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Lace Up The Skates, The Ice Is Fine

Local skaters celebrate

National Skating Month

While each family celebrates the new year in their own way, skating enthusiasts and members of United States Figure Skating (USFS) have their own tradition: kicking off the year with a National Skating Month event at their local rink.

Throughout January, skating clubs across the country celebrate the sport by hosting a myriad of skating-themed activities to create a fun-filled afternoon, or in this case, morning. On Sunday, January 13th, Great Neck Figure Skating Club (GNFSC) kept over 120 skaters and their families entertained during two hours of festivities.

USFS is thrilled with the success of this initiation, saying 2013 is the largest participation in National Skating Month they’ve ever had.

“I couldn’t be happier with how our clubs, Basic Skills Programs and rinks across the country have embraced this golden opportunity to promote ice skating, inviting families in their communities to give skating a try,” Susi Wehrli-McLaughlin, Senior Director of Membership at USFS, told me.

One of the highlights for many children at GNFSC’s event was receiving a gift bag upon arrival, which included, among other things, a decorative towel to clean  their  skating blades and Snowplow Sam souvenirs.

Starting at 7:45 a.m., coaches Farah Gholamazad and Celeste Estrada led an on-ice skills class followed by a free skating session, with skaters of all levels gliding and dancing on the ice to popular tunes streamed through the speaker system. A bagel breakfast and hot chocolate was especially popular during breaks.

Last year, my sister Emily (2006 Olympian in Figure Skating) and I went to Albany, and skated on an outdoor rink at one of the National Skating Month events. Other National Skating Month events I’ve participated in over the years include ones in Atlantic City, Chicago, Sugarland. Tx., and New York City.

However, this was the first one I’ve been to where synchronized skating teams performed in an exhibition. “Team Image” and two teams representing the “Skyliners” dazzled the audience with their footwork, turns and moves done with great precision. The pre-juvenile “Skyliners” team entertained the audience with their Elvis Presley medley, fittingly dressed in matching white and gold dresses.

Following their numbers, I skated to “What I Did For Love,” from A Chorus Line.

One of the things that made this event special for me was being able to share it with my young nieces, who skate recreationally. “I really liked it,” Natalie Parker, 8, said. “It was so much fun. I loved the raffle and the freestyle skating. It was the best thing in the world!”

Alexandra Parker, also 8, agreed. “I just loved it,” she said. “It was great. If I could, I would’ve stayed at the rink for the rest of the week!”

A big thank you to Parkwood Pro Shop owner Phil Zhukovin for donating raffle items and to GNFSC President Cindy Zubli, Andy Rimar and Gigi Politoski for making this event a great success.

All portions of the morning were provided free by the Great Neck Figure Skating Club at the Parkwood Sports Complex on Arrandale Avenue.

News

Vastra boutique finds a niche

in hand-embroidered dresses

Who says a bride has to wear white on her wedding day? For South Asian brides, no color is off limits including brilliant reds, blues and golds. For the past 17 years, Vastra in Hicksville has been helping brides from New York and across the country find the perfect dress for their special day.

There’s no lack of Indian sari boutiques in Hicksville but according to Marketing Director Prachi Jain, what sets Vastra apart from the others is its emphasis on one of a kind, hand-embroidered Indian dresses.

Many would consider it rude to play with your food. That is unless, you’re participating in the Long Island Potato Festival. The event, which was held in Cutchogue, NY, included a mashed potato sculpting contest which was dominated by Hicksville’s Sarah Tsang, who won first place in the youth division.

Contestants were allowed to use any tools and materials to help bring their creation to life. Sculptures were left on display throughout the day and voted on by festival goers.


Sports

Somehow LSA, the Levittown Swimming Association, has always been a part of our Hicksville summers. My family’s introduction to the organization in 1975 began when our two older daughters tried out for the Parkway Swim Team, one of the nine teams that competed through July and most of August.

It was no small task for the younger girl, swimming her first full lap in the deep end of the pool to qualify at age six, but both girls made the team and donned the coveted gray tee shirts as the trees cast their shadows over the pool water at the end of practice.

I’m convinced that the soul and the center of Hicksville is Cantiague Park. And why not? Every weekend it’s a beehive of activity ranging from tennis matches, hand ball games, basketball and baseball games, swimming, hockey and of course ‘the beautiful game’ called soccer. Cantiague has two professional soccer fields that are perfectly manicured and begging to be played on. And they were. This weekend was the finals of the East Meadow Soccer Tournament which is one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in the nation, sponsored by the US Soccer Federation. There were 18 boys and girls teams in the finals and a large staff of referees.

Two of the refs were Steven Orozco and Randy Vogt who told me how soccer had been growing and has now become the second most popular participation sport in America with 25 million of us watching this year’s World Cup.  I also met and interviewed Joe Codispoti who along with Tim Bradbury is the head coach of Rockville Centre United, a U16 boys club.  This U16 team has a group of standout players led by  Jack Graziano, AJ Codispoti and Pat Basile who have been playing together for six years.


Calendar

Close Encounters with Benevolent ETs and Ascended Masters

August 29

Adventures in Genealogy

September 4

Greek Festival

September 5-7



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