The glitz, glamour, gusto, and of course the paparazzi, are all part of the annual Academy Awards. Airing this Sunday, the televised celebration of the film industry will no doubt draw millions of viewers.
On Wednesday evening, Oyster Bay and East Norwich business owners enjoyed an awards event all their own. The “Teddies,” as it was called, replaced the traditional Oyster Bay-East Norwich Chamber of Commerce’s annual installation celebration, adding a bit of whimsy, to the delight of chamber members.
A long white limo was parked outside the restaurant the Pearl of Oyster Bay, for those who wanted to get in and out of it to pretend that they, like film stars, had arrived in style, before stepping onto the red carpet. And several cameras flashed as participants approached the “step and repeat,” a backdrop used for event photography and, in the case of the Academy Awards, the area where the stars are always photographed.
Before having an official photo taken, the chamber’s “stars” were interviewed for a live feed on its Facebook page.
Then reporters asked them some questions, including who they thought would win an award during the evening.
“I will win for Best Attire,” said Danny Patel, the owner of the East Norwich Inn. His wife, Kajal, wearing a brightly colored flowing gown, laughed and said she was looking forward to meeting new people.
Attorney Rob Brusca said he thought he would win for Best Supporting Eater. An active member of the chamber, he said he was happy to be at the Teddies. “It’s a great group of people, who are dedicated to the people of Oyster Bay,” Brusca said.
Seventy people came to enjoy the evening, including special guests, like Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino, who installed the chamber’s officers and board of directors. “This is the greatest Chamber of Commerce in the state of New York,” he said, adding that he is certain that “the future of this renaissance is going to get done,” referring to his plans to improve the town.
But the evening, which included a variety of awards — the Bull Moose, Spirit, Progressive, Preservation and Square Deal — was, as Alex Gallego, the chamber’s president, put it, a vehicle to “celebrate our success as a chamber and community.”
“The Teddy’s is obviously named after our town’s hero Theodore Roosevelt ... who had great ideas, one of which is the square deal,” Gallego said. Implemented in 1910, it had three goals: conservation of natural resources, control of corporations and consumer protection. “The same themes apply to our community, and in order for us to become the best that it can be, we must apply the same standards to our way of living.”
It is important to apply “a similar ideology to the infrastructure and environment of our town,” Gallego said, “maintaining it and improving it so that everyone may benefit from the services and amenities it provides.”
Patel said that all of this has been happening around town. His hotel is often sold out on weekends and he anticipates a bright future. “I took over the East Norwich Inn in 2015,” he said. “Business has picked up due to the renovations we made, but also due to efforts of the chamber.”