Stacey Pheffer Amato Sounds the Alarm on Inadequate Safety Measures at Gateway

Assembly candidate Pheffer Amato calls on National Park Service to install security cameras, emergency blue lights in Gateway National Recreation Area

Request comes one week after release of private security camera footage showing final moments of Howard Beach jogger brutally murdered in the park

Pheffer Amato: Security measures in urban park a “no-brainer”


HOWARD BEACH, Queens – Candidate for New York State Assembly Stacey Pheffer Amato is taking the National Park Service to task for “inadequate” safety infrastructure in the popular Gateway National Recreation Area around Jamaica Bay in Queens. Pheffer Amato’s request comes just a week after new footage emerges of Howard Beach jogger Karina Vetrano’s final moments before her August 2nd murder in the Spring Creek section of the park.

“Security cameras are an essential law enforcement tool that help to deter illegal activity and aid local law enforcement in criminal investigations. It is unthinkable that this day in age, in an urban park like Gateway, we don’t have cameras and other infrastructure to keep an eye on the area and aid visitors in distress,” said Stacey Pheffer Amato, a local Democratic District Leader and candidate for the State Assembly’s 23rd District. “I urge the National Park Service to recognize the unique needs of our urban parkland and install the infrastructure that will keep our families safe.”

In a letter to Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Pheffer Amato called on the federal agency to install permanent security cameras and blue light emergency call boxes in Gateway National Recreation Area, the 26,000-acre National Park Service (NPS) land stretching across coastal New York City and New Jersey. Pheffer Amato characterized current safety infrastructure within the Jamaica Bay Unit of the park as “inadequate,” given its urban location and record crowds.

The Assembly candidate also raised the concerns of many families in the community over the condition of the Spring Creek section of the park, where last August Howard Beach resident Karina Vetrano was brutally murdered during her evening jog in the park. According to Pheffer Amato, the land’s “relative isolation, limited visibility due to overgrown grass, and lack of safety infrastructure” present a potential risk to unaccompanied park goers.

The request by Pheffer Amato comes just one week after video footage surfaced of Vetrano on that fateful evening. The clip, reportedly obtained from the private security cameras of a local resident living adjacent to the park, shows Vetrano jogging near the park entrance. This follows weeks of few leads in the case, despite a more than 300,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Police have stated that a DNA profile was obtained from evidence at the crime scene, though no suspect has been publicly announced.

In her letter, Pheffer Amato has strong praise for NYPD investigators, who have been a constant presence in the neighborhood in recent weeks. The candidate for Assembly also commended Queens Borough President Melinda Katz for committing city funds the installation of cameras along the border of Spring Creek. As Pheffer Amato points out, these measures are most effective when coupled with efforts to secure the inside of the park.


“It is a necessity to have tightened security in parkland that is adjacent to our airports, and certainly with the terror threat that always exists in New York, the National Park Service (NPS) needs to step up their efforts with additional cameras and patrols. I would like to thank Stacey for keeping attention on this issue and making sure it remains a priority.” said Frank Dardani, President of the 106th Precinct Community Council


“As former President of the 100th Precinct Community Council, I am demanding the National Parks Service (NPS) furnish federal funds as soon as possible to pay for additional safety equipment. The installation of this safety infrastructure should be done in all of our National Parks. This must be done now order to keep all our citizens that use these parks safe.” said Danny Ruscillo, Former President of the 100th Precinct Community Council
“It’s time the National Park Service recognize that Gateway is an urban park, with very different security needs than the Grand Canyon or Yosemite. Gateway is right in the middle of the largest city in the country, and having cameras and blue boxes here is simply a no-brainer,” concluded Pheffer Amato.


HOWARD BEACH, Queens – Candidate for New York State Assembly Stacey Pheffer Amato is taking the National Park Service to task for “inadequate” safety infrastructure in the popular Gateway National Recreation Area around Jamaica Bay in Queens. Pheffer Amato’s request comes just a week after new footage emerges of Howard Beach jogger Karina Vetrano’s final moments before her August 2nd murder in the Spring Creek section of the park.



Debate Watch Party and Candidates Night in Rockaway

Mike Scala is excited to announce two events in Rockaway this week pertaining to national and local elections.

