2001-12-01 / Columnists

On The Beach… With Beverly Baxter

The Queens County Saint Patrick's Day Parade and Cultural Committee held its first benefit of the Parade 2002 at The Beach Club on Sunday November 25. The fete celebrated our distinguished slate of honorees while they made their debut. Grand and Deputy Grand Marshals are bestowed with the most esteemed honor that the Irish community endows upon an individual. While each year the committee of fifty members nominates and votes to honor certain individuals who have in some way, either through their vast Herculean efforts on behalf of the Irish community, or through the dignified work of their lives, this year, in the wake of the WTC attack, our task was unprecedented. Since our community was so blatantly affected, the committee wanted to honor all those who so valiantly gave of themselves. Our Memorial Mass at Saint Frances de Sales will be a posthumous remembrance of all who gave all. And to acknowledge and pay tribute to the FDNY, NYPD, and the Emergency Service Technicians, we have asked all nine-engine companies throughout the peninsula, as well as the police departments, to select someone to represent their particular house. Anyone who served at "Ground Zero" is warmly urged to attend our functions and to march with us in our parade. We expect it to be the most beautiful parade ever. The following individuals have distinguished themselves to the committee as Grand and
Deputy Grand Marshals. I'm certain you will agree with our selection! They are:
 For the last nine parades, Mayor Giuliani has always chosen to march the entire parade route with us. We are hoping that he, along with Commissioners Von Essen and Kenrick, will participate as we honor them and their departments. Our Grand Marshals are John Greaney, President of Local 608, and Maureen Lynch, President of the Queens County Chamber of Commerce. Our Honorary Grand Marshal is Thomas Touhey of the N.Y.F.D. who has been chosen to represent our uniformed servicemen. Tom is also the Treasurer and Line of March Director of the parade committee.

The Deputy Grand Marshals are: Brandan McPhartland, Dispatcher Organizer of Local 30; Jerry Perrish, Proprietor of the Irish Circle; Kenny Good, Proprietor of The Beach Club; Joseph Casper, Legal Council for the So. Ozone Park Knights of Columbus; Maureen McGee, President of the Seabreeze Seniors Club at Saint Frances de Sales; Joani George, former Wave Reporter and creator of the Most Wanted Column; Larry Kelly, Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus; Mary Lenihan, local activist and parade supporter who looked absolutely smashing in a Kelly green silk taffeta ankle-length dress; and Patricia-Young O'Connor, of County Cork Association.  Congratulations to all the honorees!
   The names of those in attendance at The Beach Club Gala read like a roster of "Who's Who" in the Irish Community. Former Grand Marshals Jack Ahern, Business Manager of Local 30; and Mae O'Driscoll, President United Irish Counties, were there to support this year's honorees. Mae looked stunning as she sat with a very proud Patricia Young-O'Connor at the Chapey and Pasternak table. The two women have done much work together on behalf of the County Cork Association. It was so nice to see Chris and Mary Bowles and their son Chris who was recently promoted to Captain of the FDNY. Captain Bowles sustained severe injuries at the WTC, but thankfully, he is with us today. I had a lovely and interesting chat with Ms. Joanne Greenberg
whom I've known only remotely through her various endeavors in the
community. She is an extremely intelligent and very thoughtful person.

It's always great to see the McGonigles, the McGraths, the Kellers, the Correys, the Sullivans, Des and Liz O'Leary, the Maroneys, Pat and Peggy Hughes who looked absolutely lovely in a red suit with gold accents, and I was delighted to see Mrs. Marge Carney as I so fondly remember her husband, the late Tom Carney. And of course, Geraldine Chapey, my partner in soooo much fun! It was also nice to welcome Nadia and Tom Murphy. Nadia is the
President of the Belle Harbor Garden Club and her husband Tom is a NYFD Fireman who felt he just had to attend. Nadia tells me that the garden club has just completed the planting of thirteen thousand Daffodils that are expected to bloom in March. It will be comforting to see them adorn our community, as well as feel the prayers that were said with each one, as we march the parade route. Thank you, Nadia for being you and for bringing so much beauty to our town.

