Carnell T. Foskey, Commissioner
Nassau County Department of Parks, Recreation and Museums
As a community, Nassau County has dealt with numerous struggles over the past few months. Hurricane Sandy has taken its toll on each and every one of us, but as the Parks Commissioner, I would like to share how proud I am of the Nassau County Parks Department. Many park employees put their own struggles aside to devote countless hours towards helping other victims of this storm. The efforts of our dedicated employees under Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano’s leadership helped transform many of Nassau County’s Parks into essential destinations throughout the recovery process.
I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the facilities that stepped up in this time of crisis. Many opened their showers to the public and distributed meals and water for all who needed. Cedar Creek Park and Nickerson Beach were sites of Red Cross, FEMA, and Salvation Army recovery centers. Yet another invaluable initiative established was the pet shelter at Mitchel Field, which provided displaced residents with a place for their animals. Due to the overwhelming support from people all over North America, many arrangements were implemented to accommodate the many workers. Some of the accommodations included a staging area at Eisenhower Park, a housing area at Battle Row’s campsite, and a place for parking work vehicles at Christopher Morley Park. Thanks to all of these arrangements initiated by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and the Nassau County Parks Department, Nassau County residents were able to return to normalcy that much quicker.
With the Parks Department’s hurricane efforts discussed, let’s take a moment to recap some of the regular park events that concluded 2012 as well as preview the coming year.
This year we had record-breaking success with the 3rd Annual County Executive’s “Cruise to the Show,” which was held on Sunday, September 30th. More than 1,000 vehicles of all makes, models, and years were registered for the show, with participants coming from as far as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts and upstate New York. The 2012 Cruise to the Show featured displays by the Nassau County Firefighters Museum, the Cradle of Aviation and the Long Island Children’s Museum, as well as food and entertainment for the entire family. Long Island’s own Eddie Money closed out the day with a performance at Eisenhower Park’s Harry Chapin Lakeside Theatre.
Another one of our most successful events this year was the 170th annual Long Island Fair. The Long Island Fair is the New York State recognized county fair for Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk. The four day event ran from September 27th to September 30th and included one special day, dubbed “Dollar Day”, where admission was one dollar, as well as select foods, beverages, rides, and games. The Fair had many great activities for children and adults, as well as an impressive array of entertainment including musicians, dancers, jugglers, and mimes. Soon after the conclusion of the Long Island Fair, we hosted yet another significant event in our first annual Nassau County Oktoberfest on October 6th and 7th. In celebration of the German Americans living in our great county, we featured German culture with German food, drink, and activities. Later that month, on October 23rd, County Executive Ed Mangano, along with the Nassau County Parks Department, hosted the County Executive Classic at Eisenhower Park Golf Course. All three 18-hole golf courses at the park were filled to capacity with over 300 golfers in attendance. All attendees participated in numerous contests including closest to the pin, longest drive, and lowest net score. With the help of over 76 Long Island businesses, the event was a tremendous success.
In December, we launched a number of fantastic events to kick off the holiday season. The Holiday Spectacular Concert on December 1st, featuring the Long Island Philharmonic, enjoyed a record 2,000+ attendance. The next day, December 2nd, Old Bethpage Village Restoration was the home of the Gingerbread Workshop where children were given the opportunity to decorate their own gingerbread houses and have their pictures taken with Santa Clause. The following two weekends, December 8th & 9th and December 15th & 16th, Old Bethpage continued their holiday spirit with their Candlelight Evenings.
On Saturday, December 8th, Cantiague Park was the site of Nassau County’s Tenth Annual Holiday Party for Military Families, where soldiers, sailors and Marines living in Nassau County were invited to bring their families for a free day of ice skating, music, lunch, Santa, toys, and raffles. We are especially grateful to our local merchants and charitable organizations in Nassau County for the support of this important event.
On December 10th and 11th, respectively, we hosted a Menorah Lighting and a Christmas Tree Lighting at the southern entrance to Eisenhower Park. Musical entertainment and light refreshment enhanced each evening.
With the conclusion of 2012, I look back upon our many accomplishments and look forward to the many great events we have prepared for Nassau County residents and visitors in the coming year. One of the most exciting is without a doubt our 2nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration on March 9th 2013, featuring traditional Irish food, beverages, merchandise and entertainment. The 2012 St. Patrick’s Day event received rave reviews from all who attended. Plans are also well underway for a very exciting Summer Concert Series, with onstage shows at Eisenhower Park’s Lakeside Theatre, show wagon shows at Wantagh Park, Patio Pondside Shows at Grant Park, classical music at Chelsea Mansion, and movies at Cedar Creek Park and Eisenhower. These are just some of the many exciting events we have planned for you all so I hope that you are as enthused for the coming year as we are.