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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

Despite the national media attention about Ebola in recent weeks, there is one virus that is actually affecting Long Islanders, Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), with one of the first cases identified in North Hempstead on Sept. 18 and a recent case on Oct. 15 in Suffolk County, which school officials called for the closing of school, as a health precaution.

Dr. Charles Schleien, chairman of the department of pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, said that although the enterovirus is still active, cases are dwindling on Long Island. According to Schleien, approximately 500 cases have been reported this season of enterovirus, at Cohen’s Children Medical Center, with two to six patients being admitted per day.

Matt Bentz, of Forest Hills, was the winner of the Oyster Festival Raffle that took place as the event ended at 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19. He had a choice between winning a 2015 Chrysler 200 three-year lease or $15,000 in cash. He chose the cash. He is the “Perfect Oyster Festival Raffle winner.”

Bentz is a computer systems administrator with Spa Creek Software, a company that writes software for other software developers, and has been to the festival numerous times over the years; in fact, next year he is hoping to sail here on his 24 ft. sailboat. He got it “reasonably” from a friend who was buying up.


Sports

The autumn varsity sports season is well on its way in Oyster Bay. Many young athletes have distinguished themselves. Several fine young athletes excelled right out of the gate and were chosen by the Oyster Bay Hight School coaches as Athletes of the Month for October 2014.

Cross Country Coach Kevin Cotter has athletes who consistently qualify for the states. Picking one to honor is a difficult task. Within this impressive group of talented athletes, one stands out: junior Alex Tosi, who recently broke the 17 minute barrier for a 5K course at Bethpage State park with a time of 16:52. This feat has not been accomplished since 2008.

5- and 6-year-old Peanuts

The Little Generals (Peanuts) stepped out into the cold Sunday morning ready to give the home crowd a show as they battled the Bellmore Braves, and that’s just what they did as the Generals beat the Braves 14-7. The teams battled to a first half tie as the Generals’ touchdown came on a 26-yard run by Kody Gehnrich, thanks to great blocks by John (Jack) Grace and Jack Symanski.

In the second half, where the Generals are usually at their best, the defense shut out the Braves as Rodney Hill, Jr. and Brandon Babel stepped in on the defense line to create a great push to allow Francesco Allocca to make eight tackles. The offense got a big boost with Allocca being allowed to play RB after playing QB the past two games, and boy did he respond behind great lead blocking from Luca Granito. Allocca carried the ball nine times for 60 yards and a TD coming on the last play of the game.


Calendar

Boys & Girls Club Gala

Thursday, October 23

Halloween Party

Saturday, October 25

Property Tax Exemptions Workshop

Tuesday, October 28



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