Farewell Clarence Michalis, the Longest Serving Mayor in NY State history

Clarence Michalis

Lattingtown Mayor Clarence Michalis in front of the village office sign. (April 9, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday/Audrey C. Tiernan

Clarence Fahnestock Michalis of Locust Valley, the former Mayor of tony Lattingtown, died on March 30th. Clarence Michalis was 96 years old. Born in 1922 to Clarence G and Helen C. Michalis, he lived in New York City and Garrison, NY. He graduated from Buckley School, St. Paul’s School and Harvard College and then entered the U.S. Navy where he spent the next three years as a lieutenant and navigator on the U.S.S. Hall in the Pacific. He worked at First National City Bank, and was CFO of Bristol-Myers Co., former chairman of St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital, Cooper Union and Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation.  

He was the longest-serving mayor in New York State history and emerged victorious in the last Village election in June 2013. At that time Clarence was 91, and had held the office for 44 years. He defeated Nicholas DellaFera, the 23-year-old challenger on June 18th, 2013, winning handily (376-87), and inspiring the largest voter turnout in 4 decades. Of the election Michalis noted, “It was a simple case of age and experience trumping youthful zeal.”

As a dedicated civic leader, he was mayor of the Village of Lattingtown for 48 years, past president and trustee of the Nassau County Museum of Art, active member and former president of Piping Rock Club, former commissioner of the Locust Valley Fire District, commodore of Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club, trustee of the North Shore Land Alliance and member of the Union Club, New York Yacht Club and Holland Lodge. 

In his last years as Mayor, when most 90+ would be slowing down, Clarence still had his fingers on the pulse of the area. It was Clarence who first cautioned Loriann Cody about the possible closing of the Rottkamp Farm in Glen Head (the problem has fortunately been resolved and Rottkamp remains open.)

When his failing health forced him to step down as Mayor in early 2017, he maintained his sense of humor saying, “I used to see many politicians, now I see many doctors.”

Michalis was much loved and admired. At the time of the election, Diane Fagiola, wife of current Lattingtown Mayor Robert Fagiola, said of him, “Clarence knows how things work – how roads are built and how to fix them, about storms and the damage they cause. He knows about wet-lands, mosquitoes, trees and wildlife. He can fix a diesel engine – still. He knows how to cut costs but not quality, and he’s balanced thousands of budgets. He also knows a lot about people – what bothers us, what moves us, what motivates us. He’s a brilliant leader. If I were caught in a storm at sea, I’d like to be in Clarence’s boat.”

Mayor Peter Quick of the Village of Mill Neck said, “I have never met a man more dedicated to his community than Clarence. He is a sage in terms of advice and the ultimate gentleman of Lattingtown. His experience is unparalleled. If he were running against me, I would vote for him.”

Loriann Cody of the Locust Valley Leader last saw Clarence on Sunday evening, June 25th, 2017, when he was honored for his 48 years of mayoral service at the Lattingtown home of Diane and Robert Fagiola. One U.S. Congressman, one State Senator, one Assemblyperson, one Nobel laureate, six mayors, local village trustees, family members and friends were among the more than 80 who toasted Michalis.

Clarence is survived by his wife of 64 years, Cora Bush and four children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held on Friday, April 13th at 1:00 PM at St. John’s Church in Lattingtown. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Merchant’s House Museum and the North Shore Land Alliance.

Until next time. Let’s keep on exploring.

Rosalinda

 

Source: New York Times, Newsday and and The Locust Valley Leader, April 4, 2018 by Loriann Cody.

 

 

 

No More Second Chances

I’m sorry to see another historical property being torn down most likely to make room for a McMansion. Long Island is losing our historical building legacy slowly but surely.

Huntington History

A house with one of the most spectacular settings in the Town of Huntington has been resurrected at least twice in its 130-year history. But now, it has run out of second chances.

Known as East Point, the rambling home sits on a five-acre peninsula jutting out into Huntington Harbor commanding sweeping views of the harbor in three directions.

In 1888, Dr. Daniel E. Kissam, a direct descendant of Dr. Daniel W. Kissam (whose 1795 house on Park Avenue is now a museum preserved by the Huntington Historical Society), purchased the peninsula and 10 acres of uplands from the Scudder family, which had extensive land holdings along the east shore of Huntington Harbor since the colonial period. Dr. Kissam, who lived in Brooklyn, was an active member of the Huntington community, serving on the Huntington School Board and hosting fund raising events for St. John’s church at his home.

Dr…

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Some Prominent People from Long Island

Long Island has its own share of prominent people who have called Long Island their home. Here is a list of those people who had made a name for themselves and have lived in Long Island for most of their lives or part of it.

