A 2023 Recap

 A 2023 Recap

By Katie McFadden


Here’s a rundown of some stories to happen in each issue of The Rockaway Times this past year.


January 5

Sean McVeigh, Jeanne and Jay Ferriola, and Pat and Tom McVeigh became the new publishers of The Rockaway Times. After months of court battles, Stacey Pheffer Amato was declared winner of the 2022 District 23 Assembly race.


January 12

A town hall was held to discuss major flooding issues during a pre-Christmas storm. Surfside residents began to raise alarms about Alma’s alleged plans to add 2,300 additional residential units on the land.


January 19

The Army Corps of Engineers was in the process of seeking public feedback on a sea gate proposal in Jamaica Bay.


January 26

Sasha’s Mission and Zion’s Mission teamed up to track and locate a missing bernadoodle, Karly. NYCHA’s Hammel Houses continued to deal with severe flooding issues a month after the storm that flooded the peninsula.


February 2

Angelina LoBianco kicked off a fundraising campaign for childhood cancer awareness for Student Visionary of the Year. The Arverne East project received $45M in funding for surrounding infrastructure improvements.


February 9

Local fifth grader Chloe Ali served as the inspiration for a Cinderella doll as part of a Black History month Disney collection. New Visions Humanities IV Charter High School students got a veteran-led look at the historic hangars at Floyd Bennett Field. Mayor Eric Adams finally rescinded the vaccine mandate for city workers.


February 16

The RT launched the 8th annual photo contest. A beachfront home on Beach 120th was razed to make way for another multi-residence building. After years of controversy, the board of directors at Dayton Beach Park was finally ousted. The Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department was readying to celebrate 118 years. Rocco’s of Roc Beach earned Best Pizza in Queens from the Queens Chamber of Commerce.


February 23

A minke whale washed up dead in Far Rockaway. Ladies of Business Rockaway Beach was transformed into Rockaway Creates, open to all.


March 2

A humpback whale washed up dead on the Breezy Point jetty. Locals Janet McDonnell and Jennifer Tubridy officially became judges for New York’s criminal courts.


March 9

Rockaway enjoyed the 48th Annual Queens County St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The Neponsit Property Owners Association was encouraging neighbors to pay dues to keep private security going year-round. Broad Channel’s new Girl Scout troop was launching cookie sales. Team Fight With Your Smile raised $92K for LLS.


March 16

A plaque dedication was held at Ladder 134 on Central Ave. for the late firefighter Jesse Gerhard. The family of the late chef Adrienne Guttieri announced they were opening a Broad Channel restaurant in her name. Ruth Mirsky, a local WWII code breaker, celebrated her 100th birthday.


March 23

Demolition began on the old Neponsit Home. Urban planning expert Paul Graziano was giving Rockaway the lowdown on Gov. Hochul’s damaging “Housing Compact.” The Bettina Show launched, bringing comedy to The Rose Den. A group of young hockey players from Sweden were being hosted in Rockaway while playing for the New York Aviators.


March 30

SFDS’ Fr. Jim was gearing up for his second kidney transplant thanks to living donor Mike Coughlin. CBSK Developers, Brooklyn Bazaar and Aulder Capital closed on $47.5 million in financing for the rehabilitation of the historic bathhouse at Jacob Riis Park. Check washing scams were becoming more prevalent in Rockaway.

April 6

NYC Parks and the Army Corps announced that uptown would face long beach closures over the summer due to construction. Smile Farms and Bungalow Bar teamed up to bring opportunities to folks with disabilities. Far Rockaway resident Isaiah Tart got the Golden Ticket on American Idol but was ultimately eliminated early on. A red-light camera popped up in Broad Channel in response to drivers running the lights. Poseidon’s Prom was another swimming success.


April 13

Former Beloved SFDS pastor Msgr. Martin Geraghty died at age 83. Sand replenishment began at Riis Park. A new hair salon opened in Broad Channel. House on the Rock Church held the first performance at the new Beach 94th Amphitheater for Easter.


April 20

Local football star Christian Izien was heading to the 2023 National Football League Draft. Luv Cleaning suffered a garage fire. The funeral Mass was held for Msgr. Geraghty at SFDS.


April 27

Matt and Hannah took over for Mara Valentino at Mara’s Ice Cream Parlor. A plaque dedication was held for late firefighter Timothy Klein on the first anniversary of his passing, Hochul’s Housing Compact was squashed. The first annual RBAF Autism Walk was a big success with hundreds of participants.


