Could everyone write one simple essay about something that once happened in Saltaire…that they saw or were a part of…and put it on one big website? Somebody should collect a lot of stories before we all forget. Otherwise it is like a line in “On The Beach” : The history of the war that now would never be written.” -(JO'H)

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Elisabeth Elkind: Saltaire's Finest Observer.


Elisabeth Elkind, 1956  to 2018. Saltaire's  Perceptive  Observer.


Back in 1970, a Saltaire Planning Commission report on the state of the Village commented that a trustee should be delegated as a liaison with the Fire Island News to ensure publication of matters affecting homeowners. "It is ironic," the report stated, "that more news of Saltaire is covered via a children's newspaper than in the Fire Island News."

That “children's newspaper” The Salty Spray, was started in 1968 by then 11-year-old Elisabeth Elkind. But the Planning Commission didn't really get it right. The Salty Spray was written and edited by Elisabeth and a bunch of girls, but was never just a “children's newspaper.” Over five summers The Salty Spray covered everything from kids cutting their feet to sessions of the Saltaire Village Court; from news about day camp and sailing races, to Saltaire history; to village births, marriages, and deaths and everything in between. In fact, in the 110 years of Saltaire history there has been no better chronicler of Saltaire day-to-day life than Elisabeth Elkind's The Salty Spray.

Years later, Elizabeth would write "we were emboldened by the experience of newspaper reporting. We became comfortable knocking on the doors of adult strangers (in twos and threes), our notebooks and pencils in hand, to ask them for personal information and quotable statements. Did nobody mind finding himself in print, tangled in a bicycle and off the boardwalk? “

They ran catchy headlines like:
Cunningham Hijacked to Cuba”
Mrs. Lyon Writes Book”
Storm Hits Saltaire”
Mrs. Bitzer Talks of Travel
Build Castles in Sand”
Fresh Air Funders Return”
Its a Bloody Story”

Girls Picket Boys” "Maura Corrigan, Sally Disipio and Kim Ludlow recently picketed the boys who would not let them play football. They marched through the field with a sign and, when thrown off, yelled about women's rights from their bicycles. Finally the boys gave in and four boys played four girls in football. The boys won 6 to 4.

The Salty Spray had straight reporting as well as observations that would do Dorothy Parker proud:
On Saturday, July 6 the married men played the single men in a game of touch football. This paper cannot report the final score since the two sides could not agree on what happened.”



Who does the wash?”
"Interested in how Saltaire husbands handle their laundry problems when their wives are at the beach, The Salty Spray has interviewed a number of summer bachelors. "Mort Elkind, Larry Marcus, Sid Rappaport and Dick Starkey all bring their dirty clothes out to Saltaire in attache cases for their wives to wash. Mort Elkind and Harry Scanlan move from bed to bed in their winter houses as the sheets get dirty. Fred Shapiro said "I wash my own God damn dainties.” When he needs clean sheets, he buys them.

Bert Pogrebin commutes to Saltaire every night and he has no summer laundry problems. His wife, strong in Women's Lib, says that she handles it "because he doesn't ask me.”


From:
WHAT TO WEAR AT THE OLD BALL GAME”


On Sunday, July 27, (1969) at 3 p.m., just half an hour late, a roaring game of softball was played by the women of the west side of Saltaire against the women living on the east side of town.
The captain of the east side was Marie Bitzer. 

Before the game started, her team assembled at Mary Jane Scanlan’s house. There is a rumor that whisky sours were served.

The captain of the west side players was Florence McManus and she invited her teammates to her house. More rumors.
Before the game started, two east side children, Steve and Susan LeMay, armed with pads and pencils, tried to spy on the west side women—to learn their strategy.
When the teams met at 3 p.m., catcher Mary Jane Scanlan of the east brought her raft. Pitching to her was Grace Gallagher. First Lady Virginia O’Brien caught for the west side and Joan Gowan pitched.

Virginia O’Brien wore red long-johns and a “Queen Elizabeth” sailor hat. Her pigtails were tied with a rope. Claire Marcus wore a football shirt numbered “21”, sweat pants and a sailor hat. Marion Scott wore a baseball shirt numbered “32”, baseball pants and navy blue knee socks.
Anne Reilly wore a pair of old fashioned men’s pajamas with a red and blue striped shirt. Her hair was braided and beribboned.
Georgie Hull wore boys’ pajamas, a sailor hat and old men’s sneakers. 

