Friday, November 21, 2008

Widening Merrick Road, Seaford, about 1975

Shortly after we arrived in Seaford in 1972, the installation of a sanitary sewer trunk line under Merrick Road seems to have led to a widening of that street through Bellmore, Wantagh, and Seaford. I cannot establish the exact years, but I have two or three slides, and data exist on the Nassau County Records Viewer. At times, the street was an obstacle course of construction. The other day, I tried to contrast the present buildings between South Seaman's Neck Road and Smith Lane with the records. What a surprise to learn that the "old" post office that is now Beach Bum Tanning lost an angle-cut off its facade! The adjacent tailor was also cut back. Most of the other buildings east of that point were built after the widening. In the block from Jackson Avenue to Smith Lane, at least two structures were condemned, demolished, and the lots sold for new construction. The building occupied by Runyon's remains, having been cut back about five feet because of the widening. Similarly, the cinder block paint store, built in 1969 at the corner of Smith Lane, lost about five feet.
So, for those blocks, much of the widening was done on the south side of Merrick Road.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The former location of the Methodist church

At the November 6, 2008, meeting of the Seaford Historical Society, the question arose as to the location of the Methodist church before it was transported in 1923 to Washington and Waverly Avenues. It seems to have been where this building, 3943 Merrick Road, now stands. According to the Nassau County Land Record Viewer, the present structure was built in 1928. The building to the left, 3935, despite its modern look, seems to be a rectangular replacement of several structures that date from 1903. The record viewer shows a bakery in front, with various additions towards the rear. The building to the right dates from 1980.
The photographer is standing where Smith Lane meets Merrick Road. At one time, Smith Lane carried the name Seaford Avenue. Later, it received the name Smith, probably because of the Smith Family home on the southeast corner.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fishing before the causeway was built

At the meeting of the Seaford Historical Society, November 6, 2008, Fred Roth and others discussed fishing in the bay. The topic included references to previous generations and, in particular, the condition of the bay before the Wantagh Causeway to Jones Beach was constructed (1928?). If my notes are correct, there existed an inlet, Zach's Inlet, near present Zach's Bay. It could get fairly shallow, so most of the ocean-going boats used Jones Inlet, which has moved west over the years since the 1920's, due to the shifting sands. Much of the sand on which Ocean Parkway east of the water tower was constructed was taken from the bay, and thus the State Channel (parallel to Ocean Parkway) was dredged for the sand. Some sand for the causeway was taken from a sandpit near the present Washington Avenue Park, Seaford, but the appearance of the water table in that pit limited that supply. The terms "East Bay" and "West Bay" predate the causeway, as the waterways of the bay allowed only one route, The Run, between the two bays. By the way, each island, each channel had some name or other, and these names rather than buoys were used in conversation about where one was going or had been. I think I heard it said that the count of island houses is about 28 now, down from hundreds in the old days. Corrections are welcome to the address on the right.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Grocery chains

At the November 6, 2008, meeting of the Seaford Historical Society, one surprise was to learn the existence of both Bohack's and A & P on Merrick Road near Jackson Avenue. A & P, I'm told, was on the north side of Merrick Road. Bohack's on the south side at the southeast corner of South Seaman's Neck Road. That structure later became the post office (which moved to its present location in 1980), Bette's Florist, and now Beach Bum Tanning. In the discussion, I neglected to ask whether the stores were self-serve. Many stores that pre-dated King Kullen required the customer to talk to the butcher over his counter, pay him separately, deal with the vegetable man likewise, and also bring a list to a counter for canned and dry goods. This Newsday article says that Bohack owned more than 700 stores in 1939.
Several people mentioned the convenient Hill's Supermarket where World Gym is now located. Even though this is in Wantagh, before the construction of NY 135 Hill's was simply across Seaman's Neck Road from Seaford. It seems that the construction of NY 135 made that location (in Wantagh, at the east end of Park Avenue) much less convenient for Seaford shoppers.
I must also mention that a King Kullen supermarket existed in the small shopping center at Kenora Place and Merrick Road, where a liquor store occupies a rear corner, adjacent to Blockbusters.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Seaford LIRR 1967 photos

