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)

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Image may contain: cloud, sky, outdoor and water
Saltaire Dock Summer 2018
Copyright Dereck Buckner 2018
Great Brooklyn Artist
LaGuardia H.S.
Saltairian


Sunday, September 2, 2018

DEATH OF THE SALTAIRE WATER TOWER: GREAT PIX BY JUSTIN ZIZES Sr.

These pictures were taken on September 2, 1968 by the late Justin Zizes, Sr.

Justin Zizes Jr. fondly looks back:

THE DAY THE SALTAIRE WATER TOWER FELL- LABOR DAY 1968

By G. Justin Zizes, Jr.




I’m guessing today many residents of Saltaire do not know that, until the year 1968, Saltaire had a big black water tower with the name SALTAIRE painted on it in big white letters.
It was a well-seen landmark, from the ocean side and bay side; one knew where Saltaire was on Fire Island from this icon. One could even see the tower from Bay Shore as the ferry pulled out of the mouth of the Bay Shore Marina as it headed to the beach.

I can’t remember the height of the structure, but it was tall and sometimes eerie looking, especially close up at night when one passed by it on the ocean or looking at it from Lighthouse Prom. It did get lost from time to time when the fog rolled in or when there was haze from the ocean. I never got a chance to climb the tower, I am sure the sight over looking Saltaire must have been unbelievable. The water tower stood strong for many years- even through passing hurricanes, lightning storms, howling winds, and snowstorms.

The water tower was located in “the yard”, as the village workers knew it. This is where the shed, the well / pump house and the old cement incinerator, where we once burned our garbage are located.

Back on Labor Day 1968, September 2nd to be specific (I had to get a perpetual calendar to look up the exact date), sometime in the morning, my father, Justin Zizes Sr., came in to the house and said the Village was in the process of cutting down the old water tower on the beach- let’s go up and watch it. What an exciting event for the village! We all peddled up on our bikes to the ocean for a ringside seat.

At the time, the Mayor was Hugh A. O’Brien, Jr. - I recall he had just been newly elected Mayor back in June (the second Tuesday of the month was always the village election day back then.) I cannot remember who the four trustees were at the time, The Village Superintendent was either John Phoe or Bob Hodges at the time, along with Lenny McGahey. Godfred ( a/k/a Gotti) Mahler, and Bob Peterson. They all were the maintenance guys, who lived year round in the Village.

It was a beautiful day on the beach in terms of weather- ideal conditions. As you can see in the first picture that my father took- some of the crowd waiting around. Virginia O’Brien is very visible on the left from the photo along with the back of Charles Lapp Sr. and Bill Weinlandt. From the middle to the right of the photo (I do not if the scan of the picture came out that well to see all, but the original it is clear).

We waited with anticipation, like waiting for the Ball to drop in Times Square, but there was no predictable time. As our eyes were glued to the tower, one could see the welder’s torch arcing the legs by a welder. An air gap appeared after each of the legs were cut one by one- and the lean of the tower was starting to happen and it might have been mistaken for a look like of the Leaning tower of Pisa only a bit of different color and shape.


The tower had a long cable attached from where the walkway at the waist of the tank to a jeep on the beach to help guide it and control the fall. We could also see one of the workers on the beach.
At the time of the fall of the tower, we could see the one worker starting to run in fear of his life. When the tower fell on the beach the worker tried to jump to safety, and we all could see this- we all took a deep breath in hopes that the person was OK- and then he got up and we were all relieved.

After the fall of the tower, we all ran towards the fallen icon of Saltaire- an end of an era. As we got to the tower, others who were watching it from the East end of the village met us.
It was an interesting sight to look inside and see the darkness of this tank that once stood high above Saltaire for many years and now flattened and ready to be removed. From what I was told, the collapsed tower was to be cut into smaller pieces and buried in the dunes. If one looks carefully, one can see old rusted parts of the Saltaire Water Tower peering out of the sand of the dunes at the yard.

Indeed, from time to time when I walk past the site where the tower once stood, I think of that day in September of ’68 and think of those early days of Saltaire in my life. We were a bit simpler back then- no big firehouse, a one fire engine town, no ems squad, no doctor, only two tennis courts at the yacht club. Good trivia question- what year was the tower built and how was it- I a sure there are records somewhere. The village had changed tanks to one that was covered in one of the sheds in the yard. The tower was probably a big expense to the village in terms of maintenance. Back then, I am sure that cutting it down was quite the easiest way- no permits, no one to ask permission. It was made of steel and it was in an environment where steel rusts quite rapidly


The Ball at the top of the water tower was removed and taken away. It was mounted on a pedestal and today sits on the southwest corner on the lawn of the Village Hall as a remembrance of the tower’s former glory and service to the village.


