th Road Block Association snapped some photos of the film crews and uploaded them to his group’s blog to tease the show, which airs this fall.
“In speaking with one of the film crew I was told that when it became known a scenic water setting was required for this particular scene, the location crew, without hesitation, told the director, ‘Go to Broad Channel!’” Mahon wrote on the post. “Last week tidal street flooding, water shut offs and a floating Porta-Potty. This week, Sherlock Holmes!      Ya gotta love it…Broad Channel –  why would anyone want to live anywhere else?

By The Forum staff

Saturday, August 30, 2014

September will bring the 3rd "Supermoon" of 2014!

Tuesday, September 9th will be our next full moon.  It is also a "perigee full moon" meaning that the moon will be at it's closest distance to the Earth in its orbit.  We non-scientific types also refer to this type of full perigee moon as a "Super Moon"! 

The 9 calendar day period consisting of Friday, September 5th through Saturday, September 13th will see a total of 14 high tides with astronomical heights sufficient to cause tidal street on West 12th Road and other low lying areas of Broad Channel. 

Listed below are the dates and times of the dates and times of high tides in question highlighted in red.


F    5     High   5:17 AM     5.1   6:26 AM     Set  2:17 AM      75
     5      Low  11:32 AM     0.3   7:21 PM    Rise  4:48 PM
     5     High   5:48 PM     6.2

Sa   6      Low  12:16 AM     0.0   6:27 AM     Set  3:26 AM      85
     6     High   6:22 AM     5.6   7:19 PM    Rise  5:34 PM
     6      Low  12:31 PM     0.0
     6     High   6:50 PM     6.5

Su   7      Low   1:09 AM    -0.4   6:28 AM     Set  4:38 AM      92
     7     High   7:21 AM     6.0   7:18 PM    Rise  6:15 PM
     7      Low   1:27 PM    -0.3
     7     High   7:45 PM     6.8

M    8      Low   2:00 AM    -0.8   6:29 AM     Set  5:51 AM      97
     8     High   8:14 AM     6.4   7:16 PM    Rise  6:54 PM
     8      Low   2:22 PM    -0.7
     8     High   8:37 PM     7.0

Tu   9      Low   2:50 AM    -0.9   6:30 AM     Set  7:04 AM      99
     9     High   9:04 AM     6.8   7:14 PM    Rise  7:32 PM
     9      Low   3:15 PM    -0.8
     9     High   9:26 PM     6.9

W   10      Low   3:38 AM    -1.0   6:31 AM     Set  8:16 AM      99
    10     High   9:54 AM     6.9   7:13 PM    Rise  8:09 PM
    10      Low   4:07 PM    -0.7
    10     High  10:16 PM     6.6

Th  11      Low   4:24 AM    -0.9   6:32 AM     Set  9:27 AM      95
    11     High  10:44 AM     6.8   7:11 PM    Rise  8:47 PM
    11      Low   4:57 PM    -0.6
    11     High  11:08 PM     6.3

F   12      Low   5:10 AM    -0.6   6:33 AM     Set 10:35 AM      89
    12     High  11:35 AM     6.5   7:09 PM    Rise  9:27 PM
    12      Low   5:46 PM    -0.2

Sa  13     High  12:01 AM     5.9   6:34 AM     Set 11:40 AM      81
    13      Low   5:55 AM    -0.1   7:08 PM    Rise 10:09 PM
    13     High  12:28 PM     6.2
    13      Low   6:38 PM     0.2

Friday, August 29, 2014

Broad Channel Proud!

Kyle Steinhoff with Victoria Mahon

Congratulations to Kyle Steinhoff, 17, of Shad Creek Road in Broad Channel and recent graduate of N.Y.C. Harbor High School on Governor's Island.  Kyle just completed his New Cadet Indoctrination Program at SUNY Maritime where he will major in Marine Transportation.
The demanding “INDOC” training prepares the new cadet for life in the regiment and aboard the Training Ship for those in the license program.

Community Board 14 Meeting - September 9th

Thursday, August 28, 2014

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

Between the Bridges in Broad Channel



It wasn’t that long ago that even the most seasoned New Yorker might be hard pressed to tell you where Broad Channel is. Our small island neighborhood, reached only via a long journey on the "A" train, was known only as a  a sparsely populated maritime community where roads are few, water plentiful and  boats as common as houses, a neighborhood you passed on your way to Rockaway.   The hidden in the shadows existence of our community appears to be changing for several reasons.

