Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Oyster Bay is the Place To Be this Spring and Summer!

Workers removing vinyl siding from the Brower House at 39-41 East Main Street in preparation for rehabilitation with support from a New York Main Street grant.

New York Main Street Grant
Since receiving a grant from the New York Main Street Grant program of the NYS Office of Community Renewal, we have invested $200,000 in five projects. Goals of this program include taking actions to prevent dangers to public health and safety, to preserve historic properties in danger of being lost, to reduce blight and contribute to the economic recovery of the area, and to improve properties with a residential component. The Brower House rehab at 39-41 East Main Street, and Fiddleheads restaurant expansion are underway. Other projects include adding signs, awning, and lighting to the North Shore Bank Building (Coin Galleries of Oyster Bay) at 90 South Street, renovation of the Townsend Inn Annex (9 Audrey Avenue), and tuck-pointing of the building at 63 Audrey Avenue now housing Shangri La Spa.

These projects build on the success of recent efforts to restore the Octagon Hotel. This building at Spring and West Main Streets is rapidly nearing completion, and will have 6 apartments and 3 retail units when finished.

Main Street Member Meeting at Oakcliff Sailing Center on April 15
Recently a non-profit organization was formed to train the next generation of competitive sailors in the U.S. The headquarters of this organization are at 4 South Street, just north of the downtown area. There will be a Main Street Member Meeting on April 15, from 7-9pm at Oakcliff Sailing Center. Their new director will be present to share more about the work of the organization. David Waldo, Executive Director of The WaterFront Center will also be on hand to discuss some of the work WFC is doing.

You may RSVP for this meeting on our Facebook fan page.

Preserve America Grant

Presently Oyster Bay is being considered for a $250,000 grant from the Preserve America program of the National Parks Service to go towards a $500,000 project. This would allow us to improve existing signage and to add new way-finding and interpretive signage downtown, and to produce a website and brochure promoting Oyster Bay. Partners in this effort include the Town of Oyster Bay, Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District, and the Long Island North Shore Heritage Area. We should know by early summer whether these funds are awarded.

Beautification Cocktail Fundraiser on April 19
A cocktail fundraiser with food tasting from local restaurants will be held Monday, April 19, 2010 at Dodds & Eder (221 South Street). Proceeds from the event which costs $65 per person, will go towards efforts to beautify downtown Oyster Bay. The fundraiser is being organized by the Oyster Bay Chamber of Commerce. Reservations may be made by contacting them at (516) 922-6464.

Oyster Bay Sundown
A live music series is being planned again for downtown Oyster Bay. Three restaurants: Canterbury’s, Fiddleheads, and The Homestead are all arranging to have live music every Thursday night. Live outdoor music will be provided the 1st Thursday of each month at Renaissance Plaza (24 Audrey Avenue) on June 3, July 1, & August 5, from 7-9pm each night. The kick-off for Oyster Bay Sundown will be held on May 3 at the Teaching Studios of Art to coincide with their spring registration drive. The last concert will be September 2 at The Homestead. These concerts are free and open to the public.

Sagamore Hill National Historic Site to re-plant historic Orchard and undertake other cultural landscape rehabilitation work

Oyster Bay, NY — Work at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site will begin this spring to replant the historic fruit orchard, rehabilitate historic farm fields, and install historic landscape features including split rail fences and an arbor at the Pet Cemetery.

According to Superintendent Tom Ross, the goal of the landscape rehabilitation work is to present the farming landscape that Theodore Roosevelt knew when he lived at the site. “Sagamore Hill was a working farm during Roosevelt’s lifetime, with fenced pastures, open fields and a large orchard, but over time, the fruit trees reached the end of their life spans and open areas were overgrown,” said Ross. “I think the visitors will be very pleased to see a flourishing orchard, beautiful farm fields and the return of historic features such as split rail fences and the historic pet cemetery arbor.”

The orchard project will remove dead and dying trees and replant approximately 40 trees, selected from historic varieties which would have been available during Roosevelt’s lifetime. The newly replanted trees will stand between 4’-6’ feet tall and include Baldwin, Roxbury Russetts, and Winesap apple and Seckel pear varieties. The trees will be planted among 20 surviving fruit trees to reestablish the historic grid pattern of the orchard. Over time the orchard will become an important interpretive feature to learn about historic orchards and fruit varieties which the family would have enjoyed.

Other landscape projects will rehabilitate historic farm fields by removing non-historic trees, undergrowth and invasive plants and replanting with native grass varieties. Historic split rail fence sections will be re-introduced to their original locations on the property. Fields will be maintained to preserve an open character and to protect wildlife habitat for nesting birds and terrapins. Visitors will gain a better understanding and appreciation of the farm landscape that Roosevelt enjoyed so much through horseback riding and his famous “point to point walks” with his children.

The current non-historic pet cemetery arbor will be replaced with a more historically accurate arbor. The new arch shaped arbor will stand 7.5’ tall, 9’ wide, and 6’ long and contain two wooden benches flanking either side. A creeping rose variety will be planted on either side of the arbor and trained to eventually cover the structure as it had been historically.

