Chatting With Chapey
Retirement has been a busy time for longtime Rockaway resident, David Dow Bentley III. Mr. Bentley, a native of Peekskill, New York, has lived in Rockaway for over three decades. Prior to his retirement in 1995, he was a teacher for more than a quarter of a century at Brooklyn's renowned Isaac Remsen Public School 147.
There, although not a trained musician himself, he was best known as the "Music Man" for his work developing elementary school music programs and productions for his students in grades K-6.
Bentley was also active as a city, state and national delegate representing the United Federation of Teachers (AFT), but since retiring, Bentley has had more time to devote to his interests in the arts through his work as a free lance writer and performing arts critic. First known for his reviews at Westchester's famed Peekskill Paramount Theater (where he has reviewed such stars as Mimi Hines and Crystal Gayle) he just spent a busy summer in
Texas where his newspaper column "The People's Critic," offers reviews of various Houston area entertainment. Some of his favorite "assignments" this season were reviews of the national concert tours of Itshak Perlman, Cher, and Harry Connick jr., in addition to wonderful performances of the Houston Symphony, Houston Ballet and numerous local productions. He has
also co-authored original short plays that have been produced by The
Woodlands Symphony Orchestra (Texas) as concert introductions for young people.
Bentley's long association with Texas began as a young child when
his family moved there for two years. He later returned and gained a
bachelor of arts degree from the University of Texas. Since retiring, he is a frequent visitor to friends and family in the Lone Star State. An
alumnus of Manhattan's American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Bentley also holds a masters degree in education from Brooklyn College.
Currently Bentley is hoping to interest local press, politicians, merchants and community groups in what he calls a "Positive Identification Program" for the Rockaways, promoting the friendliness of the area. He envisions a Rockaway logo featuring the silhouette of surfer on a wave, and waving a hand in greeting. The logo would read:
"Rockaway Says Hello With A Wave! The Friendliest New Yorkers Live "Down South" in the Rockaways!"
Bentley has already mentioned the design idea to talented local artist,
Esther Grillo, whose magnificent wave mural, "Surf's Up," will be dedicated in a ribbon cutting ceremony at Beach 108 street and Shore Front parkway on Saturday, September 25.