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Come See What’s Up for Oyster Bay’s Future the Weekend of June 12 and 13

Downtown Oyster Bay will be enlivened with a 48-hour event on Friday, June 11 and Saturday, June 12. The two-day event is to demonstrate what kind of downtown improvement projects will add to the “culture” of the hamlet to attract residents to interact there.

The planning process is already under way. The group met for the first time on Monday, May 24 and will be meeting a second time on Tuesday, June 1 as they make plans for the event. Committees have been chosen and people are excited by the possibilities.

It is a planning meeting of sub-committee chairs and other key principals to discuss progress and coordinate efforts on the 48x48x48 event,” said Isaac D. Kremer, Oyster Bay Main Street Association executive director.

Dottie Simon of Dodds & Eder is thrilled with the event and with the planners who are helping create it – the DoTank:Brooklyn, a well-regarded national consortium of planners, designers, and architects whose members come from the Project for Public Spaces, Street Plans Collaborative, and other NYC-based planning, design, and architecture firms. They are providing their services for free over that two-day period to help transform a portion of Audrey Avenue Extension in downtown Oyster Bay. “We are lucky to have attracted that level of help for the project,” she said. “The concept shows what can be done with a minimal investment.” She is planning on creating a “pop-up park.”

Bill Burke is also involved with the committee. “We are so close, here in Oyster Bay,” he said of the revitalization of the hamlet. “I’ve seen it come full circle,” added Ms. Simon.

She said things are already working out wonderfully with the ArtWalk Thursdays and its Sundown Concerts that she said are great. “There were about 100 people there the last time. You have to do the ArtWalk yourself to see how great it is.”

The first Thursdays of the month ArtWalk offers people a chance to visit local art galleries: Chase Edwards Gallery; Atelier Studio; the Teaching Studios at Oyster Bay; Art Matters; the exhibit at the Friends of the Bay office. The newest addition to the mix is What’s Cooking? located at 30 East Main Street, Oyster Bay. Owner Lynne Gerals said, “Come in for a cappuchino and some fruit. We are going to have a chocolate fountain with fresh strawberries and frozen bananas.” Local restaurants are offering specials for those nights, too.

Bill Burke said, “The town is re-inventing itself and not destroying its history on the way. New things are coming incrementally, which is good.”

Weekend Planning

That is what is being looked forward to on the weekend of Saturday, June 12 and Sunday, June 13.

The project is the result of the Oyster Bay Main Street Association announcing that downtown Oyster Bay has been selected as the site for a downtown improvement project under the auspices of Do Tank: Brooklyn. The group will work with local leaders and individuals to lead a short-term planning exercise on Friday, June 11 and Saturday, 12. Supervisor John Venditto has been very accommodating of the initiative providing full support from the Town of Oyster Bay for these efforts. Improvements made during these 48 hours will help to build support for plans and actions over the next 48 months, that will ultimately help to bring sustainable design and lasting improvements for the next 48 years.

What’s Up?

Some activities and events being planned are the creation of a “pop-up park” on Railroad Avenue, demonstrating the potential of a future Railroad Plaza project. A farmer’s market will be created in Municipal Lot #0-8 on Audrey Avenue just north of Town Hall West. Special workshops, classes, demonstrations, and events will be held for people of all ages. These activities will be especially focused on how, by working together, we can improve downtown Oyster Bay and other places like it.

The process will be videotaped and the results submitted to the Build a Better Burb competition held by the Long Island Index. Build a Better Burb is an ideas competition to retrofit Long Island downtown areas.

Committees Formed

Walter Imperatore of Renaissance Properties is the chairman of the Workshop and Town Forum Sub-Committee. Committee members include: Catherine Drabin of Chrisom & Bellina, Terry Pyres of V’s Hot and Sweet, and Tere Borgia of Bliss Studios.

One of the plans for the day is for Bliss Studios to do yoga at 101 Audrey Avenue in the morning and dance at night – and with the addition of a café. Sagamore Hill Historic National Park will do table-top display according to superintendent Thomas Ross. There is the possibility of an indoor movie at night. There is a possibility of having Billy Joel motocycles on display. Catherine Drabin of Chrison & Bellina might manage a pop-up store. Mike Varrichio of A Healthy U will possibley set up a juice stand.

The planners are also are asking the Hispanic Cultural Center to see if they would bring piñatas to the event – perhaps could make them at the event as well.

Danielle Olesen is the chairperson of the Farmer’s Market Sub-Committee with committee members: Ethel Terry and Claude Bahnik. The Farmer’s Market is being planned for the Municipal Parking Lot #0-8 north of Town Hall.

Programming Sub-Committee: Diane Meltzer is the chairperson of the Programing sub-committee with committee member Michelle Browner. She is looking into getting live music and a handful of vendors to set up in the bandstand area. They hope to have rental chairs and tables for the market, and to spread them out all along street and in the pop-up park.

Some activities include a wine-crawl, a pub-crawl, bike tours for which maps will be made up; chess and checkers tables set up for pickup games; karate school demonstrations; Teaching Studios of Art to do plein air; chalk drawing on street/sidewalk to create temporary plaza.

The Pop-Up Park Sub-Committee is chaired by Dottie Simon with committee members Bill Bell and John Specce to be set up outside of the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum. It will be created with plants, furniture, and sod for the street and railroad plaza area. The aim of the short-term improvements to the streetscape in 48 hours is done in the hopes that people love and use them to make it easier to get support for plans in 48 months.

Transportation Sub-Committee chair is Bill Burke with Mike Lydon as a committee member. They will promote activities with bicyclists and plan for a bike ride. Possibly with the Visentin Bike Pro Shop in Oyster Bay having bikes on display for the weekend. They are considering a day-trip plan to provide private taxi service between all the attractions in Oyster Bay.

The Outreach Sub-Committee is just everyone being asked to alert residents and business owners to participate; inform them of any glitches; help get information out through the newspapers.

The event starts on Friday, June 11, between 4 and 9 p.m. as the area is set up for an easy roll-out. There will be a dinner for the workers at 7 p.m. at 103 Audrey Avenue. On Saturday, June 12, the work starts at 6 a.m. when they begin the installation of elements; and the farmer stand sets up; and at 7 a.m., the food vendors and the cafes set up. Then it is all up to the community, “to be there or be square.”