May 4

The Top 30 for the RT Photo Contest was revealed. RBQ had one last hurrah before closing.


May 11

The CityTicket discount program finally became available for Far Rockaway LIRR riders. Roxbury launched a Hometown Heroes project to hang banners for its veterans. Rockaway was readying to run on the boardwalk for the Rockaway Track Club’s “Rose Gurry Mother’s Day Half-Marathon and 5K/1-Mile Walk.”


May 18

Gov. Kathy Hochul wrote a letter to the Biden admin, requesting permission to utilize Floyd Bennett Field to house migrants. The Rockaway Republican Club relaunched. Hooks Pizza opened in Broad Channel.


May 25

Memorial Day Weekend! Nurture U Wellness celebrated its 7th anniversary. Coastal welcomed Rockaway Beach Creamery Ice Cream.


June 1

The Memorial Day Parade marched on the boardwalk for the first time. The 10th Annual Irish Festival was that weekend. Veteran in Command began a food pantry on Tuesdays on Beach 117th Street.


June 8

Canadian wildfires covered Rockaway in smoke. Boating season began with the blessing of the fleet.


June 15

The T9 warehouse went up in flames In Fort Tilden. Adrienne’s opened in Broad Channel. A corner on Beach 116th was officially named Lew M. Simon Way.



June 22

RockStock and Barrels was taking place that weekend. P.S. 256Q at Gateway Academy held a graduation for its special needs class. A plaque dedication ceremony was held for the late firefighter Casey Skudin at Ladder 137 on Beach 116th Street. The new Beach 59th Street Playground officially opened.



June 29

19-year-old Ava Conklin was killed when hit by a car at the Beach 108th bus stop. Thrilla in Camilla was that weekend.


July 6

Hope for the Warriors was returning to the peninsula for a weekend of fun. A 14-year-old drowned and died after being pulled from the water around Beach 74th Street after lifeguards left early due to a thunderstorm. Bagel & Barista Station was named a Boar’s Head Market of Distinction. Ice cream parlor My Mother’s Place 2 opened in Broad Channel.


July 13

The traffic circle in Arverne by the Sea was renamed for Alvin Benjamin. Two Pickles & Pies workers were indicted for attacking an unruly customer. The second annual Timmy Klein Volleyball Tournament was a huge success. Hope for the Warriors had a fun return weekend. Edgemere residents were getting fed up with the lack of beach access due to piping plovers.


July 20

It was announced that Edgemere Avenue would be closed for 18 months for infrastructure upgrades. Smoke and Barrel opened in the old RBQ spot. The Surf Lot opened on Beach 96th for the summer.


July 27

Rockaway and the city were dealing with a continuous lifeguard shortage. Meghan Long dished up a sweet treat of a new kidney for Timothy Rudolph.


August 3

The Lifeguard Olympics made an official NYC Parks-backed comeback and 73 Shack was crowned champs. Night Out Against Crime was a success around the peninsula.


August 10

For the first time in 70 years, a beachgoer was attacked by a shark. A juvenile great white took a big bite out of unlucky swimmer Tatyana Koltunyuk, whose life was saved due to quick thinking lifeguards. Shakespeare by the Beach was getting ready to make their debut at the Rockaway Amphitheater. The Rockaway Times 7th Annual Sandcastle Contest was a big success.


August 17

The Parks Department was trying to encourage Community Board 14 to agree to remove the damaged center mosaic at Tribute Park. Thai Rock owner Robert Kaskel died at age 60 after a quiet battle with pancreatic cancer.


August 24

The federal government gave the OK on housing migrants at Floyd Bennett Field. Beach 129th and Newport Ave. was officially renamed for late firefighter Timothy Klein. Broad Channel resident Rocco Pisani, battling leukemia since 2020, had his last chemo treatment. Rockaway was eagerly awaiting the opening of the Beach 98th playground, which was facing delays.


August 31

Tom Farley’s shot of a skateboarder took top prize in the Rockaway Times’ photo contest. Rockaway Beach Autism Families had a fun end of summer barbecue. Dance Moms star Abby Miller paid JUMP Dance a visit. Broad Channel threw a big party to celebrate Rocco Pisani’s last chemo treatment. Neponsit residents were getting fed up with nudity and lewd behavior coming from Bay 1 in Riis Park.


