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Local Gravesite Motivates Historians

In 1662, Claes Cornelissen Van Cats sailed from his home in Schoonhoven, Holland to settle in what is now, Bushwick, New York. Van Cats, a firm believer in democracy, home rule and civil liberty, was a knickerbocker, who fought against the autocratic rule of Governor Stuyvesant. Van Cats died in 1692, but he lived on through his family, some of whom now rest in the Van Cott Cemetery of Farmingdale.

 

Vicki Gruber, a corporate and securities attorney, came to the Farmingdale Public Library on Feb. 9, for a discussion on the history of the Van Cott Cemetery as part of the Farmingdale-Bethpage Historic Society’s “winter program series” at the Farmingdale Public Library. Gruber has been studying the Van Cott Cemetery in order to preserve the rich history behind the plot of land, and is proposing a marker be erected to bring attention to its purpose and denote the history of the site. 

 

“It’s about preserving the history behind the cemetery,” said Gruber. “There’s nothing to commemorate how they got here and what their story is.”

 

According to Gruber, the headstones dates back 165 years and are severely cracked. In addition, they are virtually unnoticeable because they were laid down parallel to the ground to make it easier for landscapers to tend to the area. Gruber proposed that a sign be built on a boulder in front of the Van Cott Cemetery, on the corner of Richard and Rose Street in Farmingdale, in order to indicate the purpose of the small plot of land and serve as a historical marker for the Van Cott family. 

 

The Farmingdale-Bethpage Historical Society was optimistic about helping to fund the project. 

 

“It’s going to be an historic marker and motivate the community to take care of its history,” said Eric Goldschrafe, president of the Farmingdale-Bethpage Historical Society. “We want to promote and preserve the rich history of Farmingdale and Bethpage.”

 

The Van Cott Cemetery is the final resting spot of 16 souls. Eight of the people buried in the cemetery are decedents of the Van Cats family, who later changed their surname to Van Cott. The deaths and burials of the people at the Van Cott Cemetery occurred from 1849 to 1891, spanning 42 years. Many of the deaths occurred in 1864, during the Civil War period. About half of the deaths occurred before the age of 14 and only five of the people buried made it past the age of 50.

 

“I never knew there we had so much history buried in the center of Farmingdale.” Dr. Benjamin Giminaro, 93, a lifelong resident of Farmingdale.

News

In response to the county’s fly-by-night decision to remove 176 old oak trees along Seaman’s Neck Road, earlier this month, New York State Sen. Kemp Hannon has issued a letter to Nassau County Department of Public Works Commissioner Shila Shah-Gavnoudias regarding constituents’ concerns with the appearance of the roadway.

In his letter, Hannon asks Commissioner Shah-Gavnoudias if the removal of the trees were under the jurisdiction of LIPA or PSEG.

“If not, I would like to know who made the decision to remove these trees and why,” Hannon states. “I request you review this case and take whatever course of action necessary.”

U.S. Navy Veteran Richard Meyerowitz of Levittown joined the military in 1962, enlisting straight out of high school. While he would never see combat, Meyerowitz served as a boilerman aboard the U.S.S. Dewey amid the United States’ blockade of Cuba.

“They gave us our orders,” Meyerowitz said, “turn any vessels away. If not, blow ‘em out of the water.”

During the blockade, Meyerowitz said he only encountered one ship, which they warned to turn back. Just a kid at the time, Meyerowitz said it didn’t occur to him at the time, how the country could have been on the verge of nuclear war.


Sports

Christopher Joseph of Levittown was recently selected to play on the United States world university hockey team in Italy this year. A 2009 MacArthur High School graduate, Joseph was captain of his high school team for two seasons, leading them to two championships. Joseph would later go on to play junior hockey for New York Apple Core and the New Jersey Rockets junior ‘A’ team.

Joseph’s parents, Hal and Theresa, along with his brother Robert and sister Kristin said they are very proud of Christopher’s accomplishments and are cheering him on as he heads off to Italy.

Farmingdale State College had four players named to the 2014 D3baseball.com All-New York Team. Senior outfielder Edward Bergmann of East Meadow, earned First Team honors, while junior shortstop Anthony Alvino of Lindenhurst was named to the Second Team. Junior outfielder Michael Marino of Franklin Square and sophomore pitcher Alex Weingarten of East Rockaway also earned Third Team honors this year.

Bergmann batted a team-leading .421 this season and also led the Rams in hits (53), runs scored (42), doubles (8), on-base percentage (.503), stolen bases (30) and held a perfect fielding percentage. Nationally, Bergmann ranks 4th for stolen bases per game (0.88), 10th in stolen bases, 23rd in both on-base percentage and batting average and 29th in runs scored per game (1.21).


Calendar

BOE Planning Session

Wednesday, Aug. 27

Bad Seed Auditions

Thursday, Aug. 28

Close Encounters with Benevolent ETs

Friday, Aug. 29



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