. .now and then
Scroll down for a trip around Merrick,
Bellmore and the Island. Lots of historical
photos from your collection!
Hurricane Sandy and
northeast'r storm hit the Bellmore and Merrick communities in
Bellmore and South Merrick sustained quite a bit of damage as
flood waters from the bay inundated many homes. Damage in the
tri-state area is still being repaired as of October, 2014. Some
flooding extended as far as Sunrise Highway. FEMA
in Newsday showing Long Island flooding. (This map may not be
available to those without a Newsday subscription or Cablevision;
I'm working on access for us.) Newsday also still has photos
of the storm damage on their web site: Newsday.com.
of damage at Jones Beach from Mepham Alumni Facebook page. (Click on Photos
after opening Facebook page.)
View from new Levy Overlook Park in South Merrick.
Located between Meadowbrook Parkway
and Clubhouse Road in South Merrick, this park is the result
of a vision by Mepham Graduate Jay Pitti '52.
For full story, click
here. Photo: Ken House
Bellmore Village www.bellmorechamber.com.
- Several years ago, the Chamber
of Commerce undertook the project of reviving Bellmore's Bedford
Avenue shopping district. In an ongoing revitalization program,
new store fronts, brick sidewalks, Victorian street lamps, park
benches have been added. Many new businesses have been attracted
to the area.
- The Playhouse theater
now has five or more screens! The Bellmore Theater across
from the railroad, underwent renovations, following a June '98
thunder and lightning storm that downed the original marquee.
Valet parking is necessary at nearby restaurants because of the
large influx of people.
- Friday night is Cruise Night
at the Bellmore Railroad Station. HUGE crowds. A really big show!
Hot rods, restorations
- The Bellmore Street Fair in
September brings in over 100,000 people each year. That's a really
big show, too!
- McCluskey's on Sunrise Highway in Bellmore no longer
exists! It was torn down a few years ago and replaced by Applebee's,
which fast became a hot restaurant. There are also many new restaurants
in town as a result of the Bellmore Restoration project. A few
new proposed fast-food restaurants are currently causing some
concern among local residents.
- Jack and Valerie Priger Skelly ('54,
'56) moved their business, J.E.S. Printing, to
town on Bedford Avenue a few years ago and retired at the end
of August 2000.They have been in the printing business since
graduation from Mepham. Among many of their activities, Jack
has been president of the Bellmore Lions Club, both are very
active with the Bellmore Chamber of Commerce and Val with the
Historical Society. A changing photo display of old Bellmore
was a feature of their front store windows. We'll miss that!
Most importantly, they printed the Alumni Association's newsletter,
- Newspapers: Our local Bellmore
Life joined with Bellmore Herald in 2013 is now the
Bellmore-Herald Life. Newsday continues to be the Long
- Christmas caroling
by the Mepham Alumni Choir has become tradition in December in
Bellmore. Brings back memories of the 50s.
Around Town and the
- Jones Beach
State Park (516)
The beach now has
two pools: East and West Bathhouses. The new Castles in the Sand historical exhibit is located at the East Bathhouse. A Nature Center has also been added at West End. The
Restaurant, located at
the Central Mall has been razed and will be rebuilt. The Boat
Basin at the Coast
Guard Station seen to
the right has been improved since our high school days. For some recent beach photos click
Warren Wissemann has added some "Beach Memories"
that you might like to read. Click here.
Photos by Carol House
- Gilgo Beach Check out this web cam for a
view of the surf at Gilgo. http://www.bungersurf.com/Bunger_Surfcam/
- A new movie theater has opened
in Merrick across from the Railroad Station.
- There have been many new store
openings in both Merrick and Bellmore. Major chains such as the
Gap, Genovese, CVS, McDonald's, Burger King etc. have all contributed
to the closing of many Mom 'n Pop stores. Albert Brothers in
Bellmore has closed and the buildings have been leveled. We have
two Home Depots nearby (Freeport and East Meadow).
- The Roosevelt Raceway
is closed, with much of the land going to mall development and
housing, restaurants. Mitchel Field closed in the 1960s. Part
of the site has been developed as the home of Hofstra University's
northern campus, Nassau Community College, Nassau Coliseum, as
well as the Cradle of Aviation Museum, which portrays
the history of Long Island's contribution to aviation technology
and space exploration. Vew their web site at: www.cradleofaviation.org.
of historical photos is divided among several pages, including
Remember the December blizzard
during Christmas recess?
Above: Carol's house, north of Mepham. We had about 27-30"
of that white stuff! It took a week for the plow to show up a
block away. That's me in back of the family Ford Model A.
Photo: H Woodman
Oakwood Avenue off Merrick
Avenue in the village. Warren Wissemann's home is on the left
in the photo to the right. >>
five photographs and post cards are from Warren Wissemann's collection
of Merrick memorabilia. (1) Merrick,
aerial view in 1938. Click here for larger photo and full description. (2) Merrick
Railroad Station, on December 26, 1937. (3) Mepham
from the early 40s, and the Merrick Gables post cards (4 and 5) show not only
the model home for the development, but also the Wisseman house
at 101 Lincoln Blvd in 1933.
Merrick RR Station, December
Mepham in the 1940s
Merrick Gables Model Home
This was one of a series
given by the builder in 1927 showing the various models for sale.
Wissemann home at 101 Lincoln Blvd taken in 1932.
Levy Overlook Park in Merrick
"Merrick Mountain" (the Merrick landfill) is now known
as the Norman J. Levy Overlook Park and
Preserve. Jay Pitti, Class of '52, has led an activist
group (OPAS) over the years for large-scale environmental reclamation
of the former Merrick landfill and garbage dump. He dreamed of
"turning the former dump into a place where children could
experience the beauty that graced this area during his own 'Huckleberry
Finn' childhood." In June of '99, a ceremony dedicating
the park to the memory of the late local Senator Norman J. Levy
took place, with town officials and others who took up the implementation
of Jay's dream. The park features self-guided trails, exercise
stations, small amphitheater, a pond, a kayak launch area, a
fishing pier, and a boardwalk on the 8.4 acre plateau. The sanctuary
offers views of Jones Beach, east to Robert Moses Causeway, and
west to the Manhattan skyline.
According to the park brochure,
it is "landscaped as a biologically diverse community. Native wetland plants and animals
as well as a wide variety of upland plants flourish. Some of
the many species of birds which are common include tree swallows,
redwing blackbirds, great and snowy egrets, black-crowned night
herons, Canada geese and mallards. Beautiful butterflies and
dragon flies make the preserve their home. Native cattails, phragmites,
salt marsh cord grass,salt marsh hay, bayberry, as well as many
species of native evergreen and deciduous trees, shrubs, wildflowers
and grasses line the landscape and trails."
One of our alumni remembers that
as a kid, there had been a dairy farm at the site, and on Sundays
a small biplane would land there and take people up for a ride
for $5! The park is now open and is a great addition to our communities!
Photos of the park by Ken