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L.I. Modernism: Topic of Historical Society Book Signing

Continuing its popular “Meet the Author” series, The Garden City Historical Society will be hosting an illustrated lecture and book signing on Wednesday, May 21. The presentation features Caroline Rob Zaleski, author of Long Island Modernism 1930-1980 which is published by W.W. Norton and is an essential reference for architecture buffs, historians and everyone who lives on or visits Long Island. The book not only highlights the work within Nassau and Suffolk counties of 25 renowned architects, but also, in a master list, inventories 600 listed buildings and their locations. Zaleski will discuss how she came to work on an architectural field survey for The Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities (SPLIA) and how she discovered genuine surprises about Long Island’s recent past. She will show striking archival photographs from her critically-acclaimed book, which is as much a social history  as an architectural history about world-renowned architects and the aspirations of their clients who built on Long Island.

The featured architects are founders of American Modernism—for example, Richard Neutra, who designed the Swirbul Library on Adelphi University’s Garden City campus and two houses in Suffolk; Marcel Breuer (Geller Houses in Lawrence); Edward Durell Stone (Conger Goodyear House, Old Westbury); William Lescaze (the Calderone Movie Theatre, Hempstead); I.M. Pei (Roosevelt Field Shopping Center); Paul Rudolph, Walter Gropius and the renowned Frank Lloyd Wright.

In addition to focusing on the work of key figures in twentieth-century architecture, Zaleski’s book is complemented by more than 300 striking archival photographs, specially commissioned new photography, and plans. She documents the development of exurbia (the regions beyond established early 20th Century suburbs) and the rise of visionary structures: residences for commuters and weekenders, public housing, houses of worship, universities, shopping centers and office complexes. She also explains why modernism was embraced by Long Island’s civic, cultural and business leaders during an epoch when open space was prime for development.

Ms. Zaleski’s presentation will emphasize modern buildings as they were originally designed in and near to Garden City. Most notably:

• Richard Neutra’s 1956 Master Plan for Adelphi University and his Swirbul library building (1963), which features a magnificent circular staircase, originally in a bed  of greenery, extending from the first to the second floor. Neutra described the stairway as symbolizing “the spiraled ascent to wisdom.” Brian Lym, dean of University Libraries, today cites Neutra’s determination to design a welcoming space that communicated the importance of knowledge, and provides enjoyment from inside the library of carefully designed courtyards with water features. Filled with light, the building continues to offer a sense of contemplation and respect for learning, he adds.

• Endo Laboratories, an enormous and expensive structure built to house a drug manufacturing factory in Garden City, designed by Paul Rudolph. It was a building admired by the architectural press in the early 1960s, but disliked by Robert Moses, the Titan of Long Island’s master planning. He ordered that trees be placed along the Meadowbrook Parkway, so that drivers would not see Endo Laboratories along the way. The interiors in the executive suites were extraordinary, shot full of color and textures, and were, above all, futuristic.

• The legendary and lavish 1954 Calderone Theatre—the second largest movie theater in the East after Radio City in Manhattan—designed by William Lescaze. People came from all over Long Island to see its “Modern as Tomorrow” interiors and to ride the escalators, the first ever in a movie theatre in the United States.

• One of Long Island’s iconic developments, the original Roosevelt Field Shopping Center, from 1954, designed by the young I.M. Pei (famous now for the National Gallery in Washington and work at the Louvre in Paris). Today Roosevelt Field strikes visitors as just another shopping mall. However, at its beginnings, the mall was innovative and artistically and architecturally distinguished. It was America’s largest and most progressive shopping mall, built to be a kind of suburban equivalent to a medieval town square with something for everyone.

The free event takes place at 7:30 p.m. in The Garden City Historical Society Museum on 109 Eleventh St. in Garden City. Guests are invited to chat with the author and enjoy light refreshments following the program. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.

News

September is Library Card Sign-up Month

Back to school means back to the Garden City Public Library. September is not only back to school month, it is also Library Card Sign-up Month. A library card is the most important school supply of all for both students and their parents. This September be sure your library card is in your wallet. If you don’t have one, sign up for a new one for you and for your children.

The Garden City Public Library offers programs for adults and for children of all ages. In addition, the library provides access to an extensive collection of books, periodicals, music CDs, audiobooks, and DVDS. The library also provides online access through its website www.gardencitypl.org to authoritative electronic databases as well as to downloadable eBooks, audiobooks, and music. With a valid library card, you can register for programs, borrow materials and museum passes, and access electronic resources.

The Garden City Historical Society is gearing up for a really big celebration. In 2015, the Society will mark the 40th anniversary of its founding, and the 10th anniversary of the opening of The Garden City Historical Society Museum.

To observe these two significant milestones and to further the Society’s capital campaign to restore the exterior of the museum building, the Society is planning a special event on May 14, 2015 at the Garden City Hotel. Early next year, an invitation to attend will be extended to residents and businesses in the village. The gala will include an open bar and full buffet, with music, mystery guests, a live auction and raffles.


Sports

The league started on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Garden City’s Tullamore Park. It runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. A uniform shirt and soccer balls are provided. Cleats and soccer shorts are recommended and players must wear shin guards. Age groups range from pre-k through 12th grade. Garden City residents and non-Garden City residents are welcome. Middle school and high school age volunteers are needed. No soccer experience is necessary. If you have any other questions, please contact Andy Garger at ajgarger@verizon.net or 516-775-8058.

— Submitted by the Challenger Soccer League

2014-15 Garden City Recreation Department Dance Conservatory

The Garden City Recreation Department’s Dance Conservatory Program is pleased to announce the start of registration for its upcoming 2014-15 season. Director Felicia Lovaglio, along with Mary Searson and the rest of her staff, are excited to start off another fantastic year. The dance conservatory offers classes to Garden City residents ages 3 through adult which are non-performance based. Age is determined by the start date of the desired class. The schedule and fees for this year’s youth classes are as follows (all classes are 55 minutes long unless otherwise noted):

Note: Registration is by mail only until Sept. 23. Participants MUST be the required age by the start of the program in order to register. Each session costs $220 for 22 weeks of class.


Calendar

Junior Varsity Football At Westbury High School

Saturday, September 27

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, September 29

Not The Law Of The Sea

Wednesday, October 1



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