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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

There is a new psychic medium on the North Shore of Long Island to compete with the original “Long Island Medium,” Theresa Caputo. Her name is Mary Drew and she has been working for more than a decade doing private readings. Recently, Drew has expanded her horizons and has been conducting readings at restaurants, public events and fundraisers.

“I discovered my ability to speak and to hear the deceased voices when I was 10 years old,” said Drew, who grew up in Brookville and now resides in Glen Cove. “The first deceased person I had an encounter with was my grandmother and it was a very profound experience, to say the least.”

The Oyster Bay Charitable Fund and the Oyster Bay Rotary Club hosted the annual Oyster Festival “Kick-Off” press conference on Friday, Aug. 15 at the flagpole in Theodore Roosevelt Park.

In attendance were NY State Senator Carl Marcelino and Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, both Honorary Oyster Festival Chairmen; Oyster Bay Town Clerk James Altadonna Jr.; Oyster Bay Town Councilman Chris J. Coshignano; Oyster Bay Town Councilwoman Michelle Johnson; Oyster Bay Town Councilman Joseph Pinto; Oyster Bay Rotary President Judy Wasilchuk; Verizon Title Sponsor Representative, Director of Government Affairs Patrick Lespinasse; Executive Director, h2empower, African Studies Specialist Helen Boxwill; Oyster Festival Sports Representative James Werner; Long Island Rough Riders Representative Sarah Culmo and Emcee Harlan Friedman.

The 31st annual Oyster Festival will take place on Saturday, Oct. 18 and Sunday, Oct. 19, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free.


Sports

Picture-perfect weather was on board for the Mill Neck Family of Organizations’ Third Annual Sail the Sound for Deafness Regatta on Thursday, Aug. 7. The event, featuring an evening race of yachts, followed by a cocktail party, was held to benefit the organization that serves individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have other special needs.

In this year’s race, fifteen sailors took to the waters of Oyster Bay Harbor; three aboard their own boats, others on several boats provided by Oakcliff Sailing Center. The WaterFront Center’s oyster sloop, Christeen and two vessels from Oyster Bay Marine Center, brought a total of 45 spectators out to watch the race.

Kevin Mercier, 39, of Oyster Bay, led a large contingent of local runners in the Lynne, Gartner, Dunne & Covello Sands Point Sprint 5 Kilometer Run, held on the grounds of Nassau County’s Sands Point Preserve on Saturday morning, Aug. 9. Mercier was the 18th finisher overall and third in the 35-39 age group with a time of  21 minutes, 7 seconds.

Other local runners winning awards at the Sands Point Preserve were Nicholas Cuddy of Oyster Bay, who earned first place honors in the Clydesdale Weight Division with a time of 25:53, Joanne Gallo of Oyster Bay, who  took home the first place award in the women’s 65-69 age group with a time of 28:11, and Anja Hermann of Oyster Bay, third place woman in the 20-24 age group, who finished in 28:47.


Calendar

Bayville Car Show

Friday, Sept. 5

Artist Reception

Saturday, Sept. 6

Cruise Night

Tuesday, Sept. 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