Florence McManus wore a blue Snoopy sweatshirt, a pair of old golf pants and an old golf hat.

Peggy Cunningham wore long blue jeans, her son’s track shoes and unmatched sun glass lenses. Rita Connelly wore an old lady’s dress, yellow bonnet, old men’s sneakers. She sat in a rocking chair to bat, knit, smoked a corncob pipe, and had to be pulled around in a wagon. She made a tremendous hit which led her team to the victory the west side claims.

As we reported, the West side says it won.”  





---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: 
It seems to me that the most remarkable thing about Elisabeth's writing and editing (and I am not sure who authored each of the above quotes) is that in the 110 years of Saltaire's existence no other journal has given us such an accurate picture of everyday life in Saltaire in any particular time period.

And when you read Elisabeth's stuff you realize how she got one thing 100 percent right: The uniqueness of Saltaire is that when you're in Saltaire as a kid, as a grown up, or anything in between, you don't just know your best friends: you know whole families. You know a whole community. You know your best friend. But you also know, swim with, sail with, play ball with, grow up with his or her brothers and sisters. You know their fathers and mothers. Saltaire is a collection of whole families living in the same place at the same time. And you knew them all. And there were not a whole lot of secrets.

Elisabeth Elkind and her crew of Muppets painted this picture vividly over five precious summers, 1968-1972. And she put it all together with writers like India Ely, Betty Galt, Leslie Gowan, Jane Marcus, Barbara Jones. Mom Charlotte Elkind was “Editorial Adviser.”

Elisabeth Elkind, rest in peace. Your work as a kid and early teenager make you one of Saltaire's finest historians ever. And you left The Salty Spray for generations to read and appreciate and understand the way we were. Rest in peace, Elisabeth. Rest in peace.

--JO'H




Sunday, April 1, 2018

WHAT TO WEAR AT THE OLD BALL GAME

REPRISING THE SALTY SPRAY

We have long been fascinated by the quality of writing of muppets who wrote and edited The Salty Spray 1968-1972, much as old timers lament the loss of the New York Herald Tribune or the old Brookly Eagle.


The Saltaire Historical Society has reprinted all of the Salty Spray issues and bound them, and has made them available at cost of reprinting -- $10. We urge you to pick up the whole volume, through the Historical Society and/or Saltaire Historian III Eliz. Starkey.

We also can’t resist taking some excerpts and posting them here from time to time.


We found a Salty Spray story that goes with a pictorial we ran a few months ago. We take pleasure to rerun those pictures now with the full story as reported in the Salty Spray on August 1, 1969:

********************************************************************************



WHAT TO WEAR AT THE OLD BALL GAME

The Salty Spray

August 1, 1969

On Sunday, July 27, at 3 p.m., just half an hour late, a roaring game of softball was played by the women of the west side of Saltaire against the women living on the east side of town.
The captain of the east side was Marie Bitzer.










Before the game started, her team assembled at Mary Jane Scanlan’s house. There is a rumor that whisky sours were served.



The captain of the west side players was Florence McManus and she invited her teammates to her house. More rumors.
Before the game started, two east side children, Steve and Susan LeMay, armed with pads and pencils, tried to spy on the west side women—to learn their strategy.
When the teams met at 3 p.m., catcher Mary Jane Scanlan of the east brought her raft. Pitching to her was Grace Gallagher. First Lady Virginia O’Brien caught for the west side and Joan Gowan pitched.
There were two wolves in ladies’ clothing. Matilda (or was it Peter?) Reilly came in her long blue and white culottes which matched the blue bonnet she wore over her lovely long brown hair. Penelope (maybe Mike?) McAllister wore black and yellow flowered culottes.
As the spectators said, “What a game!” It was thrilling from start to finish.




Your Salty Spray reporter noted these other fashionable costumes.






Peggy Cunningham wore long blue jeans, her son’s track shoes and unmatched sun glass lenses. Rita Connelly wore an old lady’s dress, yellow bonnet, old men’s sneakers. She sat in a rocking chair to bat, knit, smoked a corncob pipe, and had to be pulled around in a wagon. She made a tremendous hit which led her team to the victory the west side claims.














Virginia O’Brien wore red long-johns and a “Queen Elizabeth” sailor hat. Her pigtails were tied with a rope. Claire Marcus wore a football shirt numbered “21”, sweat pants and a sailor hat. Marion Scott wore a baseball shirt numbered “32”, baseball pants and navy blue knee socks.
Anne Reilly wore a pair of old fashioned men’s pajamas with a red and blue striped shirt. Her hair was braided and beribboned.
Georgie Hull wore boys’ pajamas, a sailor hat and old men’s sneakers.

