Ocean Bay Park

By FIN

By Barbara Gaby Placilla

Frank Pillitteri, stained glass artisan.

The old adage, “be careful what you wish for…” is so true. Some weeks I have to scrounge for news and then all of a sudden, there is so much to report it’s hard to fit it all in one column. So here’s a brief recap of how summer really started to ramp up and what’s been going on, in and around “The Park!”

Festivities, Fireworks, Food – that was the Fourth of July week that was. It started on Tuesday, July 3, with a very elegant cocktail party hosted by the Greenbergers, Joyce and George, along with their lifelong friends, Mary Cummings and Barbara Lederberg. The invitation said come to a pre-Independence Day party at “Verdemonte,” the Greenberger’s home on Erie Street. The requested dress code was red, white and/or blue and everyone who attended obliged. Melissa Dodici provided the fantastic food, which was complemented by George’s always excellent choice in wines. The guests mingling around the pool were a very interesting mix of OBP and Seaview residents. Despite the heat wave, it was a really cool way to kick off Independence Week and a wonderful startup to a very hot and busy week.

The next day, July 4, the annual Point O’ Woods fireworks did not disappoint. Some of us gathered on the back deck of the OBP firehouse while others watched from Bay Park as the Grucci fireworks exploded over the Great South Bay. Since Tom Byrnes was not there to sing “God Bless America” Jeanne Lynch led the group in a chorus of “America the Beautiful.” Sitting in the “grandparents section” were Lisa and Sean McNamee with their two, and Steve and me with our three. The great thing about fireworks is that they always enchant both young and old.

The celebration of our country’s founding continued all week and concluded on Saturday, July 7, with the annual OBP FD BBQ. Chef Melissa Dodici took home the big prize when she won the 50-50 raffle!

When the Ed Travers Band comes to town, OBP always takes on a Margaritaville vibe. I don’t think anyone ever tires of listening to them play Jimmy Buffet songs. So when it’s hot and you have an abundance of lemons, what do you do? You make lemonade, which is exactly what my grandchildren Samantha and Caleb Gaby did. And the perfect venue for them to set up their lemonade and cupcake stand was the corner of Cayuga and Bayview just in time for the “parrot head” invasion. Needless to say they sold out completely. They had a good time, made some spending money and even met a corgi dog named Simon who has his own Instagram account! Simon’s owner posts pictures of his comings and goings and took a picture of him at the lemonade stand.

We went from parrot heads to arts and crafts as Fran “Redhead” Miller held her annual Art Show at Schooner Inn. Each year there is something unique and different to see and buy and Fran’s photos just keep getting better. A highlight of the show is always the streaming of photos that Fran has taken over the years. They play in an endless loop on the Schooner TVs and we are all reminded of how much younger we once were and how much better we all looked back then. Thanks, Fran!!

In my first column of the season, I reported that longtime OBP resident Betty Errico passed away in February. Her family held a beautiful and heartfelt memorial for her at the firehouse on July 14. Betty’s husband, Bob, who is a Korean War combat veteran, welcomed everyone to a celebration of her life, and her three daughters, Beth, Barbara and Bonnie, each spoke lovingly of their mother. Betty was an extraordinary person who was very humble about her accomplishments. As Barbara said, she was a nurse, educator and mentor. She never pulled any punches and with Betty, what you saw was what you got. Many of us did not know she had earned a Ph.D. from NYU as I never once heard her refer to herself as Dr. Errico. It was just Betty – the Bronx! In fact that is the message I had on my voicemail when she called to say she would be contributing a dish for the Community Fair a summer or two ago. It was a pleasure to see and hear Bonnie’s best friend, concert musician Michael Vannoni, who played a beautiful rendition of “Amazing Grace” on his viola. The afternoon ended with Leggio’s sandwiches, which was a great way to remember and fete a great lady. Rest in peace, Betty.

Two weeks ago Rita Addo won a blue Corona market umbrella at the local happy hour. She really didn’t need it and Steve liked it so he bought it from her. The next week the Cronins won an umbrella, which they thought might be too big, and asked Steve if he wanted to trade with them, but then they decided to keep theirs anyway. This week Ellen Lavino won the black Fireball umbrella, which she sold to Paula Ingram. I really liked the Fireball umbrella and wanted to win it. Paula preferred the blue Corona umbrella, so we traded. I couldn’t decide if this should be called the “sisterhood of the traveling umbrella” or a continuation of the “six degrees of OBP” so I’ll leave that decision up to you.

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FIN

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