FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 26, 2012
Town Traces History at Fifth Annual North Hempstead Day Celebrations
MEDIA CONTACTS: Collin Nash & Sid Nathan | (516) 869-7794
Manhasset, NY– Dressed in period costumes, North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman, the Town Board, the Town Clerk and the Receiver of Taxes recently transported elementary school students, teachers and other onlookers back to the town’s formation when it seceded from the Town of Hempstead.
Supervisor Kaiman, posing as Philip J. Christ, the town supervisor from 1907 to 1917, welcomed a captivated audience of more than 300 attending the September 21 event at Mary Jane Davies Park in Manhasset.
“Today, we celebrate our independence,” Supervisor Kaiman told the hyped-up students from Guggenheim and E. M. Baker Elementary schools.
Pointing to the members of the Town Board surrounding him under the gazebo, Supervisor Kaiman said: “If you look today, we are still shaping history in this Town. May Newburger who recently passed was the first woman to be elected Town Supervisor. Town Councilwoman Viviana Russell is the first African American woman to sit on the board. And Councilwoman Anna Kaplan recently became the first Iranian American to be elected to the North Hempstead Town Board.”
Originally, North Hempstead was part of the Township of Hempstead. But with residents in northernmost Long Island growing increasingly dissatisfied with British rule in the mid-18the century, an ad hoc committee Cow Neck (now Great Neck) militia submitted a resolution verbalizing what so many had on their minds: the wish to split from the township of Hempstead. It wasn’t until after the war, however, that the New York State legislature granted the request, creating the Town of North Hempstead in 1784.
“It’s important that you learn history so that you, our leaders of tomorrow, can make better decisions in the future,” Councilwoman Kaplan, told the students who, following the morning’s event in the park, participated in mock town board sessions in Town Hall focusing on the workings of government. Kaplan, who also holds the distinction of being the first Iranian American in New York State to hold a political office, portrayed Margaret Cochran Corbin, the first woman to receive a military pension.
Councilwoman Viviana Russell portrayed Alva Smith Vanderbilt Belmont, a fashion maven of the day and champion of the women’s suffrage movement in the early 1900’s. “When our leaders make decisions, they have an affect on the lives of women and men alike,” she said, “so each of you should make it your duty to learn about government and the electoral process. Get involved.”
Portraying Elizabeth M. Baker, Town Clerk Leslie Gross was greeted with thundering applause by E.M. Baker students when she reminded them that their school was named for her. “I thank you for listening so diligently to the history of the Town,” she said. “I encourage you all to work hard in school so you can continue to positively shape the history of North Hempstead.”