Justin Zizes Jr.
Subm. In memory of dad Justin Zizes Sr.

































Gay Zizes Sez:

I am actually in one of the pix of the fallingwater tower. I am in the middle wearing a navy blue shirt and blue bathing suit, myhair is long, brown and pulled back.
I remember the day very well. It was a very exciting event in Saltaire and for those of us who can remember the tower, we always looked across the bay to the tower as our destination when we were on the ferry. When I had guests coming over on the ferry I would always say to them,"we're going to where the black water tower is located" so they wouldn't think we were going to a remote tropical island or Never Never Land.













Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Saltaire Ospreys Get Their Breakfast in Bed

Damn Saltaire Kids have it easy. They  get fresh bluefish for breakfast . Their parents spoil them. The parents  drop the food on the kids' heads and then fly out to get more. And the kids sit there and  squalk all day and have this attitude that they are entitled to a free ride.  
(Click on images to enlarge)
Where's Mom? Where's Mom?  We want our breakfast!

Here she is at last-- or is it Dad?

Just drop it here, Ma. 




Nice blue for the kiddies.

















She just drops it and flies straight up like a helicopter while the little brats pig out. 
You Got a problem with me,  pal?
I'm protecting Coffey Point.


First published 2013
--JO'H
9-9-13

The Water Tower by Virginia Baum

Friday, June 1, 2018

DUNCAN DOBIE, ONE OF AMERICA'S LEADING HUNTING AND FISHING WRITERS, ON LESSONS LEARNED GROWING UP SALTAIRE

There is No Such Thing as a Bad Day Fishing
by Duncan Dobie

I was sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic wondering how I had allowed myself to get in such a frustrating situation. Like all of the other miserable souls around me, I was growing more impatient with every passing moment. That’s when the bumper sticker caught my eye. It stood out like a sore thumb, and no flashing neon sign could have grabbed my attention more thoroughly at that particular moment in my life. It was a common quote that I’d seen on bumper stickers and read often in other printed material, but that day the sheer power of that short sentence was like a drink of cool water to a man in the desert.
The bumper sticker read, "A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work.” A sketch of a man holding a rod that was doubled over as he netted a fish was next to the printed words.
I smiled. Suddenly all of my frustrations caused by the traffic seemed to disappear. Memories of my boyhood summers spent with my grandparents at Saltaire, Fire Island, New York, began to come alive. In all my years of wetting lines in various rivers, lakes and oceans across North America, I’d been skunked, stuck in the mud, sea sick, rained on, frozen like an ice cube, sunburned, eaten alive by insects, parched and humiliated time and again. I had lost dozens of my favorite lures, but never could I remember ever having had a bad day fishing.
Once, when I was 12 years old, I lost an entire salt water casting rig on the
pier at Saltaire. Using a heavy lead sinker and trying to make a long cast while bottom-fishing for flounders, I accidentally tossed my favorite saltwater rod and reel into a murky saltwater bay. I cried, mostly out of embarrassment, and my grandfather did what any good grandfather would do. He went out and got me a new rod and reel. As traumatic as that incident was, I don’t recall ever having viewed it as a bad day.
Another unforgettable event occurred in late August one summer. Once again, I was fishing off the Saltaire pier. Every year in late summer the snappers, or baby bluefish, would run in large schools in the Great South Bay, the inland bay that separated Fire Island from the mainland. At times, you could literally catch a fish on every cast. My grandfather had warned me several times about the perils of being a “fish hog.”
“Never take more than you can use,” he had warned me over and over again. Of course, I usually fished for flounders, and I seldom caught more than one fish on any given day. If I did get lucky and catch two flounders in the same day, that was like shooting a limit of grouse. It was a tough thing to do.
Fishing for flounders was hard work and there were many days when I never got a bite. Therefore, I never gave the fish-hog principle a second thought. Since I loved to eat flounder more than any other fish in the world, most of the fish I caught and took home literally went from the bucket into the frying pan. In addition to eating what I caught, I was expected to clean my catch as well. My grandfather taught me how to filet flounders as soon as I was old enough, and I promptly filleted any fish I brought home.
