Tuesday, August 3, 2010

OBRM Celebrates The Launch of Summer 2010

On a beautiful Gold Coast evening, Thursday June 17th to be precise, friends and supporters of the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum gathered at the Sagamore Yacht Club to usher in our "Fourth Annual Summer Solstice Celebration." It also marked the launch of the Museum's new website.

The annual fund raiser actually took place four days before the major celestial event marking the longest day, and the shortest night of the year. This minor anomaly, however, did nothing to dampen the spirits and enthusiasm of the guests. In attendance were new members of the OBRM Advisory Board, Lisa Ott, President of the North Shore Alliance, and Roger Bahnik and his wife Lori. Town of Oyster Bay Councilman Anthony Macagnone, a staunch supporter of the Museum also joined the festivities.

A beautiful variety of items donated by Oyster Bay merchants, made for a very lucrative silent auction, and the always popular 50/50 raffle saw a lucky party goer take home $1,000.00! The Gathering Time Trio peppered their popular country/rock selections with railroad songs that brought smiles to the faces of train buffs and regular folks alike.

Some in the large crowd took advantage of the beautiful hazy sunset by moving out to the patio and lawn to enjoy cocktails and dinner. The buffet was catered by Harborside Deli. OBRM board member Judy Wasilchuk worked with Harborside's Pete Giola to create a menu of authentic "dining car recipes" from the golden age of rail travel.

In preparation for the 8:27 pm sunset OBRM board member Gary Farkash made sure that the champagne glasses were full, the Yacht Club canon was fired, and all the guests, now gathered outside saluted the official (sort of) beginning of Summer.

The program began inside with President John Specce and Chairman Ben Jankowski thanking all those in attendance, and recognizing the corporate sponsors who helped make the evening a success. They also spoke of the Museum's progress to date, and the work yet to be done. Ben mentioned that "the Museum will play a pivotal part in making the connection between downtown and the waterfront." John said, "a functioning Oyster Bay Railroad Museum will create a family-friendly attraction that will be critical to the goal of making Oyster Bay a destination location."

"Summer" wasn't the only launch of the evening. The new Oyster Bay Railroad Museum's website- www.obrm.org also made its debut. Joe Skopek and his superb Chromatrope team were critical allies in this important project. The new site represents the next step in the branding process that began last year with the deisgn of our new brochure. The colors selected were those that came into use by the Pennsylvania Railroad, former owner of the LIRR, in the 1930's. "Tuscan", a brick red, and gold leaf and buff used for lettering and striping by the PRR give the site a warmth and familiarity, especially to those who have an interst in trains. We chose a font that is clean and readable, but retains a classic quality. The new site represents another important step in the marketing and communications efforts of the Museum. It will introduce prospective supporters to our efforts to build a first class historical, educational and family-friendly resource for Oyster Bay and the region.

My hope is that as more people learn of our efforts they will be energized, become Museum Members, and "get on board" by financially supporting our mission.

- Bill Bell

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"Night at the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum” by Bill Bell

Shortly before Christmas last year, the producer from NYEH Entertainment contacted us re their desire to shoot the final scenes of a film they were working on. "All God's Children"
is a romantic thriller and features numerous train and subway shots. The film's ending takes place in the OBRM Rail Yard, literally on the stairs of the vintage P-54 passenger coach.
Lots of conversations, negotiations and email exchanges took place throughout the winter, and on March 19th, the film crew and actors arrived in the late afternoon and began to prepare for the shoot that would take place after sundown and finish at 2:00 AM. The OBRM Preview Center served as the make-up room and press center. They invited me to join them for dinner at Canterbury's. During our lively conversation I learned that most of these talented young people had never tasted oysters! Most of them came from inland communities in places like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma. The rest is history - and they are no longer oyster amateurs.
Briefly, the movie theme is a disturbing tale of an normal young man who works by day as barista in a coffee shop - his life at night is anything but normal. I promised to reveal no more.

Those of you familiar with the Rail Yard will recognize the numerous, and somewhat eerie scenes shot there. The director told me that he was extremely pleased with the nighttime look of the yard, and the somewhat ominous feel it imparted.
The film will be released this summer. We are working on setting up an Oyster Bay Railroad Museum sponsored special screening for our local community.