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Advocates For Preservation Honored

The former Bruce Mansion, now known as The Woodlands at the Town of Oyster Bay Golf Course, was filled with like spirits on July 9: advocates for preservation. The Oyster Bay Historical Society was honoring activists who put their energies into preserving history at their second annual Advocates for Historic Preservation and Education Awards Reception.

When Oyster Bay’s Ben Jankowski’s name was called out, he received cheers from supporters of him and his wife, Kathryn Prinz.

Jankowski was honored for his work as former chairman of the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum for which he raised over a million dollars in grants and wrote their business plan. He encouraged the Town of Oyster Bay to revise its tree ordinance and he and Kathy Prinz were founders of Save the Jewel by the Bay.  It is the group whose activism encouraged the Town of Oyster Bay to revise their zoning regulations in an attempt to preserve the suburban landscape in the township. Prinz also teaches flute and zither students, has a foot reflexology business and was responsible for a tree planted in front of the Oyster Bay Community Center in honor of Arbor Day.

She presented OBHS Executive Director Philip Blocklyn with a copy of the Jewels of Oyster Bay, a collection of photographs and articles about historic houses in Oyster Bay that first appeared as a column in the Oyster Bay Enterprise Pilot.

Also worth mentioning is that honoree Michael Piccolo donated nine paintings to the silent auction. One of them, of St. John’s Episcopal Church of Cold Spring Harbor, was done when he was 23 years old. Another of Michael Piccolo’s paintings was won by Karen Loeffler in the silent auction.

Valued Honorees

Speaking to the audience, Blocklyn said of the OBHS, “We are just a very active place. We don’t just put things away in boxes. We don’t rope off historic rooms. We are all about sharing our historic past.”

He said when people ask how they can help, he tells them, “Just join and come to our events and workshops.” 

Blocklyn introduced Brian Merlis, photo archivist, and Class of 2011 honoree to make the introductions. His preservation advice was, “We must wisely pick our fights to protect historic buildings.”

Local residents being honored included: Honoree Victoria Crosby, vice president of administration for the North Shore Historical Museum and host of Oasis radio program, and past regent of the DBE.

Honoree Nancy Metz, is a visual arts teacher at the Waldorf School in Garden City and with her husband George Lindsey, founders of the Long Island Traditional Music Association.

Honoree Stella Miller of the Huntington and Oyster Bay Audubon Association is the coalition coordinator of The Early Years Institute for teaching environmentalism to children.

Honoree Ed Mohlenhoff Esq., is with Koeppel, Martone and Leistman, one of the sponsors. He is board president of Youngs Cemetery and lives at Baker Hollow, his great-great-grandparents home that is about 130 years old.

Honoree Louis Norris was congratulated was for his work with Floating the Apple, a New York based group that builds Whitehall gigs for racing used to teach inner city youth the marvels of marine life.

Honoree Michael Piccolo, Esq., associate broker with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, donated nine paintings of local scenes to the silent auction. He has been involved in restoring several historic houses.

Monica Randall, historical preservationist, film location scout, author and “rescuer” of dresses from North Shore mansions being demolished in the ‘60s was also honored. Many of those garments are on view at the North Shore Historical Museum. Randall wore one of the collections’ dresses to the gala.

Honoree Alice Smith is president of the North Country Garden Club of America, the group that maintains the colonial garden at the Earle Wightman House, the headquarters of the OBHS.

Honoree Kate Velsor is director of the Underground Railroad Teaching Partnership, author of several books and preservationist interested in saving the Maine Maid Inn as an historic location on the Underground Railroad. The building is currently in “contested foreclosure” as the owner fights the designation. Velsor said there are buyers still interested in the historic inn, located in Jericho.

