OCEAN BEACH AREA by Joey Macellaro

“Music in the Air”

Musical duo Ava Cappola and Finn O’Leary.

Music fills the air every summer night in our beautiful downtown, including at the Island Mermaid. New on the roster this summer were Ocean Beach locals Ava Coppola and Finn O’Leary.

“We’re lucky to be at the Mermaid,” said Ava. “Scott really likes to invest in entertainment.” Owner Scott Hirsch brought Ava and Finn over from Dockside Pizza next door, where both work. Ava’s been at Dockside for seven years, having been recruited by her brother at the age of 14.

She got her start performing vocals with Vicky Wisdom on Wednesday nights, and after filling in for her one week, Scott asked her to join his roster as a solo act. Finn stepped in to accompany her on guitar on Sunday and Monday nights midway through the summer.

“We do acoustic covers, ’90s rock and pop, and a lot of newer stuff,” said Finn. “We go for a modern take on older songs and probably do 50/50 older material and new.” The duo typically started their sets at 9 p.m. and played through midnight. They have one remaining set planned to close out the summer on Labor Day evening, after which Ava will be returning to Quinnipiac University for her senior year as a health science major. In the off-season, Ava resides in Bay Shore and Finn in East Meadow. Finn also delights members of the Free Union Church with his guitar skills during worship on occasion.

In addition to Ava and Finn and Vicky Wisdom, the Island Mermaid has featured bingo with Ariel Sinclair every Tuesday this summer, a burlesque show each Thursday, and the brother/sister duo the Zigons early Sunday evenings. Still to come this month is the Mermaid’s second annual Miss Isle of Fire contest on Saturday, September 17.

Also, don’t miss the village’s second annual bonfire on the beach at sunset the evening of September 17.

Finn’s next-door neighbor Rick Kushner made news last week with his retirement from the position of commissioner of the Fire Island Basketball Tournament after 33 years. His wife Carol tells us the tournament began in 1989 with four teams and 24 players and at its peak had 93 players and 10 teams.

Rick was honored at a reception at Windswept on the evening of August 27 which featured speeches from longtime players. Over 75 guests attended and enjoyed browsing photo albums of past tournaments. It was announced at the end of the event that the tournament would be renamed the Rick Kushner Fire Island Basketball Tournament. Maybe now Rick will have a little more time to serenade us with his outstanding piano playing each summer.

The fall ferry schedule begins Wednesday, September 7. The last day of full-time lifeguard coverage is September 5, with the bay beach closing then. Lifeguards will remain at Bungalow Walk on weekends through September.

As we look forward to a glorious postseason and quiet winter break, many thanks to all who have contributed to this column. Until we meet again, keep smiling!