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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

Dutch Lane Elementary School teacher Jaimie Fleschner went from the classroom to the pitcher’s mound recently, winning KJOY’s “Best Teacher On Long Island” contest.  

 

Fleschner still doesn’t know who nominated her for the contest and only found out she had been entered after she got a phone call from the radio station. 

 

“They told me I was nominated and I was completely shocked and flattered. It was a great feeling,” says Fleschner. 

Dance has a variety of benefits for children. Just like other sports like soccer, tennis or basketball, it promotes good health, emotional and mental stability.

The Dance Place in Hicksville is the brainchild of former dancer, Miana DeLucia. As a child, DeLucia found relief in her local dance studio. She says, “When I was young, my brother was very sick. I used to go to the studio just to get away. There, I found my passion and it became like a second home to me. It was my safe place.”


Sports

At 6 a.m. on a blustery Saturday morning 1,600 people arrived at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park to participate in the 27th annual Runner’s Edge Tobay triathlon and tri- relay race. The participants were from all over Long Island, some from upstate NY, a few from out of state and were all ages and some even with disabilities but all came with one goal in mind, to finish.

The course starts out as a half mile swim in Oyster Bay Harbor, then a 9.3 mile bike ride through Oyster Bay, Laurel Hollow, and Cove neck which is very hilly but finishes with a 2.9 mile downhill to the finish. Then the riders have one more leg of the race which is 3.2 mile run through Mill Neck and Brookville, up to Planting Fields Arboretum and back down to Roosevelt Park to the finish line.

Second year head coach Rob Carroll is encouraged by what he has seen from the Hicksville Comets in the preseason. For this reason, he feels the team is better than their preseason ranking of No. 13.

“Last year was a tough year for us,” he said in regards to their 1-7 season. “But we improved as it went on and played in some very competitive games.”

The team ended a 15-game losing streak last season with a 26-19 victory over Uniondale.  They also were barely edged 20-14 by Hempstead on a last minute score. The rest of the games featured several lopsided scores, which is why Carroll believes the team is being overlooked.


Calendar

BOE Meeting

September 10

HHS Class of 1954 Reunion

September 12, 13

Cruizin’ For A Cure Car Show

September 14



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