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 “Welcome to the family!” Rocco’s of Roc Beach is officially open.

On Tuesday, April 13, the new coal brick oven pizza and Italian restaurant located at 115-10 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, opened for a “soft opening,” that turned out to be anything but. As word spread, as many as 50 people were lining up outside the door to try to get a table for the night. With their thin-crust, crispy coal brick oven pizza offerings, fresh pasta and bread made right on site and a wide array of entrees for all

Last Friday night, the lads of the Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 21 of Rockaway Beach and Breezy Point once again lived true to their motto of Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity as they personally delivered donations from their successful St. Patrick’s Day Raffle to four local parishes.

Each pastor of the parishes: Father James Rodriguez of St. Rose of Lima, Father Bill Sweeney of St. Francis de Sales, Monsignor Richard Ahlemeyer of St. Camillus/St. Virgilius and Father Michael

Seven years in business, seven years as an award-winning newspaper! The Rockaway Times took home two awards in the New York Press Association’s 2020 Better Newspaper Contest.

In a virtual awards ceremony on Thursday, April 8 and Friday, April 9, the New York Press Association announced the winners of its 2020 Better Newspaper Contest. As NYPA President Michelle Rea said this year’s contest was one of the best yet, with 2,440 terrific entries from 151 newspapers across the state.

In this

 It’s time to do some spring cleaning. A mass effort spearheaded by some local residents is in the works to bring some tender loving care to the community. On Saturday, April 24, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m, all are welcome to do their part and participate in a peninsula-wide cleanup.

In January, a cleanup effort around Beach 101st and the Rockaway Freeway, organized by Torey Schnupp, Mike Scala, John Cori and Christine James, inspired an effort to do more. Local resident, Christine James wanted to


Bummer. We saw a listing that the old Sand Bar property on Beach 116th and the Boardwalk was ready to be leased and we ready for a beachfront happy hour. But alas, the listing broker had the wrong photo and it's the vacant lot across from the new condos that can be leased on a temp or short-term basis.


For the seventh year in a row, The Rockaway Times won multiple awards at the New York Press Association Better Newspaper Contest, a statewide competition among New York newspapers

April 15

Michael William Coughlin was born.

Phil Goldfeder was born.

Kelly Kalisak was born.

Catherine Murphy was born.


1912 - Titanic sank off the coast of Newfoundland on its maiden voyage after it struck an iceberg.

1947 - Jackie Robinson made his Brooklyn Dodger debut and scored the game-winning run. On April 15, 1997, his number, 42, was retired.


April 16

1972 - China sent President Nixon two giant pandas as a gift.

1999 - Hockey great Wayne Gretzky announced his

If you’re playing sports or a game any kind, the last thing you want to hear is someone telling you, “nice try” or “good try.”  Or anything like that.

Words will not make you feel better if you missed that putt by six inches or missed a jump shot with time running out. Or your jenga blocks fell after you got a little daring. Who, in the history of anything, has ever replied, thanks, I appreciate that, it really was a good try. Thanks for making me feel better.

You might start losing your

The son who will remain nameless looked out the window a couple of weeks ago and asked, you know what I’m not doing? Shoveling. He says I forced him to have shoulder surgery so it’s my fault that I’m the one who has to go out and shovel six inches of karma.

He had to have the surgery and I figured late November was a good time because, for one thing, it hadn’t really snowed the last few years. I was figuring snow was something we’d talk about like the good old days. Snow was only a memory

Thanksgiving was at least six months ago.

I went to a fantastic wedding last New Year’s Eve. But I swear that couple must be celebrating their third of fourth anniversary. It couldn’t have been just one year ago. No way.

Australian wildfires which seemed to threaten everything Down Under happened in January. It was a big story that went up in flames. Sorry, sometimes puns just insist on getting in. Anyway, where was I? Oh, Australia. The fires are forgotten and now the news is, the place is

You know how sometimes your kids don’t want advice but you give it to them anyway. You know how somebody talking about silver linings can have really bad timing. Sometimes you just want to wallow in the dark and don’t want to hear about looking at the bright side. Yes, I know things could always be worse but you’re making it worse by telling me that.

So, to be clear, I’m not saying things could be worse. I’m fully onboard with those who don’t even see the glass, never mind if it’s half empty

I need to rant. I was going to write a letter to the editor but I was afraid The Rockaway Times wouldn’t print it.

There’s been a lot of count-all-the-votes and stop-counting-the-votes noise but in my book it’s more like start the vote count.

I was a regular boy scout johnny-come-early with my absentee ballot. I mailed it September, wait I gotta put that in caps, SEPTEMBER 30 and they still haven’t friggin’ counted my vote. Which could definitely sway things.

It’s 36 days. I have the

We weren’t poor, we were inventive. We’ve gone from make-do to just get another one.

I was watching Intelligence on Netflix, a pretty good mob/government conspiracy series and there’s a cliffhanger at the end of Season 2. I do the quick search with the remote and I don’t see Season 3. I ask the friend who recommended it and he says, yeah, there’s no Season 3, that’s it.

