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Moving Art Scenes From Donald Sadowsky

Roslyn Heights native created the ‘Kitchen of the Future’

In 1964, Roslyn Heights resident Donald Sadowsky made a big splash with his “Kitchen of the Future” exhibit at that year’s World Fair, held in Flushing, Queens. As Sadowsky notes, those five full-size appliances were built at a studio in Mineola, where they went on to gain national attention.

Four decades later, Sadowsky is still practicing innovative forms of art. Throughout July and August, he will have an exhibit of his latest work at the Syosset Library. Those works come from his private collection of three-dimensional scenes familiar to any New Yorker. They include Times Square at rush hour, the Staten Island ferry after the 2003 crash, the toll plaza at the Midtown Tunnel, black ice with skidding cars, a skate board park with moving skateboarders, the Meadowbrook Parkway with moving cars, the Roslyn Movie Theatre with optimum rewards free passes and a number of scenes from Coney Island: the Cyclone, the parachute jump, the Wonder Wheel, and moving bumper cars.

All art scenes, Sadowsky said, have a Plexi cover and are mounted on individual bases.

Sadowsky issued his statement on the exhibit.

“About 10 years ago, I started building three dimensional art works of local scenes,” he said. “I now have a collection of 10 [such scenes]. With the exception of an interview on Channel 12 News in May 2008, and an exhibit at the Art League of Long Island Members Show in November 2011, my work has never been seen by the public.

“A video at the exhibit shows the mechanical movement of each work of art,” he continued. “Flags are waving, automobiles are moving and people are skateboarding. Each work is thoughtfully recreated by taking 50-100 photos from every angle plus handmade drawings. The materials are plastic which is spray-painted with acrylic lacquer. Hundreds of hours go into making each work. There is no CAD Technology involved.”

And so, at age 83, Sadowsky is still finding new things to do with his art. A professional model builder for over 60 years, Sadowsky, as with any youngster interested in building, began the creative process while in grade school. But that was back in the 1930s and as he notes, there were no LEGOs or Elmer’s glue in 1935. “In order to build my log cabins out of drinking straws, I made a mixture of flour and water for the glue.”

As a teenager, Sadowsky created a model of the Eiffel Tower and of a Ferris wheel both out of toothpicks. After graduating from high school, Sadowsky worked for several years for a model building firm. Then in 1950, he started his own such firm. Up the road was the exhibit at the 1964 World’s Fair and more artwork, including the exhibit running this summer at the Syosset Library.

The Syosset Public Library is located at 225 South Oyster Bay Rd. For more information, call 921-7161.