the founders et al.  

 

 

 

 

 

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History 

In the summer of 1947, eight young men, Claude Barnett, Sidney Berkowitz, Henry Braverman, Julius Chinman, Alfred and Henry Liman and Irving and Bert Papenak  met on the sailboat "Nefertiti" on Woodmere Bay and formed the Woodmere Bay Yacht Club. They elected Julius Chinman as its first Commodore. Dues were set at $10.00 per year.  The Club had no clubhouse. Meetings were held at members' homes or at Phil Simon's dock on Woodmere Bay. The Installation Dinner Dance was often celebrated at a local restaurant.  It is rumored that one Dinner Dance was catered by Lou's Deli!  The Club initially rented a parking lot from Keystone Yacht Club. When we offered to buy the land with a view toward erecting a clubhouse, Keystone refused our offer, as did other clubs in the area. Our members became more determined to find a suitable site.  In 1955, Herb Gold and Bay Rogers found a waterfront building that had been partially damaged by a fire "of suspicious origin." It was a tavern at that time, but there had been a one-room school house on the site many years before. The building which now stands had been earmarked as a clubhouse for a future Bay Park planned community which never materialized. It then became a restaurant, and, later, the tavern which we bought. This is how the Woodmere Bay Yacht Club found its home on Hewlett Bay in East Rockaway. On May 7, 1956, the Woodmere Bay Yacht Club took to its present home at a cost of $38,500.00. Money was raised by having each member buy a "building bond" for $500.00.  Some members bought several bonds for those who could not scrape up the necessary amount.  The men rolled up their sleeves and got to work. The clubhouse, as it stands today, remains very much the way they restored it then. Many of us have seen the charred roof timbers above the ceiling which are there to this day.  All the work was done cooperatively, with an eye to economy. This was the beginning of our "work party' tradition. Sailors who were accomplished seamen taught those who were less skilled. We have continued this tradition of helping each other and learning together as we become better sailors and power boaters.  In 1959, our first full time resident Club Steward was hired. At first, there was only a partial bulkhead here, and no slips. Everyone had to use moorings and the bay was dotted with them. In 1961-62, about 18 of the Club's boats were "Lightning" Class sailboats. Races were held every weekend. Through the years, the Club has steadily expanded and improved its marina and slip facilities. We can now accommodate approximately 55 boats providing them with dockside electricity and water in an all-weather facility.  In the early days, wives of members belonged to a Ladies' Auxiliary. They ran all the entertainment functions cooperatively, shopping, cooking and cleaning up. Our roster listed their names enclosed within parenthesis next to their husbands, showing their nonmember status. This changed in 1980, however, when the Club initiated Family Membership.  Wives now participate in running the Club; they vote in Club elections and hold office. The swimming pool and patio were added in 1985-86.  In 2006 social membership was created.  Social members enjoy all the activities of the club but may not keep a boat in the marina.  The marina was rebuilt starting in 2009.  Super Storm Sandy devastated the clubhouse and property.  The membership worked hard to rebuild for the 2013 season.