A thread has developed on concerning the Seaford station repairs. If you use the link below and then scroll a considerable distance down the discussion, you will find eight black-and-white photos from Dave Keller showing the construction of the elevated station while a temporary station was in place on ground level.
The link is here.
The same thread reminded us that the Seaford train service was moved to the elevated structure in two steps forty years ago: On October 22, 1968, the westward train service began to use the elevated platform. On November 1, 1968, eastward train service was moved upstairs. I note that this happened before the purchase of the M-1 fleet, so all cars had trap doors and steps. That explains why the photos of the temporary platforms show "low-level" platforms. Until this week forty years ago, passengers climbed onto trains. The steps on the coaches could be slippery in bad weather! When the new station was put in service, the platform was the height of the coach floor, and one merely had to step over the gap.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Three citizens attend Wantagh hearing

The required annual budget hearing for the Wantagh Fire Department was held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, October 21, 2008. Note that the Wantagh Fire district includes parts of Bellmore and Seaford, plus contracted coverage of Jones Beach and Tobay Beach. Three citizens (Larry, Janet, Joe) attended the Powerpoint presentation by Superintendent Michael Antonucci, a clear presentation that can be found in a different format here. Ten uniformed members, including perhaps the five elected commissioners, were present.
A notice of Public Hearing Policy was distributed to the public prior to the meeting. Item 4 reads: "Please do not expect the Board to answer any questions, as this time has been reserved for the public to inform the Board of Fire Commissioners about their concerns and comments regarding the proposed budget." Two attendees gave their views.
Some budget items were explained and some answers given. The proposed 2009 budget amounts to $6.403,500. There is no public vote on the budget. The hearing ended at 7:27 p.m.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Topo map of Seaford, 1903

A discussion on concerning LIRR grade crossings along Sunrise Highway led me to this find at the University of New Hampshire's digital collection. They have made available what seems to be a 1903-based 7 1/2 minute quarter of the Babylon Quadrangle, showing downtown Seaford: here. Note that there is no Sunrise Highway and only Washington Avenue and Seaman's Neck Road cross the tracks. The west border of this map seems to lie near the present Seaford post office at 73 degrees, 30 minutes.
The site also offers the northeast quarter of the Hempstead quadrangle here. Much to my surprise, Seaford Avenue is shown running north from Merrick Road, jogging where Waverly now is, and continuing north-west to Wantagh station. Parts of Oakland Avenue and Woodward Avenue are both shown (where I walked this morning), but I suspect the streets may have had other names.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Meeting topic Sept. 4: the carving of decoys

One of the arts for which Seaford is famous is the making of decoys for duck hunting in the bay. It is the subject of the meeting September 4 of the Seaford Historical Society 7:30 p.m. at the Seaford firehouse, Southard and Waverly Avenues.
The following is from the Society:
In the mid-1800's the Great South Bay became a mecca for hunting ducks, shorebirds, and other waterfowl. They were hunted for sport, food, and to be sold to a large market in New York City, eager for game for the table.
Seaford was known up and down the east coast for having some of the finest waterfowl hunting and guides. It became the destination for many wishing to hunt waterfowl. Famous sports figures as Babe Ruth came to hunt our shores.
These hunters were called "sports" or "yorkers." Over the years, several hotels were built to accommodate their needs, the most famous being Powell's Hotel at the corner of Merrick Road and Jackson Avenue.
During the meeting (see top paragraph), Frank Murphy and Bill Powell will tell you about these gunners and decoy makers from Seaford. The evening's presentation will include many old photos and a display of Seaford decoys dating back to the 1870's. The meeting is open to all.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Seaford station work as of August 5, 2008

The reconstruction of the Seaford Long Island Rail Road station platform is being done in two halves of six-car lengths each. Three or four months ago, the eastern half was removed. Two stairways were demolished and the escalator removed. The most recent work seems to have been the replacement of the supports for the platform. By supports, I mean only those two-inch or so toppings that run parallel to the tracks and apparently will support new concrete slabs. Since the station was opened in 1968, the previous supports, made of steel, rusted and buckled, causing the platform slabs to heave irregularly. In the photo (link below), one can see a new horizontal concrete support replacing what was rusted steel.
See the photo here and also the rest of the album connected to it.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Seaford, NY, Board of Education 7.3.2008