First, I’m annoyed. How can you recommend something that just goes away, and isn’t resolved? And he shrugs, that’s the way


Bummer. We saw a listing that the old Sand Bar property on Beach 116th and the Boardwalk was ready to be leased and we ready for a beachfront happy hour. But alas, the listing broker had the wrong photo and it's the vacant lot across from the new condos that can be leased on a temp or short-term basis.


For the seventh year in a row, The Rockaway Times won multiple awards at the New York Press Association Better Newspaper Contest, a statewide competition among New York newspapers


Almost last call. The Rockaway Times Photo Contest is accepting photos until next Friday, April 16. Please see Page 26 for details. We haven’t looked at any of the entries yet but we know Rockaway’s Got Talent and we can’t wait to see photos that best say: Rockaway!


Full steam ahead on the vaccine front. On Tuesday of this week, people 16 years of age and older are now eligible to get the vaccine. It can be a challenge making a reservation online but refresh the page and keep on


Happy Easter.


As of April 6, any New Yorker over 16 years of age will be able to get the vaccine. This news followed the Biden directive that all states make the COVID-19 vaccine eligible to all residents by no later than May 1 of this year. According to some projections, almost the entire U.S. population will be fully vaccinated by late July.


The Rockaway Times Photo Contest is open for a couple more weeks. You are allowed to submit up to four photos. You might have a


Happy Passover to those who celebrate starting this weekend.


116th Street continues its steady climb up.  Rogoff’s (and the Thank You Café) are closed but get ready for Bagel Barista Station. Rob Pisani who ran Channel Market and Bagel Barista in Broad Channel is opening a supersized bagel place that will seat 25 people and have an open kitchen and baking area. They’ll offer catering as well. Barista Station will be the latest makeover joining Rogers, Rocco’s Pizza (on the


Advertiser alert:  The summer’s coming and so is The Rockaway Times Summer & Community Guide. This great Rockaway tradition somehow made it to print in 2020 thanks to the commitment and faith in Rockaway of so many of our merchants. The Summer Guide will be a great way to welcome back normalcy! Or something close to that!


Half steam ahead. As of this Friday, March 19 dine-in restaurants will be permitted to increase capacity to 50%. Covid cases are falling and vaccine numbers


According to some reports, the restaurant industry will benefit greatly from the recently passed corona relief package approved by the Senate. There is a $25 billion “revitalization fund” for restaurants that will include grants to help them cover pandemic-related revenue losses. Let’s hope our many local places will be able to get some relief and prosper going forward. We are amazed that so many have been able to keep the doors open.


The American Rescue Plan, as it’s being

The Memorial Day holiday weekend is accompanied by a litany of proscribed behavior decreed by none other than our very own Mayor Bill De Blasio who has decreed that only residents of the communities surrounding the beaches should be allowed to use the beach and even then, simply as “just open space you can walk on....swimming, lifeguards, parties, barbecues and sports" are strictly verboten! And if any of you are thinking about disregarding our Supreme Leaders behavioral edicts by cooling your

I am seriously beginning to believe that I am suffering, not so much from the coronavirus itself, but rather from a rather severe mental disorder that has affected my thoughts and emotions so severely, that I’m losing contact with external reality. I turn on the TV and my cable box offers nothing but talking heads spewing dreadful stories 24/7 about the current pandemic. The anchors over on news radio provide no respite either with their "all virus, all the time" coverage of this disease.


  What a special birthday! On Wednesday, April 15, fellow friends from the St. Camillus Special Olympics program, neighbors and even strangers who got word of it, lined up on Rockaway Beach Blvd. for a spontaneous car parade to celebrate Paul Fitzpatrick’s big day! People made signs, brought balloons, played music and shouted ‘Happy Birthday’ as they drove by to make sure Paulie had a day he wouldn’t forget, despite coronavirus shutdowns.

As we all continue to mark time sheltering in place during this coronavirus pandemic, I am beginning to sense that there are some of us who are beginning to fray around the edges. In this free-form, kind of weird world that we’re in right now, everybody’s internal clock has been thrown off kilter. There’s just no reference point anymore. Everybody’s just sitting around the house binge watching something on Netflix. So I stretched out on the couch with a big bowl of chocolate ice cream smothered

As if we all don't have enough social justice issues to worry about, what with all the coronavirus issues we are presently faced with, Professor Holly M. Barker from the University of Washington, a highly educated academic with a B.A. in English, an M.A. in International Education and a PhD in Anthropology, has added yet another straw in what appears to be a never-ending attempt to cause all our heads to explode. Professor Barker, whose field of expertise at her university is that of

The column this week is short and sweet. I have been obeying my clan’s dictum to remain at home and I try to spend my time, as best I can, doing some constructive things around the house. The other day, I was watering the many plants around the homestead and I struck up a conversation with a rather large spider who turned out to be quite an interesting fellow. My beloved Grace pointed out the fact that I was actually speaking with a spider, which might give cause for some to question the state