For Immediate Release Contact: Collin Nash or Sid Nathan
September 25, 2008 (516) 869-7794
Town Traces Origins on North Hempstead Day
Ribbon cutting ceremony unveils renovated Town Hall
Manhasset, NY—Dressed in a brown tweed three-piece suit with matching Derby, North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman—flanked by the town board members and other officials—transported elementary school students, teachers and other onlookers back to the town’s formation and the preceding years.
Supervisor Kaiman, in his role as Philip J. Christ, the town supervisor from 1907 to 1917, welcomed the rapt audience from the gazebo in Mary Jane Davies Park, the stage for the town’s annual North Hempstead Day celebration.
“Today, September 23rd, we celebrate our independence day!” Kaiman said, before he and other town officials, most dressed in period costume, proceeded to trace the town’s history through the lens of some of the influential North Hempstead figures of the day.
“Interestingly enough, the history of how North Hempstead came to be has a lot to do with Taxes,” said Receiver of Taxes Rocco Iannarelli, introducing the history of the town. “Residents in the Town of North Hempstead were unhappy with the system of taxation without representation.”
Councilman Tom Dwyer, known as Henry Ford of Ford Motor Company on North Hempstead Day, announced “the production of the Model T will begin next month and I expect it to be one of the most popular cars on the road!” Councilman Dwyer continued, “Our starting price is $825.00 and we hope to be able to reduce the price as more cars are produced!”
Embodying Alva Smith Vanderbilt Belmont, a champion of the women’s suffrage movement in the early 1900’s, Councilwoman Lee Seeman stated, “I can’t think of a single reason why women should not have the right to vote. After all, when our leaders make decisions, they have an affect on the lives of women and men alike.”
“I was a founding member of the Women’s Club and very active in the Great Neck Community,” stated Town Clerk Leslie Gross, representing Elizabeth Mellick Baker. “Just like John Sousa, I also have a school named after me: E.M. Baker!”
Councilman Robert Troiano offered inspiring words to the crowd of 4th graders looking on. “There are many things that we can learn from our history, but I also want you to look to the future, because the truth is, you are our future.”
The mid-morning event at Mary Jane Davies Green was followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony at dusk unveiling the newly renovated Town Hall, which at 101 years old has been placed on the national register of historic places.
Councilman Angelo Ferrara, acting for the occasion as North Hempstead’s first supervisor, Adrian Onderdonk, evoked images of what supposedly was a raucous meeting where Onderdonk stirred up residents in the north of what was then the town of Hempstead to form their own municipality, now modern day North Hempstead. “I say we sign a resolution on this the Twenty Third Day of September 1775 to break with the actions of the Town of Hempstead,” Ferrara declared.
Councilwoman Maria-Christina Poons, speaking as herself, highlighted the disparity between the past and present history of North Hempstead. “We have come from a time when many people in our Town were farmers and most food was grown within a few miles of the kitchen, to a time when many of our foods come from halfway around the world.”
John Philip Sousa, portrayed by Deputy Supervisor Chris Senior, declared: “Sousa Elementary School in Port Washington is named after me.” Senior, whose alter ego composed many famous marches, reminded the audience of perhaps his most famous composition, “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” which he penned in 1896.
For more information on North Hempstead Day and the history of the town, please call 311 or visit www.northhempsteadny.gov.