Gone but not forgotten:

Oleg Cassini

Oleg Cassini – Couturier most notably for First Lady Jacquiline Kennedy. (Oyster Bay Cove, NY)

William Floyd

William Floyd – Signer of the Declaration of Independence. (Brookhaven, NY)

Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock – Winner of 1983 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for her work on the genetic structure of maize. (Huntington, NY)

Robert Moses

Robert Moses – Master Builder for building major buildings, roads, highways, bridges, parks, etc. which change the face of New York state. (Summer Home – Gilgo Beach, LI)

Jacquiline Kennedy

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis – Former First Lady of the U.S. (Southampton, NY)

Theodore Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt – 26th President of the U.S. (Oyster Bay, NY)

Louis Comfort Tiffany

Louis Comfort Tiffany – Stained Glass artist. (Laurel Hollow, NY)

William Kissam Vanderbilt II

William Kissam Vanderbilt II  – An avid collector of natural history and marine specimens as well as other anthropological objects for his Marine Museum. (Centerport, NY)

Consuelo Vanderbilt

Consuelo Vanderbilt – Vanderbilt heiress whose mother Alva married her  to indebted, titled Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough, chatelain of Blenheim Palace for the royal title in exchange for a marriage settlement of $2.5 million (approximately $67.7 million in 2015) in railroad stocks. (Southampton, NY)

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman – Poet of “Leaves of Grass”, “O Captain, My Captain” and others. (Huntington, NY)

 

Still living with us:

Billy Joel

Billy Joel – Entertainer (Centre Island, NY)

One of his songs is titled “Rosalinda” (not me, his mother).

 

Mort Kunstler

Mort Kunstler – Civil War Painter (Oyster Bay Cove, NY)

I love his paintings. I have two books about his Civil War Arts and own two of his prints shown below:

IMG_2870

 

IMG_2871

Until next time. Let’s keep on exploring.

Rosalinda

Oyster Bay – A Pearl of a Place

TR statue in OB 2

Oyster Bay, a small picturesque town on a peninsula on the North Shore of Long Island is a destination.  During the summer time, you will see plenty of cars heading north on Route 106 and you wonder where all these people are going.  But it is not a surprise that people flock to this tiown because Oyster Bay has a lot to offer the residents and visitors alike.  Besides the beautiful beaches, Oyster bay has magnificent parks, arboretum, museums – Raynham Hall and Earle-Wightman House of the Oyster Bay Historical Society and the Oyster Bay Festival in the Fall is one to be reckoned with.

Oyster Bay is rich in culture and history.  Back in 1639 when a Dutch navigator named David DeVries decided to settle here, he found an abundance of oysters and maybe that is the reason they decided to name the community Oyster Bay.  Another theory is because of the shape of the Oyster Bay Harbor as it was shown in a 1674 map of Long Island.  While DeVries is credited with the naming of Oyster Bay, an English settler named Peter Wright made the first purchase of land in Oyster Bay in 1653 from Chief Mohanes of the Matinecock Indians in what was known as Town Spot which is where the village of Oyster Bay is now.  It is also interesting to know that George Washington “slept here” during his tour of Long Island in 1790 as a guest of the Youngs family in Oyster Bay.

OB 1910

South Street, Circa 1910

Downtown OB Today

South Street Today

The town of Oyster Bay is Teddy Roosevelt town.  Everywhere you look, there is a footprint of Teddy Roosevelt.  There is a park called Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park and the elementary school is named Roosevelt Elementary School.  Teddy Roosevelt had his summer White House here at Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay Cove from 1902 to 1908; he worshiped at Christ Church in Oyster Bay; he had an office at the Moore Bldg (the building on the right of the photo with a turret) in Oyster Bay and received phone calls at Snouder’s Drug Store (the store on the left with the awnings).  He participated at the Fourth of July parade here on South Street and rode the Long Island Railroad in Oyster Bay.

Sagamore Hill

Sagamore Hill, the summer White House during TR’s presidency.

As you enter the Village of Oyster Bay, you are greeted by a statue of Theodore Roosevelt on horseback by A. Phiminster Proctor across from the Boys and Girls Club of Oyster Bay.  There is also a bust of Teddy Roosevelt in front of the Town Hall.

TR statue in OB

With the migration of people from New York City to the Town of Oyster Bay, the town is changing but there are still plenty of old Victorian homes in the village which keep the small, quaint town atmosphere.  Oyster Bay is one of the most attractive places to live, work and play in Long Island, New York.

 

Long Island Vineyards Produce World Class Wines

Looking for a place to go on a weekend?

I know. The week just started. But what a better time to start planning for the weekend. Weekend is a great opportunity to make a trip to Long Island’s East End and discover the award-winning wines of Long Island. Long Island wines are both grown on the North Fork and the South Fork on the East End of Long Island.

Critics_Challenge Banfi

 

So if you are going to New York or its vicinity, it will be a great idea to go to the East End. At this time of the year, it is even better. Less crowd means less traffic.

 

Not only will you be rewarded with the great wine experience, the drive is exhilarating. Out east, you’ll find out that you are really in the back country. There are farms everywhere. Years ago, these farms were mostly potatoes farms and cornfields. Nowadays, they are sod farms and landscape trees farm.

 

How things change. But still, you’ll see historic towns, fishing villages, seafood restaurants, bed and breakfast establishments, flower and farm stalls and a proliferation of vineyards that dotted along the only main thoroughfare, the Main St. (Route 25). While you are there, you might as well go all the way to the end to Orient Point, the end of the North Fork. If you’re inclined, you can take the ferry which can transport you to New London, Connecticut. Before you head back home, you can cap your trip with a dinner at Claudio’s Restaurant in Greenport. That’s on the North Fork.

