Musical Notes

Iris Leviten with her wares at the OBFD rummage sale held on June 22.

It’s music that first brought me to the beach many years ago. I was sent with a pianist to sing in the Protestant church here in Ocean Beach for a couple of Sundays – and, as fate would have it, I never left. The sweet smell of that old church remains the same as when I was younger, as are the notes that still emanate beautifully from that old piano.

The church now shares its piano tuner with all the pianists in town on the day of his annual visit, as he tunes the pianos at Windswept, the Community House, and elsewhere. The arrangement makes the trip worth his while, and ensures the music will continue to play.

Our town has no shortage of music; in fact, some of us feel a bit overwhelmed by it. At the June 15 board of trustees meeting, much time was spent discussing noise emanating from establishments in the commercial district. Chapter 112, section 5, of the Ocean Beach village code specifies that sound levels on the streets of the commercial district must not exceed 55 decibels in the evening. However, Officer Andy Becher of the police department noted to residents that due to the almost constant natural sound of the wind off the bay, generating accurate readings of sound levels on the street is often impossible, making the code difficult to enforce.

Officer Becher assured residents that most downtown noise problems can be remedied simply by reminding establishments to allow their front doors to remain closed when not in use.

Community concerns were also addressed at the summer membership meeting of the Ocean Beach Association (OBA), held on Saturday, June 22. OBA president Maria Silsdorf opened with an update on recent initiatives of the OBA and the village: completion of the ferry terminal, continued improvement of the ferry line queue, a ban on smoking on beaches and in other public areas. installation of a Mobi-Mat on the beach, planned installation of benches on some beach overpasses, and an effort to discourage residents from dumping grease and disposable wipes down drains.

Silsdorf announced an upcoming meeting of the Fire Island Association at the Community House on July 27, as well as a free skin cancer screenings to be held at the Northwell Health office on Bayberry on July 18. Call 631-396-6705 for more information on the screening.

Cami Meyer of the Ocean Beach Community Fund spoke on her organization’s upcoming events, including the Fund’s annual gala benefit dance on Aug. 3.

We spoke later with Ocean Beach resident Craig Sherman, sponsor of the Fund’s July 5 showing of the film “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Sherman had been anonymously coordinating and sponsoring movie events for two years, and was encouraged by Fund honorary chairman John Schafner this year to share his involvement.

“I loved the showing of movies in the Community House for years and really missed it,” he said. “I’m glad these events have been so well received.”

Patty Brahe of the Ocean Beach Youth Group announced that June 24 would be the organization’s opening day, and that rolling admission would continue during the summer. The Youth Group is a community day camp providing a schedule of recreational activities for children aged 3 to 13. More information is available at or by calling 631-583-5300.

Camille Guigliano of the Village of Ocean Beach Environmental Committee spoke about the organization’s upcoming Environmental Awareness Day event on June 23, as well as its planned beach cleanup day held each September in conjunction with the Ocean Conservancy, with a date to be announced.

David Simpson spoke on behalf of the Quality of Life Committee, noting that this season the Committee would be pursuing action on illegal bike riding, short-term home rentals, and noise pollution.

Next to speak was Jill Weinstein of the Ocean Beach Lifeguards. She thanked the Village for the construction of two new high-level wooden lifeguard stands, which allow staff members to see clearly above the umbrellas of beachgoers. Steve Einig spoke about the annual Sandpiper Race for children to be held on the beach on Aug. 17.

Chief Ian Levine spoke on behalf of the Ocean Beach Fire Department, noting that the department’s EMS team is celebrating its 25th anniversary. He explained that the department received 17 fire calls in one day on May 26, prompting the nighttime rescue alarms to be turned off a little earlier than usual. He discussed a building moratorium imposed by the village starting June 15, noting that fire safety concerns have arisen over the dimensions of several new homes in town. The department has five new members this year: two EMS technicians and three firefighters.

Finally, Village Trustee Matt Blake discussed collaborative efforts of the OBA and village, focusing on the village’s sewage treatment system and the need to avoid dumping non-biodegradable material down drains. He also asked residents to use standard-sized garbage pails rather than large ones. Residents posed questions largely centered on noise complaints, the increase in annual home rental fees to $125, and the layout and maintenance of the temporary wagon park.

The next general session of the village board will be held at the ferry terminal at 11:15 a.m. on July 13. Those wishing to listen or watch remotely can visit or call 571-317-3122 and enter code 427-677-069.

Adult education classes at Fire Island School in crafting, yoga, music appreciation, and core exercise are beginning at the Fire Island School the week of July 10. Fees are $50 to $60 for six sessions, or $10 to $15 individually. Call the school at 631-583- 5626 or email for more information.

As I consider taking that music appreciation class myself, hopefully we’ll meet soon on the beach.