Parade Chairman Mike Benn states, "In the wake of the tragedies that fell upon our community, we anticipate more participation than ever before from the Correction Officers, FDNY, and PDNY Pipe Bands. They are a fraternity and this year they will be joined by three Scottish Highland Bands. The Gallic Society, the original ancient Celtic society, will be
represented by their float. With the presence of the United Irish Counties
and the County Cork Association, we expect Co. Mayo, Co. Tyrone, and Co.
Limerick to march with their banners. Our goal, of course, is to have all thirty-two counties represented in our parade. We expect to have the most glorious parade in our history."

Congratulations again to all the honorees on their much-deserved honor and to Parade Chairman Michael Benn, and Mrs. Peggy Neville for a meticulous job well done!
***Keyspan has given twenty thousand dollars to the Chamber of Commerce for Holiday lights to light up the peninsula from one end to the other during this holiday season.
***Congratulations to Jack and Peggy McCann of Buy The Sea Real Estate on the birth of their granddaughter! October was certainly an exciting month for the McCann’s and I hope everyone is fine and doing well.
***Happy Birthday wishes to Alison Lane on December 4 and Daphne Murphy on December 2!
***My deepest Condolences to the family of Ellen Slattery-Milmore who passed away so suddenly.
***The Thirteenth Annual Generation to Generation Fundraiser for The Museum of Jewish Heritage was held at Battery Park City. The $500 to $2500 a plate benefit fete honored the FDNY who were the guests of honor. My friends Kathryn Kash and Tom Touhey were given a private tour by Ann Oster of the museum, as were all the Firemen and their spouses. Among those in attendance were our esteemed and much beloved Mayor Giuliani and Larry Silverstein who recently bought the lease on the WTC and vowed to rebuild. Also there were
former Mayor Ed Koch, Mark Green and Dr. Ruth Westheimer, to name a few. I'd be happy if only Mayor Giuliani was there!  I'm going to miss him so much when he leaves office. They say that Giuliani will have a position on a much grander stage; and although there is much anticipation that he will perhaps run for President, I would just love for him to come back in four years and run and win again.... and again! How can one ever tire of such a tireless man.
***Now that we have new representation in the City Council, I would hope that our local politicians, along with the Chamber of Commerce, can devise some kind of plan to attract the many businesses that were lost at the WTC. Twenty-five million square feet of office space was lost and we have nothing but land, lots of it, over 300 acres of it! If ever there was a time to revitalize and develop Rockaway, this is it!
***I attended an extraordinary evening at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall last week to premiere a concert version of The World of Nick Adams based on the short stories of Ernest Hemmingway and dramatized by A.E. Hotchner and the incidental music of Aaron Copeland. The all-star cast includes Paul Newman, Meryl Streep, Robert DeNiro, Julia Roberts, Morgan Freeman, Joanne Woodward, and others in a semi-staged reading. Leonard Slatkin conducted the Orchestra of St. Luke's. The premiere was a benefit for The Hole In The Wall Camp, founded by Paul Newman and A.E. Hotchner for children with life-threatening illnesses. There are now seven camps through out the country that serve thousands of children. Nick Adams is
semi-autobiographical and based on the Hemmingway character. If you have a chance to see it, do so!
***I hope you all had a thankful Thanksgiving. I went to my grandmother's house in Southampton. Through all that has happened in recent months, it felt rather surreal to be out there. Southampton never changes. It's a different world that depicts a more gentle and graceful time gone by. There has always been a sense of security, that nothing could ever happen or pierce that world that safely exists behind towering privet hedges. My grandmother's world seemed so exempt from all the tragedies; and yet, this year, I realized how it's all a false sense of security. That if it could happen here, it could happen there...and anywhere. So, I suppose the moral of one's story should be to live each day as if it were the last, and don't compromise, forfeit, or postpone happiness for even another minute!  See you.... On the Beach!


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