Florence McManus wore a blue Snoopy sweatshirt, a pair of old golf pants and an old golf hat.





Joan Gowan wore a pair of sweat pants, a WMCA Good Guy sweat shirt and a sailor hat topped with a Raccoon pompom.
Dottie Campbell wore farmer clothes and a straw hat. Grace Gallagher wore her husband’s surfing pants and a miner’s hat.



As we reported, the west side says it won.
















East v. West (late 60s)


All photos copyright J. Wolford, Chicago Il..






























Sept 29, 2008:
Michael McAllister said...
Thank you Saltaire38. Not only do I get to see a picture of my Greatgrandmother, my grandmother and me in my mother's belly, but I get to scroll up and see my father in drag.

JOH: Hey Mike: we ran these pictures before. So what is the big surprise? Do you mean to say your father hid this secret from you all these years?
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OTHER COMMENTS ON THE BIG GAME:


We don't know about Marie's coaching prowess, but there is no doubt she was a Saltaire original:

"Marie Bitzer was without a doubt one of the most flamboyant and memorable characters ever to grace the boardwalks of Saltaire. Her sense of high fashion and dress could have gained her admission to the most high brow costume parties.

I remember specifically one Saturday night in the early fall of 1968. I decided to take a date to the old Oak Beach Inn, which in those days was a great local night club. The only problem was a means of transit from Saltaire to Oak Beach. My father agreed to take us over to the OBI in his boat. Invited along for the trip was both my mother and Marie Bitzer.

Marie got a few drinks poured into her and the entertainment for the evening began. She regaled us with her stories of trips to foreign lands. Among her circle of friends was King Farouk of Egypt and I believe the Shah of Iran. She was house(or more likely palace) guests of both.

Marie's best story was the experience she and her extremely near-sighted husband John had during the Hurricane of '38. As the wind and waves rose Marie(who owned the current Ickes/McElhone residence on Pacific) felt that it would be prudent if both she and John made tracks for higher ground in the Village Hall. Marie related how, as she looked back the tidal surge had ripped up boardwalks behind her. She implored John, who could barely see the nose in front of his face to "hurry the waves are destroying the boardwalk behind us" John, looking back, and barely seeing anything, responded, "Oh Marie, you've always had such a vivid imagination." Thankfully, for Saltaire Marie and John survived the storm with no injuries.

Marie also, in her day, was the preeminent realtor in Saltaire. No one, at that time could out-hustle her for either a sale or rental. Captain Al, out of either respect(or disgust) always would tell us that "if there was a vacant telephone booth in the Village that Marie would rent it to someone for the summer."
--Beaver




Jean Campbell said...


That softball game must have taken place in 1969 because my Mom is using my crutches with her "costume" and I broke my leg in 1968 and would have needed them that summer.

On the "East" team, I recognize Dottie Campbell (my Mom), Grace Gallagher, Mary Fontanals, Lee MacAdam, Dorothy LeMay, Marie Bitzer and I think that's Pat Corrigan on the end.

In the shot of the Florence Gibson with the question of her being the best coach ever, I believe that's my Dad - Ken Campbell - sitting in the bleachers.

Great photos - thanks for posting them. I remember them also being published in the Salty Spray that summer. Hope you've been able to contact the former editors - Elizabeth Elkind, Jane Markus and I think the 3rd one was India Ely.


************************************************************
Was this Saltaire's Greatest Team Ever?


Click Photos to enlarge


Saltaire East
copyright J. Woolford, Chicago, Il


Or was this?
click photo to enlarge
Copyright J. Woolford, Chicago, Il
Saltaire West

We have a half a dozen more pictures to come, one each day, subject to people properly identifying the personalities in these team portraits.

So if you want to see more of these exclusives (there are no "negatives" out there; these originals were Polaroids) you have to tune into http://www.saltaire38.blogspot.com/


"We report. You decide"

Friday, March 30, 2018

THE LEGEND OF CAPTAIN BALDWIN AND CAPTAIN MURDOCH


Cosmo reports to Saltaire38.blogspot.com:


Back in the 1940’s and 1950’s, there were two “Baymen” left working the Great South Bay off of Western Fire Island. They were Capt. Baldwin and Capt. Murdoch. Both made their living from the bounty of the Bay, selling fish, clams and oysters to the summer residents. They would ply the waters with rowboats or small dories. I still remember seeing Capt. Baldwin pull up to the Saltaire dock in the early 1960’s when I was still a young boy.