On July 3, 2008, the Seaford, New York, Board of Education held its reorganization meeting. After new member Brian Fagan was sworn in, the five trustees elected Michael Sapraicone as President and Richard DiBlasio as Vice-President. The board and the residents discussed many topics during more than two and a half hours of meeting. A workshop meeting is scheduled for July 17, 2008, at which committees will be formed to explore and discuss various topics. My comment: If you complain each May that you do not know how the budget was created, you can assist, learn, and be part of the process by contributing at these workshop meetings.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Painting window frames 7.1.2008

With the start of the new fiscal year in the Seaford, N.Y., school district, the morning of July 1, 2008, a team of five or six contracted painters began the overdue maintenance task of scraping and painting the window frames of the Seaford Avenue School.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

An enjoyable program by the Banjo Rascals

A group of Banjo Rascals gave a faultless, marvelous hour-and-a-half program at the Seaford, N. Y., Library Saturday evening, June 28, 2008, with an audience of 130 or more. The threat of more rain following a shower forced the move of the concert from the parking lot to the reference area of the library, the audience using a mixture of library chairs and their own. This group deserves much praise. I was particularly glad of the change of pace: each song seemed peppy, brisk, and freshly different from the previous song, with a mixture of voices (some solos) and dominant instruments. The introduction to each piece was helpful, especially the references to original composers and dates, with additional remarks about alternate familiar versions. Though the tunes were all from the last century (and not all the audience was), those present clearly enjoyed a lively evening.
Many thanks to the sponsors of this event and to the library staff for their extra hours and willingness to make this summer gift to the community.
See the calendar below for the next three presentations.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Meeting 5.28.2008 of the Wantagh-Seaford Homeowners' Assoc.

For years, one of the problem topics in Wantagh and Seaford has been the sewage treatment plant at Cedar Creek, Wantagh, a large, covered facility operated by Nassau County and its Department of Public Works. At the May 28, 2008, meeting of the Wantagh-Seaford Homeowners' Association, the invited speaker, Ray Ribeiro, engineer and commissioner of the D.P.W., spoke for almost 90 minutes about the plant and several of the problems that are often raised. At the outset, please note that the telephone number on the WHSA page at is answered by a human at all times (for odor complaints at Cedar Creek and other problems there): 571-7364. Mr. Ribeiro explained how a recent foul smell got out. Air leaving the facility is scrubbed by two chemical agents. The pump providing one of the two agents failed, and there was a slower repair instead of a quicker replacement. The County is looking into a negative-air-flow system whereby an open door would cause an inward draft rather than a release of odor.
On other Cedar Creek complaints, Mr. Ribeiro distinguished between the part of Cedar Creek under the jurisdiction of the D.P.W. and the part that is under the Department of Parks. There was a discussion of the identification cards employees will use at all times to gain admittance to the D.P.W. section. It seemed that one resident wanted the license plate number copied down of every car entering the park. There were questions about the staffing of the guard booth. Many of these topics have been discussed in the Citizen over the years, and I am certain the Citizen will continue to cover the topic well.
The tone of the meeting was constructive rather than confrontational. Including the speaker, Legislator Dunne, and the Association officers, there were about eighteen present. Thanks to all.
There was also some discussion of work this fall in which the D.P.W. will move curbs and turning lanes at the intersection of Wantagh Avenue and Merrick Road to aid pedestrians.
In answer to a question about how to distinguish between town streets and county streets, the speaker could suggest no hard-and-fast rules. Generally, the county streets will have painted yellow and white lines as lane markers. The yellow diamond warning signs on county roads will bear a county abbreviation. However, parking signs on county roads are the jurisdiction of the town. In some cases, drains marked "N.C. Drain" do not mean that the street is a county street, as the mark was sometime only an indication by the manufacturer that the drain met county specifications. That is how "N.C. Drain" will be found on some drains installed in private lots.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day parade, 2008

On Memorial Day, 2008, also called Decoration Day, a parade brought wreaths to decorate a soldiers' memorial at the Seaford NY Middle School. Ten photos of the parade are shown here on Flickr. Please click on each photo to enlarge it and read the descriptive caption.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Seaford, NY, School Vote

The budget passed the May 20, 2008, vote 1,481 to 1,099, according to Newsday. It would seem to indicate that 2,580 people voted, out of an estimated 11,000 eligible. The modification to the busing mileage lost, No 992- Yes 929. Link to the school district news page here.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Meeting 5.1.2008 of the Seaford Historical Society

