Sixteen years ago when I retired from dentistry on Nov. 4, 1994 (but who’s counting) I proclaimed that I would become a writer in my retirement. I had no idea about what I was talking about. Through a series of coincidences and good luck I got this position in the Anton Newspapers.
Editing this paper is a daunting proposition- especially when the previous editor, Denise Nash, made the Syosset-Jericho Tribune her home-away-from-home for nothing less than a decade. As a Jericho resident of 20 years, I am certainly comfortable with the area, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling a little intimidated- after all, there’s a lot going on here. I want to make sure I don’t miss something important...oh, and did I mention that Denise did this for ten years?
Just over ten years ago, I remember staring at a blank document on my computer screen not knowing what to say to a community that I didn’t know.
The big weekend arrived. Packing the suitcases began on Thursday night. Packing was a huge question. Would there be beautiful weather or rainy, inclement weather? We can’t overpack.
(Editor’s Note: This is the third in a multi-part series by Tom Montalbano highlighting some of Syosset’s most shocking and most forgotten events.)
Twenty-eight-year-old Henry Weilbrenner, Jr. was the son of a German immigrant “truck farmer” who owned a 72-acre parcel of land on the west side of Jackson Avenue, encompassing what is now De Benedittis Nursery and the surrounding area. One of three brothers, Henry played a significant role in his family’s daily grind, which included hauling a large, horse-drawn wagon (truck) into Brooklyn or Manhattan each day to hawk fresh produce to restaurant owners, cruise ship purchasing agents, and servants to Manhattan’s elite. To balance the tedium and stress of his day-to-day routine, Henry apparently manufactured an imaginary love affair with Alice Roosevelt, the daughter of the 26th President of the United States, for whom the fantasy almost turned deadly.
Lorraine bought my grandson a magic game.
I was appalled!
(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?)
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