I’m 86 now, so my memories may not be as accurate as others, but I enjoy them just the same.
Grand Avenue, for me, began at the Southern State Parkway. On the northeast corner running along the highway was Terronova’s Farm. It really wasn’t a farm when I knew it, although they had a farm stand. It was a large field running into a wooded area towards Freeport. When I was 13 or 14, we would rent horses at Hempstead Lake and ride them to Terranova’s. We could gallop in the field and have a lot of fun and, when it was late, we would ride into the woods to cool the horses down. I remember the steam coming off the horses and the night mist surrounding us. It was a great feeling of peace. When we headed back, we had a tough time holding the horses. They knew their day was over and they were in a hurry to get some oats and a night’s rest.
There were a couple of bars near the stables. I remember one particularly because a friend of mine, John Manecke, played guitar there. I think Ed Harnischfeger played drums and they had someone on vibraharp. It was a great sound as they were all great musicians. These nightclubs were a favorite hangout of people my age, and they played the music of the 30s and 40s.
In the same area as Terranova’s there was a club named The Hay Loft. If I remember correctly, it catered to a gay crowd from NYC.
Russ and Mo Wygand, who lived on Grand Terrace, formed our band. Mo played first alto sax, Russ played tenor and I played second alto. There was a trumpet, a drum, and a one-eyed piano player who sometimes read a book while he played. We played at a bar named 5 Corners in Bethpage. I also played with pick-up bands whenever a gig was
On the corner of N. William Street and Grand was the cookie bakery. They made those little red and green cake-like cookies with chocolate on top. Across from N. William on Grand, was the North End Tavern. Jack Higgins, who sang in our band, and I spent many a happy hour there. Jack was a pilot during the war. He went back into the service after the war, and lost his life when his C47 crashed.