A Town By Any Other Name
By Joey Macellaro
Aside from an occasional news or sports program, I rarely watch television at home on the mainland. I watch even less on the beach, as my only source of in-home entertainment is a DVD player I’ve used no more than a handful of times. There’s something about being out here that’s always caused me to want to read, walk, bike, visit with friends, enjoy music or play the piano rather than make use of the TV or computer. Taking time to disconnect a bit can be refreshing, freeing the mind to wander.
In this era of ever-present smartphones however, disconnecting can be a challenge. Snapchat, a popular photo-sharing application, recently added a new feature that allows friends to see each other’s locations on a map. Some friends and I were enjoying lunch at CJ’s a few days ago when one of us noticed that Snapchat showed our buddy John floating in the middle of the bay. Assuming he was on a ferry and not walking on water as the graphic implied, we gave him a call.
“I’m on my way to Ocean Beach,” said John. “Where should I meet you guys?” We waited for his arrival but through the power of technology, we watched him make his way further and further east across the bay – and land in Ocean Bay Park. John, a Fire Island newbie, was alone, a mile away. Only a few days prior, I had gotten a call from another friend who was also “in Ocean Beach, at Flynn’s,” and wanted to meet for drinks. It seems many an unnecessary trek down the beach has been caused by confusion over the difference between these two beautiful but very different communities.
One asset of our community over the last 37 years has been the Ocean Beach Historical Society, which opened its current art exhibit, “Wanderlust, Whimsy and Wildlife,” with a well attended wine and cheese reception on Saturday evening, July 15.
“We’re very excited about this show,” says Linna Salamone, in her fourth year as Historical Society curator. “Each artist offers something totally different, and all with an Ocean Beach connection.”
“I’ve been here my whole life, since ’74, and graduated from the Woodhull School,” adds artist Lelah Cafuoco, whose vivid wildlife photos of butterflies, hummingbirds, and toads – most of which were taken in Ocean Beach – are featured in the show. Although her love for photography began at the age of 8, she honed her skill while working for Canon USA, winning numerous corporate photography contests. In the
last five years, her art has truly blossomed.
Over two dozen of Ocean Beach artist Richie Dziuba’s acrylic-on-illustration-board pieces are also included in the show. Dziuba tells us that nearly all of the work – including colorful depictions of local landmarks – was created over this past winter. In addition to completing work for many corporate accounts, Dziuba’s whimsical pieces have been exhibited from Manhattan to Sag Harbor.
New York City-based photographer Nancy Ney’s photographs from recent trips to Africa and Asia are also being shown. The exhibit runs through July 31.
Also being held at the Community House will be the Fire Island Association’s summer meeting on Saturday, July 29, at 1 p.m. Although many of the issues addressed by the Association are environmental – such the increase of nitrogen levels in the Great South Bay – the organization is currently examining
the implications of the Suffolk County Hotel/Motel Tax Program (Chapter 523, Article II of the Suffolk County code). Under this program, the owner of any facility providing overnight lodging, including a private homeowner, is required to register with the County and pay a 3 percent tax on rental fees received. Rental periods of 30 days or more are exempt. While previously loosely enforced, the county has been more frequently fining Fire Island homeowners who rent their homes for failing to comply with the program.
The Ocean Beach Youth Group will be putting on their annual performance in the Community House on Thursday, July 27, at 7 p.m. Call 631-583-5300 for information. Additionally, the Ocean Beach Community Fund will be hosting a free concert on the dock featuring the band Soundswell, on Saturday, July 29, at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.
Would you like to organize your own community event? The Ocean Beach Quality of Life Committee has started a new drive to create fun, open events such as game nights, book talks, shell crafting, and beachcombing. The Committee requests those interested in hosting an event to drop off a sheet with Kenny Goodman at his gallery on Dehnhoff describing the event and listing a date and time, the location, and contact information. Residents can watch the Ocean Beach Association bulletin board near the ferry for event postings.
The Fire Island Summer Club was incorporated in 1946 by members of the New York Athletic Club in Manhattan. In November of that year, the Club purchased the former Blue Point Coast Guard Station building for $3,500 and floated it to their plot 500 feet west of Ocean Beach, renovating it for use as a clubhouse. On Saturday, July 8, the community celebrated the end of a yearlong renovation of the clubhouse with a ceremony conducted by President Chris Dunworth and other members of the board. Best wishes for another 70 years to the 40 families who call Summer Club home.
We would like to welcome a new addition: Anthony Tartaglia, founder and president of Verde Kitchen & Cocktails in Bay Shore, welcomed son Theodore Hudson Tartaglia on June 8. Baby and mom Julie are happy and healthy. Anthony and brother Andy spent their summers growing up in Ocean Beach and dad Peter is a homeowner. Congratulations and best wishes.
“Someday there’ll be a school here, and a church, and people’s houses,” wrote Ocean Beach developer John Wilbur in 1910. Call it what you’d like — but I think he chose a fine name, and built a fine town. Keep in touch.
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