Capt. Baldwin was paralyzed from the waist down, but he had incredible strength in his upper body. There was stiff competition between Capt. Baldwin and Capt. Murdoch for the limited business between Seaview and Kismet, which led to intense animosity between the two. At some point, an agreement was reached whereby Capt. Murdoch sold to the residents of Dunewood, Fire Island Summer Club, Ocean Beach and Seaview, and Capt. Baldwin would sell to Fair Harbor, Saltaire and Kismet. Their animosity reached the point where there was violence on the Bay. Then, one day, Capt. Murdoch disappeared and was seen no more. The rumor was that Capt. Murdoch had been murdered by Capt. Baldwin, thought he was never charged.

Capt. Baldwin lived on an old clam boat on Clam Pond, which was decrepit and half full of water. In the early days, he lived primarily on oysters, which he would shuck, and discard the empty shells over the sided. In later years, as the oysters died off, he switched to clams. As his boat was far from seaworthy, each year he would pull his clam boat further up on the pile of shells, which grew higher and higher each year.

How he survived living through the winters on an old clam boat, half full of water is beyond me. Apparently, he had a small stove on the boat for heat, and an old lounge chair perched in the portion of his boat that remained above water. I recall the story about one winter when Helen Krowlakowski, worried that Capt. Baldwin was starving to death out in the Cove, went out to see him with a baking pan full of pork chops, thinking that it would last him a week, but which Capt. Baldwin devoured on the spot.

I also recall being told how Capt. Baldwin used to work at the Kismet Inn opening clams. He was quite a cantankerous old salt, who hot along with no one. One night, someone else patronizing the Inn got on his wrong side, and despite being crippled, cleared the twenty or so feet across the bar and almost slit the man’s throat before he was stopped.

Robin Wright told me the stories how Capt. Baldwin would run off any of the local kids that got near his boat with a shotgun. One day, Robin, Bobby Aherne (Squirt) and Mike Fitzgerald determined to get a look at the inside of Capt. Baldwin’s boat. They waited until he left to go fishing. What he saw, and what happened to them is best told by Robin.

I vaguely remember that eventually, Capt. Baldwin got to the point where the authorities came and took him away and put him in a home.

Everything related herein up to this point was oral history, but in the mid 1980’s, Bill Goldsmith (aka Bilbo), who is an archeologist by trade, went out to clam cove with my brother Chris in search of the site of Capt. Baldwin’s old boat. Sure enough, the remains were still there. They dug into the pile of shells, finding clamshells on top, but oyster shells further down. There was little left of the boat, as the wood had all rotten away. The only thing that was left was Capt. Baldwin’s old head, which, being made of porcelain was still intact. They brought his head back, and put it on our back deck at 104 Marine Walk. I remember it being a beautiful summer day, and my parents and other local residents were enjoying the day drinking. That night, one of the worst storms I ever experienced at Saltaire struck. Robin Wright woke me in the middle of the night imploring me to help him with the Full House, which was moored off Neptune Walk at the time. The storm was so severe that the wind blew, dragging his mooring, and blowing the boat up against the bulkhead. I had a motor boat at the time, and we went out in the storm and, between his two engines and my outboard, eventually dragged the Full House back out to deeper waters. The next morning, we found that the wind had picked up all the Hobbie Cats on the bay front, blew them up thirty to forty feet, and dropped them back to earth upside down, breaking most of the masts. Clearly, Capt. Baldwin was very angry at his old haunts being disturbed, and worse, his head taken. Bilbo and my brother returned the head back to where they had found it in Clam Cove. Apparently, Capt. Baldwin was appeased, as Saltaire has never seen a storm like it since.



THE FOSSIL SPEAKS: "WHAT COSMO SAYS IS TRUE"


ROBIN WRIGHT IS OUR SECOND SOURCE. HE WRITES:

Chris Hull, Bill Goldsmith and I went to Capt. Baldwin old foundation site,made up of clam shell and oyester shells, to do some excavating.The only thing we found was a piece of an old toilet. That night we had afierce tropical storm. Capt. Baldwins spirit still lives on. We returnedthe piece to where we found it.
--Robin.

