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Rockaway Phase II

 I feel like I’m living in an episode of Seinfeld with Jerry’s parents in Del Boca Vista Phase II development in Florida. Phase II in Rockaway, what does it mean? Well, let me tell you about my day last week after the opening of Phase II.

I did things that I haven’t been able to do in a while; and yes, I did them with a mask on, but I did them nonetheless, and that made me feel a little bit normal, whatever that is these days. I was thrilled to get an oil change at Waterview on Beach Channel Drive. Drove right up, got the oil changed in twenty minutes, happy to see the regular folks there who do work on the cars. Feeling happy, I then drove over and got a car wash. Haven’t done that in a while either. Nothing like driving in a clean car to make you feel good.

Pushing my luck, I parked the car and walked over to Ace on 116th Street. Walked right in, no waiting, got my construction bags, and continued to walk south to the Gift is Love. Waltzed through the front door and bought a few items to cheer up the mermaid.

Really feeling it now, I continued to walk toward the beach and walked into the RB Surf Shop. Lovely! I love the smell of the Surf Shop, makes you feel like you are really a surfer, which I am definitely not. Picked up a bunch of Rockaway Beach t-shirts for gifts and couldn’t have been happier. Feeling a bit fatigued by all this available shopping, I stopped in to Ciro’s and grabbed a slice, thinking, hey this is almost normal. I stared across the street at the now defunct Lola Star store and felt a little saddened by the loss. I really liked that place, but my eyes drifted down the block to the very end and I noticed a sign I never noticed before, “cell phones repaired.” I reached into my pocket and pulled out my old iPhone with the bulging screen and thought, why not?

I marched down the block and walked into a store that I have only rarely been in during my forty years living in Rockaway. Toward the back was a counter housing a guy who does cell phone repairs, and so I pulled mine out and asked, “can you fix this”? And he said sure, needs a new battery. I was like ok, how much will that cost? And he said $50, come back in twenty minutes. I skipped out of the store realizing I didn’t have to shell out beau-coup bucks for a new phone, and was delighted when I picked up the phone, fully repaired twenty minutes later. As I exited the store, I noticed that the intersection had been fully paved and repaired, and I thought to myself, maybe everything will be ok? Or is this just a dream? This is great, how much better will Phase III be!!

I arrived home and noticed a glossy magazine in my mailbox called the Rockaway Advocate published, I believe, by the Rockaway Youth Task Force. It was chock full of information about what was happening in and around Rockaway, stuff I had no idea about. I don’t know if one of my minnows signed me up for this magazine, but if they did – thank you. In it was an article about the shorefront between 32nd street and 56th street. If you bike the boardwalk down to beach 9th street, there is a huge strip of land that is largely abandoned. The article talked about a development company that will create Arverne East housing between 32nd and 44th Street with a nature preserve to the west to 56th street. The pandemic has delayed the timetable, but it sounded promising. In addition, if the sand replenishment and groin work actually gets done, it will make for a safer season when hurricanes come.

I thought, what a great day today was! We can do many of the things we once were able, and dream of great things to come in the future! Hope is a beautiful thing. Welcome Phase II bring on summer! Happy Fourth of July, Rockaway!

 By Lou Pastina

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