 Other honorees include: Jason Antos, screenwriter and author; William Asadorian, archivist and librarian at the Long Island Collection and the Social Sciences Divisions of the Queens Borough Public Library; Carl Ballenas, moderator, the Immaculate Conception School; Christopher Collura, award winning print and broadcast reporter; Denward Collins, former president, Nassau County Historical Society; George Fosty, founder and president of Society of North American Historians And Researchers; Ron Marzlock, vice president of the Central Queens Historical Association; and Jim Trent, founder and president of the Queens County Farm Museum, the largest working farm museum in the world.

Bayville resident Dave Gugerty, Esq. recognized familiar faces including Jankowski of the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum. He said his children attended Oyster Babies and visited the trains. He brought citations to the honorees from Legislator Judy Jacobs. Gugerty said he is indebted to history as his daughters won prizes for articles on the history of the Bayville Bridge and the Nassau County Executive Building.  Gugerty is running for a seat on the Nassau County Legislature 18th District.

The reception honored Long Islanders who have distinguished themselves as advocates for history’s vital role in our lives today. Historic preservation and education are two critical elements of the OBHS’s core mission. In addition, the reception raised funds in support of the society’s ongoing programs and services, including exhibitions, lectures, book signings, workshops, and other community events. For more information call 516-922-5032.

News

With a general discontent about the view-blocking pedestrian railings recently installed along West Shore Road, the discussion at the Oyster Bay Civic Association meeting on Sept. 18 focused on the possibility of having the road designated as a scenic highway.

This concept was suggested by Gregory Druhak of Centre Island, a regular traveler along West Shore Road, who said, “I believe this is the most scenic drive on Long Island west of the Hamptons, perhaps on all of Long Island itself, and it is not being treated as such. I feel we are being given the Lefferts Boulevard [down by JFK airport] expressway extension instead. For all you can see, it might as well be the Belt Parkway below the fence instead of Oyster Bay. This is wrong.”  

This year you can expect to see the Freedom Schooner Amistad, Connecticut’s flagship, tied up on the Western Waterfront Pier at the Oyster Festival on Oct. 18 and 19. The ship is a Baltimore Clipper that is 129 feet in length and weighs 96 tons. Its home port is New Haven, Conn.

The tall ship visits ports worldwide, as an ambassador for friendship. It serves as a floating classroom, icon and monument to many souls that were broken or lost as the result of the transatlantic slave trade.

The original Amistad, which means friendship in Spanish, was made famous in 1839 when 53 African captives (men, women and children) transported from Havana revolted against their captors. The captives gained control of the ship under the leadership of Sengbe Pieh, later known as Joseph Cinque, who commanded the ship’s navigator to return them to Sierra Leone. Instead, the ship headed north, landing in Long Island, and was taken into custody by the United States Navy.


Sports

Football season is here and the Oyster Bay-Bayville Generals  held their opening day games on Sept. 14. Here are the results:

5 & 6 Peanuts:

The Peanuts opened the season vs. the Seaford Broncos and came out on the losing end of a hard fought game. The Lil Generals opened the game on offense and quarterback Rodney Hill, Jr. marched the offense down the field and completed the drive with a touchdown pass to Francesco Allocca. Yes, the Peanuts have a potent air attack with Hill Jr. going two for two for 26 yards. The defense played strong with Allocca leading the team in tackles with help on the defensive line from first-year players Dean Wolfe and Anthony Pelchuck.  

Former football coach and NFL player Bill Curry recently brought a wealth of experience, knowledge and history to a wide audience of student-athletes and coaches at Hofstra University for a lesson on diversity, tolerance and respect in high school athletics.

 

Director of the NYS PHSAA Sportsmanship Committee and Manhasset High School Athletic Director Jim Amen Jr. established the summit and invited Curry as keynote speaker.

Amen Jr. and Section VIII Executive Director Nina Van Erk introduced Curry to a crowd representing more than 37 local high schools.


Calendar

Plein Art Exhibit

Wednesday, Oct. 1

College Discussion

Monday, Oct. 6

Collecting Manuscripts

Thursday, Oct. 9



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