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On Track For Train Station Restoration

The Oyster Bay Railroad Museum is making significant strides towards its goals of restoring the historic Oyster Bay train station and Locomotive 35. The museum has been awarded three grants to do the restorations, a project intended to preserve a large piece of history for the area.

Development Director Bill Bell said, “The contribution the museum will make to the cultural and historic fabric of Oyster Bay hamlet is astronomical. It is truly unique in the region, combining history, technology and political history. What the Long Island Rail Road meant to Oyster Bay, and Long Island, is an incredible history, and it’s important that it be told.”

A total of  $715,693 in grants was awarded to do a restoration of the station; $650,000 was received from two foundations who do not want to be identified. Legislator Judy Jacobs obtained a $65,693 grant from Nassau County to replace doors and windows and to do exterior masonry work. Together with a previous grant of $546,000 to restore Locomotive 35, the museum has received a major fundraising boost. Museum officials estimate that at least another $150,000 will be needed to completely restore the station, and $500,000 will be fund the creation of exhibits.   

The museum was granted a permanent charter by the New York State Board of Regents in December. Having this charter will assist in bringing school groups to the museum.  

The museum currently operates out of a storefront on Audrey Avenue, where visitors can explore exhibits of historic railroad artifacts. Many of them were actually used in the Oyster Bay Train Station. Just a short walk away, visitors can almost hear “All Aboard” being called out by a conductor, as they explore railroad cars, cabooses, and engines, which are being restored by volunteers. The turntable is almost in operational condition again. The motor has been refurbished, and once new rails are laid, and electric power is connected, visitors will once again be able to see a demonstration of how trains were turned around at the end of the line in Oyster Bay.  

The train station itself was built in 1889, and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. It was designed by the noted railroad architect and “inventor of the skyscraper,” Bradford Lee Gilbert. When it was completed, the Oyster Bay Railroad Station was described as one of the finest stations in the country. Unfortunately, it has now been placed on the “endangered” list by the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities.  There are some structural and condition issues, including a crack in a brick wall, caused by some settling in the foundation. The museum is consulting with preservation architects to develop a plan to proceed with the restoration of the building and prevent further damage. The station was last used as a station in 1999, and was purchased by the Town of Oyster Bay in 2004.  

 As the station for Theodore Roosevelt during his presidential years, diplomats, politicians, and world famous writers traveled through the station, sharing space with commuters and the produce and mundane supplies being brought to supply the markets and homes of Oyster Bay.  

The community has demonstrated great support for the project, looking forward to the visitors and the museum will bring. Lower Audrey Avenue has been experiencing a renaissance with an interesting combination of museums, (the Railroad Museum and 21st Century Cycles), Sweet Tomato Restaurant and the Teaching Studios of Art, Ben’s Garden and Chalikian’s Jewelry.  Once the park entrance is moved to its new site next to the museum, visitors will be drawn down Audrey Avenue, where they will be able to walk into the park and visit Oyster Bay’s magnificent waterfront. It is truly something to look forward to, and will certainly contribute to the local economy, as well as enhance Oyster Bay’s reputation as a historic and cultural center.

News

Driving rain and an early start time did not deter 600 people who arrived at Crest Hollow Country Club recently to celebrate the Women’s Fund of Long Island’s 20th year and to honor four exceptional women.

The breakfast started with a meet and greet and a chance to showcase Women’s Fund contest winner Patti Hogarty, designer of “Women as Bamboo.” Inspired by her neighbor’s bamboo, she entered the contest drawing a design of the bamboo, which Ambalu Jewelers of Roslyn then turned into various pendants of which 40-percent of the profits would go to WFLI. Hogarty wrote a short essay comparing women to bamboo in that they are strong and can weather difficult storms, yet remain graceful and continue to grow sending out new shoots.

Oyster Bay High School Principal Dr. Dennis O’Hara addressed the board of education at Tuesday night’s meeting about offering a summer school program at the high school. It would be the first time the district had a summer school program in more than 12 years.

Dr. O’Hara explained that with the institution of the Common Core state standards, students are faced with a greater level of academic rigor and more challenging coursework. The program would offer remedial and enrichment classes for students both in and out of district.


Sports

In the history of Oyster Bay High School athletics, no one has ever won a Girls’ Tennis New York State Championship. Celeste Matute and Courtney Kowalsky became the first when they won the 2014 New York State Doubles Championship in Latham on Nov. 3. What makes this tremendous achievement even more remarkable is that Matute is a junior and Kowalsky is a sophomore.

The girls, who are usually singles players, teamed up to take on the very best players in Nassau County and New York State. They won all 10 matches in the section XIII and NYSPHSAA tournaments and left Latham as the 2014 New York State doubles champions.

The conditions were as fierce as the competition earlier this month at Oakcliff Sailing’s Halloween Invitational.

Ten teams from the U.S., Canada and Bermuda battled 30-knot-plus winds, heavy rain and biting cold to see who would take top honors at Oakcliff’s final match racing event of the 2014 season.


Calendar

Raingarden Workshop

Wednesday, November 19 & Thursday, November 20

Informative Hospital Talk

November November 20

Opera Night

Sunday, November 23



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