The leadership and volunteers of the Seaford Historical Society welcomed those who attended the May 1, 2005, "Wine Tasting" meeting with a spread of large circular tables, tablecloths, glasses, nibble-food, and coffee. The brief business meeting was followed by an enthusiastic speaker, Seaford resident Joe Sheehy, on the history, variety, and taste of Long Island wines. Equally well prepared were the displays of the work the organization hopes to accomplish in restoring the museum. The generosity of individuals, civic organizations, and businesses continues impressive. Please note the mailing address for all correspondence, donations, and memberships: Seaford Historical Society, Post Office Box 1254, Seaford, NY 11783. More information is available at the society's website,
I have been trying to learn about the names of Seaford streets that represent local families, as Jackson, Southard, Ray, and others. Some sort of list will soon appear on this blog. However, at this meeting I received friendly help about three matters: 1) that Condit Street is named after the builder of homes there; 2) that mail delivery and house numbers arrived about 1951; 3) that public water (as opposed to homeowners' well water) arrived around 1960. If you wish to correct or comment, please use my address as given in the right-hand column.
Many thanks to the workers of the Seaford Historical Society and the Fire Department that helped make the evening of May 1 so enjoyable.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Street drainage info, 5.2.2008

Continuing the topic of street drainage: I have been informed that the Town of Hempstead's 2008 Highway Capital Program includes the current project (see photo) as "the "Guildford Park Area Part I." This is only the beginning of a project to reconstruct the roads in this area, and it may take several years. Paddock Road, for example, is not in 2008 plans, but when the street is reconstructed, it is said that any storm drain system improvements that are needed will be included in the project. The department and person that appears to be in charge is the Town of Hempstead Department of Engineering, 350 Front Street, Hempstead, NY 11550. The Commissioner of this department is William H. Rockensies, P.E.
I can understand the logic of the present work. One begins where the drain outflow goes into Seaman's Creek at Waverly Avenue, then works backward to connect drains to that outflow. Much of the street disruption is caused by the need to move some other utilities out of way of the new drains. It is also understandable that the underground work must be done before repaving rather than after it!
In the photo taken May 1, 2008, the crane is positioning a new catch basin (or other term?) in the hole dug on the curb line of Locust Avenue opposite Bit Path. The move of this concrete object from its temporary storage point on the east side into the hole on the west side took less than five minutes!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

More on street drainage

My issue of the Wantagh-Seaford Citizen dated 4.17.2008 has arrived. On page 8 is a six-paragraph press release from Supervisor Kate Murray and Councilwoman Angie Cullin on the road improvement project "for the Guildford Park Area of Seaford" "slated for completion in July." Subscription to the Citizen is only $32 for two years. Link here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Waverly Avenue digging, 4.2.2008

I have deleted my previous post about the street construction, because much has become obvious. It seems that the digging project along Waverly Avenue, Bit Path, and Locust Avenue involves drainage. Various gas and water lines, perhaps also electricity and telephone, have to be moved to make way for better drainage. Twelve big 48-inch pipes were stored on Waverly Avenue, plus what appear to be concrete catchbasins marked for Guildford Park Drive. Yet there are many locations that have surveyors' marks that seem to indicate more excavations. Further information is welcome.

Half of Seaford train station is closed

As of April 2, 2008, the east half of the Seaford train station is closed. Passengers must use the stairways at Jackson Avenue. The escalator is out of service for replacement. The ticket machines and the mail box have been relocated to the north side of the escalator. Passengers buying tickets will first have to walk east to the ticket office and machines, then west to Jackson Avenue to reach the six-car section of the platform that remains in use. Passengers traveling to Seaford must sit in the west six cars, as other car doors will not open at Seaford.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

New trustee at the Seaford Library

The Seaford Public Library Board of Trustees announced that Patricia Coughlin has been appointed to fill out the unexpired term of Jeanne Cox. Mrs. Coughlin, who has lived in the Seaford community for 42 years, teaches Math and Social Studies to fifth graders and holds a Master's Degree and additional graduate credits in reading. She will be sworn in March 31 at the Board of Trustees meeting.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Meeting 1.30.2008 of the Wantagh-Seaford Homeowners Assoc.

