On The Bay
In 1991 the Town of Hempstead moved to preserve the last remaining bay houses. The 2nd edition of this book documents the traditions of those who first built the modest houses, and contains historic and contemporary photographs by noted photographer Martha Cooper (www.kodakgirl.com and www.nycitysnaps.com). It also includes a new preface and introduction, along with some updated photographs.
Fishermen and sportsmen, like Carmine Marinaccio and Arthur Pearsall, frequently witnessed illicit activities. They kept many of their stories secret until recently, because of fear of retribution.
Jack Combs, a burly bayman, and his partner, "One arm Charlie," shared a bay house in the Haunts Creek area. The tale he told me: He and his friend had converted their booze into cash and deposited it for safe-keeping in a cigar box and hid it under a cot. By the time they returned the next day, the extra high tide had soaked their "deposit box," the $5s, $10s and $20s, now soggy with salt water. Jack hastily went to town and returned with a box of thumb tacks. The two had just finished tacking the money on the walls to dry when federal marshals, gun in hand, kicked the door open and, gaping at the money hanging on the wall, shouted "You are under arrest!" Jack stuttered and gasped, "What for?" "Possession of alcoholic beverages" came the answer. "Wa, wa, wa, we only got money; no booze," Jack protested. "Ain't against the law to have money." All the while one arm Charlie nodding in approval." "You have a point," admitted the officer. "We will be watching you," he cautioned as he left.Docks, decks and walkways were easily transformed into children's and adult's playgrounds. The bay also provided numerous opportunities for mischief and play for people of all ages.
When you go down the Horse Race, there's a big sandbar [in the middle], and if you didn't know where you were going, you would run aground. We used to have a few characters, and a stranger would go by and would say, "Where's the channel?" And they (the characters) would say "Right down the middle." And they'd go, wump, boom and hit the sandbar. We'd crank over the siren, ring the bell and wave at him.
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