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City Mourns Historic Landmark

The gazebo in Morgan Park, destroyed during Wednesday's storm, was a symbol of Glen Cove.

The July 18 storm took down trees, caused power outages and , but perhaps the greatest impact felt was the loss of the gazebo.

The structure was built with the park in 1932 by banker J.P. Morgan in memory of his wife, who passed away in 1926. He leased the property to Glen Cove and Locust Valley for 99 years at a charge of one dollar.

“Morgan wanted it to be for the enjoyment of the residents,” said Darcy Belyea, Recreational Director for the City of Glen Cove.

The gazebo became a Glen Cove landmark.

“It’s on so many things related to the city,” said Mayor Ralph Suozzi. “Our website, papers, buttons I’ve handed out - everything.”

Suozzi said the sight of the collapsed structure brought tears to his wife's eyes as she recalled all the years it had served as a symbol of the city, and a destination for celebrating or relaxing.

For Joan Lavin, a Glen Cove resident of 25 years who stopped by to see the damage, the gazebo was a part of her family history.

“My husband and I were married on the stage and our wedding pictures were all in the gazebo,” Lavin said.

She remembered how she and her family would go to the gazebo on family picnics and for concerts. It was a place she shared with her grandchildren.

“Unbelievable,” she said. “I’m just shocked. It’s a landmark. Morgan Park won’t be the same without it.”

For officer Richard Wilson of the city's Auxiliary Police, the gazebo in ruins is a sad sight.

“I had my first kiss in that gazebo,” he said. He, too, was married on the stage next to it, and more recently had come to use the gazebo as a relaxing place to write poetry.

“It was a place where you could reflect,” he said.

The city is making the rebuilding a priority, with certain considerations.

“We’re trying to restore it to its original specifications,” said Belyea. “We have the original blueprints and everything.”

The morning after it fell, Mayor Suozzi went with two architects to the site to assess the project.

“It will look the same on the outside, but inside will be a stronger skeleton,” he said.

The intent is to achieve every resemblance to the original, right down to the acoustics in order to produce the same echo.

The city is forming a committee to help fundraise for the reconstruction. Some money is already allocated from the Parks and Recreation fund, and the city hopes to get some help from donations. Suozzi said offers have been made already.

“It’s sad and touching at the same time,” said Mayor Suozzi. “With this event you see people coming out to help, and you see years of history poured out of them.”

anar July 21, 2012 at 02:29 AM
If I'm not mistaken, the lease between JP Morgan and Glen Cove/Locust Valley was for 999 years
Joe Dowd (Editor) July 23, 2012 at 08:03 AM
Fine story; Hope they can rebuild it.

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