On a crisp autumn evening while the last of the golden leaves floated down on the circular driveway leading to Coe Hall, more than 150 guests filled the great hall to celebrate the restoration of Mai Coe’s beloved Steinway piano, which had not been played in 50 years. And what better way to do it than with a celebration of Broadway show tunes. For two hours guests were entertained by six talented performers whose credits range from Broadway and national tours as the original cast members from award-winning plays such as Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables and South Pacific. Curator Gwendolyn Smith and Executive Director of the Planting Fields Foundation Henry Joyce were thrilled with the turnout.
With the Coe ancestors looking down at the audience from their portraits hanging in the hall, Smith gave the audience a history of the piano. “Mai Coe loved contemporary music and played the piano often. It was our dream to restore the Steinway for many years. It had a cracked keyboard and had several issues with it mechanically so it was not in playable condition. We put together a restoration project and had it sent to Steinway to have it completely mechanically restored so it is in concert performance condition. It will be used for many events to come. It was played by Mai Coe and it is was ‘born’ on December 24, 1913 and delivered here to Oyster Bay. It is such a special occasion for us because it is the 100 year anniversary of the Planting Fields estate. The piano is solid mahogany, heavier than most Steinways, and will stay in the Great Hall because we want to use it for future performances.”
It was all for the snowflakes. The Oyster Bay-East Norwich Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual fundraiser to Light Up The Holidays on Nov. 7, at Mill Neck Manor for the Deaf, a chamber member. The event celebrated the chamber’s successful programs presented over the year, including Cruise Nights, the car show held on Tuesdays; and ArtWalk held Sundays in the summer.
The board presented an award to Jim Perna of Long Island Picture Frame and Art Gallery for his support of ArtWalk. He held special events in support of ArtWalk, attracting more visitors to attend the event held on the first Sunday of the month during the summer.
Raynham Hall Museum was in high spirits on Oct. 25 at a fabulous Halloween event celebrating the museum’s reputation as a haunted house. Costumed or black-clad guests were greeted by some fine feathered friends — owls and ravens — on the arms of handlers from Volunteers for Wildlife Hospital and Rehabilitation Center at Bailey Arboretum. Guests then ventured through the dimly lit Colonial and Victorian mansion decorated with Victorian-inspired spirit photos, wandering out eventually into a spookily decorated tent, where they danced the night away to classic rock, blues and punk, courtesy of the Mortimer-Lyons band.
The creative and enthusiastic revelers were disguised as a wide variety of characters from ancient history to Spy vs. Spy, including Madame Bovary, Titanic survivors, colonial dames and Fifty Shades of Grey’s Anastasia. Museum staff and happy volunteers impersonated moon beams, with the help of a little judiciously-applied face paint and silvery costumes. Treats included witches’ fingers and sweet and savory concoctions from the cauldron of GreenPear catering in Locust Valley and underwriting was graciously provided by Connie Cincotta and by Post Wine and Spirits.
The Cold Spring Harbor Library has a new rain garden, thanks to the cooperative efforts of the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District, Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation District, Friends of the Bay, the Oyster Bay Cold Spring Harbor Protection Committee and Main Street Nursery.
Rain gardens reduce storm water runoff by allowing water to be absorbed into the ground, rather than traveling across asphalt or concrete, which can carry pollutants into nearby bodies of water. They are an important means or protecting water quality. They also provide habitat for local wildlife, such as birds and butterflies. Native plants are used in rain gardens since they do not require fertilizer and are suited to the climate in the area in which they are planted.
James H. Vernon School Principal Nancy Gaiman was at the Oyster Bay School Board meeting on Tuesday night to discuss updates for the fifth-grade class. The new “semi-departmentalized” program allows for two teachers for each different subject group.
“Having two teachers for daytime instruction will ease the transition for our fifth-grade class into a fully departmentalized sixth grade where there is a different teacher for every subject,” said Gaiman. “It will also provide more support for overall academics.”
After more than a one-year pause, work is again underway on construction of the historic Oyster Dredge Ida May replica.
Clint Smith, president of the Christeen Oyster Sloop Preservation Corporation (COSPC), explained, “We stopped because our fundraising slowed down and wasn’t sufficient to cover our expenses under the original plan. We had to find a way to lower the project cost.” One of the volunteers on the project proposed a different approach that utilizes more volunteer labor under the direction of a part-time shipwright. “This plan will extend the time required for the project but reduces the overall cost significantly,” Smith said.
Long time Centre Island resident Deborah Munson Smith has authored a charming book describing the plants and flowers of Centre Island. A Centre Island Botanica is not meant as a field guide, rather, it provides folklore and anecdotal comments about the more than 90 species of plants which the author was able to identify. Smith grew up on Centre Island and loved to explore the wild places. She lived in Carmel, CA for 20 years, and after returning to Centre Island in
1981, decided to write a book about the beautiful plants she encountered during her walks around the island.
This year, Oyster Bay will not hold its traditional Pearl Harbor Day commemoration held annually on Dec. 7, at the waterfront at Theodore Roosevelt Park. American Legion Commander Reginald Butt, Jr. explained the reasons saying, “Last year there was a total of 42 veterans attending and 25 of them were from the Bayville Post and there was a 125-piece band from the Plainview Old Bethpage School District. Last year, the band outnumbered the veterans and with the problems the Bayville American Legion is facing, they might not attend this year.”
Last month a list was released by Newsweek ranking the top high schools in America. Oyster Bay East Norwich High School showed up as number 425, making it 64th in the state.
“Rankings such as those by Newsweek provide important measures of district progress as we strive to truly maximize each student’s personal potential for their futures,” says Dr. Laura Seinfeld, Superintendent of Schools, Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District. “We continue to design and refine learning opportunities focused on excellence and equity in alignment with the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Board of Education’s first goal for the 2013-14 school year: ‘to continuously improve curriculum, instruction, and assessment in order to enhance learning opportunities and achievement of all students.’”
Dr. Dennis O’Hara said, “We, at Oyster Bay High School, are proud of this ranking. We strive to provide our students with the best education and overall experience possible. Newsweek’s ranking is an indication of the effort that is put forth by our students, faculty, administration and Board of Education. It is also reflective of the supportive partnership we enjoy with the community. There are many great things happening at Oyster Bay High School each day. Being ranked by Newsweek magazine among the nation’s top high schools is just one of them.”
On Saturday, Oct. 26, the Oyster Bay Funeral Home opened its doors to the community to showcase its newly expanded and appointed facilities. The funeral home underwent a major transformation, nearly doubling in size its chapel area.
Many local residents, clergy, family, staff and friends attended the event.
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