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Editorial: A Great Place To Live

As a native Long Islander and a longtime Queens resident, the name Floral Park has crossed my radar numerous times. Geographically, I always had a sense of where it was, but for the most part, it’s always been one of those nebulous-sounding burgs like Lattingtown, Bayport or East Williston that you think you’d be able to find on a map, but couldn’t really do on a wager. Given the fact that the village proper rests on less than 1.5 square miles, it’s no wonder that I’ve overlooked it in the past. But in the brief two weeks that I’ve been training to take over the editorship of the Floral Park Dispatch from my esteemed ex-colleague Melissa Argueta, I’ve come to realize that despite what Floral Park may lack in geographic size, it more than makes up for in the friendliness of its denizens and the old-fashioned charm radiated by its community leaders.

The first Dispatch story I filed was a feature on the Floral Park Lions Club. Our meeting took place during one of the club’s luncheons at Crabtree’s Restaurant. I was privileged enough to lunch with current chamber of commerce president Theresa Whalen, outgoing and incoming Lions heads Bill Greulich and John Mansfield, Lions historian Ray Carson and member/resident raconteur Raul Calvo. While I dined on the delicious fare, (I highly recommend the rigatoni with artichoke hearts), humorous anecdotes and historical Floral Park tidbits were enthusiastically batted about the table. And while every town has its own unique background, the pride with which each story was recounted was as undeniable as the Little Rascals mural that was looking down over our table. Did you know that legendary Hollywood sex bomb Jayne Mansfield, (who John assured me was no relation), was briefly a Floral Park resident? I didn’t. Nor did I know that controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe was a native son as was World Series champion pitcher and former Baltimore Oriole Pete Richert. On a more contemporary note, my research revealed that in one of current village Mayor Tom Tweedy’s former lives he provided the voice for Mark Venture, a major character on the anime program Star Blazers, a cartoon series I recall watching as a budding animation fan.

On a more serious civic note, I do know that I’ve heard great things about the Sewanhaka school district and of course one of the community’s most famous annual events, The Belmont Stakes. I’ve also been taken in by the beauty of Heritage Park, the small-town aura emanating from the Tulip and Covert Avenue downtown and the sinfully delicious cannoli cake I sampled from La Bella Bakery. (Although I’m told the Italian cookies Rosie’s Italian Bakery whips up are well worth seeking out.) And while I read from afar about the tragedy the Hance Family went through, it truly reaffirmed my faith in humanity when I witnessed how Floral Park rallied around those directly affected by this horrific event. All these factors excite me about the potential stories to be written about this proud and tiny village whose motto is “A Great Place to Live.” If I can do half a good a job as my predecessor, then I know that I will have done right by Floral Park.

— Dave Gil de Rubio

News

The Nassau County Robbery Squad detectives are investigating a bank robbery that occurred on Wednesday, Sept. 17 which occurred at 5:40 p.m. in Floral Park.

According to detectives, a black, male subject entered the Capital One Bank, 170 Tulip Ave. and approached a teller. The subject produced a handgun and demanded money. After obtaining an undisclosed about of cash, the subject fled the bank and was last seen heading southbound on Plainfield Ave. The subject was described as being 35 to 40 years old, 6’ tall, stocky build, wearing a dark colored baseball cap, sunglasses, a white T-shirt and dark pants, During the incident there were four employees and one customer present. No injuries were reported.

Home security company Safe Choice Security recently compiled a list of the 29 safest places to live in New York State, and Floral Park made the ranks as one of four places in Nassau County. Using 2012 FCI crime statistics to analyze violent and property crime rates in the area, Safe Choice Security said it ranks each community based on its potential risk.


Calendar

UMC’s Annual Steak and Lobster Night

Friday, September 26

27th “Liz’s Day”

Saturday, September 27

Boy Scouts Car Wash

Saturday, September 27



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com