Former Congressman Lester Wolf, now a Muttontown resident talked in a telephone interview about the possibility of a carousel located at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park. He was not in favor of the location saying, "The idea of a carousel in what was to be considered a sanctuary and tribute to Theodore Roosevelt is inconsistent with the original concept. It might be good for business but it does not coincide with the original intent, which was to create a wildlife sanctuary. If they want to do something why not re-create what existed in TR's time and try to preserve the legacy of what TR gave us. A carousel is good for Coney Island, this is not Coney Island."
He said, "It would seem to me people moved here and live here because they like the surroundings. I am not against change but for change for the better. I'm only a recent resident of the Town of Oyster Bay but I've been a conservationist for many years. We want to preserve something of the past or what does the future hold for us?
"It would seem to me if the business people wanted to build business they would restore the original character of the park as opposed to creating a circus atmosphere in the place. It reminds me of nickel-ing and dime-ing the Gold Coast area.
"People come here to look at the historic elements of the town. I've talked about preserving farms and the oyster farms [in Oyster Bay Harbor in which Pine Island Oysters are farmed] are nationally known like Long Island Duck. I travel often to China and they talk about the Peiking Duck and the Long Island Duck.
"I want to preserve the character this area had. Do you remember Edith Wycoff [the publisher of the Locust Valley Leader]. We were the ones who originally started the idea to set up the nature preserve [now known as the Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge]. We had two thoughts in mind: to prevent the intrusion of the Bridge to Rye - and one way was to create a nature preserve - and to create a nature preserve that at the same time prevented the bridge from coming in.
"The people in this area were very concerned about the bridge. I came from Great Neck at the time but was intent on preserving the North Shore. The local people were very supportive and they crossed party lines to support the move to stop it, which was very gratifying to me."
Congressman Wolf said he sees a parallel between taking open space for a carousel and erecting a bridge through the wetland areas of the North Shore. "We have not changed progress by stopping the bridge and we were able to protect the North Shore. Someone has to stand on guard."
The congressman sought help from other legislators in the cause of preservation. "I brought US Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall here by helicopter and showed him what was here and how we were trying to preserve things. We went out on boats and saw the spawning places in the wetlands and how when you destroy that you hurt Long Island Sound. Then I created the original Long Island Sound Commission with Senator Abe Ribicoff of Connecticut, since it is located on the perimeter of the Sound. It was a New York and Connecticut connection."
He said, added to the mix was Congressman Herbert Tenzer from the South Shore. "He and I created the original Wetlands Bill to protect wetlands throughout the United States. If you don't protect the wetlands you destroy the body of water that abuts the wetland."
Congressman Wolf said, "I want to leave a legacy for my children and grand children and great grand children (of which he has five) so they can enjoy natural areas. It's terrible what we are doing. Air isn't free and water isn't free: there is a price we have to pay for all this."
He added, "These things were God given and we are despoiling them and it is just unfortunate."