On Monday, September 26, presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will face off for their first debate. With polls showing a narowing race, each candidate’s performance may be pivotal. Join us at Bungalow Bar and Restaurant, located at 377 Beach 92nd Street, at 9 PM to watch and discuss the evening’s events.

Then on Thursday, September 29, the Queens Public Transit Committee will host a candidates night at the Knights of Columbus, located at 333 Beach 90th Street. Those seeking local offices are invited to discuss their ideas on the QueensRail, Rockaway Ferry, Select Bus Service, speeding cameras, Vision Zero and other transportation issues. This event will take place between 7:30 and 9:30 PM.

“Whether you’re running for President of the United States or the New York State Assembly, you’ll have to earn our votes,” Scala noted. “It’s important for us to get substance from the candidates and see where their priorities differ.”


RockawayPrimetime:Scholars Academy Ranked Fifth In NYCDOE

By Jeffrey Williams-Maisonet

Scholars Academy located at 320 Beach 104th Street, has been rated 5th in the New York City’s Top 40 High Schools.

According to the New York Post, This academically accelerated 6-12 school on the Rockaway peninsula offers an ambitious curriculum and cutting-edge tech to prepare students for 21st-century careers.

Post added, In the upper grades, they can earn up to 20 college credits through a partnership with St. Francis College in Brooklyn.

Scholars Academy Statistics:

Admission: Priority to continuing 8th graders; grades, state exams, attendance
Enrollment: 1,302
Graduation rate: 99.2%
College ready: 97.5%
College enrollment: 90.6%
% Taking SAT: 99.2
Average total SAT score: 1716
# Taking AP tests: 87
AP Pass rate: 78.2%

Scholars Academy was found in 2005.  Admission to Scholars’ Academy involves filling out an application by the prospective student and their family to be sent to Scholars by their guidance counselor. Applicants either get an early acceptance or offered an interview. After being accepted into the school, students must maintain an 85% or higher cumulative average.

To learn more on how to enroll your child please visit the following link.



Introducing Rockaway Primetime’s New Cover Photo By Timmy Burke!

By Jeffrey Williams-Maisonet



I have recently contacted Mr Timmy Burke about his photo posted in one of Rockaway’s largest Facebook groups. Knowing the name of my site “Primetime”, I just knew I had to have this photo featured as this site’s cover photo.

When asked, What made you capture this photo and how?

“I took this on my way home from bungalow bar at dusk. I wanted to catch the last remaining light of the day in a photo and I loved how the Boardwalk looked at that moment.”

Burke also stated, ” My friends had offered to drive me home after dinner; but I take every opportunity to walk along the boardwalk since I (all of us) had been without it for such a long time after Sandy hit.”

He also added the following concerning the nature of the Boardwalk.

“The new Boardwalk isn’t perfect: there are less direct access points to the Boardwalk and beach.  There are less benches and the benches that have been installed are clumped together with long stretches between each clustering. The bike path should probably have been placed in the middle rather than the street side.  The list can go on but despite its imperfections it is a beautiful thing and it’s ours now.  A thing that the entire peninsula gets to enjoy.”

Burke concluded, “More people are definitely using it than ever before. From Far Rockaway to the Beginning of Belle Harbor, it is one of the most pleasant  walks or rides one can do in Rockaway and in the city in general.”

“This photo at dusk only captures a third of its true beauty.”

I am so pleased and honored that Mr Burke has granted me permission to use this photo as the sites cover photo.

I also would like to announce that Rockaway Primetime Reporting will be changing the sites look. We will be moving away from WordPress in 2017 and moving to a private host.

Take a sneak peek of what Primetime’s makeover will look like! Also, Timmy Burke Photo will be a large part of that makeover.



Department of Justice Grant Awarded to NYPD’s New York City Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force; Will Help Enhance Coordination of Enforcement & Prosecution of Crimes Against Children Cases; Better Utilize NYPD Resources in Investigations


U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $430,440 in federal Department of Justice (DOJ) funding for the New York Police Department (NYPD)’s New York City Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The funding has been allocated through the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Specifically, the funds will help the NYPD increase the number of affiliate agencies within the task force and better utilize the resources of the NYPD in peer-to-peer, child enticement, child prostitution and human trafficking investigations.


“This federal funding will help the NYPD’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force better protect our children from being targeted online,” said Senator Schumer. “I will continue to fight for resources to help the NYPD combat these horrible crimes against our youth.”


