First Glance — Hall of Fame Induction Dinner 2023
Thank you to all the Trustees & volunteers who once again made this Hall of Fame Banquet such an
outstanding success. There are now so many aspects to this annual event it is difficult to name them
all and to give credit to those who made it possible. In particular, we have to recognize our
President Barbara Johnson. Not only has she managed the tasks of running the Society this year, but
for the second year in a row she and her family coordinated the entire HOF banquet. It was a great
year Barbara, we have to lighten your load next year. To all, a job well done!
In anticipation of the Hall of Fame dinner
(Remarks from Incoming President Barbara Johnson)
I am very honored and excited to assume the role of President of the Breezy Point Historical Society (BPHS). It is such a blessing to live in this wonderful community, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to contribute toward preserving Breezy Point’s history for the benefit of both current and future generations. I would like to thank our previous President Kevin Reilly, for his strong leadership, significant time commitment and unwavering dedication to our organization! I have big flip flops to fill. While we have accomplished so much during Kevin’s tenure, there is still more to do. Fortunately for us Kevin will remain with the BPHS as a Trustee!
We have a lot to accomplish this year. In addition to our yearly cyclical work, that includes our membership drive, Hall of Fame Banquet, office work, fundraising, and many events, we also need to tackle major office renovations, many process improvements and technology upgrades. We believe these investments will help us to grow and be an even greater “value add” to our Breezy Point Community. Trustees and volunteers all help contribute to our goals. Please consider donating your membership, time and/or talent to support our worthy cause. This may even be a good opportunity to meet some new people and have some fun too! I am looking forward to an enjoyable, educational and action packed 2023 season! Please join us for one (or more) of our upcoming events. Dates are available in our Newsletter and details will become available on our website (Breezypointhistory.org) The Rockaway Point News and our Facebook page as specific details become available.
I wish everyone a wonderful, healthy, and FUN 2023 Summer Season!
Dear Friends and Neighbors
(Letter from outgoing President Kevin Anthony Reilly)
I am writing this column as I conclude two years as President of the Breezy Point Historical Society and welcome Barbara Johnson as our new President. It’s been an interesting two years, to say the least, as we along with the community and, indeed, the world had to adjust ourselves to a pandemic of historic proportions. We had to cancel two of our annual Hall of Fame Dinners and some other events, yet we kept other events going to the degree that we could, and we managed to initiate a number of projects. That we were able to do so evidenced, I think, that we were blessed with many active trustees and volunteers who kept the ship afloat. Cathy Murfitt regularly occupied the navigator’s seat on our bridge. Artie Lighthall, aside from being our pursur also acted as the ship’s engineer. Other trustees reliably managed the oars in their own ways. We must also thank the large number of residents who were enthusiastic about joining with us as we compile, story by story, our beginnings a century ago through much of the twentieth century.
Looking back just over the past year, we conducted our usual summer programs in the Point Breeze Clubhouse. We also added a September program when a leading urban historian explained to a full house the broad sweep of how plans for one of the world’s largest ports reconfiguring Jamaica Bay repeatedly rose on the political tide for decades before finally ebbing away in the face of Robert Moses’ planning for an urban marine parkland. I think that a September program will now become a regular feature. We also published the first volume of what we hope will be an annual Journal of Breezy Point History. The Journal included, among other articles, a history of the intertwined Howard-Reid family which was instrumental in starting the seaside summer colony of Rockaway Point and its westward expansion into Breezy Point. Lillian Hess, the author and a descendant of that family, had access to family historical resources but also did an exceptional job of research which reached into the colonial roots of Brooklyn and Queens. We moved the 2022 Hall of Fame Dinner from the Clubhouse to the Colony to accommodate the swelling number of attendees, and we all agree that it turned out to be the best one yet. Jerilynn Lalor, who had steered the Dinner’s operations since the beginning, stepped back and Barbara Johnson stepped forward to assume responsibility. Lillian joined Paul Balukas, who has long been our video master in compiling the storylines which we collect and preserve, in framing the evening’s visual show. Artie Lighthall was always in the wings helping out with the technology, and, of course, everyone pitched in to put the dinner together. We were hosted this past Fall by the Director of the Harbor Defense Museum in Fort Hamilton who not only gave us a tour of the displays but also took us to the back rooms where the actual preservation work is done. We received a first rate class in preservation techniques and technology and a primer on cataloguing documents having historical interest, which will be an important project for the BPHS this coming year. All in all, it's been a wonderful experience for me and I’d like to thank our Board, our volunteers and our residents for ensuring that the Breezy Point Historical Society has found its place in Breezy history □