Ocean Bay Park

The Breakfast Club-Lanny Vannoni, Paul Brincat, Steve Placilla, and Angelo Sakonas.

By Barbara Gaby Placilla

So much has happened since we said goodbye in September 2021; some of it happy and some of it sad. Everywhere you look there is construction going on with new houses being built, and existing houses being lifted and/or renovated. Now over two years into the COVID pandemic, and all this proves how resilient Fire Island is. We really are a work in progress.

Our community made it through the winter in relatively good shape. The beach in Ocean Bay Park was battered by several particularly nasty storms, but managed to hold its own.  All winter long PSEG crews worked on upgrades necessary to satisfy the growing demand for electricity and to strengthen the existing infrastructure on Fire Island. The Seaview Marina became the staging area for the PSEG infrastructure upgrade. Roadblocks and what seemed like around the clock digging became the norm, but the end result will benefit everyone.

I wish I did not have to report that among those who passed away were two extraordinary women, Patricia Vannoni and Oona Burke Sullivan. I had the honor and pleasure of working with both for many years on behalf of our community. Pat Vannoni, aka “Angel,” was a founding member of the OBP FD Auxiliary and last served as its treasurer. She was definitely the yin to her husband Lanny’s yang as only two people who had been together since they were teenagers could be. The Breakfast Club regulars Steve Placilla, Paul Brincat and Angelo Sakonas decided that in addition to providing Lanny with emotional support, their friend needed a change of scenery, and so the four went on a fishing trip to Islamorada, Florida. Being firefighters, they had to visit the local fire station to purchase tee shirts!

I first met Oona Sullivan when we both served on the Board of Directors of the former Ocean Bay Park Water Company. Oona was small in stature, I doubt she was even 5 feet tall, but she had a keen intellect and personality. She most definitely enjoyed a very certain single malt Scotch whiskey. Our community is truly less for the loss of both.

Despite the fact that we are hopefully coming out of the pandemic, COVID is still having an impact on OBP. For the second year, the OBP FD did not hold their annual Spaghetti Dinner, an event that traditionally was the start of the season for many homeowners. The Auxiliary did not have a Plant Sale due to supply issues with their grower. We all have our own “supply chain” headache. Mine is the lack of canned cat food in the stores. At one point I was actually making my own Costco chicken pate for my deck cats!

Hopefully the weather will start improving as the summer of 2022 officially begins on Memorial Day. Just to make sure, I’ll leave you with a quote from the British writer Nancy Mitford who wrote: “Spring came late, but when it came, it was hand-in-hand with summer, and almost at once, everything was baking and warm, and in the villages, the people danced every night.”

And just like that, a new season on Fire Island begins!