The Wantagh-Seaford Homeowners Association held a bimonthly meeting on January 30, 2008, in Room 152 of the Wantagh High School. The meeting, with an attendance of about eighteen, ran from 7:22 to 8:43 p.m. Following the Pledge, the slate of the nomination committee was presented and elected without challenge. I am sure the list of officers will soon appear on the Association's website here.
An attempt to summarize the meeting follows:
Assemblyman David McDonough explained the topic of Trump on the Ocean. Regarding PILOTS or payments in lieu of taxes, he pointed out that each assemblyman around the state would demand the same treatment if we succeeded in getting such payments for the Wantagh School District. As far as the Fire District is concerned, it may be possible to chart the added number of calls regarding events at the new restaurant and arrange some increased payment.
Floyd Earle, new president of the Wantagh Chamber of Commerce, spoke.
Richard and Lisa Shary spoke about park or environmental issues: the marine playground at Wantagh Park; security patrols at Wantagh and Cedar Creek; the rejection by Nassau County for the proposed Cedar Creek Park; windmills in the Atlantic; an artificial industrial island in the Atlantic; the Nassau Hub.
They distributed a map from the South Shore Bikeways Connection Study, which proposed connecting the Jones Beach Bikeway with the bike path in Massapequa Preserve. It would depart Cedar Creek on the east side, travel north on Cedar Street and Willoughby Avenue, east on Waverly Avenue, through Tackapausha Preserve, then east on Maple Street. Mr. Shary is president of the Friends of Masssapequa Preserve. He warned of 6,000 bikers daily on that route. He urged a route from Cedar Creek east to some unused paving on NY 135, then along the south side of the railroad to Massapequa.
As this blog concerns Seaford, I note that Waverly Avenue is a rather bumpy road for wheeled vehicles, bicycles, sedans or any other size. I am not certain, but I think Waverly Avenue was open by 1908 from Washington Avenue two blocks or so at least to the fire house. Perhaps in the 1920's, I understand it was lengthened west to Willoughby Avenue. Is the name "Waverly" Scottish in origin?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Meeting 1.3.2008 of the Seaford Historical Society

Each time I attend a meeting of the Seaford Historical Society, I am impressed how the individuals who lead this organization show cordiality and competence. They welcome newcomers and strangers. They know the order and timing of the program, and they run the meetings well.
Harrison Hunt, historian and author of books on our Civil War, presented an excellent slide show, with narration, on Long Island's participation in that sad conflict (1861-1865). I have several pages of notes, but I will present items in my own order, attempting to begin with Seaford and move outwards.
1) The Seaford men who served in that war tended to be farmers and baymen, as these were the principal occupations. [Recall that the place name "Seaford" comes almost twenty years after the war.] We were part of the Town of Hempstead [town hall being in Hempstead], but the county was Queens and the draft board of 1863 met in Jamaica.
2) Apparently, the individual names of men from hereabouts who served in the war might be found in an 1890 census of Civil War veterans. Most seemed to have joined Company H of the New York 119 Volunteers. As Mr. Hunt addressed the Civil War from a Long Island viewpoint, instead of Seaford only, he did not provide individual names.
3) Moving a half-mile west of Seaford: The Wantagh Fire Department displays a bell from a Civil War warship outside its building on Park Avenue.
4) In North Bellmore, African Americans who served in the Civil War are buried in the Oakfield Road cemetery.
5) In North Wantagh, the cemetery on Wantagh Avenue (now adjacent to the church of St. Frances de Chantal) contains the grave of a doctor who served in the war and died there by disease, as many participants died.
6) Mr. Harrison displayed a photo of David Allen from Jerusalem (North Wantagh) in the Zuave uniform some regiments used. One must remember that the U.S. Army numbered fewer men than the volunteer regiments.
7) Delancey Floyd Jones served in both the Mexican War and the Civil War. A biography is in Wikipedia. A description of the Floyd-Jones of Massapequa (South Oyster Bay) is here.
8) In the early 1830's, having graduated from West Point, George Meade did survey work for the Long Island Rail Road, probably in Brooklyn or Queens, as the railroad began expansion eastward from Jamaica in April, 1836.
9) Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee were both stationed at Fort Hamilton sometime.
I may edit this post further. Corrections are welcome.