“These federal funds will allow the NYPD’s New York City Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to invest in the resources necessary to help keep our children and families safe,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Increasing coordination between the agencies would help the NYPD take important safeguards to help victims of these offenses.”


New York City’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force will dedicate the funding towards expanding both local and federal agencies respective memberships and involvements within the task force, in order to receive their resources and extend the task force’s jurisdiction across state and international borders.  The task force utilize the addition of the five District Attorney’s Offices to enhance the coordination of the enforcement and prosecution of crimes against children cases.


The task force will also use the resources within the NYPD, which include the Vice Enforcement Division’s Sexual Exploitation of Children Squad, the Vice Major Case Squad and the Youth Services Section. The use of the Vice Major Cases Squad will enhance the task force’s ability to investigate peer-to-peer, child enticement, child prostitution, and human trafficking investigations. The NYPD’s Youth Services will increase the task forces ability to spread its awareness and outreach programs to a larger audience within each community.
The National Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program consists of State and local law enforcement task forces dedicated to developing effective responses to online enticement of children by sexual predators, child exploitation, child obscenity and pornography cases.

Governor Signs Missing Adults Bill Drafted By Scala


Mike Scala with Senator James Sanders Jr. and Dr. Arnita Fowler at the Legislative Office Building in Albany.


Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into New York state law on Friday legislation containing language drafted by Mike Scala requiring police to file reports of missing adults. Until now, state law has only required reports of missing children and vulnerable adults, such as those with cognitive impairments and brain disorders.

“Families across the state can now be assured authorities will respond when loved ones disappear,” Scala said.

The new law, Chapter 316 of 2016, will mandate reports to be submitted to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database when the missing adult has a proven disability, may be in physical danger, is missing after a catastrophe, may have disappeared involuntarily or is missing under circumstances where there is a reasonable concern for his or her safety.

It was sponsored by Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Queens) and Assembly Member Charles Barron (D-Brooklyn). Its main advocate was Dr. Arnita Fowler, whose 19-year old son LaMont Dottin went missing from St. Albans, Queens on October 19, 1995, and was found dead and buried in a potter’s field five years later. The act will be known as LaMont Dottin’s Law.

A previous version passed the state legislature in 2015, when it was vetoed by Cuomo due to concerns reports would be required even when not permitted by the NCIC database. Instead of seeking a change in federal law, as proposed by Cuomo at the time, Scala pitched rewriting the legislation to mirror the parameters of the database.

The updated bill was reintroduced earlier this year. It made its way through committee and eventually to the floors of both houses, passing the Senate (S6437A) by a vote of 61-0 and the Assembly (A9957) by a vote of 130-12.

Influential figures like New York City Public Advocate Letitia James offered their support.

“It is my belief that the bill’s sponsors have thoroughly addressed the questions you raised in your veto memo,” wrote James in a letter to Cuomo. “I hope that, after due deliberation, you will sign this bill into law and, in so doing, give thousands of families across this state a better chance at peace.”

Having received Cuomo’s signature, the legislation will take effect in two months as Section 837-F-2 of the Executive Law.


By Jeffrey Williams-Maisonet

Rockaway Primetime Reporting recently spoke with Community Board 12 Chair and Senate District 10 candidate Adrienne Adams about her campaign and efforts to address key issues on the Rockaway peninsula.

During a telephone interview, Adams was asked a series of questions and offered the following responses. 

RPR: What has campaigning in Rockaway been like and what did you discover about the area?

Adams: “I am no stranger to the Rockaways. I have family here and spent time in the community throughout the course of my life. I love spending my time in Rockaway and always enjoyed coming to Rockaway. While campaigning here, I’ve met several people who want to see change.”

RPR: When you spoke to Rockaway residents, what key issue were they most concerned about?

Adams: “Transportation. Rockaway has been disconnected for far too long, thanks to the lack of funding. We have a career politician in office that has not done a good job securing the necessary funds to improve transportation.”

RPR: What are some of the other issues that you plan to address? 

Adams: “Economic development is on the agenda. No one should be left out of the landscape. There has been a lack of resources and money from the state.”

RPR: In Arverne and Edgemere, there has been a prolonged lack of development. What do you plan to do to help underprivileged neighborhoods?

Adams: “First, we must get that money again, and start the development.”

RPR: Do you like your chances of winning on September 13?

