Sweet ‘N Low To The Rescue
By Tawana Blount
For 25 years "Dancing Under The Stars" has offered the Rockaway community many summer evenings of line dancing at the Beach 86 street site in front of the boardwalk. Usually, the eight-week program starts the first Thursday after the Fourth of July. Unfortunately the plug was pulled on that July 6 event due to a lack of funds, which normally would have come from the New York City Parks Department.
Esther Rabinowitz, a 78-year-old who runs the program with the aid of her 82-year-old husband Arthur, was disappointed when she found out that the Parks Department cancelled the program.
"Dancing Under The Stars" was originally an afternoon program located at Beach 17 street. Esther was the dance instructor. After realizing that it was too hot during the afternoons, she moved the program to the evenings. The switch proved to be a positive one. Seniors came out in large attendance mostly from the Roy Reuther apartments on Beach 8 street and also from JASA on Beach 9 street. Unfortunately, the seniors who attended the program eventually died or moved away to Florida. The program was then moved to Beach 84 street. With the new location came a large influx of children. Grandparents even began to bring their grandchildren.
"We’re teaching generations of children to dance, even two year olds," said Esther. "It invigorates me." She calls it her "fountain of youth."
Esther was happy to hear that Maxine Kamil, one of many who participate in the program, had reached out to Democratic District Leader Lew Simon for help in restoring the program.
Lew Simon, who has long since played a role in the program, said, "I am personally committed because we’re aware of the importance of recreation on the Rockaway peninsula."
After hearing that the program was being cancelled, Simon went to Marvin and Barbara Eisenstadt, proprietors of Cumberland Sweet ‘N Low and Rockaway residents. They didn’t hesitate in giving Simon a check to support "Dancing Under the Stars" for the summer.
"They are always there for the community," Simon said, referring to the Eisenstadts. "They not only give funds, but also of their time. They make a difference in this community."
The program has been restored thanks to the generosity of the Eisenstadts. Simon said that at Tuesday’s event on July 11 everyone had a good time, even kids from Hammels and Edgemere were having a ball.
For those interested in attending "Dancing Under the Stars", it meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome. Expect to hear songs like the semi-recent hit "Mambo No.5" and the "Electric Slide" as well as other line dance favorites. And not only that, expect to have fun while you and your little ones get footloose and fancy-free.