OUT OF CALFORNIA THE RELIC, ROBIN WRIGHT POSTS HIS RECOLLECTIONS OF CAPTAINS BALDWIN AND MURDOCK:



Winter 1947-48 Captain Baldwin staked his claim on Clam Pond.That spring Captain Murdock, who lived on his houseboat on the South side on the Pond, disappeared, presumed drowned. Bill Cerveny and Herbie Paine reported hearing gunshots in that time frame - nothing ever came of it. No body = no crime. Captain Baldwin now had the fishing and clam trade in Saltaire and Fair Harbor. He was not allowed in Kismet.On weekends he used to work at Dick Grenameyers (Kismet Inn) shucking clams. He worked for whiskey, and one time he claimed that the bartender shorted his drinks. Words were exchanged and Captain Baldwin pulled a knife and tried to cut the mans throat. Persona non grata after that. He died sometime in the fifties. Helen and Eddie Krolikowski took him to the mainland and he died in the hospital shortly hereafter.

Robin.



Another set of recollections from Beaver/Frank Mina:


Captain Baldwin's residence, though in close proximity to the water in the Cove was basically built from scrap lumber - Frank & Richie McManus ventured down to Capt Baldwin's shack after he died and went inside - it was sort of Beverly Hillbillys' chic. Frank remembers Capt Baldwin selling clams/fish to his mother and that he was able to stand up(possibly disspelling the story that he was paralyzed from the waist down). Frank also stated that Baldwin could have been a world champion rower and confirmed the story I had heard that after the '38 Hurricane Capt. Baldwin was found way down east in his rowboat. Frank claims that there were a number of Capt Murdoch's - they were a large Bayshore family and it was very likely that one or two actually ran ferries in the early days. Gil Clark's mother, according to Frank, was a Murdoch - Gil's full name was Gilbert Murdoch Clark. Frank also said that there were, years ago two Capt. Baldwin's in Fair Harbor - he doesn't know if "our" Capt Baldwin was one of them. Again, all good yarns which make all of posts interesting.



(ed note: first posted Feb 15, 2008)1/11/09

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Remembering the March Storm: Peter Baum and Victoria Baum Bjorklund on the 1962 Ash Wednesday Storm

PICTURES OF THE HISTORIC MARCH 1962 STORM AFTERMATH BY PETER A. BAUM.
Ed Note:
Forget about the Hurricane of 1938. Forget about Sandy. Forget about the vicious winter storms of 1927, 1929, and 1931:

The March Storm of 1962 is arguably the most significant storm to hit Fire Island in the Last 100 Years.

Reason Being: for the first fifty years of Saltaire history, it was always thought that someday a road would run the length of Fire Island. It was a dream of Robert Moses since 1922 to run a non-stop road from Coney Island to Montauk. Moses used repeated  storms over the years to bolster his argument that  a paved road on top of a built-up island  would stabilize it. Each time a big storm hit,  calls to pave the Island were renewed,  but plans never got off the drawing board due to  lack of funding, and opposition.  But proposals always kept popping up from time to time,  from storm to storm. 

The 1962 March Storm was was damaging to the whole length of the island, and once again Moses (and others) renewed their arguments. Tentative plans  for a road were quickly drawn up. In the summer of 1962,  and in the following year massive protests and  well organized political pressure in opposition  held up the road's  implementation. Robert Moses, his power in decline, saw his plan stopped. When a  National Seashore was established, it virtually guaranteed that Fire Island will never be paved end to end.


So it was the March Storm that finally brought the whole issue to a definitive resolution.


                            JO'H

Here are some pictures from the March 1962 Storm:
All pictures by Peter Baum.






All pictures by Peter Baum.


orologists called it a "Perfect Storm." It battered the East Coast for three days and five high tides from March 3-6, 1962. It reshaped the Outer Banks and altered shorelines up and down the East Coast.
This week marks the Fifty-sixth  Anniversary of the March 1962 storm. Meteorologists called it a "perfect storm." For Fire Island it was one of the most destructive storms of the Twentieth Century.

The Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962 occurred on March 6–8, 1962 along the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. It was considered by the U.S. Geological Survey to be one of the most destructive storms ever to affect the Mid-Atlantic States. One of the ten worst storms in the United States in the 20th century, it lingered through five high tides over a three day period, killing 40 people, injuring over 1,000 and causing hundreds of millions in property damage in six states.
--Wikipedia


I  remember going out there to assess the damage on March 10, 1962. (I remember the date because I brought along a transistor radio to listen to the very first ever broadcast of a New York Mets spring training game-- you could look it up).
Wreckage was all over the beach. West of Saltaire, the flotsam and jetsam from all points
east washed up above the dune line and made it look like you could walk from Kismet to the lighthouse stepping only on debris without putting a foot in the sand.

We got the below story and pictures from Victoria Baum Bjorklund. The great photos were taken by her dad, the late Peter A. Baum. Thanks, counselor Bjorklund, for your priceless contributions.
Don’t forget this storm. It was a big one.
--JO’H

Victoria Bjorklund writes:

My father, Peter Ackerman Baum (1922-1995), was a trustee of the Village of Saltaire for a number of years in the 1960s. He elected to take leadership of the "public safety" areas. For example, in that capacity, he hired Saltaire's first full time policeman, Officer Joe Kelly. He also had all the old fire hoses unrolled one Saturday so that he could inspect them. He was horrified to see that mice had chewed holes in most of the hoses, so he started a fundraising campaign to modernize the fire protection equipment. Remember that in those days, the Village's fire equipment consisted of hose carts that village volunteers would grab from the sheds and pull to the site of the fire. Similarly, he believed that storm preparedness and aftermath were part of his trustee responsibilities.

Anyhow, my family always sweated every big nor'easter for fear that our cottage, Sea Spray, at 309 Pacific Walk would wash away. After Hank and I married in1972, we were dispatched with my Mother to empty the house of memorabilia before big storms. We would carry precious things and store them at either or both of the Lathams' attic or our cousins' Hub Bub. But in the 1960s it was harder to get over to Saltaire in the off-season so we just took our chances in the storms. This storm was different. It battered the beach day after day for days through a series of high tides. My parents were very worried about whether our house would still be there, and if it was, if it had been so undercut that it would be subject to condemnation. Or did it once again squeak by?
So we bundled up and trekked over to check. The damage was extensive as these
Pictures show. West Walk, Broadway, and Pacific walk stairways all washed away. But miraculously, our house was still standing on its little posts. While we no longer had any dunes, much less the big dunes that used to block our ocean view, we did still have our little house.

Best regards, Victoria

Victoria Bjorklund writes:

My father, Peter Ackerman Baum (1922-1995), was a trustee of the Village of Saltaire for a number of years in the 1960s. He elected to take leadership of the "public safety" areas. For example, in that capacity, he hired Saltaire's first full time policeman, Officer Joe Kelly. He also had all the old fire hoses unrolled one Saturday so that he could inspect them. He was horrified to see that mice had chewed holes in most of the hoses,so he started a fundraising campaign to modernize the fire protection equipment. Remember that in those days, the Village's fire equipment consisted of hose carts that village volunteers would grab from
the sheds and pull to the site of the fire. Similarly, he believed that storm preparedness and aftermath were part of his trustee responsibilities.


Anyhow, my family always sweated every big nor'easter for fear that our cottage, Sea Spray, at 309 Pacific Walk would wash away. After Hank and I married in1972, we were dispatched with my Mother to empty the house of memorabilia before big storms. We would carry precious things and store them at either or both of the Lathams' attic or our cousins' Hub Bub. But in the 1960s t was harder to get over to Saltaire in the off-season so we just took our chances in the storms.


This storm was different. It battered the beach day after day through a series of




high tides. My parents were very worried about whether our house would still be there, and if it was, whether it had been so undercut that it would be subject to condemnation. Or did it once again squeak by?

So we bundled up and trekked over to check. The damage was extensive as these pictures show. The West Walk, Broadway, and Pacific walk stairways were all washed away. But miraculously, our house was still standing on its little posts. While we no longer had any dunes, much less he big dunes that used to block our ocean view, we did still have our little house.

