2004-06-11 / Front Page

Rockaway Museum Fundraiser Set For Sunday, June 13

By Miriam Rosenberg

Rockaway Museum Fundraiser Set For Sunday, June 13

By Miriam Rosenberg

The Rockaway Museum, which has been closed since the beginning of the year, will host a gala fundraiser this Sunday, June 13 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Pier 92 (Beach 92 Street and Beach Channel Drive, behind McDonald's), according to Susan Locke, the museum's president.

"You can show your support by joining us on Sunday for a very special fundraising event where you will be treated to the exciting talents of Celeste Ray, Celtic singer and psaltery player and the songs and music of Breezy Point's own Ed Deacy," says Locke. "Artwork by Rockaway artists will be raffled off as well as dinners in our favorite restaurants and other super prizes, all donated by local merchants and friends."

"The Rockaway Museum needs your support to continue to bring art, science and history programs to our local schools and to maintain the museum as well as to mount new and exciting exhibits. Get your tickets at the door and we promise you a fun-filled afternoon," Locke concludes.

The museum is in the final stages of renovation and will reopen on Monday, June 14. When it does, visitors will find more than just a fresh coat of paint on the walls. They will find a new "Playland Retrospective" exhibit that will evoke in Rockaway oldtimers a time long passed.

The dividing walls in the middle of the museum have been removed giving more open space to the area, and old exhibits have been taken down and packed away.

Much of the renovation was done by the Graybeards, a west end group of men who originally got together to play basketball but, after September 11, began to do community work as well. The group recently renovated the Rockaway Theatre Company's Fort Tilden venue.

The main exhibit will be a retrospective on Rockaway's Playland.

"The exhibit will bring back fond memories to those who remember Rockaway in its heyday," said Susan Locke, the president of the Rockaway Museum.

The exhibit will include photographs of the midway, the park's many rides and the customers who patronized Playland as well as pictures showing the demolition of the popular park.

A focal point of the exhibit is a huge survey map by that was done by the city. It shows the layout for Playland's rides and attractions within the confines of the blocks surrounding it. Also included are items that once called Playland home such as signs and a go-cart.

While the museum's trustees are still putting the finishing touches on the exhibit, other possible memorabilia to be included are prizes that were once given away at Playland and postcards.

The museum will also feature a permanent exhibit dedicated to the flight of the first plane to cross the Atlantic - the NC-4. Included is a scale model of the plane and video of the 1919 takeoff of the historic flight from the old Rockaway Naval Air Station at what is now Riis Park. The museum does more than display exhibits. The museum also brings the history of Rockaway into the schools in the community.

"The Rockaway Museum is an important organization in Rockaway," Locke said. "[The museum] keeps the history alive. That's important for those living here and those moving into the Rockaways." The gala fundraiser on Sunday, June 13 at Pier 92 Restaurant is a precursor of the re-opening. The 4 p.m. event will feature performances from two of Rockaway's most popular entertainers - Celeste Ray and Ed Deacy.

Ray is an internationally known singer, songwriter and musician of Celtic music. Deacy is the Assistant Dean of Discipline at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx. The former NYPD detective has a new CD called "Ed Deacy - My Celtic Heart."

The cost of the cocktail party is being borne by The Wave and all monies collected will go directly to the museum.

The money will be used both to support the museum itself and to develop new and exciting exhibits, according to Locke, and for a number of outreach programs that brings the museum and its volunteers to local elementary and middle schools.

Starting on June 14 the Rockaway Museum will be open to visitors three days a week - Monday, Wednesday and Thursday (subject to change) from noon to 4 p.m. on each of those days.

It is advised that visitors should call 718-634-400 for information.

The Rockaway Museum is located in The Wave Building (88-08 Rockaway Beach Boulevard) in Rockaway Beach.

Admission to the museum is free. Memorabilia such as tee shirts, books about Rockaway history, historic anniversary issues of The Wave, and postcards can be purchased at the museum.

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