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Norman Visits

Late last year I had the brainstorm that what we really needed in our lives was a dog. Our first grandchild had arrived six months earlier, and it had been nine years since our beloved King Charles Cavalier, Toby, had passed; and now was the time I thought. Norman arrived in November, about a month old, a beautiful brown, orange, and white cavalier. My daughters arranged for the purchase, and I arranged the financing while the mermaid and I were away on a trip. When we came home, we launched the surprise. Love quickly turned into, “what the hell are we going to do with the dog?” I had to admit...

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Authors Among Us

Rockaway is blessed with great natural beauty, and also known for its artists and musicians, but there are also several published authors among us. In fact, the owner of this newspaper published a book years back called “Braving the Waves” about 9/11 and in my opinion should have been made into a movie. For those not aware, Thomas O’Callaghan has written three fictional novels about murder most foul! If you haven’t read any of them, I highly recommend them, because like Mr. Boyle’s novel, they use Rockaway as a backdrop. It’s fun reading about our own town in a novel. Then of course there is...

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The Bishop’s in Town

This past weekend, the new bishop of Brooklyn, Reverend Bishop Robert Brennen, came to Rockaway to say Mass on the beach. This was his third visit to Rockaway, not counting a Mass he said in Breezy Point. A native of Long Island, he reminisced of his youth growing up in a beach community and shared stories about being posted in Long Beach before his other assignments took him away from the beach. From his remarks, it was clear he loves the beach. That morning the sun was peeking through misted clouds settling over the ocean with seagulls lazily flying overhead as many in the neighborhood made...

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Old People

By Lou Pastina Remember when you were very young, when everyone was older than you were, and you looked at everyone else as, well, “old”? And that was because everyone was indeed older than you. Can you think back to when you were single digits old? The kids that had just crossed into double digits, they were the “cool” older kids, the kids you aspired to be like. Then there were the older teenage kids, who were still “cool,” but were slightly scary because they were doing stuff that was way beyond your comprehension, like smoking, hanging out, and being somewhat dangerous looking. Back then,...

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How Much is Too Much?

 We are hitting the half-way point of the summer, and we have had plenty of action with sharks, ATVs, unending heat waves, and God knows what next. I can’t tell why, but for me it feels like there is too much going on. Do you feel that way too? I don’t know how many nights I wanted to see a band play or do something, only to be confronted with having to make a choice about what to do. It wasn’t always like this, and it can be a little unnerving if you ask me. Our sleepy little town has grown exponentially over the last couple of years with an explosion of restaurants, music, happenings, and...

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The Littlest Mermaid

 In 1988, my parents’ first grandchild was born. She weighed more than my wife, and because space was limited, her foot was jammed and needed to be in a cast for several weeks to straighten it out. None of that mattered. My mother was overjoyed that I married a red-headed Irish girl from Rockaway, and now was over the moon with her first grandchild, a girl, named Katie. In 1989, Disney launched their first animated feature in a long time, one that would set it on a course back to the top again, The Little Mermaid. Ariel, the red-headed mermaid, finds her footing (no pun intended) in life and...

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Working Hard

For those of a certain age, the saying ‘kiss my grits” brings back memories of the TV show Alice, starring Linda Lavin as the tough as nails waitress with the heart of gold. Based upon the movie “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” the star, Alice, works at Mel’s Diner, and the interaction of the patrons, the cook and waitress made this comedy special. Recently, I sat back at a couple of Rockaway’s more popular restaurants and observed how hard some of the waiters and waitresses and cooks work. I was truly amazed at how fast they took orders, got the drinks, served the food, cleaned up and buzzed...

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Backyard Birding

 I’ve always loved birds. I think it came from my mom and her mother. My grandmother once nursed a sparrow back to good health after finding it unable to fly outside in Greenpoint. I remember my father-in-law, Bill Timothy, telling me about where he grew up in Woodside, there were woods! Same in Greenpoint, once known as the “garden spot of the world” but ravished by factories by the time I arrived. Rockaway is home to many seabirds; we see them at the shore and flying by. Every once in a while, you can catch some strange ones in our midst, maybe because of the migratory path or the bird sanctuary...

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The Casual Observer

 I didn’t really pay that much attention to what’s been happening in the neighborhood, especially during the pandemic when the tendency was to stay inside. But with the advent of summer on the horizon, and the pandemic receding, and masks coming down around town at the recommendation of health officials, I started to notice some changes around the neighborhood. Maybe you have noticed too? First off, 116th street has gone through a mini renaissance of sorts. Mike McMahon did a beautiful job on the outside of Rogers and added a beer garden in the back and a side party room. What a wonderful addition...

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