Ocean Bay Park
By Barbara Gaby Placilla
The game is afoot.
July 4 is behind us, and summer is in full swing. The OBP FD annual barbeque was followed by what has become known as the “Fran Miller” Art Show, held annually at the Schooner Inn. If you do not know Fran Miller, you are really missing out. Like Lucy, she’s a loveable red head. Not only is Fran a talented photographer, she is an extremely creative and inventive person who has single-handedly revived the tradition of an arts/crafts event in OBP. At this year’s show, there was something for everyone whether it was Fran’s Warhol inspired photos of everything from the iconic Ocean Bay Park sign at the ferry to scenes and drag queens from the Pines invasion, to Frank Pillitteri’s handcrafted stained glass creations, Janice McBride’s clever needlecraft, Courtney Rowe’s abstract paintings or Eleanor Ellix’s unique beach bags. The bags were made of swimsuit material and “guaranteed to hold up to 40 pounds.” Those bags were a big hit and it seems everyone bought one, myself included. I have two comments on the bag: 1) Why didn’t I think of this and run to “Shark Tank” with it? and 2) Who takes 40 pounds of stuff to the beach? Only asking!! I was most impressed with the work of Eric Leichtung, who was showing his paintings for the first time. Eric is a recent graduate of the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design. He is the son of Nel and Jim Leichtung of Oneida and he grew up in Ocean Bay Park. Eric told me that he has used Fire Island as an inspiration for much of his work. It was particularly poignant to see that he had painted many of the current dune front homes which will be removed when the FIMI project reaches OBP. Remember his name as I am sure this talented young man has a very promising career as an artist ahead
of him. He is available for private commissions.
“The game is afoot!” Shakespeare’s King Henry IV said it first but most of us associate it with Sherlock Holmes. It’s an unfortunate play on words for three members of our community all of whom are nursing various foot injuries: Claire Walter has a badly sprained ankle caused by a NYC pot hole, Sharon Gerson broke her ankle, and Pat Vannoni broke her foot stepping out of her car. Despite their injuries, both Claire and Sharon made it to the Art Show. Unfortunately Pat will not be in residence on Oneida Street for several more weeks since she cannot yet climb stairs.
Who says you can’t go home again? When it’s Fire Island, and especially Ocean Bay Park, of course you can! Elise and Ralph Pleasec spent the weekend with good friends and former housemates DD and KK (Diane Sweeney and Ken Klein). Elise and Ralph shared the house above what was then Andy’s (of the old Skimmer fame) Pizza on Bayview from 1990-1997 with Diane and Ken. At that time, Andy’s Pizza was in the back and Christine Lindsey had a flower shop in the front. There was a sidewalk that led to
the pizza place facing the bay. Diane told me that they would sit on their deck and watch the people (some sober, others not so) line up for pizza. However, they didn’t need to wait on line since they had a signal for Andy. If they banged on the deck one time, they were ordering a pie, if they stomped two times, it was for calzones. Elise and Ralph were joined by Pam and Tom Neal, along with Joan’s cousin Madeleine and her friend Cathy to celebrate the 30th wedding anniversary of JD and Joan DeSerio. What better way to celebrate 30 years together than a dinner with friends and KK’s great wines. On the subject of anniversaries, a very happy and belated anniversary to Wendy and Ed Schechter who recently celebrated 23 happy years together.
It seems that everyone is celebrating their birthday this month. Barbara Lederberg along with Joyce and George Greenberger held a birthday dinner for Mary Cummings who is off to Ireland next week. After that Barbara and Mary will continue their globetrotting with a trip to Morocco. Also blowing out candles are Suzanne Brown and her mother Barbara, with July birthdays a day apart on the 18 and 19. Ellie Mal celebrated her housemate Vera Drake’s birthday with dinner at the Mermaid and a brunch the next day.
Have you noticed that the monarch butterflies are here? Is it me or are they early? I never remember seeing them this early in the season and I wonder if this is an impact of global warming, which, YES, is a scientific reality. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, just asking why they are here so early and what
this signifies. I hope they are making a comeback as they are in danger of extinction. It is wonderful watching them dance among the flowers in my garden. To lure them to your garden, consider planting nectar and pollen rich flowering plants such as buddleia, milkweed, bee balm.
A guest of another kind has been frequenting Paula Ingram’s garden on Bayview. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words so see if you can figure out who it is.
SAVE THE DATE: On Saturday, Aug. 19, The Ocean Bay Park Association will hold a Community Fair from noon to 3 p.m. The event will be held at the Schooner Inn and will be a fun, family oriented day. Please contact Cami Meyer and/or myself if you have something to donate and/or if you wish to volunteer to cook, etc. ALL ARE WELCOME and remember IT TAKES A VILLAGE. More details in my next column, so stay tuned.