September 7

Rockaway was getting ready to remember the 22nd anniversary of 9/11. 9/11 Families were making a pilgrimage to Ireland to visit the 343 trees memorial garden in Kinsale, Ireland. The 100th Precinct held a breaking bread event to say farewell to Deputy Inspector Carlos Fabara, who was moving on to another position. Don Riepe held a successful photography showcase of Jamaica Bay’s wildlife at Resorts World Casino. Many enjoyed the 10th annual 3 on 3 By the Sea basketball tournament.


September 14

Rockaway remembered 9/11 with various events. Smoke and Barrell earned Best BBQ in Queens by the Queens Chamber of Commerce. The Tribute Park mosaic discussion drew a big crowd to the monthly CB14 meeting, with many demanding that the mosaic be allowed to be rebuilt by artist Patrick Clark. A group of veterans got Howard Cienski his Purple Heart ribbons replaced.


September 21

A replica of Playland won top prize at Poseidon’s Parade. An injunction was filed after the lease to house migrants at Floyd Bennett Field was signed. Panino Rustico-Baya Bar opened on Beach 129th Street.


September 28

The Rockaway Hotel was readying to host a fundraiser for the Rising Tide Effect. Dan Guarino took us on a trip down memory lane of Whalemina’s journey through time.


October 5

The Rockaway Times got an inside look at the brand-new P.S. 47 in Broad Channel. The Knights of Columbus held the first Rockaway authors’ event.


October 12

Rockaway once again turned up in support of the Tribute Park mosaic at the monthly community board meeting. Pico and its staff were recognized for helping deliver a special message from a family in Israel to their family at Ohab Zedek synagogue after the attacks on October 7. Dogs put their best paw forward at the second annual Dog Parade.


October 19

The first annual Beach 116th Fall Fest was a big hit! Beach 129th was getting ready to host the second Freedom Fest. Construction began at Floyd Bennett Field to erect tent shelters for migrants. District attorney candidates held a debate at the Belle Harbor Property Owners Association meeting ahead of election day.


October 26

Rockaway marked the 11th anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.  The Good Democratic Club came back to life in memory of Lew Simon. John Gilleece, a founder of the Rockaway Theatre Company, passed away. Daniella May decided to run against Selvena Brooks-Powers in the District 31 City Council race.


November 2

Rockaway was getting ready to vote in the DA and City Council races. The weather could not have been more perfect for the annual Cristin Mullen run. Halloween was celebrated all around town.


November 9

Volunteers stepped up to help get the Little North Pole ready for Christmas. Peninsula Pediatrics broke ground on their new location on Beach 129th Street.


November 16

Migrant families began to arrive at Floyd Bennett Field and many initially turned away due to the distance and conditions. The 22nd anniversary of the crash of Flight 587 was remembered.

SFDS soccer teams swept the championships.


November 22

A headless and armless body washed up near the Silver Gull in Breezy Point and was later identified as that of Irish filmmaker Ross McDonnell. Stockings for a Cause kicked off for Sgt. Walker. The new Queens Community Justice Center-The Rockaways opened. Nicole Frontera Beauty celebrated its 10th anniversary. At 99, Angelina Intrabartola Corrigan was identified as the oldest person on the peninsula to be born in Rockaway and never left.


November 30

The Little North Pole lit up for the season. Colin Kurosz returned from a cross-country road trip with his dog and shared his story.


December 7

Beach 116th was looking merry and bright with the tree and menorah lighting. Four family members were killed, and two officers were injured in a horrific stabbing attack in Far Rockaway. Paul King announced his next run for congress. Sneaker Gallery opened on Beach 129th. The Arverne East Project was providing construction opportunities to locals.


December 14

It was announced that the Cross Bay Bridge toll will finally be free to all Queens residents starting in February. Community Board 14 was facing problems as attendance wasn’t high enough to hold a quorum on any important issue. Jimmy O’Neill, battling kidney cancer, was given a big welcome back to class at SFDS. Rockaway WAVES was giving support to widows across Rockaway.


December 21

The For the Youth Foundation was looking for support to offer more opportunities to local youth. Owen Loof, the Best Dressed Man in Rockaway, released his second book.

Happy New Year! Here’s to an exciting 2024!

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