What better way to see Tiger Woods and other top professional golfers on one of the world’s most challenging courses at a U.S. Open for free than to volunteer for one of the local charities running a concession stand? That was the decision my daughter and I made when we signed up to volunteer for Friends of Farmingdale Athletics and help out at their concession stand on Friday, June 19.
As a part of Farmingdale’s effort to provide entertainment on the Village Green during the recent U.S. Open Golf Championship, on June 19 singers from St. Kilian’s and St. Luke’s Church put their talents together to sing ’50s and ’60s hits.
The Village Pops Concerts, directed and founded by former Farmingdale High School music teacher and alumnus Brad DeMilo, are set to begin on Wednesday, July 1 at 7:30 p.m.
In its 27th year, the Village Pops Concerts run for seven weeks throughout the summer in the gazebo on the Village Green.
Regular Pops Concerts will take place on July 1, 8, 22 and 29 and offer a variety of music including instrumental, Broadway and classical.
The rain may have dampened days for U.S. Open spectators, but it was a boon for some Farmingdale businesses as golf fans trickled in to stores and restaurants to keep dry.
Just a two-minute walk from train station shuttles ferrying golf fans back and forth to Bethpage State Park, downtown Farmingdale merchants were ready to cater to U.S. Open crowds.
“The rain has created a festive atmosphere on Main Street as golf fans from around the world descend on our downtown for a break from the action or to wait out the weather,” Legislator Dave Mejias said.
Farmingdale Chamber of Commerce President Debbie Podolski said restaurants had waiting lines for tables.
“Some businesses, because of their type of business, were busier in the mornings for bagels and coffee, others were busier in the evening,” she added. “ Mother Nature may have put a damper on the U.S. Open but the rain was great for local business. All in all, it was a successful event for locals.”
Farmingdale Village sent out an email on June 18 stating “spectators didn’t catch the train home today, as many took the walk in the rain to Main Street.”
Mayor Butch Starkie said the U.S. Open has been “nothing but superlative” for the village. According to village officials, Croxley Ales House and Library Café drew the biggest crowds.
“What a difference from 2002,” said General Manager Michael DiTroia of the Library Café, who recently hosted celebrities at his restaurant such as Justin Timberlake and Michael Jordan. “It was a ghost town last time. No one came down to the village. Now the restaurants are packed. It’s great.”
Jeff Piciullo of Croxley Ales added, “We are very happy with the turnout. We have seen a lot of new faces.”
Ubaldo’s owner Ubaldo Gennrini said his Italian restaurant saw “a little improvement, but not enough.”
Gennrini said both out-of-towners and regulars filled the tables of the 35-year village mainstay. Still he said he would have liked to have had more customers.
Specialty stores like The Chocolate Duck and Infinite Yarns did not see a boom in business, nor did they expect to.
Infinite Yarns owner Anne Schneck said she had a lone customer all weekend.
“He was a golf spectator who bought some yarn for his wife,” she added. “It didn’t harm me in any way and if people saw my shop, they might go home and check me out on the Web.”
Schneck said she did not take advantage of any advertising opportunities regarding the U.S. Open and “it’s a good thing because I would’ve lost out.”
The Chocolate Duck owner Harry Cohen agreed with Schneck, adding that business for him actually went down a little.
While the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black is just around the corner, preparations for Carlyle on the Green by owner Steven Carl and his staff have long since been under way.
The Carlyle on the Green overlooks 1,500 acres of lush parkland at Bethpage State Park. It houses the golf course’s pro shop, restaurant, ballroom, courtyard, cocktail rooms, bars and suites. The Grand Conservatory Ballroom can accommodate up to 600 for a formal wedding or party. According to the Carlyle’s website, “it boasts award-winning cuisine, white glove service and a picturesque landscape.” The award-winning Oak Room Restaurant was added in preparation for the 2002 U.S. Open. It is adorned with dark wood paneling, exposed wooden beams and muted earth tones to “create a feeling of intimacy,” the website states. The Oak Room is open to the public for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Carlyle on the Green hosts over 400 events each year and is open seven days a week. It is also the exclusive caterer of all golf outings and company picnics at Bethpage State Park.
Before the professionals have a chance to golf on Bethpage State Park’s difficult Black Course, some celebrities and one lucky contest winner had the chance to test the field. And everyone agreed – it is a tough course.
Golf Digest hosted a U.S. Open Challenge on Friday, June 12 that featured former NBA star Michael Jordan, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and performer Justin Timberlake with contest winner Larry Giebelhausen rounding out the foursome.
A bill that would streamline the process for local governments, including villages, towns and special districts to be dissolved has passed overwhelmingly in the New York State Assembly and Senate. The mechanism would make it possible for villages like the Village of Farmingdale, which is 105 years old, to be dissolved.
The bill, entitled the “New N.Y. Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act,” was unveiled by New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
At a press conference once again urging U.S. Open spectators, volunteers and players to visit Farmingdale, village and county officials unveiled a trolley that will be providing transportation within the village June 20-21.
Farmingdale Village Mayor George “Butch” Starkie said the final plans for the U.S. Open week are the “culmination of two years of a lot of labor and work.”
On May 13, Farmingdale’s Matthew Lowe attempted to make history by becoming the youngest golfer ever to qualify for the U.S. Open.
The 13-year-old competed in a qualifying tournament held that day at Cherry Valley Club in Garden City. He was one of 144 pro and top amateur golfers who took to the field striving to earn a spot in the U.S. Open. Ultimately, he fell just short of that goal, but finished the day ranked 39th among his peers.
Several parties and events were approved at the beginning of the June 1 Farmingdale Village Board meeting. Block parties for Balcom Road, Lenox Court and Staples Street were given the OK, as was a food drive collection for the Eve Foundation at the Pops Concerts this summer and the Main Street Mile to be held on Sept. 5.
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