Written by Elan Wurtzell Friday, 25 June 2010 00:00
Amidst blooming flowers, warm sunshine, festive music and a community of friends, the Plainview-Old Bethpage Chamber of Commerce dedicated the opening of Serenity Garden on June 8.
Close to 140 people attended the ceremonies, which celebrated the transformation of a once overgrown, garbage-filled lot at the corner of Old Country Road and Central Park Road in Plainview into an oasis of flowers, shrubbery, ornaments, whimsy and memories. Landscaped gardens, a beautiful pergola and dedicated brick paths line Serenity Garden. Plainview’s “Horse of a Different Color”, wearing sneakers, stands guard over Serenity Garden and beckons residents to come and visit.
The ceremonies began with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Pete McCann and a military honor guard. Newly-elected President of the Chamber, Gary Epstein, officiated over the proceedings and thanked the many people and organizations that participated in the development of the garden and the dedication ceremonies. Attending the ceremony were representatives of the POB Volunteer Fire Dept., the POB School Board and Administrators, Councilwoman Rebecca Alesia, Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs, Water Commissioners Ed Shulroff, Joel Kessler and Andrew Bader, Second Precinct Commander Thomas Conti, and scores of community and business residents, many of whom donated funds to engrave special messages on the brick pathways that line Serenity Garden.
Francesca Carlow, past president of the chamber, gave the keynote address describing the development of the garden as a place to relax, enjoy the outdoors and contemplate the world in the midst of all the tumult that Old Country Road represents. Ms. Carlow said that Serenity Garden was also intended as a showcase for community pride and awareness. Making the garden complete was the recent installation of park benches; the Administration of Plainview Hospital donated one of the benches and the Plainview Bethpage Lion’s Club has pledged funds towards the purchase of a second bench.
Following her address, Ms. Carlow was presented with a beautiful plaque in honor of her leadership and many accomplishments as past president of the chamber, and expressing thanks and appreciation for her ceaseless dedication to the Plainview-Old Bethpage community.
The opening was marked by strong community support evidenced by the large turnout. The local middle schools sponsored an essay contest in which students wrote about their Plainview-Old Bethpage pride and about living in the town. Brandon Birbrayer and Kimia Ziadkhanpour were the winners of the contest and Brian Coakley and Rachel Goerke received honorable mentions. Each of the students read their essays, which received enthusiastic applause from the gathering. Adding to the festive spirit of the occasion was the lively musical performance by Matthew Wurtzel and Matthew Botta, both graduates of POB High School and current students of the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam and Georgetown University, respectively.
At the conclusion of the ceremonies, president Gary Epstein declared Serenity Garden open and all in attendance continued to enjoy Plainview-Old Bethpage’s oasis on Old Country Road, the warm sun, beautiful flowers and spirited music.