Port's business community and its many friends and supporters celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce last Friday night. The gala cocktail party/dinner, which was a fun-filled, warm-hearted event, included a tribute to all who have served as chamber presidents, an exhibit on the group's history, an auction and special entertainment.
Some members of our Town Council came out to support Port and give them an official citation. (L. to r.) Councilman Tony D'Urso, Supervisor May Newburger, Warren Schein and Councilwoman Doreen Banks.
In addition to promoting and supporting our business community, the chamber's ongoing efforts include merchant promotions, lobbying activities and various ways to help our business community be as prosperous, clean and safe as possible.
The very popular president of the chamber, Warren Schein, spoke of the increased role in local activities the chamber has taken over the past several years. He noted that while the chamber is responsible for our holiday lighting, it is only a visible reminder of what they do. "We do things like the annual HarborFest and Oktoberfest, plus work with government on every level on behalf of our town."
Over the past ten years, the chamber has also been involved in developing "Try Port First," a directory of local businesses and services; American flag giveaways at our Memorial Day Parade and flags on our street poles; Harbor Safe Environmental projects and beach clean-ups; "Pride of Cow Bay," Nautical Museum on the Town Dock; "Operation Desert Storm" ceremony for local service men and women and "Operation Clean Sweep."
Adding to the continued success of our business community, Port has had the benefit of the BID (Business Improvement District) since 1995. The BID was spawned by the chamber. Its revenues are tax based. Its mission has been to focus on infrastructure and streetscape improvements throughout the business district, according to BID Executive Director Roy Smitheimer.
Also, in terms of growth in membership, the chamber's has expanded from 80 to 300 over the past 12 years.
One of the many touching moments in the evening came when the past presidents were honored. A nostalgic trip down memory lane include the names of the following past presidents of the chamber: (Note: The recording of the names of the presidents began in 1957. The program for the event noted that the chamber also pays tribute to presidents who served between 1937 and 1957.)
John M. Marino, 1957
Waller E. Nolan, 1958-1959
Victor A Bosquet, 1959-1960
Terrence J. Cowley, 1960-1962
Donald May, 1962-1963
Herbert Haines, 1963-1964
Zita Baron Facella, 1964-1965
H. Clinton Hegeman, 1965-1967
James J. Connern, 1970-1972
Wolf Wittenberg, 1972-1974
Charles D. Murphy, 1974-1977
Everitt J. Hehn, 1977-1979
Howard M. Blankman, 1981-1982
John O'Donnell, 1982-1984
Nikki Frappaolo, 1984-1986
Barbara Malone, 1986-1988
Roy Smitheimer, 1988-1991
Warren Schein 1991-present.
The sponsors for the event were: Americana at Manhasset (program), EAB (dinner), Harbor Ridge (favors), LIPA (entertainment), National Medical Health Card (dinner), Sandsport Data Services (dinner) and Thomson Industries (exhibit).
With Warren Schein at the microphone, spirits ran high and the guests were kept entertained with Warren's light-hearted humor and well-known "showmanship." Warren was only overshadowed (if that's possible!) by the friendliness, camaraderie and good feeling generated by the many who attended this memorable function.