Like jelly beans spilling out of cellophane bags, children rushed onto Fraser Park field to hunt for 1,600 eggs during the 16th Annual Eggstravaganza, held Saturday in North Merrick. Though snow was (correctly) predicted for that night, it was sunny, spring-jacket weather the morning of the Egg Hunt.
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Nassau County Executive LAURA CURRAN officially started the Egg Hunt, and visitors also had the chance to meet and chat with Hempstead Town Supervisor LAURA GILLEN and Hempstead Town Clerk SYLVIA CABANA.
The Eggstravaganza co-hosts were North and Central Merrick Civic Association – which had its new co-presidents SUE MOLLER and LOU CICCONE keeping the event running smoothly – and American Legion Auxiliary 1282, which had President FLORENCE HOFFMAN and many other members manning the Entrance and art activity tables & more.
Last Sunday, while entering the snowy grounds of Old Westbury Gardens with my friend Bob, I thought back to 2007, when I visited the Gold Coast estate during a biting, heavy snowfall.
That day 10 Decembers ago, I stayed outside capturing photos until I absolutely had to go to Westbury House, beg mercy from staff in the Entrance Hall, take off my gloves and boots, and stand toasty close to the fireplace.
Slowly defrosting in the impressively elegant wood and marble hall, I imagined myself back outside the mansion, but during the Great Blizzard of 1947, when the John and Margarita Phipps family lived there….
I was a trespasser with a noble mission – wielding my Kodak in the snowstorm to capture ghostlike images of trees – and, alas, flirting with hypothermia.
Without warning, a tall stranger swept me off my numb feet and whisked me to the mansion. As we took off our coats, I noticed he, too, had a camera strapped around his neck.
We sat in front a fireplace surrounded by books, and he put his hand to his chest. “Victor, Victor Hasselblad – a… a husgäst of Phipps,” he said softly and with a melodic accent. “And you, lilla frusen lövsångare?”
“Oh my,” “I said, “You’re THE Victor Hasselblad!” The genius nodded. “You’ve just GOT to develop a Hasselblad camera for civilians!” I said, then started to tell him why….
Now I’m at times better about coming in from the cold before losing feeling in my extremities.
But I always do my best to protect my camera. So last weekend when Bob and I arrived at Old Westbury Gardens and stepped out of the car on to slippery icy snow-covered grounds, we headed straight to Westbury House.
Once inside, we heard what sounded like live music coming from the Ballroom just ahead. We were right, for in a far corner of the vast room, pianist ANGELINA FUSCO was playing traditional Christmas music on a Steinway grand piano, backlit by large windows. Capturing the atmospheric scene was a fun challenge.
The Main Hall was not to be missed, especially for families with children, since that’s where Santa sat surrounded by a Christmas tree, fireplace that was a great setting for holiday photos, and stairway strewn with stuffed animals looking as if they’d spilled out of Santa’s bag as he made his way up to the Children’s Quarters on the Third floor.