The excitement in Glen Cove swelled on Friday, July 10, as the arrival of the Tall Ships in the Americas' Sail race became a reality. Many residents had spotted Argentina's 338-foot, three-masted full-rigged Libertad off Pryibil Beach that day. The Libertad could also be seen from the Morgan Park jetty and, as word spread that the Tall Ships were really in Glen Cove, the park bustled with residents trying to get a first glimpse.
Bottom row, l.-r.: Jackie Demas, Amy Gagnon, Mara Silver-Smith, Carolyn Corrado. Middle row: Band Director Ari Contzius, Kerri Young, Michael Kilfoil, Stephanie Beinert, Band Director Evan Feldman. Top row: Maureen McEneaney, Donna Lyons, Dan Voss, Dennis Pettas.
On Saturday morning, July 11, the Tall Ships officially arrived in a parade of sail from Peacock Point to a temporary docking pod off the Morgan Park jetty. Led by the paddlewheeler Thomas Jefferson with the high-speed ferry Sassacus bringing up the rear, the Libertad; HMS Rose; HMS Bounty; Kalmar Nyckel; Half Moon; Quinnipiack; Mary E; and Phoenix proudly sailed to their respective docking points. Hundreds of people had lined up along the shore, on the promenade and at every possible high point in Morgan Park to get a good view of the Tall Ships. Many had tears in their eyes at the splendor of it all. Countless Glen Cove residents were bursting with pride that the Tall Ships were going to call Glen Cove their home port for six days.
The opening ceremonies were held on the stage at Morgan Park. Mayor Thomas Suozzi greeted the captains and officers of the Tall Ships as well as Rev. William Wendler, the president and executive director of Americas' Sail. (He is also the pastor of the Carpenter Memorial United Methodist Church). The captain of each ship; Sea Cliff's Frank Braynard, the curator of the Merchant Marine Museum at Kings Point and a founder of Americas' Sail; Rev. Wendler; and Paul Pennoyer were each given a key to the city by Mayor Suozzi. A flag was accepted by Cecile Pennoyer on behalf of the Morgan Park Trustees who had given their blessing to hosting the Americas' Sail events at Morgan Park. Mayor Suozzi thanked the thousands of volunteers who made the Americas' Sail '98 at Glen Cove event possible and highlighted his remarks- as he did throughout each day of Americas' Sail- that an important part of the Tall Ships being in Glen Cove was to show the world that beautiful Glen Cove does indeed have a waterfront that is working its way back from neglect. "This event will clearly re-establish the City of Glen Cove as one of the premier waterfront communities in the northeast. For three years we have worked to clean up one mile of blighted waterfront and we are prepared to enter the new millennium as a seaside tourist destination," said Mayor Suozzi.
Americas' Sail '98 at Glen Cove carried a packed agenda of events for everyone to enjoy. Free boat tours- for those patient enough to wait on line; the Girard Perregaux Regatta from Glen Cove to Greenwich; a park full of clowns; vendors; children's entertainment; Goodwill Games interactive sports; model boat races; food; pickle eating contest; concerts; chowder tasting; clambakes; classic cars; ecumenical sunrise service; a mock sea battle; the US Navy Drill Team; the US Navy Band, a Bacon Brothers concert, a superior laser show and world class fireworks. At the Glen Cove Marina on Sunday, the Glen Cove Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat race which proved to be wetter than usual. Two teams ended up in the water with paddles going in every direction as the crew tried to right their boat while laughing.
There were gala receptions for the captains and crew at the Woolworth estate, the Webb Institute, and on board the Libertad. City Hall was the site of an opening day reception for the captains and members of their family. On Thursday, July 9, Killenworth's doors were opened for the second time in recent memory as the Russian Federation's UN ambassador, Sergey Lavrov, hosted a benefit for Americas' Sail '98 at Glen Cove.
Americas' Sail '98 in Glen Cove will not cost the taxpayers of Glen Cove any money, according to Mayor Suozzi. Nearly $1 million has been raised through the generosity of various sponsors. Computer Associates, Fleet Bank, ABC-TV Channel 7, Genovese, Gold Medal Challenge, Acclaim Entertainment, Newsday, WBAB, Cablevision and the Mashataucket Pequot Tribal Nation are just a few of the sponsors of Americas' Sail '98 in Glen Cove.
There were several glitches in parking, bus transportation and ferrying to the Tall Ships. The City of Glen Cove was packed with at least 60,000 people on Saturday and 80,000 people on Sunday with Monday's figures hovering around 60,000 again. Most visitors took the long lines in stride and kept their temper in check. Glen Cove residents knew that all of the events were planned by volunteers over the last year....not by the professional Disney World, Inc.
Ed. Note: More Americas' Sail '98 at Glen Cove in next week's edition.