Several aspects of the work will be integrated with National Park Service training programs that are designed to strengthen the knowledge and skills of field staff. Using these projects as learning opportunities, employees from parks in the greater northeast will be assisting with accomplishing the work while learning valuable skills in orchard and landscape management.

The landscape rehabilitation projects will complement the recently completed rehabilitation of four historic farm outbuildings and several cultural landscape projects including the reconstruction of the site’s windmill, rehabilitation of the historic macadam road stone wall and the rehabilitation of the herring bone pattern brick driveway under the Roosevelt home’s porte-cochere. The historic landscape projects are a cornerstone of the park’s 2008 General Management Plan.

The site’s cultural landscape rehabilitation is one of the major initiatives called for in the park’s General Management Plan (GMP) and Environmental Impact Statement. The plan is the result of a multi-year planning process (2003-2008), during the course of which the NPS held numerous public meetings and considered written comments from the public which was overwhelming supportive of the plan. The cultural landscape rehabilitation projects have been planned and designed by the National Park Service’s Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation based on the recommendations from the GMP and the site’s Cultural Landscape Treatment Plan. To view a copy of Sagamore Hill’s General Management Plan visit www.nps.gov/sahi and then search under management and then park planning. For more information on the projects, please contact Chief of Cultural Resources Amy Verone at 516-922-4271 x-17.

Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, located at 12 Sagamore Hill Road, Oyster Bay, New York, is a unit of the National Park Service. The site was established by Congress in 1962 to preserve and interpret the structures, landscape, collections and other cultural resources associated with Theodore Roosevelt’s home in Oyster Bay, New York, to ensure that future generations understand and appreciate the life and legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, his family and the significant events associated with him. Tours of the Theodore Roosevelt Home are by guided tour only. Visitors may only enter the Theodore Roosevelt Home by guided tour with a National Park Ranger or NPS volunteer. Tours of the house are offered on the hour beginning at 10:00am. The last tour of the day is offered at 4:00pm. Please note: Tours are limited to fourteen persons per group. On weekends and holidays tours often sell out 1 to 2 hours in advance. Admission is $5.00 for adults while 15 and younger are free.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Main Street Announces Member Meeting & Formation of Advisory Board

Oyster Bay, New York – The Board of Directors of the Oyster Bay Main Street Association will hold a Member Meeting on Thursday, April 15, 2009, from 7-9pm at the Oakcliff Sailing Center, 2 South Street in Oyster Bay. At this meeting an update will be provided on the work of the board and committees. Featured speakers will discuss efforts underway to make Oyster Bay an internationally renowned sailing venue. Members of the public are welcome.

Main Street Member Meeting on April 15
Dawn Riley, the incoming Executive Director of the newly formed Oakcliff Sailing Center will speak on the work of her organization to make Oyster Bay an internationally renowned venue for training the next generation of competitive sailors in the U.S.

Prior to joining Oakcliff, Ms. Riley was the first woman to manage an America’s Cup sailing team and raced on four America’s Cup and two Whitbread (now Volvo Ocean Race) teams.

An update will be provided on the work of The WaterFront Center by their Executive Director David Waldo. Since joining the WFC in 2009, Mr. Waldo has developed new programs such as the Learn-to-sail in Sunfish program, an extra Survivors Program, and has worked to promote greater flexibility with existing rental services.

Mr. Waldo is an avid sailor who brings experience as a boat owner, racer, coach and head instructor at the Centerport Yacht Club.

Main Street President Ellen Roché, speaking of the meeting said: “This meeting is open to the public, though participants are encouraged to become a member, make a donation, and provide their opinion on how to improve Oyster Bay by visiting our website.”

People may RSVP for the meeting by visiting our Historic Oyster Bay fan page on Facebook.

Advisory Board Formed
The Main Street Board of Directors is also pleased to announce the meeting of a newly formed Advisory Board in early April. The Advisory Board will bring together significant community leaders to provide input on the work of the program. The purpose of the Advisory Board according to Organization Chair Bill Burke is “to provide broader insights, strategy recommendations and policy support to the organization.”

The Oyster Bay Main Street Association is a 501 (c) 3 Non-Profit dedicated to enhance and promote a healthy economy and maintain the attractive and authentic character in the historic downtown of the Oyster Bay Hamlet. OBMSA achieves these goals using the nationally accepted Main Street™ Approach to downtown revitalization. Since our founding in 2001, over three dozen projects have been completed, resulting in over $10 million of investment. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.oysterbaymainstreet.org.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Egg-stravaganza! at TR Sanctuary & Audubon Center, 4/3

Spring is in the air!
We invite you to stop by the Sanctuary this week and enjoy the sounds and sights of Spring. The wood frogs are croaking, the robins are singing, and the flowers are in bloom.
Spend some quality family time this weekend with a visit to the Sanctuary.
See you on the trails!


We have happily filled our April 3 Egg-stravaganza program!
Thank you to all who have called ahead to register!

