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, November 21, 2012

Liveblogging: Where does Saltaire go from Here?

For the future:

Put Wooden boardwalks everywhere?
Replace all wooden boardwalks with concrete walks everywhere?
Wall off the Cove?
Re open mosquito ditches?
Rebuild the beach?
Pump in sand from the ocean?
Pay for it with tax increases?
Float some bonds?
Get the Feds to pay like when we had a WPA?

Let Nature just move the island northward?

Let nature move the island westward and let fire Island Inlet fill in?

Post comments below by clicking "comments."

No commnet is too small.

Ed note: we may review comments for obscenity/defamation.


Counselor Kovner:

"All of our homes, including the most endangered can be saved, and our village restored, if we mobilize to get emergency sand on the beachfront. That is the challenge confronting the board and all of us, and I believe that goal is entirely realistic."

Victor Kovner

Billy Cunningham Sez and remembers:

First of all, let me thank Jim O'Hare, our webmaster for the essential Saltaire38 website which continues to provide invaluable and timely information about our beloved Saltaire in good times and bad. In our post-Hurricane Sandy world, this service is more essential than ever.

I also want to thank Robert and Noel Feustel and John Zaccaro for the heartbreaking photographs that they have provided. This is real information for Saltairians that in almost real time allows us to inform our worst fears and fervent hopes about the condition of our homes and the Village we love.

Thank you also to our Mayor and Village Administrator for their reports and photographs to date and , in advance, for their future reports and advisories and for the enormous task that confronts them, our Board of Ttrustees, our outstanding Village staff and, indeed, all of us.

As always, tone and sensitivity should be baked into how the photographs, commentary and other information are presented by officials and citizens alike. My heart goes out to all our neighbors and friends who are seeing for the first time, in a very public way, the precarious condition of too many damaged homes--physical structures which house and represent wonderful and sacred memories of family and friends from over the years and often over multiple generations. Indeed, the magic of Saltaire is that we have always honored the past and those who came before us by preserving and protecting its qualities for the present and future so that our special experience and environment might continue for us, those that we know and those who come after us.

The messages from Victoria Baum Bjorklund and Jean Campbell, who grew up in Saltaire, but whose families are no longer present in the Village, make the point that most of us know instinctively--that the blessing of living in Saltaire is an experience that lingers even when we depart its walks and beaches.

It is indeed true that nothing is new under the sun. In the dockhouse, a seeming ancient plaque is displayed honoring the service of Mayor Paul A. Schmitt and his Board of Trustees for their heroic work preserving, protecting and restoring Saltaire after the Hurricane of 1938, when, as was said, "the ocean met the bay". Sadly, the destruction of 1938 has revisited our Village in 2012.

Keep in mind that in 1938 our country was still in the stranglehold grip of a slow recovery from the Great Depression. Without the technology, materias, transportation, planning, fiscal and communication resources that we now have at out disposal, but with their superb vision, sweat and legal know-how, Paul Schmitt and his team leveraged all available resources, including federal assistance through the New Deal Civilian Conservation Corps, and prevented Saltaire from being carved up by land speculators and restored the public and private Village infrastructure that we enjoy to this very day.

Why was Paul Schmitt so motivated ? I do not know for sure, but I expect that his iron will and determination were grounded in what Saltaire had meant to his family. Back in the day, one of Paul and Alice Schmitt's three daughters, Dorothy was sickly. The doctors had recommended that the family get out of Brooklyn, and Saltaire was where they landed. Dorothy thrived, and I expect that in 1938 Mr. Schmitt wanted to make sure that Saltaire was around for the good health and welfare of subsequent generations as it was for his family.

His plan worked for all of us and indeed for his own family. Dorothy married Joe Callahan, and gave birth to six children. I met one of the Callahan daughters, Terry, in Saltaire and we recently celebrated our thirty-sixth wedding anniversary.

On the Cunnigham side, our daughters Katie and Annie are the fourth generation in Saltaire. As many of you may now, our Mom, Peggy, served as Village Trustee. Our Dad, Bill, after retiring as a commercial airline captain, served as the Village Administrator in the late 1980's and early 1990's. Dad and Mayor Joel Carr saw the Village through the several so-called no-name Nor'easters that swept through Saltaire at that time.

So, in 2012, Saltaire now faces its greatest challenge since 1938. I am confident and expect that before too long we will all gather together to dedicate a new Village plaque, to be placed next to the Paul Schmitt plaque, so that future generations will be reminded of the heroic service that our Mayor, Board of Trustees, Village Administrator, Staff and all Saltairians will render in the coming days, months and years to once again restore our Village Beautiful, the Incorporated Village of Saltaire, Fire Island, New York.

Bill Cunningham

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