The big day of catching snappers started out like any other hot day in August. Using live bait that my grandfather had helped me catch with a seining net, I was fishing with several of my best friends on the pier one sunny afternoon. Suddenly, the water started boiling as if a school of piranha were de-fleshing some poor animal like you might see in a Tarzan movie. All at once, we started reeling-in eight- to 10-inch snappers every time we threw the line out.
Before I knew it, my fish-carrying bucket was half-full. Then it was brimming over with flopping baby blues. I borrowed another bucket and started filling it up. Soon, I had three large buckets filled with snappers. In all, I probably had nearly 70 or 80 fish. There were no limits back in those days, and I suppose I could have caught 500 snappers if I had kept on. But three buckets filled with snappers seemed to be enough, and I knew it would be a chore getting them home. I put one bucket in the basket of my bike and hung the other two over the handlebars.
My grandfather happened to be outside working when I pedaled up with my treasure. Like a conquering hero displaying the spoils of war, I was floating on clouds. I had just about convinced myself that I was the greatest fisherman on all of Fire Island when the look on his face told me that, just maybe, I could be wrong.
“You’ve got a big job ahead of you, cleaning all those fish,” he said. “You’d better get started right away because it’s almost dark.” He didn’t offer to help.
While my grandparents cooked and ate steaks, I cleaned those oily little snappers until my fingers were raw. After dinner, Grandpa came outside and said, “I was going to cook a steak for you tonight, but I figured you’d rather eat bluefish instead. Looks like you’ll be eating snappers for a long time to come. Funny thing, though. I thought you said you didn’t like snappers that much.”
“I don’t,” I answered dryly. Then it hit me like a shark inhaling a minnow. Suddenly the greatest fisherman on Fire Island was nothing more than a lowly “fish hog” who had caught way too many snappers.
My grandfather never said a word about catching more fish than I could ever hope to eat. He didn’t have to. I knew what I had done, and I knew what was expected of me. I ate bluefish for the next two weeks. Feeling sorry for me, my grandmother prepared them every way possible. Finally, I could eat no more. The freezer was still half-full when I sheepishly approached my grandfather and asked him if I could bury what was left in my grandmother’s garden.
“Blues never keep very well,” he said. “They should always be eaten fresh. Go ahead and put them in the garden.”
A long time passed before I could even look at a baby bluefish again, much less eat one. Despite the error of my ways, I never regarded that incident in any way as having been a negative experience or a bad day. Indeed, it taught me a great lesson.
My thoughts returned to the bumper sticker on the car in front of me. “No, there’s no such thing as a bad day of fishing,” I told myself with a smile. In fact, now fully back to the reality of bumper-to-bumper traffic and living in a world where I had been separated from the beloved Fire Island of my youth for many decades, another wonderful thought suddenly popped into my head. “If I could just relive that golden day in the sun for one moment and go back to that magical pier at Saltaire for one fleeting instant, I’d be willing to eat every one of those greasy little snappers right now,” I told myself. “I’d even eat them raw!”



COPYRIGHT 2008 DUNCAN DOBIE
Editor's Note: Duncan Dobie is a grandson of Ruth Brewster Dobie, an original Saltaire resident. Ruth Dobie was Saltaire Historian and Editor of the seminal "History of the Incorporated Village of Saltaire, Fire Island New York," (private printing, 1952) .
Duncan Dobie spent summers in Saltaire with his grandparents until age 13 in 1959.
Duncan Dobie was a free-lance outdoor writer/photographer for over 20 years, writing almost exclusively about white-tailed deer. Four years ago he became editor of "North American Whitetail" magazine, a position he still holds. In addition, he currently writes a monthly whitetail column for "Petersen's Hunting" magazine and "Georgia Sportsman" magazine. Dobie's several books include "Georgia's Greatest Whitetails" (1986), a history of the restoration program and record bucks that Georgia has produced. "White Tales and Other Hunting Stories" (1989) is a collection of fictional stories about deer hunting. "If You've Ever Seen A Rhinoceros Charge... " (1994) is a children's book about endangered animals. "Whitetail Dawn" (2004) is another collection of fictional stories about deer hunting. "Whitetail Dawn" is available through Amazon; the others are out of print but show up on Ebay.
E mail links to Dobie's magazines are:
www.huntingmag.com and www.whitetail@imoutdoors.com











Larry Lynch 1959
Photo by and courtesy of Bill J. Weinlandt
click to enlarge

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.