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Residents Relive the Gatsby Era

TOBAY's "One Town, One Book" program gathers avid 'Gatsby' fans.

Readers, historians, and lovers of all things Gatsby joined together Wednesday for the first "One Town, One Book" discussion at the Hicksville Community Center. Through music, photographs, and passage readings, the intimate group of listeners realized that The Great Gatsby was in fact one of the truest portraits of life on the Gold Coast in the 1920s.

As residents sipped non-alcoholic mint julips, Councilwoman Rebecca Alesia began the presentation by reading her favorite Gatsby passage.

He had one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced, or seemed to face, the whole external world for an instant and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor.

"We can all put ourselves into Gatsby," she said. "I think we've all known somebody like that."

While readers were able to relate to the stories from Gatsby, they were then brought into the real life of the Gatsby era. The audience was moved from the beauty of F. Scott Fitzgerald's language to the reality of the book with historian and photographer Monica Randall, who presented photos and stories to help readers realize that The Great Gatsby was in fact historical fiction.

"A bottle of champagne back then cost about $100...Now, think of the Gatsby party with a few hundred people and imagine their liquor bill," said Randall, who retold stories of Gatsby-like galas and murders.

The audience went from awe to outrage as Randall presented photographs of mansions that were torn down, including the reported inspiration for the book, Land's End, which was demolished in 2011. Some in the audience began brainstorming on how to organize a Gold Coast tour around the island after the news.

The big finale to the inaugural One Town, One Book program is Aug. 22 at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Library.

Rebecca Alesia August 09, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Heather, thank you for the great write up; I'm glad you were there to share in the fun. I made an error when we spoke, the finale event is August 22, and we have tentatively booked a space at the Plainview Old Bethpage Library. Sorry for the mistake; and look forward to seeing you then.
Linda L Manning-Koziatek, REALTOR, LSA, CSA August 10, 2012 at 04:04 AM
I read the book and saw the movie several times...That's why I love my real estate listing because it reminds me so much of the Great Gatsby era......http://syosset.patch.com/blog_posts/the-man-who-built-bayberry-hill-in-syosset
Heather Doyle (Editor) August 10, 2012 at 05:39 AM
Thanks Councilwoman! I can't wait for the grand finale! We've updated the date in the story and we'll have an event featured in our calendar.
Heather Doyle (Editor) August 10, 2012 at 05:44 AM
Right! So few of these beauties left on the island! PS--the link didn't work for your blog post. Try this one: http://patch.com/B-cc4g
Linda L Manning-Koziatek, REALTOR, LSA, CSA August 10, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Thanks Heather, it's okay -I can repost: I read the book and saw the movie several times...That's why I love my real estate listing because it reminds me so much of the Great Gatsby era...... http://syosset.patch.com/blog_posts/the-man-who-built-bayberry-hill-in-syosset

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