Ocean Beach Area

“Graduation Season”

The Ocean Beach Association has installed a Mobi- Mat at Bungalow Walk. (Courtesy of Maria Silsdorf and Ocean Beach Association)

By Joey Macellaro

For the last decade or so, you could find me every May shaking the hands of those students about to graduate from my alma mater as they approached the stage to receive diplomas. As if I hadn’t attended enough graduation ceremonies as a student leader or graduate myself, I became a part of the college’s alumni board and fulfilled my duties, including the handshaking.

This year the school decided the alumni hand-shakers were extraneous, and that responsibility was retired. My first thought? That I would no longer get to hear recollections and thoughts passed along to graduates by Senator Chuck Schumer – year after year, class after class, in a very similar fashion. Schumer keeps a busy speaking schedule around this time, often attending more than one such ceremony per day throughout the state.

Our own Woodhull School is still in session, but the high schools are winding down and many of our college kids have entered the “real world” over the last few weeks.

Samantha Sigelakis-Minski, J.D., who preceded me in writing this column, graduated from Brooklyn Law School on May 17, at a ceremony at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Alyson Decter graduated from SUNY Oswego on May 18, after spending most of her summers in Ocean Beach. Upon returning downstate, she’ll be working at The Landing for a third year.

Samantha Reiersen of Ocean Beach and Huntington Station graduated on May 19, from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, with a degree in history and political science. She minored in philosophy. Sara Krug, a part of the Ocean Beach art scene, earned a degree in accounting from Suffolk County Community College on May 16.

Tori Pace graduated with a bachelor of science in hospitality management from the University of Central Florida. Jack Simon of Dix Hills graduated from SUNY Albany on May 20. Jack is a third-generation member of the Ocean Beach community, growing up in the Youth Group, running wagons, and playing Trangleball. His portrait even earned a place on the wall at Scoops. Lucia Moore, another lifelong member of the community, earned a doctorate of physical therapy from Long Island University. She also spent her summers in the Ocean Beach Youth Group, and worked as a lifeguard.

Some of our local high school students are just beginning their college careers. Brent Greenberg of Ocean Beach will be graduating from Cold Spring Harbor High School on June 16, and will be attending Tulane University in New Orleans. Gretta Silsdorf will be receiving her diploma from Carmel High School on June 20, and will be attending SUNY Albany in the fall in their Rising Scholar program. Gretta is the daughter of William, niece of Maria, and granddaughter of Arthur Silsdorf, former mayor of Ocean Beach.

J. D. Haus will be receiving his diploma from the Ethical Culture School in New York City on June 13, and plans to attend the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business in the fall. Carson Hirsch, son of Scott and Jaimee, will be graduating from Baruch High School on June 24, and will be attending Elon University in North Carolina in the fall. Dad Scott owns The Pantry and the Island Mermaid.

In other school news, the Fire Island Union Free School District budget was approved by a vote of 54-2 on May 21. The budget for the upcoming year will be $6,307,301, a 0.49% drop from last year. Jay Lippert and Linda Nowachek ran unopposed for school board and were elected.

Elections to fill two Ocean Beach village trusteeships are being held today, Friday, June 7, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., at the Community House. After the Ocean Beach Association held a candidate forum on May 26, incumbent Trustees Chris Norris and Matt Blake held voter receptions in the homes of Linda Norris Stertz and Craig Sherman on June 1 and 2, respectively. Steven Einig is running on the Quality of Life Party line.

The Ocean Beach Downtown Revitalization Committee has continued to partner with the village board and contracting teams this spring as plans are drafted for the areas surrounding the new ferry terminal and docks. Committee members currently include Chairman Joe Speranza, village trustees Chris Norris and Brian Power, Patty Brahe, Scott Hirsch, Craig Sherman, Bob Stack, Constantine Koralis, Maria Silsdorf, and myself.

The Ocean Beach Association will be conducting a clothing drive again this year, on Saturday, June 15, from 11 a.m. to 3 pm., at the Ocean Beach ferry terminal. Gently used, cleaned, and folded summer clothing may be deposited in bags or corrugated boxes. Fire Island Ferries will be transporting donations to Bay Shore free of charge. The Free Union Church of Ocean Beach, which for many years collected clothing for its annual White Elephant sale, strongly suggests contributing to the OBA’s drive instead, as the church now only accepts book donations.

Free Union begins Sunday services at 10:45 a.m. on June 16. The summer mass schedule at Our Lady of the Magnificat began June 1, with Saturday mass at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday mass at 10 a.m. Services at the Fire Island Synagogue in Seaview begin Friday, June 14, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, June 15, at 10 a.m.

After a parade made its way down Bayberry under beautiful sunny skies this past Memorial Day, a ceremony was held on the Ocean Beach Village Green to dedicate a plaque honoring the crew of the “USS San Diego,” which was sunk by enemy action off the coast of Fire Island on July 19, 1918. The plaque was first unveiled in Times Square during Fleet Week on May 23, by the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission.

Travelers will notice that benches have now been positioned near the start of the outgoing line queue at the ferry terminal for use by senior citizens. I’m sure the Fourth and beyond will be a blast as always — but let’s enjoy these next few quiet weeks together. Until we meet again on the beach, please feel free to write.