Kenny’s Comeback: New Gallery Opens in Ocean Bay Park

While dining at a restaurant in Florida, a Fire Island local noticed her server sporting a carefully crafted silver medallion around his neck. She immediately recognized it as one of Kenny Goodman’s signature charms and asked the server which part of Fire Island he was from, only for him to reply that he had found it washed up on the beach while vacationing in Mexico.

Kenny Goodman, parent, artist, teacher, has been a major part of the Fire Island community for more than half a century, and has created a legacy with his art. Locals refer to his sterling silver talismans as “Kennys,” and will often purchase one to signify a special moment or commemorate another summer spent on Fire Island.

The experience of purchasing a “Kenny” in Goodman’s former Ocean Beach storefront was a magical experience for a young child. Their eyes would gaze over the array of uniquely designed surfboard charms as they debated which they liked the most. Goodman ensured each child was satisfied with their choice and helped them feel special. He feels that this memory will stick with the child for life: it’s the first time they’ve been given a choice to decide on their own.

Originally from Brooklyn, Goodman began taking trips to Fire Island and felt like he belonged. “I found my first real identity in Fire Island,” Goodman remarked, “It’s like the ’70s never left.”

He owes a great deal of his craft to his first Fire Island roommate, Peter, who was becoming a dentist. Utilizing his roommate’s dentistry tools, Goodman was able to create his first casting and piece of jewelry.

On June 9, Goodman shared a post on Facebook with the news of his new gallery shop opening in Ocean Bay Park. Meg Wallace of Wallace Real Estate was generous enough to help Goodman secure this cozy new bayside location. Upon the closing of his Ocean Beach location a few years ago, he had no intentions of opening another storefront, but when Wallace told Goodman about the open space he thought, “How could I not?”

Goodman sees himself as a sculptor, not a jeweler, he truly just enjoys creating. This new opportunity will be a reflection of this mindset as it’s not a traditional jewelry store, it’s a place to create and feel inspired. He plans to show art while allowing visitors to “schmooze,” share ideas and collaborate.

Years ago, Goodman worked as a special education art teacher in the Bronx and would utilize classroom materials such as crayons and chalk for his art. He absolutely adored spending time with younger generations and teaching them how to be creative. Although he’s still in the process of settling in, Goodman hopes to teach again soon, catering to an older audience.

“I’d like to teach adult wood carving, mid-level whittling and mini sculpting for casting,” Goodman stated. He described his plans to divide classes between beginner and advanced, which allows any-one who’d like to participate the ability to learn at their own pace. Goodman discovered his own passion for sculpting while vacationing in Fire Island, and he’s providing the same opportunity to others in the community.

In the future, Goodman hopes to continue to create reasonably priced heirlooms for people to enjoy, while spreading creativity. He’s spending the majority of his time in his new storefront making it into a hub of creativity and design. Very appreciative of the undeniable praise from the community, he has never been happier to be on Fire Island.