Posted by: Chris Kretz | August 26, 2009

Looking Back: Joe Mandanici and the Fire This Time

Monday, March 18, 1974

Firemen in the mansion on March 18, 1974

Firemen in the mansion on March 18, 1974. Photo courtesy of the West Sayville Fire Dept.

Early on a cold, dark Monday flames engulfed the Idle Hour mansion that had been the home of Dowling since 1963.  Starting in the Student Lounge and working it’s way through the Hunt Room and Ballroom , then up the grand staircase and out through the glass Conservatory, the fire left the heart of the mansion in ruins.

Oakdale native Joe Mandanici, now Dowling’s Senior Facilities Administrator, was relatively new to the West Sayville fire department that responded to the call. In this interview he deconstructs the fire for us: 40-mph winds coming off the Connetquot, trucks drawing water straight from the river, men and equipment from all neighboring fire departments converging. 

Joe also tells us more about the life of a volunteer firefighter and the men he served with back in 1974. As he explains, that fire at the mansion was just the beginning of a long day.

Fighting the fire at Dowling College March 18, 1974

Fighting the fire at Dowling College March 18, 1974. Photo courtesy of the West Sayville Fire Dept.

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Posted by: Chris Kretz | August 25, 2009

Who was Robert Dowling? Part 5: Turning 75

Robert Dowling turned 75 on September 9, 1970. For the occasion, the City Investing Company presented him with a special collection of remembrances.  In addition to providing an overview of his life, the collection included a number of personal tributes written by prominent men and women who had known and worked with Dowling over the course of the 20th century.

To give a sense of the breadth and depth of the man, as well as of the company he kept, here are some of those tributes:

Many men have left their mark on the City of New York. Some have damaged it by their profligacy or neglect. Others, like Bob Dowling, have endowed and enhanced it through their generosity, their leadership, and their achievement. To speak of the twentieth century development of New York as the continuous growth of a great city is to speak in some measure of the accomplishments and visions of Robert W. Dowling. And that is high praise.

For all of those whose lives he has touched – for all New Yorkers – I express my very real thanks.

John V. Lindsay
[Two-term mayor of New York City, 1966-1973]

We of the New York Theatre are very grateful that Bob Dowling took a liking to us. Where would we be without his enthusiasm and generosity and wisdom and taste. Many happy returns of this fine day.

Helen Hayes

With pleasure and pride I join your other friends in wishing you a most happy seventy-fifth birthday and in congratulating you on a rich and wonderful record of service and concern for your fellow man.

Your concern and your work in behalf of a better life for others has made a difference and America is in your debt.

My best wishes always.

Sincerely,
Lyndon B. Johnson

It is a special pleasure, a uniquely happy one, to join your many friends in saluting you on the occasion of your 75th birthday. To work with you has been one of the happier tasks of our mutual efforts on behalf of Carnegie Hall. And to know you is to know a man of infinite good will, a generous heart unburdened by bias to any human being and angered only by injustice.

May God grant you many years of happy, healthy life.

Most cordially yours,
Isaac Stern

Posted by: Chris Kretz | August 19, 2009

Looking Back: George Foundotos Takes Account

George Foundotos, professor of accounting

George Foundotos, professor of accounting

George Foundotos was almost an alum of Dowling College. He began by taking night courses in accounting at Adelphi Suffolk College in Sayville in 1962. He was there for the move to Oakdale at the beginning of 1963 but then parted ways with the school, heading back to Adelphi to take upper level accounting courses. He went on to become a CPA and serve as the comptroller of the town of Islip.

He did, however, become Dowling’s first full time business faculty member in 1970. In this interview, excerpted from a longer oral history archived at the Dowling Library, George relates why he came back, what life was like back in those early days, and some of his experiences teaching over 4,000 students. He also tells us why we’ve been documenting the wrong anniversary all along.

The True Birthday of Dowling College?

The True Birthday of Dowling College?

Posted by: Chris Kretz | August 17, 2009

In the World: Hurricane Camille

Sunday, August 17, 1969

…CAMILLE …EXTREMELY DANGEROUS…CENTER NEAR THE MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER…BEARING DOWN ON THE MISSISSIPPI ALABAMA COAST…

HURRICANE WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT FROM NEW ORLEANS AND GRAND ISLE LOUISIANA EASTWARD ACROSS THE MISSISSIPPI…ALABAMA…AND NORTHWEST FLORIDA COAST TO APALACHICOLA. GALE WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT FROM MORGAN CITY TO GRAND ISLE. PREPARATIONS AGAINST THIS EXTREMELY  DANGEROUS HURRICANE SHOULD BE COMPLETED BEFORE DARK.

National Hurricane Center Advisory No. 17 5PM CDT
The Hurricane Camille Preliminary Report
September, 1969

Hurricane Camille hit land as a category 5 storm. It veered northwest and, after passing over Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virgina and Virginia headed back out to sea. According to the National Weather Service, Camille is the second deadliest hurricane in U.S. history and one of  only three category 5 storms to make landfall.

Posted by: Chris Kretz | August 15, 2009

In the World: Woodstock Begins

Friday, August 15, 1969

The Woodstock Music & Art Fair opened in upstate New York. Held on a dairy farm in Bethel, Woodstock was a three-day concert featuring a who’s-who of musical talent: Richie Havens,  Joan Baez, Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, The Who…topped off by Jimi Hendrix who closed out the place with a set on Monday morning.

Billed as “three days of peace and music,” the event drew so much traffic to Sullivan County that the New York State Thruway and Rte 17 were clogged with cars and had to be closed. At its height the crowd reached  300,000 people, according to the New York Times.

Much of the festival was filmed, released the next year as the documentary Woodstock which went on to win an Academy Award in 1971 for Best Documentary.

For more on Woodstock from someone who was there, listen to our interview with alum Mike Jahn who was covering the event as rock critic for the New York Times.

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