While Long Islanders fretted about the loss of their lights, air-conditioning and refrigerators during the night of Blackout 2003 (Thursday, Aug. 14), about 200 Sea Cliff residents were able to temporarily set their worries aside, while attending a magical evening in Memorial Park for the latest edition of the weekly Sunset Serenade Series sponsored by the Sea Cliff Civic Association.
Resident Larry Martone entertained the gathering with two hours of musical classics, taking the audience back to "Those were the days, my friend, we thought they'd never end." And the crowd didn't want the show to end either (at 9 p.m.), practically insisting upon several encores, which were generously served up by the obliging Mr. Martone.
First of all, the showman borrowed a generator from a relative so that the show could go on, complete with sound system and flood lights. Petrice Kaider, the mastermind of this successful summer series of Thursday concerts (from 7 to 9 p.m.) performed by local talent, blushed with pride at the turnout of, and plaudits from, appreciative friends and neighbors.
Friends and families flocked together and felt genuine relief from the oppressive heat, taking advantage of the park's balmy breezes. Pre-school children frolicked in front of the guitar-playing singer, bouncing and pirouetting to the beat, much to the delight of their parents and other onlookers.
It was a love-in, in the best sense of the word, to be etched in the memories of the audience, young and old, as a gratifying experience that proved so nourishing on such a grim occasion as a blackout. One had to be there to appreciate the transformation of emotions of those people feeling so protected within the perimeter of the park.
In future years they will surely recall where they were on the night of Blackout 2003, just as millions of New Yorkers remember just where they were and what they were doing at the outset of Blackout 1965.