June 16, 2011

Jones Beach, a Long Island treasure for Levittowners





Click on photos to enlarge

By FRANK BARNING

One of the best things about living in Levittown is the proximity to Jones Beach. For those of us who have moved away from Long Island, many list Jones Beach as one of the things they miss the most. Kathy Stahlman Zinn, class of 1963, muses, "How I took for granted all those trips to Jones Beach." She lives in North Carolina.

It was my good fortune to have worked at Jones Beach for five summers, starting with the summer between my junior and senior years at Division Avenue High School, all the way through college. My earnings there paid for a sizeable portion of my Hofstra tuition.

Once I starting working at the beach, I never had to look for another summer job. Most of the other members of what we called "The Jones Beach Navy" because of our uniforms, were students from nearby communities such as Freeport, Wantagh and Seaford. I don't recall any classmates who were also seasonal employees.

Most of the time my first couple of summers was spent picking up litter in the parking lots of Fields 4 and 5. Then I requested and received a move to the parking field at the Marine Theater on Zach's Bay where our crew directed traffic before and after the shows produced by Guy Lombardo. One summer, I was the night watchman at the theater.

Above are photos of Division Avenue people at Jones Beach.

* June Johnson, class of 1963, sitting on a beach blanket. Her classmate Pat Henry in the dark swimsuit.

* Reading a book is Roberta Landry. Behind Roberta is her 1961 classmate Alice Nutini.

* The two couples enjoying a day at the shore in 1960 are long-time DAHS teacher David Peyton (reading and smoking a pipe) and his wife Sybil. With them are their friends Arlene and Ed Lavey, parents of the class of 1963's Tim Lavey.

* Taking in the beach scene is four-year old Marilyn Monsrud, class of 1963.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jones Beach was a summertime ritual for us. Dad got home from work by 4, gathered up mom, our neighbor Richie Kanarvogel ('64), and me, and off we drove in the '56 Chevy to JB. Body surfing was our favorite activity for an hour or so, then back in the car for the 20-minute drive home for a 6pm start to dinner. Always had good times at Jones Beach in the long, lazy teenage summers. What was the toll? --- $.25, I think? Now, what?? -- $8 or 10?? Live closer to it now, but rarely go except as a treat for the grandkids ... lol.

Jim Ayres '63

Anonymous said...

I, too, was fortunate to have summer employment at Jones Beach. I worked in the Games area, primarily picking up arrows in the archery area, but also worked in shuffleboard, paddle ball and pitch-putt golf. That was when transistor radios were just becoming popular (the Four Seasons' Sherri and Tommy Roe's Sheila were big hits that summer), Marilyn Monroe died and Jumbo Brown, one of the first major league relief pitchers, was our boss. I remember him as a large old man, even though he was only in his fifties, but he was a celebrity and well respected. Nylon tank suits were very popular with the boys back then, at first they were always black, but then they started to introduce colors. Every day after work we would change out of our gray utility sailor suits (or whites for holidays), put on our suits and jump in the ocean. It was cheaper to bring lunch, but the concessions were nearby and you always 'knew someone' who got you free food. Of course, that was a two way street when they came to shoot a few arrows! To this day, I swear they made the best clam chowder! Now that we live in New Jersey we seldom get to the beach, but when we do it's not to the Jersey shore, it's back to Jones Beach. Sweet, sweet memories!

Howard Whidden '62

Anonymous said...

Jones Beach brought so many first to My Life. It was the first place I really suned and burned allot! I had my first Lobster there an evening of shear pleasure. It was the Beauty of Guy Lombardo's wonderful shows annd fireworks under the stars. Show Boat was a Special of a Life time filled with the best singing,music ,danceing and the great swimmers. We saw it all includeing the Boat!! The best first of all was a place to Rest, and Enjoy with My Family. What a wonderful escape for us all,never to forget,Roslyn

Frank Barning said...

At times I worked for Jumbo Brown. Nice man. We always could get a food deal from the concession people. My trade off was to let them paddle the Marine Theater canoes in Zach's Bay the summer I was the night watchman. Loved the golf course and the skating rink. Thanks Howard for triggering memories.

Anonymous said...

I used to work there too- first as cashier at Zacs bay concession, then as candy girl at the evening shows and then as waitress at the show - I'll never forget the Coconut wireless song! Heard it every night - had fun after work - great friends. Thanks for the memory.

bobblog said...

You could catch the bus from Division Ave. and Hempstead Tpke. It was either 60 or 90 cents...don't quite remember, but I remember going with lots of girls...all at once...not boyfriend-girlfriend...just friends..mostly I remember the "crew" from lower Hickory la. Carol Cunningham lived around the bend near Jerusalem and was a good friend of mine.I had a crush on one of her girlfriends...OK more than one...but the cool thiong was that they accepted me as another person in their circle, not "a boy" anyway, lots of trips to Jones Beach, even while living in Manhattan, I used to take the package deal on the LIRR. later in life, almost every Christmas eve, I would go out to Ocean Pkwy on my motorcycle, Ride flat out from the tower at field 4 to Oak Beach and back again...take a leisurely ride home and be completely de-stressed. Been to beaches, some famous, all over the world..Jones Beach is definitely high in the top ten.