[On Thursday, Aug. 4], a group of "hooligans" thought to be of middle school-age from Garden City were at work trashing the Garden City Toll Lodge located at 230 Seventh Street.
But this was nothing new. "Hooliganism" has been the rule on weekends for the past two years or so - ever since the word got out that this was a great hangout after dark. Every Monday morning (almost without exception), we are greeted with beer cans and bottles, food garbage, cigarette butts and food thrown against the house under the canopy. The culprits have swung on the shutters, dislodging them from their fittings; broken the drainpipes; pulled up sprinkler heads; destroyed the mail slot and left beer hidden in the bushes - among other atrocities.
[Recently], one of the culprits went over the top with mindless destruction of this Garden City treasure. Huge taggings of graffiti now adorn the house under the canopy on either side of the front door and on the Chamber sign in front of the building. The police report that this malicious vandalism has been occurring throughout the village. With so many of our teenagers engaged in worthwhile activities, excelling in sports and academics, it is sad that our village is blighted by this sort of mindless activity. Be assured that if and when these culprits are caught, the Chamber will seek the assistance of the Garden City Police Department in prosecuting them to the fullest extent of the law.
Background: In March of 1989, the Chamber saved the historic Garden City Toll Lodge from the "wrecker's ball." It was donated to the Chamber, which moved it from its original site next to the Long Island Motor Parkway Headquarters on Vanderbilt Court (east of Clinton Road), to the front of Parking Field 6E on the east side of Seventh Street. As an arm of the Chamber, the Toll Lodge Preservation Association was formed to meet the extensive costs of the move, to oversee the renovation and maintenance of the building and to preserve its historical significance. The Chamber entered into a license agreement with the village, which held the village owner of both the property and the building, but stipulated that the Chamber would assume all maintenance on the house and property.
In 1992, following three years of renovation, made possible by donations from the community, businesses and numerous loans and grants from 12 local banks - plus several fund-raising efforts put forth by the Toll Lodge Preservation Association, the Chamber finally moved its offices into this historic landmark. Then Mayor Brian Deveney aptly referred to the Toll Lodge as "The Jewel in the Garden." What a pity to experience the tarnishing of this historic Garden City treasure.
Garden City Chamber of Commerce