Written by Jill Nossa Friday, 27 July 2012 00:00
Last week, Glen Cove lost one of its most recognizable monuments as a result of treacherous weather: the gazebo at Morgan Memorial Park. The details of the storm and its aftermath were big news all around Long Island, and unfortunately, residents of this community are feeling the loss.
The storm on Wednesday, July 18 left downed trees and power outages in its wake, but perhaps the most astonishing effect was the flattening of the 80-year-old gazebo in Morgan Memorial Park. The gazebo was built by J.P. Morgan in 1932 and has been used by city residents as a place of solace, an escape from the harsh rays of the sun and as perfect photo opportunity for wedding parties and other events over the year’s.
According to Mayor Ralph V. Suozzi, the city does plan to rebuild the structure, though no decisions have been made yet as to the architectural plans. He said that it will be built with the same dimensions and will look the same, but will be built with modern building techniques and more structural integrity so that this does not happen again in the future.
“I have seen worse devastation from storms,” said Suozzi. “But with this one, the park took the punch for us. It hit at the heart of what we love and care about.”
Suozzi said a total of 36 trees came down, and 60 had previously been identified as diseased and needing to come down. He said that after this storm, 81 trees will need to be replanted, which could cost between $40,000-80,000.
The park overlooks the Long Island Sound, and with its paved walking paths, lush grass, playground, beach and concert stage, plays host to a number of events throughout the year and is also a popular destination for family picnics, fishermen and outdoor exercise enthusiasts. Events include the Morgan Park Concert Series, currently in its 52nd year, the Gold Coast Cruisers annual car show, and SAFE Inc.’s annual Family Awareness Day. The park has also recently been the backdrop for scenes from Royal Pains.
In fact, the Gold Coast Cruisers are so appreciative of the park and using it as a venue that Don “Figgie” Figliozzi, president of the club, said they are planning on donating $4,000 to the city to repair the gazebo.
“The City of Glen Cove and Darcy Belyea, director of the parks department, have always been behind us 100 percent,” he said. “We cannot sit by and hope that it gets repaired.”
The mayor says that a lot of residents have been supportive and that the first donations came from two children who were visiting their grandparents from New Hampshire. He said the children asked what they could do to help, and after he suggested a lemonade stand, they came back with $25 they collected door-to-door.
The city is insured for $75 million and has a $10,000 deductible for the damage. Beyond the repairs needed for the gazebo, the city has to work on reforestation, paying attention to the species of trees that have been lost and replanting in the same location with the aid of GIS satellite mapping. The mayor describes the process of replanting as being “like jumping into the footsteps of history” by trying to determine exactly what to replant and where to replant them.
The city has set up a fund and interested donors can write checks payable to The City of Glen Cove, with “park restoration” or “gazebo fund” in the memo line that will go to replenish the city’s capital fund once the deductible has been met.
As sad as it is to see an iconic piece of the city’s history destroyed, the mayor says, “The event could be a catalyst to bring the community together, and really put the park on a faster path to health and robustness.”