2004-01-30 / Columnists

On The Beach

With Beverly Baxter
Meet Mr. A. J. Smith
On The Beach With Beverly Baxter

With Beverly Baxter

Meet Mr. A. J. Smith

Old Man Winter certainly has been very cruel. It makes me long to escape and slip into St. Thomas or Key West! I hope that wherever you are, that you are warm!

The weather certainly didn’t hinder the more than 350 who ventured out to attend The 29th Annual Hearts and Shamrocks Dance last weekend at Saint Camillus hosted by The James Conway Sullivan Queens County Saint Patrick’s Day Parade Commit tee. Each year, the committee of fifty members selects and votes on a roster of honorees whom, either through their contributions on behalf of the Irish community or through the work of their lives, have distinguished themselves to the committee. Among those being honored this year is an accomplished man whom we are honored to bestow with the honor of Deputy Grand Marshall. His name is Arthur J. Smith.

Speak to "A.J." about the prospect of the Nets coming to Brooklyn, or his beloved Mets and Rangers, or his own Thoroughbred Race Horses, and like most any avid Irish American sports enthusiast, he will go on and on....However, his pitch becomes more endeared when he talks about The Wedge and The Olive Pits, the two Breezy Point Softball Teams he has played on for many years!

A.J., together with his wife, Kate, have been lifelong residents of Breezy Point. Although they reside full-time in the North Shore Village of Man hasset, Long Island, they still summer in "Breezy" and maintain a home on Oceanside. AJ’s mother, Elaine Smith, has resided at her residence on B.213th Street since 1956. His sister, Mary Elizabeth is the Cooperative’s Resident Historian.

An Attorney in private practice, A.J. graduated from New York University with a major in politics, and Fordham Law School. His Law practice, Baxter and Smith, just recently opened its 4th location in Jericho, Long Island. Other locations include offices in Manhattan, White Plains, and Buffalo.

In addition to his distinguished career accomplishments, A.J. has been actively involved in community service within the Irish community for a number of years. He is currently President of the New York County Board of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. A.J. will be the Grand Marshall in the Brooklyn Irish American Parade in Park Slope on March 21st.

Among his philanthropic endeavors is the "Kruise for Kids", an annual charity boat ride sponsored by his AOH Division which raises over $80,000 for Project Children, an organization that hosts nearly 400 children from N.E. Ireland to summer with American families. He is on its Board of Directors. In 2002, A.J. organized and ran the New York City fundraiser for the AOH victims of 9/11. He is also an active member of both The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in NYC and Long Island.

His commitment to his community in Breezy Point extends to the Cooper ative Insurance and Communications Committees of which he is a member. He is also a frequent Lecturer for the Breezy Point Book Club.

A.J. has fond memories of growing up in Breezy where he was a Lifeguard for six years and served as Captain for two years, served for several years on the Stage Crew for the teen productions; as well as played in the Summer Baseball League.

There is a thread of community service and benevolence that runs through A.J’s life. Although he has been quite successful in his career, he passionately believes in "giving back" to his heritage and community. The parade committee is most honored to be honoring a man of A.J. Smith’s caliber. He makes us all so very proud!

***Many of you have inquired as to where you may obtain a copy of Mary Elizabeth Smith’s book, A History of Breezy Point. You will find it at the hardware store and at the Coop office in Breezy. It will also be available at local stores and local libraries.

***Congratulations to the parade Scholarship winners: Tina Adjei Bo som peon, Caroline Carrion, Meagan Fitzpatrick, Kerry King, Matt Patter son, and Kimberly Watty who each wrote stunning essays on the contributions of Irish Immigrants in America. The winners were presented with their awards by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, who along with Dr. Geraldine D. Chapey and Rev. Robert Hoatson judged the essays. Also presenting the awards were Sister Patricia Chelius, Parade President Mike Benn, and Mrs. Rosemary Sullivan.

***If you enjoy dining at Tiberio’s as much as I do, you’ll be happy to know that they now accept major credit cards! So join Raymone and Rudy and their wonderful staff for a delicious dining experience! Do make reservations as they are very crowded on most weekends.

***I met Peggy Page, that Grand Dame of the Rockaway Theatre, who informed me that the theatre troope is getting ready to mount productions of One Flew Over The Cookoo’s Nest and Nunsense. The group will be hosting auditions the first week in February for their next season. Contact Peggy Page or John Gilleece.

***Attention Republicans! Did you know...there are approximately 5000 registered Republicans throughout Rockaway and nearly 10,000 in the 23rd. District. Well, a grassroots en deavor is underway to revitalize and promote a Republican voice in Rock away. If you are a Registered Republi can, you will soon be receiving a mailing from this newly formed group. Among them are activists Tom Lynch, Stu Mirsky, George Greco, and Joseph McGrougy, to name just a few of the 25 local Republicans who have expressed interest in a viable local Republican organization. Join them! It’s time that there was a more politically equitable force among the Republican Party in Rockaway.

***Speaking of the sport of Politics, I’m sure many of you witnessed the political faux pas made by candidate Howard Dean. His maniacal tirade rather reminded me of Lew Simon!

***It certainly was refreshing to see the unpredicted and exciting upset waged by Senator Kerry. Out of the entire slate of Democrats, I happen to like John Edwards. Although he is not as seasoned as the others, he is a great orator on the scale of Clinton, Cuomo, Kennedy, and Reagan.

***There are still two more days left to take advantage of the no sales tax week on items under $110. There are now plenty of great buys out there. It’s a great time to stock up on your favorite cashmere sweaters..in every color!

***Have a Gucci handbag that needs repair? Or perhaps the hardware is coming undone on your favorite Chanel. Take them to Leon’s Shoe Repair on the Blvd at B.115 Street. Leon is a master craftsman rarely found anymore. His skill is not merely limited to shoes as he is brilliant at repairing anything Leather. He made my expensive handbags look like new. Thanks, Leon!

***I extend my thoughts to Michael Foley this week on the one year anniversary of the loss of his beloved Maura. Michael, when you are ready, please come back to the parade committee. We need you.

***Not Again! No, it wasn’t Mary Alice Lane who fell again this time; but rather it was a wooden table that fell on her and broke her foot! while helping the committee set up for the Hearts and Shamrocks Dance. You are loved and missed.

***Happy Birthday wishes to Mrs. Rosemary Sullivan, Bridie McCotter, Ken Huhn, Barbara Morris, and Rob bie Blender!

See you.....On the Beach!

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