2002-06-29 / Columnists

Broad Channel Bits by Liz Guarino

Broad Channel Bits by Liz Guarino

Hot weather is here, school's out till September and lots of people are firing up their grills! Swimming pools are in use and cold beer and icy lemonade really hit the spot.

Seasons do change though, and so does the landscape. Residents have probably noticed that 901 Crossbay Blvd is an empty lot now. O'Sullivan's Pub is gone. The pile of rubble that housed the local watering hole has been cleared away. The empty lot looks small and forlorn. In a way, the demolition of each building here marks the end of an era. At a time to the future, there won't be any 'old' Broad Channel to see.

With an eye to that future time and to commemorate the 901 Crossbay Blvd. building of which many residents have wonderful memories, I talked with Gene O'Sullivan. In typical B.C. fashion, he invited me over to chat, even though he doesn't know me! Gene's parents once owned the building. "I spent a lot of my life in that store," he said, laughing. He gladly shared some of its history.

He related that O'Sullivan's was built in 1920 as a pharmacy. It had both a soda counter and a cigar counter. Three large glass display windows graced the outside of the store. (There is a wonderful March 1946 picture of it in the Life and Times [1940's] of Broad Channel book of the Historical Collection at the Library.)

Gene fondly remembers doing his homework in the backroom of the store when he was in school.  In fact, his first job was as "a soda fountain jerk" at the pharmacy soda counter, he said. He made an excellent egg cream! In fact, his abilities behind the soda counter were even mentioned at his daughter's wedding. He worked at this job until he joined the Navy.

The building became a pub in 1978; first it was called O's, then it was Eddie B's. When it became a pub, the large windows became part of the building's history. Gene mentioned how the offerings of the building changed with time. From pharmacy to candy store to health and beauty aids to pub, the building kept pace with the changing times.

In over 80 years of existence, it was owned by the O'Sullivan family. It is now owned by another B.C. resident, Charlie Howard. Gene has mixed feelings about the sale of the property, but cited all the hard work in keeping it running, a desire for retirement and advancing years as the principal reasons for the sale. "I hate to see it go," he said, "but times change." Many residents are looking forward to the next incarnation of 901 CBB.

Tripping down memory lane can be fun. Do you have a special memory connected with O'Sullivan's drug store or the pub to share with others? I'd like to hear from you if you do!

POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE, PART I-There was lots of caps and gowns and parties in the Channel the last couple of weeks to celebrate the rite of passage we call Graduation.

Nineteen of our young people graduated St. Virgilius School. They are: Natalie Columbel, Lianna Fallon, John Garafolo, Jill Guttieri, James Harnisher, Jill Henglein, Nicole Lopipero, Julietta LoPresti, Brian Madden, Madlen Malinowski, Melissa McCambridge, Jennifer Mundy, Christina Pizzo, James Polizzi, Traci Riekers, Carmine Scotti, James Shea, Matthew Smilardi and Danielle Willsen.

As of my deadline, I had not received the list of "Stepping Up" students nor the list of graduates fromP>S. 47. Is there a reader who can provide those lists to me?

Has everyone noticed the size increase in our Library? It seems to have much more room now, even though only 150 square feet was added. And they put the bike rack back! A Magic Show with Anthony Corrao will be held at the Library on Tuesday, July 9 at 1:30 P.M. It is for children ages 5 to 12. The show is free, and space is limited.

TRY TO WATCH THIS! The film on the Vollies, "Discovering Queens Hometown Heroes: The Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department" is scheduled for Saturday, June 29 at 7 P.M. on Channel 34, a cable station. Residents who have satellite dishes and/or no cable can ask family or friends to tape the show for them or to invite them over. BCVFD was among the first to respond to Ground Zero on 9/11.

LAST CALL: On Saturday, June 29, from 9 A.M. to 11 A.M., BCAC registration will be held at the BCAC Memorial Field. There will be Summer Basketball signups for boys and girls; fee is $15 per child. Mike Shea is the contact person. Cheerleading signup will also be held, at a fee of $85 for the first child, $65 for the second child. For ages 4 through 14, Margaret is the contact at 634-1956.

Residents who want to join the seniors at the Fort Tilden Playhouse and see the USO Show 2002 on Friday, July 5 still have time to get tickets. If you want to join them, call the box office for tickets at 850-2450; regular adult admission is $12 and senior admission is $7.

The Hawaiian Luau at the Beach Club on Friday, July 12 at 8 P.M. sure sounds like fun! With an unlimited open bar, buffet, pig roast, bottled beer and music by a deejay, how can you beat it? In advance cost is $50 per person; at the door $60. All proceeds to BCVFD. For tickets, call BCVFD 474-6888 or Beach Club 634-6500.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!


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