 

However, traveling to the South Fork on the weekend is horrendous. Everyone seems to be going to the Hamptons. My husband and I went out east to the South Fork once during the week and it was a pleasant day trip. No traffic. There are also some wineries on the South Fork but not as many as in the North Fork.

 

Grapevine

The first grapevines were planted 45 years ago in Cutchogue on the North Fork of Long Island. Today the area boasts of so many vineyards that they are able to compete with California wines and French wines. The early vintners found that Long Island has the best climate and soil and growing conditions for excellent ingredients for quality wines. The vintners here used the age-old growing techniques with the state-of-the-art technology to produce the award-winning wines.

 

However, there is a hidden vineyard located around the most expensive neighborhood of Long island. Villa Banfi Vineyard is located in Old Brookville. One can see their vineyard on Hegeman’s Lane off Route 25A going east toward Brookville Country Club. Although they do not have a vineyard tour, sometimes, they will open the main house for special private fundraising events like those held by the Oyster Bay Historical Society years ago when I was its treasurer.

 

Below is the 60-room manor house which is Banfi’s headquarters, originally known as “Rynwood” which also served as a country retreat for a branch of the Vanderbilt family. It sits amid squared lawns and formal English gardens on a heavily landscaped 55-acre estate in Old Brookville. A unique boast of the manor is a wine cellar that houses some 6,000 bottles of rare vintages.

 

Villa Banfi - Old Brookville

 

Going to the North Fork is a snap. You take the Long Island Expressway to the end and then take Route 25. Once you’re on Route 25, at the second light, turn left to the end which is Sound Ave. By doing this route, you’ll also avoid the traffic congestion at Riverhead. You might like to drop at Briarmere’s Farm Stand and buy some pies. They are out of this world but I caution you, they are very expensive. Then follow that road and you’ll find vineyard after vineyard scattered about the road.

 

Go to Martha Clara Vineyards first since you are already on that road before you turn right and head back to Route 25 where you’ll see more vineyards. Check out other vineyards. I found some vineyards have friendlier staff than others. All in all, you’ll have a pleasant trip.

 

I like Pindar Vineyards very much and I like Viognier wine the best. I tried to order it online and I was disappointed they cannot ship Viognier to SC. I also have not seen Pindar wines sold in SC or for that matter any New York wines. I wonder why.

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda

“The Rose Lady”

www.rosalindarmorgan.com

More facts about Long Island

 

Planting Fields State Park

Planting Fields State Park

Long Island, NY has 26 state parks.

 

East Hampton Coastline

East Hampton Coastline

Long Island’s picturesque coastline is 1,180 miles long.

 

Charles_Lindbergh_and_the_Spirit_of_Saint_Louis_(Crisco_restoration,_with_wings)

Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit of Saint Louis

Charles Lindbergh began his famous non-stop flight from New York to Paris from Long Island’s Roosevelt Field airstrip in the early morning of Friday, May 20, 1927.

 

Apollo Lunar Module - NASA

The Apollo Lunar Module (LM) that landed on the moon was built in Long Island, NY by Grumman Corp.

 

The Great Gatsby

F.Scott Fitzgerald wrote the Great Gatsby (which described Long Island’s “Gold Coast”) while living in Great Neck.

 

The Vanderbilt Planetarium, located in Centerport, NY is one of the largest and best-equipped in the United States.

The Long Island Railroad provides more than 303,000 rides to customers each weekday.

Long Island, NY has several national award-winning schools including more than 14 leading colleges and universities.

Long Island has world leaders in biotechnology.

Long Island has leading research and world-renowned hospitals.

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda, “The Rose Lady ”

www.rosalindarmorgan.com

 

 

What do you know about Long Island?

Long_island_Do you know . . .

Long Island is the longest and the largest island in the contiguous United States. It looks like a fish swimming along Connecticut’s shore.

From end to end, it is about 118 miles eastward from New York Harbor to Montauk Point, and the widest north-to-south distance is 23 miles between Long Island Sound and the Atlantic coast.

The total land area is 1373 square miles. In Long Island’s head lies Brooklyn and Queens, New York City boroughs. Its granite backbone, the ridge of hills along the northern coast, twice rises to a height of about 380 feet, but elsewhere Long Island is quite low. Gardiner’s and Peconic bays split the tail for a depth of 50 miles, Orient Point forming the northern tip and Montauk the southern tip.

For the purpose of this blog, Long Island will refer to only Nassau and Suffolk counties including Fire Island although the island comprises four counties including Queen and Kings counties in the United States state of New York.

The population of Long Island is composed of two distinct elements. There are the wealthy, drawn by the mild oceanic climate of the island, who live in some of the most expensive and beautiful neighborhoods near the shorelines. Then there are the working class and some inhabitants of old village stock – baymen, fishermen, and market gardeners. There are also transient summer throngs, who crowd the seaside resorts.

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda, “The Rose Lady ”

www.rosalindarmorgan.com