Kismet Kapers

Construction Project at “Way Way Yonder”

By Bradlee White

As the cold and blustery winds of April have given way to a more normal unpredictable May, Kismet has seen the arrival of increasing numbers of new and seasonal residents each week adding to the population of year-round residents and hearty weekend homeowners. In our “commercial” downtown, the Kismet Inn opened to a diverse crowd from all parts of the island in mid-May. Our hotel opened on a stormy Mother’s Day weekend. Bars hosted a smaller-than-usual Kentucky Derby crowd: The heavy east-northeast winds made boating as well as walking a test of endurance. Those that did make it got into the usual informal betting routine with Ken and Lorrie B. sharing the surprising Rich Strike win.

A group of early arrivals celebrated Kathy Decker’s birthday on an unusually warm mid-April weekend with a great barbecue prepared by her husband Artie. Kathy’s father, Don, a beloved Kismet handyman recently passed away at nearly 100 years old.  As always there is lots of construction and renovation going on all over town from Gary and Dawn’s new house on West Lighthouse, to a new roof deck railing at “Sunset House” to impressive changes at “Happy Ours” and the old “Bananas” to finishing touches on 2021 renovations at “Crazy A,” “Big Bamboo” and the old Hollinger house. The former “Lyons Gate” on Seabay looks completely transformed while “Surf and Turf” is amazingly free of phragmites. The Whitney house was sold to Chris Knoth, a former weekend kid at “Ruts Hut” with his parents Linda and Russ.

There are two major fund-raising events set for this coming Memorial Day weekend. Kismet League for Animal Welfare (KLAW) will be holding its first Mini Flea Mart of 2022, Saturday and Sunday, May 28 and May 29, at “Avalon,” 91 Seabay Walk, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Also on the schedule the Kismet Fire Department Auxiliary (KFDA) is planning a plant and potting soil sale at the Fire House, Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Back in wintry March, Linda Roundsman Knoth and a gang of Pine Walk homeowners came up with the fabulous idea of a New Year’s Party for everyone, to be held Saturday, June 4, at the playground. There will be music by Tommy (Duck) Sennes. Party goers are asked to bring champagne or other beverages (noting there are no public bathrooms), coolers, beach chairs and an appetizer/dessert to share.

On Feb. 1 we learned that Andy Whitney had sold the Kismet Market. The Whitney family had run the Market for over 50 years and was very much a part of Kismet. Andy, like his father Paul and his son Ben knew and never forgot the name of every Kismet regular, owner and group house share. Andy has happily retired with his wife Debra and cat, Kismet. The new owners, Brian Mahoney with partners Wes and Jason Little of Seaview Market and the aptly named Tommy Deli are primed to serve the community.

In early May, a joint team from the Suffolk County Urban Search and Rescue, the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) Special Operations, and Dominick Bertucci, FDNY and former Kismet Fire Department captain helped coordinate the event centered on a tented headquarters at Robert Moses State Park. There were four days of rescue/recovery drills for a possible Category 4 Hurricane scenario on Fire Island. CBS2 in New York City captured a dramatic rescue boat moment which was posted on Facebook.

Fire Island National Seashore (FINS) held a Driving Civic Engagement with Zoom and in-person information and opinion gathering meetings in early May. To the disappointment of some homeowners it did not announce any off-season driving privileges for seasonal homemakers. There may be changes and standardization to the permitting processes to be announced later based on the three years of public “scoping.” For more detailed coverage of this issue check out the recent article by Shoshanna McCollum on the Fire Island News website.

