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Then And Now

Hicksville Gregory Museum celebrates 50th anniversary

On the anniversary of the ribbon cutting at One Heitz Place, Hicksville’s Gregory Museum paused to celebrate.

Memories were shared, friendships renewed and fellowship prevailed as an overflow crowd gathered in the second floor community room, festively decorated for the occasion, for a special program from Museum President Richard Althaus, entitled “50 Years of Service of The Gregory Museum.”  

In his opening remarks Historical Society President Mike Christodoulou said. “Hicksville has a great history. We are family.”

Soon the gathering was glued to the screen for the presentation, as slide after slide, Althaus’ informative narration accompanied the visuals. The room’s silence was broken only by gentle laughter and comments such as “remember that?” or “Look!” at the sight of old friends and special times.  

Originally housed at the Cottage Boulevard home of its namesake, Dr. Gardiner Gregory and his wife, Anne, the museum hosted school trips from the start. Its present location – once a vital village hall and courthouse built in the late 1800s – was transformed from an abandoned and vandalized building thanks to tireless local volunteers.

For some three years, they knocked down walls, built new ones, designed and redesigned, spackled, painted – everything necessary to bring the building to life. Among the helping hands were Botto Mechanical, McKeon Lumber, Ruhback Plate Glass Company, BOCES students and countless community members. One nod to the past remains – a jail cell on the first floor, bars and all.

Now the Gregory Museum is writing its own page in Hicksville’s history as a thriving and innovative educational and scientific institution that is home to regular school tours and projects, natural history collections. Fossils, minerals and butterflies along with science exhibits and community events are only a handful of the attractions

“You want to preserve the history of Hicksville,” Trustee Vera Althaus said.

Before the program, docent and staff entomologist Paul Manton pointed out that the site of the museum “was once the center of town.” With great enthusiasm, Manton told a group of visitors about a dinosaur egg, which came from China, that’s currently on display in a sparking glass case. Among those listening closely was Hicksville resident Elaine Peters.  

“This is a great little museum. There is so much here,” said Peters. “Everything is done in an educational way.”

A member of the Historical Society she recalled working at Thom McCan in Mid Island Plaza (now the Broadway Mall) before it was enclosed. Bubbling with enthusiasm, she remembered bringing her young daughter to the museum constantly and loving every moment.

“Hicksville makes you proud. Hicksville has a Historical Society and we have a museum,” Historical Society President Christodoulou proudly remarked, noting most communities have neither.

After the presentation, attendees dined on delicious sandwiches and homemade baked goods. A special anniversary celebration is being planned for May 1 at the Milleridge Inn.

Echoing the sentiments of residents past and present, Fran Jablonski said, “I love Hicksville.”

To learn more about the Gregory Museum, call (516) 822-7505 or visit gregorymuseum.org.

News

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. That’s just what a Hicksville baker is doing, except in her case it isn’t lemons, but a gluten-free diet. Her lemonade stand of choice is her brand new gluten-free eatery, “Jac’s Bakeshop and Bistro,” which held its grand opening on April 12.  

“I’m a baker who can’t even eat wheat or eggs,” said owner Jaclyn Messina, chuckling at the irony.

There’s a lot you can do in 99 minutes. You could cook dinner, play a non-stop soccer game, watch a romantic comedy or hang out with Odysseus, Achilles and Hercules. If you chose the last option, Hicksville High School’s upcoming theatre production of The Iliad, The Odyssey, and All of Greek Mythology in 99 Minutes or Less  is the place for you.

The mouthful of a title says it all. The cast will take on over 80 characters as they speed through all of Greek mythology, including popular tales such as The Iliad and The Odyssey, in a little over an hour and a half.


Sports

Vito Sciascia was recently named Hicksville Soccer Club’s Volunteer of the Year at the 2014 Long Island Junior Soccer League 2014 Kick-off Convention.

Sciascia started coaching travel soccer in 1998 for a boys team, the Flash, who later changed their names to the Muddogs. He could always be found at various sporting fields trying to recruit new soccer players. He would make each of these boys feel important and there was always room for another player. He tried to never turn a child away and when other coaches were having trouble with a boy he would take them on his team, no one was ever too much for him. Sciascia found the good in all those boys and they in return respected him. He took them to many tournaments and solicited enough sponsorship so that it was never a financial burden on their families.

Cantiague Park Senior Men’s Golf League had its first tournament on Thursday April 4. Twenty golfers came out on on a crisp but sunny morning. Charlie Hong was the only man to score under a 40, with a 38 and won for low overall score. Jim O’ Brien  scored a 41, and won low overall net in a tie-breaker with Mike Guerriero.

Competition on the nine-hole course is divided into two divisions. Flight A is for players with a handicap of 13 or lower. Flight B is for players with a handicap of 14 or more. The league is a 100 percent handicap league. Any man 55 years or older is eligible for membership. We have many openings for this year, and you can sign up anytime throughout the the season.


Calendar

American Legion Meeting

April 21

HS Theater in the Round

April 24-26

Science Fair

April 26



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