On The Beach
Commentary By Beverly Baxter
Sundays In The Park With Song
The Rockaway Music and Arts Council mounted the first of its Sunset Concert Series on the green at Fort Tilden on Sunday, June 24 with A Night At The Copa, a musical tribute to the glamorous New York nightclub era of the renowned Copacabana. Featuring The Summerwind Orchestra and the Sinatra-style performances of Jerry Cardone and comedian Jack Fontana, the throng of concertgoers who relaxed on beach chairs and blankets revisited a style of music and "Borscht-Belt" schtick fondly reminiscent of a time gone by. There was something so glamorous about that era, when the mores of the culture were delineated through the sultry sounds of Sinatra and the Big Band.
Jerry Cardone, who has appeared at The Waldorf and The Plaza Hotel, has been a frequent favorite of the Sunset Concert Series. His renditions of Sinatra classics delighted those lucky enough to remember, as well as those who may be hearing this music for the first time. Sinatra always reminds me of a time in my youth when I would mischievously gather my friends around our property and applaud my father's Sinatra renditions as he performed unwittingly, and at the top of his lungs, in the shower! I have since grown a deep appreciation for the music of both Sinatra and Tony Bennett and have been known to do my own garbled renditions while bathing in a bath of bubbles!
Just as the "Sinatra-style" emanated so wonderfully through Jerry Cardone, the comedic style of the "Borscht Belt" performers of the Catskill mountains was portrayed by comedian and impressionist Jack Fontana. Unfortunately, I missed the hilarity of some of our own local performers, who got into and enhanced the act.
The Sunset Concert Series will continue every other Sunday throughout the summer, with the Celtic rhythms of Mactalla Mor' on July 8, the country-western music of Road House Band on July 22, Dean Karahalis and the Long Island Pops on August 5 and a tribute to the Legends of Rock 'N Roll (The Leon S. Locke Memorial Concert) with Kenny Vance and The Planotones on August 19. All concerts begin at 6 pm.
The Rockaway Music and Arts Council, in its collaboration with Gateway National Recreation Area, presents these free concerts for all to enjoy. Celebrating its 52nd year of bringing the cultural arts to Rockaway, the RMAC was founded by Sam Levenson, the renowned humorist and author; and has since been under the leadership of Barbara Eisenstadt who, as chairman, enthusiastically inspires and shares her love of the arts with everyone in her midst. Contact RMAC President Steve Yaeger, Concert Chairman John Musumeci, Membership Chairman Sharon Gabriel or any RMAC member for information on how you, too, may support these wonderful cultural events...in our town!
***It is not very often that one has the privilege of meeting a person who is a living link to Rockaway's gloried past. Charlotte Kulovany, at age 90, still resides on B. 97 St., just up the block from the house where she was born. It is also on this same block where her parents, Mary and Herbert Fraser Mooney and grandparents, the Garidaldi's, hosted many dignitaries at their hotels, among them, The Savoy, which was washed away by a hurricane. Charlotte, who was crowned Miss Rockaway, led many pageants, attended PS 44 on 92 St, which no longer exists, and has more fascinating memories than I have space to print in this column.
She was married to the late Robert Kulovany and worked for the phone company where she retired as a union executive.
On the occasion of her 90th birthday, Charlotte hosted a party for 125 guests at Russo's on-the-Bay. Arriving by limousine and donning a gold gown and tiara, Charlotte made a dramatic entrance in a glass elevator with her son (Robert Fraser Kulovany) and daughter (Carol Coyle) at her side. She was also joined by her six grandchildren and their spouses, as well as Father Dunne, who attended the fete and wished Charlotte a Happy Birthday. There were even friends who had been in her wedding party! The lavish affair included centerpiece flowers by Brian, music by D.J. Mouse, and photographs by Liz Smith. Asked to share her secret for her longevity, Charlotte confided, "Stay involved and keep dancing!" Happy Birthday, Charlotte!
***Happy Anniversary wishes to Mary and Ben Lenihan. This special couple, who have been married for 52 years, have enhanced our community through their selfless dedication with the Rockaway Park Homeowners and Residents Association and their many other endeavors. I also extend congratulations to their lovely granddaughter, Christine McNulty, on her graduation from St. Frances de Sales School. Christine, who is the daughter of Margie and Patrick McNulty and sister of Patrick and Tommy, will be attending Bishop Kearney High School.
***And of course, Happy Birthday wishes to my dear friend George Greco, Chairman of the Rockaway Republicans, who encourages all his fellow Republicans to get out and gather signatures for Eric Ulrich and Jane Deacy in the primary for the District Leadership!
See you...On the Beach!