Old Bethpage Village Restoration
The Old Bethpage Village Restoration is a 209-acre (0.85 km2) recreated living museum village in Old Bethpage, New York. The village opened in 1970 with dozens of historic structures that had been saved from demolition by Nassau County. Costumed actors provide demonstrations of 19th century life. Major funding cuts by the county in the early 1990s led to reduced availability and increasing deterioration. It is the site of the annual Long Island Fair.
The village came into existence in 1963, when Nassau County acquired the Powell property, a 165-acre (0.67 km2) farm located on the Nassau-Suffolk border. According to notes written on the county's 1959 master plan, the site originally was planned to become the Nassau County Zoo.
There are currently 51 preserved and seven reconstructed buildings arranged to simulate a typical mid-19th century Long Island farming village. Only twenty of the buildings are open to the public.
The Powell Farmhouse is the only building that was originally located at the site before it was purchased by the county. The Manetto Hill Methodist Church from Plainview was the first building moved to the site. Layton's Store sells candy while the Noon Inn is a working tavern which sells root beer and pretzels. The Schenck House is a 1730 Dutch farmhouse. The Bach Blacksmith Shop from Hicksville is used to repair and create all the ironworks used in the village.
There are a number of weekend events including Civil War re-enactments and holiday events such as the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. In the winter, there are also Candlelight Evenings when the front portion of the village is open at night and the village is decorated for a 19th-century Christmas. There is caroling and specialty snacks and cider, among other festivities. Other special events include "Sheep to Shawl" days, Hands-on-History Sundays (where children can participate in period chores) and Halloween complete with ghost tours, pumpkin carving and a scavenger hunt. The Long Island Fair has been held at the site since the village opened. The fair includes a series of vintage baseball games, played with the mid-19th century rules as well as craft sales and demonstrations of 19th century crafts and occupations. In recent years, there has been a small summer camp organized for local children in the village called the Junior Apprentice Program.
In February 2009, Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi proposed closing all county parks including Old Bethpage in order to reduce the county deficit. There was a petition against this proposal, which claimed that 35,000 students visit the village every year.
- "Old Bethpage Village Restoration". Nassau County Department of Parks, Recreation and Museums. Retrieved 2009-04-30.
- Toy, Vivian S. (October 27, 2002). "At Old Bethpage Village, the Restoration Needs a Renovation". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-30.
- Connelly, Marjorie (October 20, 1991). "Sunday Outing; A Visit to Nassau County That Is a Trip Back in Time". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-30.
- "Old Bethpage Village Restoration Celebrates "1863 Thanksgiving"". Garden City News. Retrieved 2009-05-03.