Best regards, Victoria










2012 pic of same location courtesy Ali Beqaj













All pictures except otherwise noted by Peter A. Baum.
Copyright 2012 Baum Family.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Cholera and Long Island Baymen, 1892

October 1, 1892 Illustrated American
Read The Illustrated American's  October 1, 1892  account of the Cholera scare that led to a confrontation near what is now Kismet. When the the ship Normania arrived from Europe on September 3, 1892 it was denied entry to New York because of a Cholera epidemic on board. A plan was hatched to transfer the passengers to the Cephus (shown here) from which they would be transported to the Surf Hotel on Fire Island, near what is now Kismet. A mob of baymen and "clam diggers" prevented the Cephus from unloading its passengers at the Surf Hotel dock. Partial Text of the reports of the affair as reported in Harpers Weekly  and Illustrated American is below. We have more stuff we prefer no to publish now but is of depressing historical import.
    -JO'H

Click on images to enlarge


















Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Quote from another Time, another place:





Here is a quote  that I read a long long time ago that has always stuck  in my mind:


"Yesterday in New York was one of the worst days for anybody who likes what makes up a city. At 2 PM., a man in the Building Department issued a permit to the Wrecking Corp of America. Within an hour, workers were all over the 84 year old Metropolitan Opera House.They were punching  holes into the roof and walls of the building. The orders are that the old Met has to come down quickly. People have been trying to find ways to save the building, and if you wreck the building the fight is over. And the firm which is leasing the land cannot wait to inflict on the City a 40 story atrocity of a new glass office building."
        --Jimmy Breslin, January 1967


--JO'H




Justin Zizes Jr.

Friday, January 26, 2018


The following link is to the earliest footage known of Fire Island in and about Saltaire, Kismet and the lighthouse.  The movie was filmed by Joe Lynch, one of the earliest residents.  It shows damage from a storm, the wireless transmission towers between the Lighthouse and Kismet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_s9O6wQUfEo


And here is the link to Brad Brown's compilation of Photos of Saltaire, 1967 to 2018, as compiled for the Saltaire centennial, 2017.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlINohIbT88



Monday, January 1, 2018

Wharf Rats

Blasts from Our Past: an occasional republication of our best posts. We have posted hundreds of posts; almost a thousand pictures. posts, all of which can be accessed by scorlling down. You can also use our search engine.

Ed. Note: This Post, "Wharf Rats," first published on Jan 4, 2008 generated some some of our largest volume of comments. Back by popular demand: "WHARF RATS"




A picture of some of the Maple Avenue Wharf Rats forty years ago-- summer 1968--- left to right: Sneaky Pete; Noel F. (before his hair fell out); The Chief (who worked on the freight boat); Skinner; Tom Southard (Captain of the Wing Ding); unknown couple; and Larry Neuschafer-Paprocki.
CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE

Simpler times - $1.50 for parking. The amount of liquor consumed in that parking shack by Sneaky and Crew could not be accurately measured. Keep in mind that Sneaky Pete and Skinner had once been rumrunners. Frank Mina recalls: "Please note that Skinner's glass is already empty lest Elmer (FI Ferry Owner Elmer Patterson) come around the bend trying to catch Al drinking on the job, one of Elmer's favorite pastimes when he wasn't kicking stones around his own parking lot. That makes the attached photo especially poignant. This picture was 1968. Skinner's last year on the job was 1969."

Friday, October 27, 2017

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Elizabeth Blair Starkey

"Sometimes we do see that eternity impinging on our lives, when we see the beauty of a life like Elizabeth's: the beauty of striving for goodness. The beauty of loving others."

                            Fr. Richard Viladesau at funeral for Elizabeth Starkey Sept. 27, 2017




.

Especially When the October Wind

Especially when the October wind
With frosty fingers punishes my hair,
Caught by the crabbing sun I walk on fire
And cast a shadow crab upon the land,
By the sea's side, hearing the noise of birds,
Hearing the raven cough in winter sticks,
My busy heart who shudders as she talks
Sheds the syllabic blood and drains her words.

     --Dylan Thomas

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Lord of the Fire Island Flies



by Denis O'Shea

In my day, part of the rite of passage for boys who had survived the ravages of Saltaire to reach the echelon of boys aged 10-14, was the treasured overnight to the Sunken Forest. I’m not certain in how many years this trip had been made before; I just know that when I first made the trip our group was not the first to do an overnight there. These photos were taken in early August 1963 as the gang that would make this voyage prepared to depart. I have no shots of our escapades on route or once there but these few serve to jog my memories and perhaps your own of what transpired.


