Ocean Bay Park by Barbara Placilla

When the editor of the Fire Island News, Shoshanna McCollum, contacted me regarding the direction the paper is taking this summer, I remarked that we are all embarking on a new kind of social experiment and we are all in this together.This winter, Steve and I spent two weeks island hopping in the Caribbean and less than a week after our return, the statewide lockdown commenced. For all of us, the arrival of spring on Fire Island was a very rude awakening. Instead of what so many of us look forward to, the return of old friends, increased activity and the warmer weather, everyone who was in Ocean Bay Park was hunkered down quarantined in their homes. And even though an increased number of homeowners fled the city and opened their houses early, there was absolutely no socialization. One night Angelo Sakonas drove OBP FD rescue vehicle #7 around to see how many houses had lights on so that the FD had an idea of who was here in case of an emergency. “Must see TV” was Governor Cuomo’s daily briefing, even though the news was increasingly grim. Happy Hour was replaced by sunset down at the bay beach park. If you had formed your own “COVID bubble” (and depending on your politics) the other highlight of the day was Dr. Fauci and/or screaming at the TV, cocktail in hand, during the White House press briefing.Zoom took over our lives and is probably here to stay. A virtual COVID pod was formed by a group of OBP homeowners who started a weekly, by invitation, Zoom cocktail party. Since the OBP FD firehouse was closed, except for emergencies, the Association spring meeting was Zoomed and so will the upcoming summer meeting.The long awaited beach replenishment project was sidelined for a time by the detour of the dredge to Mar-a-Lago in Florida, but it eventually returned and I am happy to report that the beach project has been completed. The blue rubber crossover mats have been replaced by stairs including a handicapped ramp at Champlain and the beach looks great.It is sad to note the passing of long-time residents of Ocean Bay Park, among them Gerry and Selma Abramowitz, Alan Dennis, and the indomitable Rita Addo. They are all missed.Due to the pandemic, we will not have: the annual spaghetti dinner, the Auxiliary plant sale, graduations, traditional weddings, July 4th barbeques, Community Fair, 5K run. The list could go on, but I always try to see the glass as half full, so here’s to the Brave New World we will all experience this summer of 2020. Rather than mourn what we will miss, I hope we all experience enhanced community spirit, renewed appreciation for taking things slowly, good books to read, friendships nurtured and gardens planted and tended. As always, contact me with community news so that we can all keep up with what’s happening in OBP. Stay safe and please WEAR A MASK!