Ocean Beach Area: Shifting Sands

By Joey Macarello

I awoke with a start early one morning a few summers ago, suddenly aware of the fact that I had probably lost my best watch on the beach the evening before. After searching the house, I walked down Ocean Breeze and began sifting through the sand – but realized the tide was quite a bit higher than it had been when I was last there.

“Ask a lifeguard if they found it,” a friend suggested. “You never know.” Embarrassingly I described the watch to the closest guard.

“We have it at the lifeguard station!” she said. “The first one out here this morning saw something shiny being lapped by the waves and half-covered by sand and grabbed it.”

Just for that the lifeguards of Ocean Beach deserve first mention in this Fourth of July issue. Chief Lifeguard Nick Stertz has welcomed Jill Metcalf as his new assistant this season. Additionally, it seems love is in the air amongst the guards: Last weekend two Ocean Beach lifeguards tied the knot: R.J. Stretch and Kelly McDermott from the Village office, and John Meade and his bride Alexa. Although not as exciting, Stertz would like to thank the Ocean Beach Association for their donation of a second wheelchair.

The Ocean Beach Association (OBA) held its summer meeting at the community house on Saturday, June 17, during which directories were distributed to members. Incoming President Maria Silsdorf thanked outgoing President Edith Charlton for her service, and confirmed before anything else that 105-year-old Ocean Beach favorite Les Lieber would be returning for his annual Chill Out concert at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 14, at the community house. Treasurer George Rehn reminded members that two-thirds of the OBA’s revenue comes from advertisements in the annual directory and encouraged all to support those who advertise.

The Fire Island Association was represented at the meeting by President Suzy Goldhirsch, who spoke about the recent uptick in issues involving Suffolk County’s hotel and motel tax program. Goldhirsch said that although the county has often overlooked private homeowners as participants in this program, those who rent their homes may be required to pay additional county taxes going forward. It also was noted that the newly constructed dune overpasses would be turned over to local communities within a year, and that benches may be added at that time.

For the first time in its 80-year history, six new probationary members have joined the Ocean Beach Fire Department (OBFD) in the last year: Demetrius Pappas, Donald Livoti, Tristan Norris, Tyler Smith, Jim Wicks, and Melinda Joubert. Melinda is also an EMT. OBFD assisted in fight-
ing a multi-structure fire in Fire Island Pines along with 17 other departments in the early morning hours of Friday, June 16. Four homes were a total loss; however, without the expertise of our local firefighters in combating flames fanned by strong winds off the ocean, the outcome could have been far worse. Chief Ian Levine would like to remind Ocean Beach residents that flame-retardant material is required under and around all barbecues.

Ocean Beach Police Department (OBPD) reports that 96 summonses had been issued through June 16 – a fairly typical number for that point in the season. The village office reports the first phase of the reconstruction of the ferry terminal building, which involves the foundation, will be sent out to bid in August, with the second phase, encompassing the rest of the structure, being sent out in September. Mayor James Mallott states that during construction over the next year, the police department building, which is owned by FEMA, may be moved to the basketball courts. He adds that the new ferry terminal will include a new permanent police station, and that the village will work with FEMA to decide the fate of the current portable police department building.

Section 56-6 of the village code requires all bicycle riders to have lights visible for 300 feet if they wish to ride after sunset and before sunrise, but some residents have expressed concern that many are not in compliance.

“For the most part, people in the community have not put lights on their bikes,” says Kenny Goodman, longtime owner of the jewelry and sculpture gallery on Dehnhoff. “The motto should be, ‘Get a light, or get a ticket.’ It’s a safety issue.”

Speaking of bicycles, Steven Annicharico, owner of Ocean Beach Hardware on Bayberry Walk, began working at the store fixing bicycles at the age of 14, under Buddy Jacquinto who had been the owner for over a decade. At the age of 20, Steven bought the shop from Buddy and served as a go-to man for barbecue and bicycle sales and rentals in town for 15 years, before deciding he needed a change. The store was sold to Louie Citriniti and Andy Miller, and Steven found employment at a hotel in Miami. After five years, he decided he just “couldn’t get enough of Ocean Beach” and bought the hardware store back “with smiles.”

Also smiling are Julia Rahman and Katie Calogero, proprietors of the new Fire Island Studio opening July 1 on Bay Walk at Bungalow. Although Katie’s family has spent 30 years on Wilmot, she has traveled quite a bit, with involvement in Hollywood productions among many other musical theater credits – as well as working at Rachel’s, Scoops, and Matthew’s here in town. After serving as fitness instructors on Long Island, Julia and Katie are bringing fitness, dance/drama, and Mommy & Me classes to Ocean Beach.

Ocean Beach Community Fund (OBCF) will be showing the 2017 film “Beauty and the Beast” on Friday, July 7, at 8:30 p.m. on the ball field. OBCF President Rita Silver tells us popcorn will be provided, but attendees are asked to bring their own chairs and water bottles.

The children’s parade begins at the firehouse on Tuesday, July 4, at 11 a.m., with the fire department’s cookout at the ball field to follow at 1 p.m. Have a happy and safe Fourth, and I hope to see you there!

Katie Calogero and Julia Rahman of the new Fire Island Studio.

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