Ocean Beach Area: Community

Residents cast their votes at the Community House on June 7.

Growing up, I knew just about everyone on our suburban block. There were backyard barbecues and chats in the street and baskets of cookies shared during the holidays. Everyone celebrated milestones together, watched each other’s children grow, and welcomed new families into the community. I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my childhood anywhere other than that little tree-lined block.

The years have passed and times have changed, but a sense of community remains in many places, including our own little spot on the beach. One can’t go far without a wave or a friendly hello from neighbors and friends.

We take care of each other, too. When two bikes were stolen from the Protestant church by some rowdy visitors a few weeks ago, they were promptly searched down and returned. Peter Waide of Ocean Bay Park recognized one of the bikes from a photo and was nice enough to retrieve it from the beach and drop it at the firehouse for safekeeping.

We also enjoy celebrating together. The annual Fourth of July baby parade will be held on Thursday, July 4, beginning at 11 a.m. Families are welcome to decorate wagons for the occasion and begin lining up at 10 a.m. on Midway in front of the firehouse. Members of the Ocean Beach Community Fund will assign numbers and review all participants after the parade has made its way into town. For a 28th year, the Bay Shore Fire Department marching band will lead the marchers, joined by our own uniformed officers. As per tradition, a patriotic home decorating contest also will be held, with winners announced later in the day.

“This is my 49th year doing the parade,” said Community Fund Honorary Chairman John Schaffner, “and with God’s help I will do my 50th.” After the parade, the Ocean Beach Fire Department will be hosting a cookout on the ball field starting at 1 p.m. Food and refreshments will be available for a small fee.

The parade is only one of the Community Fund’s many programs and events. The Fund will be sponsoring the Village of Ocean Beach Environmental Commission’s annual Awareness Day event on Sunday, June 23, beginning at 12:30 p.m. at the Community House. Speaker Sean Barrett will be discussing the benefits of kelp and oyster farming, and the negative effects of nitrogen on the Great South Bay. Sugar kelp dishes will be served by local restaurants. The event is free of charge. Also save the date for a free movie night at the Community House on the evening of Friday, July 5.

The Ocean Beach Historical Society is jointly supported by the Community Fund and the Village of Ocean Beach and maintains a gallery at the community house. This year’s first exhibit opens Saturday, June 29, and features a reprisal of last year’s showing of artist Kenny Goodman’s sculptures and jewelry. The Society gallery is generally open every Thursday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 7 to 10 p.m. Curator Linna Salamone tells us a special collaborative show is planned for August highlighting the oldest homes in Ocean Beach.

The Ocean Beach Association, another vital part of our community, is holding its summer membership meeting at the Community House on Saturday, June 22, at 11 a.m. Members may pick up their village directory, and all attendees will hear updates from local officials. OBA President Maria Silsdorf reports that the organization published 27 newsletters for members last year.

“We have advocated for you on many issues,” said Silsdorf, “represented your concerns at village meetings, and keep your concerns in the forefront.” The OBA may be contacted by email at [email protected]. A flea market will be held on Saturday, June 22, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., on the ball field. Organizers Gail Stamler and Blair Burke stated that gently used items and bake sale donations would be greatly appreciated at the event, which has a rain date of June 23. Proceeds will benefit the Ocean Beach Fire Department.

Sean and Lindsey Klentzin, owners of Ocean Beach businesses including FiveEightThree, Bambootique, and Fire Island Outfitters, will be sponsoring an Awareness Fundraiser at the Island Mermaid tonight, Friday, June 21, at 9 p.m., with the theme Gay Rights are Human Rights. A $20 donation covers the cost of a drink and access to live music and DJ entertainment. Proceeds will benefit Pride for Youth. Sean and Lindsey are public relations director and secretary, respectively, of the Ocean Beach Chamber of Commerce, and told us to encourage readers to follow @visitoceanbeach on Instagram for information on events and promotions at our local businesses.

Matthew’s Seafood House is hosting a BayBash event every Sunday, from 3 to 6 p.m., featuring 95 cent buffalo wings, raw clams, and peel-and-eat shrimp. Matthew’s is currently in its 46th season of ownership by the Morano family. Emmy-winning television director Reed Morano’s stepfather, Matthew, and uncle, Casey Morano, established the business.

Joyce Rideout reminded me to mention that Brady Tannehill, daughter of Helen from Dockside Pizza, graduated from Hunter College on May 29, with a degree in mental health counseling. Congratulations to Brady and all the graduates previously mentioned. The last day of the year at the Woodhull School will be Tuesday, June 25.

Village Trustees Brian Power and Christopher Norris won reelection on June 7. The next village board meeting will be held Saturday, July 13, when the general session will begin at 11:15 a.m., at the ferry terminal boathouse.

Our community recently bid farewell to Evelyn Whitney, who faithfully ran Whitney’s Market for many years. The business is now known as The Pantry. We send our condolences to her family, including her daughter, Janice, whose smile and kind words have meant much to me over the years. Evelyn was 80 years of age and had retired to Longwood, Florida.

As the busy season begins and we welcome guests to the docks, may we all be thankful for the strong sense of community we enjoy here. I hope to see you soon on the beach.