After a long hiatus, in early December the Onderdonk House in Manhasset once again opened its doors and welcomed guests to a Holiday and History event.
An event to reacquaint neighbors and friends to the nationally recognized historic landmark, attendees were greeted by hosts Dr. John “Santa Claus” Cosgrove and Dr. Patricia “Mrs. Claus” Barry, who was dressed in period clothing for the event.
With a nod to history, Christmas decorations throughout the House reflected possible ways the Onderdonk family might have celebrated the season. In the parlor was a large, artificial tree complete with artificial candles; other decorations, many of which have been donated over time, graced the library, morning, and dining rooms.
Celebrating the history of the House, Pat and John Cosgrove created an historical video that attendees viewed in the parlor; the short film covered the history of the Onderdonk Family, their involvement in North Hempstead and the development of the North Strathmore Community.
Throughout the event, the sound of music could be heard both in the House and on the front porch. In the library three accomplished musicians, including the former Manhasset Public Library children’s librarian Patricia Roos (soprano singer), her partner Michael Goudket (harpist and flutist), and their friend Emily Bader (pianist), performed seasonal music. Michael and Emily perform regularly at the Raynham Hall Museum in Oyster Bay and at the Hamilton Grange national Memorial in Harlem, New York. All three musicians are involved in the Order Of the Ancient and Honorable Huntington Militia and the Old Bethpage Historical Village Restoration.
On the front porch, choral groups from Manhasset High School and St. Mary’s High School sang Christmas carols acapella, much to the delight of those enjoying the mild weather. Like their fellow classmates who performed, several Manhasset High School students also volunteered their time and assisted in the smooth running of the event; they helped set up, sold raffles and ornament kits.
While listening to the music, attendees were also able to purchase gourmet-level lunch items from the Food Truck Refinery, an upscale food truck company that specializes in bringing epicurean treats to private events. Offerings included lobster bisque, fish sandwich, barbacoa tacos, cider donuts and other delicious items.
There was a steady stream of younger visitors to the house as well. For a fee (with all proceeds going to the Onderdonk House), children received an ornament craft kit and a visit and picture with Santa. With an eye to including some materials that might have been used to create ornaments for trees long ago, the kit utilized raw wood disks and rub on art.
The event was well attended, including North Strathmore and Manhasset neighbors, visitors from neighboring towns and some of our local representatives; from the Town of North Hempstead, our Councilperson Veronica Lurvey (District 4); the Councilperson representing Port Washington, Mariann Dalimonte (District 6); our New York State Assemblyperson Gina L. Sillitti (District 16); and our neighbor and newest Town of North Hempstead Supervisor, Jennifer DeSena.
Thank you to the North Strathmore neighbors who rolled up their sleeves! We extend our deepest appreciation to all the volunteers who, from spending long hours revitalizing the house and grounds so they could once again be enjoyed, to those that created new media streams, to all those that shared their time and talents to create this (the first of many, we hope) events, thank you.
We believe this event has started a wonderful momentum and, with every neighbor’s help and support, only good things are ahead for the Onderdonk House. We invite you to get involved and help us discover ways to support and enjoy this amazing gift, given to the North Strathmore community, so long ago.