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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

Ever since the Garden City School District passed a $36.8 million School Investment Bond back in 2009, the upgrades throughout the district have been quite substantial. And while most of it has gone towards infrastructure, external visible improvements have rightfully been a source of pride for the board, which has taken to conducting tours at the different schools preceding the monthly public meetings that are normally held at Garden City High School. On the night of the school board meeting held on Tuesday, Oct. 14  at the Homestead Building, the school board, administration and Superintendent Dr. Robert Feirsen went on a guided tour of the building by Homestead Principal Dr. Suzanne Viscovich.

Feirsen described the tour as a new tradition started last year where administration travels around each of the district’s school buildings in the Fall to observe its current offerings and recent upgrades.

In an earlier column, Mayor John Watras shared some helpful tips on how to secure your property in preparation for a hurricane. The following are additional recommendations on what you can do now to be prepared in the event that a major storm hits Long Island.

As the storm approaches, customers should take the following steps to prepare for the arrival of either a hurricane or tropical storm:


Sports

Stretching tips for the high school athlete

Prior to the start of high school running season, Garden City’s Physical Therapy Options (PTO) had an opportunity to provide a presentation to members of Sacred Heart Academy’s cross country team. Team members gathered at Garden City’s New York Running Company to learn strategies and tips for a successful fall season.

PTO staff members Dr. Meghan Goetz, Doctor of Physical Therapy, and PTO Aide Mike Murphy discussed the importance of stretching to prevent injury and provided strategies and tips for success for the high school runner.

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


Calendar

Garden City High School Homecoming

Saturday, October 25

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, October 27

A Map Of Artistic Inspiration

Saturday, November 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