How refreshing it is to get around Rockaway and see friends, family and neighbors again, and not just half their face but the whole enchilada! I feel terrible for parts of the country still under strict protocols, and I hope we all get to the point where this is a distant memory. But in Rockaway, at least for now, it’s great to go to a restaurant or to see live music again, and to go to parties again too.

I had two opportunities to get off the peninsula recently and see what life is like elsewhere. The first was because a neighbor decided enough was enough and took the initiative to book a bus for neighbors to go into the city to the Bitter End to see a Grateful Dead cover band.

You had me at party bus, and as Ken Kesey once said, if

 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

 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

 My father’s parents came here at the end of the 1900s like so many other immigrants. They came here separately four years apart and came from the same region in Italy, just south of the Amalfi coast. I asked my dad why they had come here, and he relayed that southern Italy was very poor, not the tourist attraction that it is today, and there was little prospect of improvement.

My grandparents married here in America, had six kids (my father being the youngest) and bought a house in 1922. My

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 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 pandemic has produced some negative budgets for state governments, and while the presidential election has produced some hope that they might get bailed-out, states are looking for ways to plug the budget gaps. If you have watched a basketball or hockey game in New York, you can’t get past a timeout without a commercial for a gambling app. Which is interesting because gambling still isn’t legal in New York. But it is in New Jersey. And New York is just salivating at the prospect of

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