Preflight briefing
(click photo to enlarge)

That’s Gen O’Shea, my mom, giving me a briefing on how to spot poisonous snakes and trip wires to Claymores on the forest floor. The Sunken Forest had a mysterious reputation, it was filled with bogs, skeletons, goblins (after dark) and word was that a “hermit” lived in the forest, a wicked little old man with a nasty temperament. The forest trails (there were no boardwalks in those days) were only to be trod in daylight and then only in groups for safety’s sake. We had heard of only a few who had made the trip and returned to tell their tales. Right behind my mother’s left had you’ll note a shed in the background pinned up next to that house (the O’Shea abode), where Billy Ervin kept his gas tanks and boating supplies. The first smell of a summer day in our house was a morning whiff of gasoline, I rather liked it actually.
Primal grimace
(click to enlarge)
Cathy MacAdam has just reminded me that monsters lurked in the Sunken Forest. I was doing my best to show her that I wasn’t scared.

Load em up
(click photo)

That’s Billy Ervin’s red skiff on the beach, Billy being the counselor of our troupe, provided the mode of transit to the forest. Uncle Pete in a white shirt is near the stern reviewing a military style checklist, me in front of him with the oilskin on and Alfie Lapp, wearing the ubiquitous green Lapp family T-shirt color (Mrs. Lapp used to dye them by the gross for her clan), is next to the hull. Lurking somewhere outside the gaze of Uncle Pete was Danny Weinlandt and (I seem to recall) Allen Aherne. Uncle Pete, you see, was not meant to make the trip. Instead Billy, the fine son of two of Saltaire’s leading citizens, Tom and Norma, was entrusted with our care. The plot thickens.

Capt'n Billy
(click photo)
We’re off. That’s Billy at the tiller of his trusty 18 HP Johnson Seahorse. I’m in the bow, Stevie MacManus is behind me on the starboard side, Robbie MacAdam on port and Alfie in the stern next to Billy. I’m not certain whose lap strake boat that is next to us. You’ll note the wind is out of the north northwest, a sign of clearing skies which paid off later that night but made the ride down rough once we got past the lee of West and East Islands. Billy was nice enough to slow the boat down at that point because I was getting beat up and about to get tossed out of the boat. Too bad Billy didn’t think of that himself later on.

After a wet ride we neared the Sunken Forest, we had a sense that it knew we were coming and it seemed a smirk spread across its broad face as we approached our fates. We gathered our gear and then began to trudge across the forest to the swale beyond the second dune where we would sleep. Being late afternoon there was no goblins out yet but there was plenty of talk of the hermit being just beyond the next bush. We survived our trek and gathered with the 15 – 20 boys who had the courage to come. Grabbed some grub, can’t remember if we had a fire or what we ate, and the evening settled into darkness. Then, to our surprise, Billy and his buddies announced that they had to go back to the boats to get something. “What, and leave us with that hermit out there,” we thought but we didn’t argue with them, they were teenagers, gods almost who could crush your spleen with one blow.

Our worry about the hermit kept us alert as we waited but Billy and crew did not return anytime soon. So we lay on our backs in our sleeping bags and then Mother Nature on that cool clear night put on a spectacular show. We had the luck to pick the night of the Perseids meteor shower. This is an annual event each August, usually around the 12th known sometimes for 30 + meteors per hour. Since that evening, the nights have never seemed as clear, there’s more haze in the sky and of course those awful sodium lights on the mainland that pollute the Saltaire sky view. But that night it was perfect and we watched with wonder as dozens and dozens of meteors streaked across the canvas of an ink black starry sky. I lost count at 60.



After several hours we began to hear strange shrieks from the forest like someone screaming. The hermit! He was on to us and we were defenseless. Then the screams turned to raucous laughter and we heard thrashing and cussing. No, it was not the hermit, it was Billy and his crew and they sounded like they were in a murderous mood. Something had happened or someone had crossed them. We pretended to sleep and hid in our bags hoping they wouldn’t trip over or crush us.

Years later while out on the bay fishing with Danny Weinlandt I found out what caused all the fuss that night. Billy, Dan and Alan had gone down to O.B. to Houser’s where the drinking age was about 15 (depending on your appearance) and they really tied one on. In the boat ride on the way back to the forest, with the wind still out of the north, a chop was bouncing them around. After one memorable wave, Danny turned around and Billy (who had been driving) was NOT IN THE BOAT!

He’d fallen out! At night! In the middle of the bay! With about 10 beers aboard! Somehow Dan and Allen (I think) located Billy and dragged him back into the boat and made their way back to their innocent charges. So it wasn’t hermits or goblins that made that overnight dangerous, it was the reckless, abandon of our youth. But fortunately they were lucky and when I heard the other side of this tale just a couple of years ago, it made that evening long ago that much more memorable.
(Originally posted 3 26 2008)