2018-02-22 / Columnists

Babylon News & Muse

•Happy Birthday to George Washington! As many of my readers will remember, we always celebrated his birthday (Feb. 22) on that day. By the same token, we celebrated Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on Feb. 11th! As a teacher, I didn’t mind the extra days off we got when both of these days were lumped together. But I do think it demeaned both of these wonderful presidents when that was done. While school students still learn about both of them, it’s just not the same.

•Sadly, I have to note the death of one of Babylon’s terrific women. Alice Zaruka passed away on February 13th. (See full obituary on Page 6c). Alice was a graduate of Babylon High, and met her husband-to-be, Bill Zaruka, there. She and her husband were married for 64 years when he died. Like her husband, Alice loved the Village and worked to make it a better place to live. She was one of the first members and a Past-President of the Babylon Village Historical Society. She later became Village Historian, and continued to work at the Museum for the rest of her life. She was a recipient of the Village’s Nathaniel Conklin Service Award. She will be greatly missed.

•Last week, a dozen or more citizens, including myself, attended the Babylon Village Planning Board meeting to discuss opposition to the plans for the Brosnahan property, located 73 West Main Street. As a result, several of us were interviewed on Monday by NEWS12 and CBS News. Basically, the third and newest plan for the property is to raze both buildings and erect a new brick building very similar to the one on the opposite side of Main Street, next to Realm Furniture. The new building will be two stories, with two retail sites on the ground floor and three apartments on the second floor. The rest of the lot will provide parking space.

I have to say, I had mixed feelings on the interviews. Both reporters, Doug Geed (NEWS 12) and Jennifer McLogan (CBS) let us explain our opposition to the owner’s plan to demolish the two historic buildings. We also told them that we want the Village to develop a new code (law) that would help to preserve such important parts of our heritage.

Laughingly, however, when I saw both news segments, I was startled to see how old I look! If I’m going to be on TV at any time in the future, I’ll have to get a total makeover!

Less humorous is the projected loss of these two buildings, which played an active role in the birth of both the Town of Babylon and later the Village. Sadly, they are not in good shape, but both could be restored. Last year, in one month alone, the Village had three historical buildings demolished. A petition is being circulated, asking the Village Board to develop the code which will help preserve such buildings in the future.

The next step is to attend the hearing of the Village Zoning Board of Appeals, which may be held in March. I will be explaining this further in future columns.

•We have a number of local people celebrating birthdays this week. Our good wishes go out to Mark Lessing, Hans Seidenberg, Julie Long, and Jon Taylor, for a happy birthday and a wonderful year to come.

If any of you has an event, such as a birth, wedding, or birthday, you would like us to mention, please let me know.

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