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Successful ArtWalk Stroll

With notices now coming in, the first ArtWalk on June 2, was a success.  Walter Imperatore, co-chair of the Marketing Committee of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Chamber of commerce offered, “We were generally happy with the results. Jim Perna of Long Island Picture Frame, who’s running this event for the chamber, said that he saw an increase in the number of people on the streets.  That being said, we were looking to attract more people.”

ArtWalk also gave several artists the opportunity to share their talent with the public as the Arts & Antiques Walk planned for this summer’s Sundays debuted. It is intended to bring people to the hamlet by adding “eye candy” to the streetscape and Julie and David Heiss of the Madd Potter agreed it did.

It got out mother Stacey and daughter Corinne Valentine. They were at the Madd Potter as Corrine painted a teapot a beautiful blue, getting it ready for firing in its ceramic oven.  

“I think it was a success to try to do something different and people are on the street walking along,” said David. Julie agreed, “People dropped in and said, ‘Wow, I didn’t know you were here.’” Outside the Madd Potter you could see people strolling along Audrey Avenue.

The event is held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the first Sunday of each month during this summer. David, who grew up in St. Augustine, Florida, is familiar with art shows in the street. But he said, “Last night was beautiful. The restaurant crowd was here on Saturday night: it would have been great for the artists. Emily and Julie said there were more people out there Saturday night than they had ever seen.”

The summer season has begun in Oyster Bay! The restaurant crowd was out on the street from about 4 to 9 p.m., he said.

Walter explained, “We’re optimistic that the concept will work. This differs from the previous art walk because it incorporates artists displays outside (in addition to inside businesses) which activates the street.  We are also bringing antique stores into the equation. The other aspect making this unique is that it’s tied into Sunday brunch offering people a nice after meal activity. It’s a relaxing and perfect for a summer Sunday.”

Another Draw Sought

They have been looking for another draw comparable to Cruise Night. Walter said, “It took a while for cruise night to take hold and now it’s an Island -attraction on Tuesday nights.  We are hoping that this can become a Sunday morning art and antique stroll equivalent.”

Hurricane Sandy had impinged on ArtWalk. It was originally part of Bay Day, the event sponsored by the WaterFront Center that was going to be highlighted in Newsday as one of the 10 best events to visit that day. With work on West Shore Road using Beekman Beach as its staging area knocked out that needed location for the Bay Day venue and cutting down that expected weekend visitation.

But Imperatore is thinking ahead. “For our next art walk, on July 7, we plan more advertising, signage and outreach.  We are also partnering with the Oyster Bay Music Festival to play in the courtyard at Renaissance Plaza.” It is located in the walkway in the middle of Audrey Avenue that leads to the parking lot behind town hall.

Artistic Visions

In that very alleyway, next to Chrison & Bellina was where budding artist Marissa Linden was showing off her paintings for the first time. “I work full time at a hospital and this is my therapy,” she said. New to art she had a large assortment of bright colored paintings, including one of the wicked witch’s stripped stockings and red slippers next to Dorothy’s shoes from the Wizard of Oz.

Dr. Abby Aronowitz was standing nearby and said, “A woman wanted to buy the picture but her husband said ‘no’.” That was great for this writer, who did buy it. “It’s my first sale,” said Marissa.

Dr. Abby was displaying photographs she took during a storm in Oyster Bay. “The storm was rolling in when I took the photographs. The sky was the subject,” she added. Dr. Abby has a new location in an historic building at 179 South Street. Suite 100. She had been located on South Street but the success of Cruise Night Tuesdays had music coming into her office then located across the street from where the band played and made it impossible for she and her clients to listen and talk. She is very happy with her new office that features an antique fireplace.  Her practice is about providing information on self-development, self-discovery and issues affecting the 
lives of women in our community.

Nearby was a jewelry display offered by Homa Amid of Oyster Bay which offered necklaces and bracelets discounted 50 percent. Originally from Iran, Homa had photographs of herself and her husband with the former Shah of Iran. Homa said she has a Face Book page for you to view her merchandise.

Another Oyster Bay artist, Marta Katona does oil paintings of boats, many of them appear to be Frank M. Flower oyster boats. Marta has been painting for 20 years and her work is that of a mature artist — her color is applied in soft brushstrokes of muted tones that create a rich surface. Formerly she was as a restorer of fine art.

Standing at the next table displaying items from her former store Alice’s of Oyster Bay, was Jean Ehrlich who said she regularly sold several of Marta’s boat paintings a week at her 21 Berry Hill Road location. It was located behind the statue of Theodore Roosevelt, which gives you a hint of whom the name Alice’s was referring to (Alice Roosevelt). It was on the corner opposite the Boys & Girls Club of OB-EN. Jean recently left the location but not before she tried to share the space with a ballroom dance teacher. She said it would be a perfect location for a Huntington Learning Center. “Then the kids wouldn’t have to leave town to study,” she said. It is something she was interesting to bring to Oyster Bay.

Billy Joel Museum Is Back

The roar of motorcycles coming down Spring Street heading to Audrey Avenue north, let people know that 20th Century Classics had opened for the season. Billy Joel’s motorcycle museum was closed during the winter, said Bill Krushinski, an Oyster Bay Railroad Museum (OBRM) staffer at the former LIRR stationhouse. Their Preview Center is located opposite the motorcycle location. He reported that people kept coming into the OBRM Preview Center on winter weekends when it was open, asking about the Billy Joel location which was closed during the winter.

The OBRM now has three locations up and running: the Preview Center at 102 Audrey Avenue; their rail yard on Bay Avenue with its turntable; as well as and the former LIRR stationhouse at the end of Audrey Avenue. Inside it is a model of the Oyster Bay Railroad station from about the early 1900s. Greated by board member Gary Farkash, it most interestingly shows the bottom half of the train yard at that time when it connected to the ferry that ran across the LI Sound.

The walks will continue on July 7, August 4 and Sept. 1, with artists displaying their work in the hamlet. For more information call 922-6464 or on the web, see visitoysterbay.com. A plus for the artists displaying their work is that there was no commission paid to the organizers.

And, FYI:

Walter shared, “We are working on a community wide special event for the weekend of August 31/September 1. It is still early in the planning stages.  We’ll keep you posted.”

He added, “All ideas and feedback are good…so thanks and keep them coming. And P.S. Try Buckingham for a nice necklace or other jewelry made by local artisans.” He’s a good salesman!