Adams: “Support has been good, I have support from my challenger’s hometown and district, and the people have treated me very well. They are looking for change.”

RPR: What’s the main thing you’d like the people of Rockaway to know about you?

Adams: “I would like the people to know, as Community Board Chair for a long time, I’ve proven to be a hard-worker. I stay true to my word, and I want the residents of Rockaway to know that I will have an open door for them. The people will have someone to fight for them”.

A list of the candidate’s endorsements is available at


Reminder, the Democratic Primary will be held Tuesday, September 13th. Polls open at 6am and close at 9pm.

For more information on where and how to vote, visit the link below.

Stacey Pheffer Amato Endorsed by Council Member Richards in Bid for State Assembly


Council Member Donovan Richards backs Pheffer Amato for Assembly District 23, praising her as ready “to lead from day one” on the many issues affecting Far Rockaway families

Richards, Chair of the Council’s Zoning Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises, a force behind a major revitalization plan for Far Rockaway, figh t to bring improved transportation, economic development to community

Far Rockaway, Queens – Candidate for Assembly Stacey Pheffer Amato continues to cement her reputation as a leader all across southern Queens and Rockaway with the endorsement of City Council Member Donovan Richards (D – Far Rockaway). In his endorsement of Pheffer Amato, Richards praised the candidate for her readiness to serve as the next State Assembly Member from the 23rd District.

“I am pleased to endorse Stacey Pheffer Amato to be our next Assembly Member in the 23rd District,” said NYC Council Member Donovan Richards. “Stacey has the enthusiasm and public service experience to lead from day one and make government available to families in southern Queens and Rockaway. I look forward to partnering with Stacey on the many issues affecting the community.”

“It’s an honor to have the support of Council Member Donovan Richards,” said candidate for Assembly Stacey Pheffer Amato. “Council Member Richards has been a true leader for Far Rockaway during our long and difficult recovery from Superstorm Sandy, as well as a champion of smart development to benefit the entire community.”

With the Council Member’s endorsement, Pheffer Amato gains the support of the council’s leading authority on city planning. Since becoming the Chair of the Council’s Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises, Richards has spearheaded the city’s $91 million multi-agency rezoning and revitalization plan for Downtown Far Rockaway, which will work to spur economic development by giving the area its first zoning update in half a century and encouraging new mixed-use developments.

Along with Richards, Pheffer Amato also recently earned the endorsement of outgoing Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, whose seat the candidate is looking to fill. Pheffer Amato has pledged to take up many of the issues important to both officials, including the downtown Far Rockaway Revitalization and the reactivation of the Rockaway Beach Rail Line, a popular transportation initiative long championed by Goldfeder. The latter even earned Pheffer Amato the support of Transport Workers Union Local 100, which has been a vocal proponent of reactivating the line. Pheffer Amato has also been endorsed by Borough President Melinda Katz, 1199 SEIU, and the New York State Nurses Association.


Far Rockaway, Queens – Candidate for Assembly Stacey Pheffer Amato continues to cement her reputation as a leader all across southern Queens and Rockaway with the endorsement of City Council Member Donovan Richards (D – Far Rockaway). In his endorsement of Pheffer Amato, Richards praised the candidate for her readiness to serve as the next State Assembly Member from the 23rd District.

Sanders stresses work undone in primary fight

By Patrick Donachie/ Times Ledger

“New York State Sen. James Sanders (D-Rochdale Village) says downtown Jamaica is need of community economic development and he is working to ensure that the community living in the area now benefits from the increased retail and residential development happening throughout the area.”

Read more here-

Sanders tells Times Ledger,“If we’re going to avoid the tensions that Chicago and other cities have, we have to show possibilities,” “Hope is the best antidote and the best solution.”

Rockaway Primetime will reach out to Sanders office for comment,on what work needs to be done in Rockaway. Stay tuned!

World War II Dog Tags Found on Rockaway Beach in 1966 Returned to A Queens Family

By Chris Carola/NBCNEWS


It took 50 years for a Long Island woman to finally complete her quest to return a World War II veteran’s lost dog tags she found on a New York City beach.

Laurie Lubin, of Bellmore, began her search by poring over phone books in the 1960s and continued into the internet era. She recently hit pay dirt when she learned that one of the veteran’s daughters lives just a few miles away in Queens.

Read more here