Around Town. . .now and then
Scroll down for a trip around Merrick, Bellmore and the Island. Lots of historical photos included.
Updated: November 2014 Send us some photos from your collection!

Hurricane Sandy and northeast'r storm hit the Bellmore and Merrick communities in 2012.
South Bellmore and South Merrick sustained quite a bit of damage as flood waters from the bay inundated many homes. Damage in the tri-state area is still being repaired as of October, 2014. Some flooding extended as far as Sunrise Highway. FEMA map published in Newsday showing Long Island flooding. (This map may not be available to those without a Newsday subscription or Cablevision; I'm working on access for us.) Newsday also still has photos of the storm damage on their web site: Newsday.com.
Photos of damage at Jones Beach from Mepham Alumni Facebook page. (Click on Photos after opening Facebook page.)

Merrick Point

Merrick PointView from new Levy Overlook Park in South Merrick.

Located between Meadowbrook Parkway and Clubhouse Road in South Merrick, this park is the result of a vision by Mepham Graduate Jay Pitti '52.

For full story, click here. Photo: Ken House

 


Bellmore Village www.bellmorechamber.com.

  • Several years ago, the Chamber of Commerce undertook the project of reviving Bellmore's Bedford Avenue shopping district. In an ongoing revitalization program, new store fronts, brick sidewalks, Victorian street lamps, park benches have been added. Many new businesses have been attracted to the area.
  • The Playhouse theater now has five or more screens! The Bellmore Theater across from the railroad, underwent renovations, following a June '98 thunder and lightning storm that downed the original marquee. Valet parking is necessary at nearby restaurants because of the large influx of people.
  • Friday night is Cruise Night at the Bellmore Railroad Station. HUGE crowds. A really big show! Hot rods, restorations
  • The Bellmore Street Fair in September brings in over 100,000 people each year. That's a really big show, too!
  • McCluskey's on Sunrise Highway in Bellmore no longer exists! It was torn down a few years ago and replaced by Applebee's, which fast became a hot restaurant. There are also many new restaurants in town as a result of the Bellmore Restoration project. A few new proposed fast-food restaurants are currently causing some concern among local residents.
  • Jack and Valerie Priger Skelly ('54, '56) moved their business, J.E.S. Printing, to town on Bedford Avenue a few years ago and retired at the end of August 2000.They have been in the printing business since graduation from Mepham. Among many of their activities, Jack has been president of the Bellmore Lions Club, both are very active with the Bellmore Chamber of Commerce and Val with the Historical Society. A changing photo display of old Bellmore was a feature of their front store windows. We'll miss that! Most importantly, they printed the Alumni Association's newsletter, the Quarterdeck.
  • Newspapers: Our local Bellmore Life joined with Bellmore Herald in 2013 is now the Bellmore-Herald Life. Newsday continues to be the Long Island paper.
  • Christmas caroling by the Mepham Alumni Choir has become tradition in December in Bellmore. Brings back memories of the 50s.

Around Town and the Island—

  • Jones Beach State Park — (516) 785-1600, www.nysparks.com.
    The beach now has two pools: East and West Bathhouses. The new
    Castles in the Sand historical exhibit is located at the East Bathhouse. A Nature Center has also been added at West End. The Boardwalk Restaurant, located at the Central Mall has been razed and will be rebuilt. The Boat Basin at the Coast Guard Station seen to the right has been improved since our high school days. For some recent beach photos click here.
    Warren Wissemann has added some "Beach Memories" that you might like to read. Click here. Photos by Carol House
  • Gilgo Beach — Check out this web cam for a view of the surf at Gilgo. http://www.bungersurf.com/Bunger_Surfcam/
  • A new movie theater has opened in Merrick — across from the Railroad Station.
  • There have been many new store openings in both Merrick and Bellmore. Major chains such as the Gap, Genovese, CVS, McDonald's, Burger King etc. have all contributed to the closing of many Mom 'n Pop stores. Albert Brothers in Bellmore has closed and the buildings have been leveled. We have two Home Depots nearby (Freeport and East Meadow).
  • The Roosevelt Raceway is closed, with much of the land going to mall development and housing, restaurants. Mitchel Field closed in the 1960s. Part of the site has been developed as the home of Hofstra University's northern campus, Nassau Community College, Nassau Coliseum, as well as the Cradle of Aviation Museum, which portrays the history of Long Island's contribution to aviation technology and space exploration. Vew their web site at: www.cradleofaviation.org.


Historical Photos

Our collection of historical photos is divided among several pages, including this one.

1947 Blizzard

Remember the December blizzard during Christmas recess?

Above: Carol's house, north of Mepham. We had about 27-30" of that white stuff! It took a week for the plow to show up a block away. That's me in back of the family Ford Model A.
Photo: H Woodman

Oakwood Avenue off Merrick Avenue in the village. Warren Wissemann's home is on the left in the photo to the right. >>

Old Merrick Photos

The following five photographs and post cards are from Warren Wissemann's collection of Merrick memorabilia. (1) Merrick, aerial view in 1938. Click here for larger photo and full description. (2) Merrick Railroad Station, on December 26, 1937. (3) Mepham photo is from the early 40s, and the Merrick Gables post cards (4 and 5) show not only the model home for the development, but also the Wisseman house at 101 Lincoln Blvd in 1933.

 


Merrick RR Station, December 26, 1937

Mepham in the 1940s

Merrick Gables Model Home
This was one of a series given by the builder in 1927 showing the various models for sale.

Wissemann home at 101 Lincoln Blvd taken in 1932.


Norman Levy Overlook Park in Merrick

"Merrick Mountain" (the Merrick landfill) is now known as the Norman J. Levy Overlook Park and Preserve. Jay Pitti, Class of '52, has led an activist group (OPAS) over the years for large-scale environmental reclamation of the former Merrick landfill and garbage dump. He dreamed of "turning the former dump into a place where children could experience the beauty that graced this area during his own 'Huckleberry Finn' childhood." In June of '99, a ceremony dedicating the park to the memory of the late local Senator Norman J. Levy took place, with town officials and others who took up the implementation of Jay's dream. The park features self-guided trails, exercise stations, small amphitheater, a pond, a kayak launch area, a fishing pier, and a boardwalk on the 8.4 acre plateau. The sanctuary offers views of Jones Beach, east to Robert Moses Causeway, and west to the Manhattan skyline.

According to the park brochure, it is "landscaped as a biologically diverse community. Native wetland plants and animals as well as a wide variety of upland plants flourish. Some of the many species of birds which are common include tree swallows, redwing blackbirds, great and snowy egrets, black-crowned night herons, Canada geese and mallards. Beautiful butterflies and dragon flies make the preserve their home. Native cattails, phragmites, salt marsh cord grass,salt marsh hay, bayberry, as well as many species of native evergreen and deciduous trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses line the landscape and trails."

One of our alumni remembers that as a kid, there had been a dairy farm at the site, and on Sundays a small biplane would land there and take people up for a ride for $5! The park is now open and is a great addition to our communities!

Photos of the park by Ken House.

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Local Media:

Community news Web sites:
Bellmore Patch
Merrick Patch
Wantagh/Seaford-

Newspapers:
Bellmore and Merrick Life

Live Surf Cams:
Check out these sites when you have a chance:

Gilgo Beach:
Long Beach (might not be working due to hurricane Sandy damage)
Southampton