(Editor’s Note: This is the second in a multi-part series by Tom Montalbano highlighting some of Syosset’s most shocking and most forgotten events.)
Perhaps the most gruesome Syosset story of all time took place in early 1871, when Garrett Wort Nostrand owned a large farm on Convent Road, adjacent to what is now Mercy First. A burly, rough man on the exterior, the 57-year-old farmer reportedly was not well-liked around Syosset due to his frequent disputes with neighbors. Nostrand, who lived on the farm with his wife and four children, had made a good deal of money in the wrecking of a steamship that had run aground on Long Island’s South Shore in 1836. By the time he was pushing 60, Nostrand was worth between $50,000 and $60,000, a hefty sum for a farmer in those days. Convent Road, in fact, was then commonly referred to as “Nostrand Avenue.”
Growing up in the Bronx, birthdays were never an important event in the lives of my family. My parents were both immigrants from Poland who came over to the USA to find peace, happiness and economic security.
(Editor’s Note: This is the first in a multi-part series by Tom Montalbano highlighting some of Syosset’s most shocking and most forgotten events.)
When you think of Syosset in 1915, you likely imagine nothing but a few farms, some newly built summer estates, a general store, and a quiet railroad station where the ticket agent could be found snoozing at his desk almost any time of day. But in July of that year, the eyes of the country were on our sparsely populated hamlet for several days as police and federal agents re-traced the movements of a mad bomber who had blown up a Washington, D.C. congressional building and attempted to assassinate a prominent international banker.
As we boarded the jet, we knew we were in for a long, full day of travel. The final destinations were Los Angeles and San Diego, with a stopover in Dallas. (Why can’t the airlines use direct flights from New York to the West Coast?)
William L. McAvoy died on March 4, 2010 in Mendham, NJ, at the age of 88 after a long illness. Mr. McAvoy was born on April 19, 1921 in Flushing. Upon his graduation from Fordham University in 1943, he enlisted in the army and was stationed in New Guinea for the duration of WWII.
I am writing to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to everyone who helped make this year’s soldier collection drive a great success. While I am saddened by the fact that such a drive is necessary, I believe it is critical that we do our part to boost the morale of our soldiers. This program serves as an important reminder that the daily sacrifices made by our uniformed service personnel are not taken for granted.
Two weeks ago I wrote a column entitled “Returning Home.” In it I listed the various jobs and chores that you have to accomplish when you return from a trip, such as collecting mail, checking phone messages, sitting at the Internet computer and finally calling the kids.
In the book, Tales of the South Pacific, by James Michener and in the musical adaptation drama by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, we observe hatred and prejudice along racial lines in World War II.
As the key enters the lock, after a vacation or a weekend trip, there is great trepidation.
Will the home be untouched and will everything be in order? When the answer is “Yes,” there is a huge sigh of relief. Now we can pick up our lives and continue along the same life-path as before.
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