A certain amount of media attention has been paid to the ongoing Capital Project to address tidal street flooding on several streets in our town.  I would venture to say that when the project is compete, with new end of street bulkheads, raised streets with new water and sewer infrastructure and the unique “shared space” street concept, media attention will be even more intensely focused on Broad Channel.

Social media has also been contributing to the recent resurgence in the new found conspicuousness of our community.  Broad ChannelFacebook pages, blogs and Twitter abound with stunning photos of winter ice boating, summer sunsets over Jamaica Bay and stories about everyday life in our small town.

The Broad Channel Civic Association achieved national notice for its focused and continual attention paid to those myriad of serious issues which arose in the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy.

Just recently, a "Bing" photo-mapping car was seen documenting the streets of Broad Channel for Microsoft's mapping service and last week a Daily News article focused on dining in Broad Channel.  

Additionally, the entertainment industry maintains a strong interest in Broad Channel.  Last Friday evening a film crew was shooting a scene from the CBS crime series “Elementary” at the end of W12th Road.  In speaking with one of the assistant directors I was told that when it became known a house with a scenic water view was required for this particular scene, the location crew, without hesitation, told the director, "Go to Broad Channel!"

Not surprisingly, our beautiful island community has been featured in several motion pictures, television series as well as Broadway and Off Broadway Plays!

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

In 2011, Broad Channel was renamed "Ocean City New Jersey - America's Greatest Family Resort" during the filming of Imogene,  later released as Girl Most Likely, starring Saturday Night Live alumna Kristen Wiig.

Back in 2010, scenes from the film Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock were shot on the E12th Road boardwalk in Broad Channel.

Law and Order: Criminal Intent episode. entitled "Broad Channel",  with scenes shot at Smitty's Boat Yard and other areas in town was filmed in 2010.

Tween heart throb, Jesse McCartney, filmed portions of his Beautiful Soul music video in front of "Pops" Christian never ending garage sale on Cross Bay Boulevard in Broad Channel in 2004.

Back in 2003 another play titled "Broad Channel", authored by Anna Therasa Cascio and Doc Dougherty, about a young man growing up in our town in the 70’s, opened at the Phil Bosakowski Theater on W45th Street in Manhattan.

Will this new found interest in our little hamlet on the bay prove beneficial, bothersome or both?  Only time will tell but to paraphrase Bob Dylan, Get ready Broad Channel, the times, I think,  they are a changing!

Can you believe it? This Monday is the Broad Channel Labor Day Mardi Gras Parade with all the attendant festivities leading up to it this weekend.  As the Cajuns down in Louisiana say… “Laissez les bons temps rouler!”

Broad Channel – Why would anyone want to live anywhere else?  See y’all next week.

Contact info: email:  or call or text: 374-226-1293

Boyleing Points



Because I’m a Summer-Ends-on-the-Fourth-Of-July kind of guy, pay no attention to me now. I’m not going to declare the summer over again.
I just have to fess up: I never got in the water this summer. In a way, the weather was too nice.
Of course, some people never set foot on the beach – the sand is like the Empire State building or other NY attractions. New Yorkers like the fact that the Empire State building is there — but they have no intention of visiting it.
Some people say they’re all about Rockaway and say they have sand in their shoes.
And you gotta ask, how? Did the sand blow down the block and land in your shoes? In my pathetic case, I was on the beach but not in the water. I guess this newspaper thing confused me. I put a surfing column in the paper and it makes me feel like I’ve got water and sand in every crevice.
The truth is, I was hoping The Parks Department was going to keep the boogie board ban in place. That would’ve given me the chance to join the protesters. I would have grabbed a board and jumped right in. Though maybe not. I’m not sure if the boogie boards in the garage are covered with Sandy goo or just regular beach goo (Hey, it’s been a while). To be safe, I might have had to go old school and used an ironing board.
Yep, ironing boards were used in a pinch before Rockaway became the coolest place on earth. It’d be even more cool if there was a tournament of surfers using ironing boards. Just for a day.
Though it might drive Parks crazy. Get out of the water, that’s a flotation device. No, it’s not. It’s an ironing board. Tell me where in the Parks’ rules it says we can’t use ironing boards.
Next week’s headline: Parks Say No To Ironing Boards.
Of course, with Rockaway fashion – where most shirts are as wrinkled as choppy surf – maybe ironing boards these days are like de Blasio, hard to find.
You can’t mention the days of surfing on ironing boards without tipping your cap to Dee McLean, the first Rockaway surfer to win an endorsement contract. Using real surfboards he, his brother Dennis, and a handful of others were way ahead of the wave about surfing here. Sometimes it takes a few decades for things to catch on. So don’t give up, we might be all dead and buried, but Rockaway is gonna catch on.
Anyway, from ironing boards to irony. I know I could still get in the water but well, with the Jewish holidays just ahead, the pattern will repeat itself. The weather’s just gonna be too nice to get wet.
* * *
Boyleing Over: Loved the recent Beef Chip column in which he confessed to being won over by the Rockaway Beach Volleyball experience and is now part of the cult.
On the other hand, it was another reminder of how a thousand of my closest friends play and never ask me to join. Thanks.


