Ethel Telesca, of New Fairfield, Connecticut, died on Friday, April 12 at the age of 90, at her daughter’s home in Glen Head. She was born on January 10, 1923 in Brooklyn. She studied fashion design and graduated from Washington Irving High School in Manhattan. At 18, she married Jerome Balizer and they moved to Detroit until the outbreak of WWII, when they returned to Brooklyn. They had two children, Ginger and Kenneth. The marriage ended in divorce.
Although her dream was to be a fashion designer, life took her in other directions. For many years she worked as a medical administrator located in the New York City Garment District, which was the first medical center providing insurance coverage for organized labor.
In 1965, Ethel met and married Oscar Telesca, and moved to Bayville. While venturing out into the suburbs, she came upon the lovely village of Sea Cliff and thought it would make a wonderful site for a small café. At the time, Sea Cliff was bustling with antique shops and galleries, but no place to eat. It was then that she created Once Upon A Moose, a unique antique/luncheon spot, which became a landmark attraction for 36 years. It was a tiny gem that brought people from far and wide, including celebrities such as Natalie Portman and Yoko Ono. During the seventies gas crisis, she and several of her Moosettes went out to the gas lines and gave away hot coffee and doughnuts. Ethel was a true artist and entrepreneur, and an inspiration to many.
After retiring from the Moose, at 84, she moved up to her home in Connecticut, which had been the family’s country home since 1941, and remained there till February of this year.