Kismet Kapers

by Bradlee WhiteMay 23, 2014We’re back and hope a whole lot of you Kismetians are too. The Fire Island News will be again published in print on a biweekly basis.First and foremost, I am so totally in awe of Kismet’s Year Round Residents. That has got to be the worst winter I remember, and maybe the worst on record. I followed you on Facebook and shuttered at the evening weather reports. Ashley looked like a snowbound Ancient Mariner in one of Kim’s posts. Thank you all so much for keeping the roads plowed, the cats warm and fed (Christine, Deb S. and Tommy) and maintaining some sanity amidst it all.Despite the weather, there have been lots of changes. Houses have been built, raised and bought and sold. Cody Baker has formed a new company and he and Bridget have a new baby boy, Dylan James. Cody is doing the siding on the new West Lighthouse house being built by the owner. Bryan and Vanessa Lillis bought Jack & Marge Baker’s house and have been remodeling it beginning as early as March. They have been renting at the White House for 15 years along with their friend Kathy, a KLAW Flea Market winner last year. Tim and Jane Mooney have a beautiful new house on the bay – looks almost done. Notable house raisings are the Chiros on Oak and Sharon Sitone on Seabay. Lots of folks moving: Christine & Pete moving upstairs, Jeannie moving to the Boatel, Mike Kahler moving to Saltaire.Arthur G. was out to open their house. He and Nancy will fly up next weekend, though not to stay. Last I heard, they were going to spend the summer in Naples. Andrea, Pete and Dogie are making their way up I-95, posting pictures on the way. Despite the sale of Xandu, Judy, Joyce, Diane, Beverly and Mel are staying on with a new lease. Friday happy hour is getting off to a slow start: the 1st Friday in May saw only Frank G. and Tina, Myrna and Maureen having a lot of fun. Last week was better, though Jeannie and I didn’t realize the time was changed to 6. Next week, maybe.The Kismet League for Animal Welfare (KLAW) is planning its annual Flea Market for Saturday and Sunday June 14 and 15 (subject to final KFD approval). It’s a fabulous way to pick up some lightly used odds and ends to complement your house as well as a way to give away things you can’t or don’t want to use any more but are too nice to throw away. There will also be a Big Basket of Cheer raffle and a Silent Auction. Save up your donations: I can do pick up (583-9215) but would really rather you bring your goodies me or to the Firehouse on Friday afternoon (I’m not quite as young and spry as way back then). Negative Note: no clothes, linens, TVs or heavy furniture. We have to dispose of what doesn’t sell, and although much goes to charities, it still has to be lifted and packed.My first event of the season was the gathering at the Inn to watch the Kentucky Derby. It was as crowded as always, with more and more women in hats. The weather was better than the usual for early May. Laurie B. was a winner as was Jeanne Lieberman – first time ever for her. (She has a new web site, I heard Caroline Stern won on a bet in Vegas. Surf’s Out hosted a very well attended Pig Roast on the same day.Mother’s Day was as beautifully warm and sunny as promised, especially after Saturday’s mini tornado. One of my patio umbrellas took its table for a spin before crashing and breaking apart. The Marina was packed, the Inn was packed and Surf’s Out was packed. The Fire Department was out with their new T and sweatshirts – red this year. Support them: they are voluntary, well trained and your lifeline.To all my friends who factiously wished me a Happy Mother’s day, I can only shutter at your unconscious premonition: On Monday afternoon I was gifted with four 5-week old kittens, found and saved by Lou Romanzi from under Lauren Denis’ house – good choice Mama. Fortunately, I also had Mama Jasmine, recovering from her recent spay surgery. The little family was reunited and Marija B. came to our rescue with some supplemental feeding and eye care. Of course we are seeking homes.The Kismet Market will be open by the time you read this. Riding to Fair Harbor Sunday mornings was fun, but I’ll be terribly happy to see Andy up and running. The annual KCA meeting is slated for Sunday June 1. Dues are due.Kenny B. at his birthday bashWe will celebrate Kenny B’s birthday May 17 the way we almost always do – bundled and huddled against wind and threatening rain on his back deck trying to eat the chicken before it ices over. Not so for Laurie’s in mid-July. She is planning quite a fest, maybe a band and definitely sunshine.

Robert (Bob) Freiberg, 1929-2014

I was very sorry to hear of the passing of long-time Kismet Year Round Resident Bob Freiberg on May 29 at the age of 85. He was a loyal alumnus of Hamilton college and former stockbroker. I’ve known Bob since forever. We met on the ferry his first year out in the late 70s. I told him all about Kismet – I was so full of myself then, probably my 2nd year here. I spoke with his widow, Arlene yesterday, recounting memories. Bob came to Kismet as a renter, then bought his house in 1986 when he retired from his job as a financial editor with Drexel, Burnham and Lambert. He was so proud of that house, designed by Jean Wood. He and Arlene moved in in 1987, then started renovations the next year, with the idea of creating a year-round residence. Arlene recalled that he loved to putter and was always busy with “projects”, including rescuing and nursing wounded birds. He delighted in everything at the beach and on the beach. He played beach volleyball regularly with Enzo, Jay Smith and Ronnie Z. and also got involved with a group of players who traveled from the mainland every Thursday evening to play and cook dinner at the house afterward. It was the highlight of his week. I remember seeing them on the beach one evening and pumped Bob for the details to incorporate into any early Fire Island News column. My most recent memory was of a delightful spring afternoon with Bob and Arlene, visiting with Mosse and Fred on the A-frame’s front deck.Arlene told me a friend is compiling a power point presentation of pictures of Bob – he is “always smiling”. She will be out this summer with their surviving cat, Chloe, and is planning a memorial on Bob’s birthday, August 1, that will start at their house with a planting and sprinkling of his ashes.