photo 1 WharfView



Unless you’ve heard of it through word of mouth, come upon it during a boat outing in Jamaica Bay or discovered it through social media, you would never expect to find a waterside restaurant and bar with quality food and breathtaking views hidden behind a gas station. The Wharf Bar and Grill is a hidden gem that has served locals for decades.
There are no flashy billboards indicating “The Wharf is here” along the bayside of Beach 116th Street and Beach Channel Drive. Yet The Wharf hasn’t been a secret to locals and now those coming down for the day have started to uncover one of the peninsula’s best kept secrets. 
Ever since Bill and Mavis Bulloch originally opened The Wharf as a bait shack and private club, the property has maintained a sense of exclusivity. “Bill Bulloch wanted to pick and choose his customers and that’s just what he did. There were no signs, no advertising. If you were welcome one evening, you could come back the next day and not be allowed in,” current co-owner Bobby Leckie recalled.
When Leckie and Jimmy Bulloch became co-owners in 1979, they opened The Wharf to the public, but still managed to keep it somewhat secret. “I chose not to advertise or put signs out because I wanted to keep the idea of it being a hidden gem in people’s minds,” Leckie said. However through a quick Google search of places to eat around busy Beach 116th street, the secret of The Wharf is out. 
Over recent years, visitors to the peninsula have started to discover the Wharf as one of the perfect places to end a beach day while watching the sunset along the city skyline. “I don’t think people in general come to the Rockaways for the cuisine, but here, I think they come for the waterside and the beautiful views of the city,” Leckie said.
Leckie also takes pride in the food that the Wharf serves. “This is not a local fast food place where you drive in and out in 10 minutes. It takes time to cook fresh items,” he said. Being by the water, some of the house favorites include seafood items like broiled scallops, but Leckie says some of the most popular items are the marinated steak platter and the fish tacos, which he says were on the menu years before other places found acclaim serving them.
The restaurant has been home to some locals for many decades. Some staff members, like the cooks, have been working there for more than 30 years. Staff member Joanne has been there 23 years and daytime manager Maureen Lynch has been there for 17 years. Many locals got their first taste of the workforce at The Wharf. The owners have a longstanding tradition of hiring young locals to work as busboys and busgirls.  “We’ve helped family, friends and anybody I’ve met along the way who want to put their kids to work,” Leckie said. 
Leckie says The Wharf has seen more than 100 bartenders behind the bar in his 36 years as co-owner. Including the kitchen staff, bartenders, barbacks, waitresses, managers and busboys, the restaurant has about 50 current employees, each of which are treated like family.  
The bayside building took a beating during Sandy, but Leckie and Bulloch had it open just four weeks after, so residents had somewhere to go and so staff members could continue to support their families. “I can proudly say, nobody missed a paycheck here,” Leckie said. With insurance and FEMA help lacking, staff members returned the favor by chipping in to help renovate the restaurant.
For many generations, The Wharf has been a place to create memories. “We’ve had proposals here, weddings here, 50th anniversaries here, birthday parties for God knows how many people,” Leckie says. With more people discovering The Wharf, more memories are sure to me made for whoever stops by. “There was a time when I didn’t understand Bill Bulloch’s approach to business, but I understand it now. I only wish I could pick and choose my customers, but that’s not the case nowadays. But, the more people, the better business should be,” Leckie said.
The Wharf is located at 416 Beach 116 Street and is open seven days a week starting at 9 a.m.  Some locals whisper the Sunday brunch can’t be beat.  The kitchen is open until 10 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on the weekend. Make sure to hit the ATM before sitting down, as it is cash only.

Broad Channel Bits

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