Please plan to arrive a few minutes before your program is scheduled to begin (either 10am or 1230pm).
Parking will be tight, so watch for volunteers and signs, which may direct you to alternate parking if necessary.
When possible, please try to carpool with friends or family. See you on Saturday!

Saturday, April 3, 2010 - Egg-stravaganza!

Bunnies may bring treats and colorful eggs on Easter, but they don’t lay eggs… do they? Learn about different egg laying critters and then join in an Easter egg hunt across the Sanctuary to see what you can find!
The “eggs” you discover are yours to take home!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Octagon Hotel Rehabilitation in Downtown Oyster Bay Nearing Completion

Oyster Bay, New York – As any recent visitor already knows, the Octagon Hotel at 67 West Main Street in downtown Oyster Bay is rapidly approaching completion.

One retailer has already committed to take space on the ground floor. With an additional 3,000 square feet of available space on the ground floor level, it is hoped many other retailers will be soon to follow.

Joseph Lovaglio with Elite Northshore Realty which represents the building, recently said “there will be very unique apartments in the octagon shaped area.” Present plans are to make six apartments available, with two 2 bedroom units, two 1 bedroom units, and two studios or one large 1 bedroom.

Work to reconstruct the octagon-shaped cupola on top of the roof took place just last week. This architectural detail which had been present in photographs through the 1920s, by the 1960s had disappeared. Using historic archival photos, Architect Lou Baldino and contractors responsible for the rehabilitation were able to reconstruct this lost detail.

Ellen Roché, President of the Oyster Bay Main Street Association, commented on how exciting return of the cupola has been. “This feature adds a wonderful grace note to West Main Street, and reinforces the historic character of this important building and the whole downtown area.”

Luigi Lancia, project foreman, on a recent tour showed how great efforts are being taken to preserve as much architectural material as possible. Where beams and portions of the structure had been compromised, the original rough-cut lumber was used to twin or strengthen these areas.

The project team explored the possibility of retaining the wood siding. Unfortunately due to weather and poor maintenance for many years, this material was suffering dry rot and had been compromised to such a point that it was not practical to save. Efforts were made to find siding that matched the previous siding in profile and shape.

History of the Octagon Hotel
What is known as the Octagon Hotel today was built for Luther Jackson as the Nassau House in 1851. Later called the Acker Nassau House, this was a popular restaurant and political meeting place.

Circa 1871 photo showing the Acker-Nassau House.

In 1887 Phillip and Mary Lavelle bought the business and renamed it the Octagon Hotel. When Phillip died, Mary took over operations and made many modern improvements that brought patrons from miles around. A central heating system was installed in 1889 and a power generating plant providing Oyster Bay’s first electric lighting was installed in 1890.

The building gained added significance in 1899 when Theodore Roosevelt’s secretary maintained a one-room office believed to have been on the second floor. Roosevelt had been elected governor in 1898 and began serving January 1899. When this office became too small, his staff moved to a larger space in the Oyster Bay Bank Building.

One notable guest was German Ambassador Baron Speck von Sternburg was the first foreign representative to be presented outside of the White House. The Secret Service were also reputed to have stayed at the Octagon Hotel, including in 1902 when “the hotel was overcrowded with Secret Service men, reporters, and politicians” according to an article in the New York Times.

Oyster Bay entered the 20th century under a new owner, Charles Davenport, who saw his customer base decline as newer hotels in the village provided competition. After 10 years he sold the building to Edward Fisher who transformed it into Oyster Bay’s first Ford automobile dealership. Automotive businesses occupied the building for much of the remainder of the 20th century.

Rehabilitation Efforts
Bevola Realty Corp. purchased the property in 2007 with the goal to restore it. They were assisted in these efforts by the Oyster Bay Main Street Association, and a coalition of community groups interested in preservation. The Oyster Bay Preservation Roundtable included members from the Oyster Bay Historical Society, Raynham Hall Museum, the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum, the Society for Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, and Save the Jewel by the Bay.

Main Street and the coalition were able to secure over $16,000 to commission studies necessary to assist with preservation. The Gerry Charitable Trust of Roslyn gave the initial gift of $10,000, and another $2,000 came from the Daniel K. Thorne Intervention Fund with the Northeast Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Circa 1965 photo showing the cupola removed.

These efforts culminated in the summer of 2009, when plans were agreed upon, and rehabilitation was approved to begin by the Town of Oyster Bay. Construction started by October 2009, and continued throughout the fall and winter months.

The project is expected to be completed in the next two months. Those with an interest in the 3000sqft of retail space or one of six apartments, should contact Joseph Lovaglio with Elite Northshore Realty at (516) 921-5700.

The Oyster Bay Main Street Association is a 501 (c) 3 Non-Profit dedicated to enhance and promote a healthy economy and maintain the attractive and authentic character in the historic downtown of the Oyster Bay Hamlet. OBMSA achieves these goals using the nationally accepted Main Street™ Approach to downtown revitalization. Since our founding in 2001, over three dozen projects have been completed, resulting in over $10 million of investment. For more information, or to become a member, please visit http://www.oysterbaymainstreet.org/.