Friends of the Sands Point Preserve is now the Sands Point Preserve Conservancy. The name change reflects a new direction for the organization as it expands programs across the arts, education and services for visitors while continuing to maintain and improve the 216-acre Nassau County public park. The enhancements to the former Guggenheim Estate bring more benefits to visitors, giving them many reasons to integrate the park into their lives year-round and become active members of the Conservancy.
New leadership of the Conservancy, a nonprofit organization, includes Managing Director Beth Horn and Facilities Director Lou DiPadova. Horn brings a wealth of experience in cultural arts and educational programming, event production, communications and development at Thirteen/WNET, Museum of Modern Art NY, Landmark on Main Street and on Broadway. DiPadova’s career includes a major health-care facility in New York City, the NYC Department of Education, Nassau County school districts, supervising numerous maintenance and construction projects.
The organization has just launched a new website to highlight all of the new programs and activities, and a full fundraising program is in formation, offering additional membership levels and event sponsorship opportunities to help fund programs and activities as well as enhancements and improvements across the Preserve. The Campaign to Save Hempstead House will raise funds for exterior restoration work on this massive Tudor-style castle, in collaboration with Nassau County.
“Our plan now is to increase awareness about this beautiful historic site, so the larger community recognizes that the magnificent Gatsby-era mansions, the grounds and all of our programs for families and adults are here for them,” Conservancy Chairman Karli Hagedorn said. “We’re pursuing financial support from federal, state and local funders as well as historic preservation organizations to augment Nassau County’s support and our own fundraising work.”
Improvements in landscaping, exterior site lighting and building maintenance are planned.
“The importance of maintaining a safe environment and creating a welcoming experience to our visitors cannot be overstated,” DiPadova said. “As we continue to meet the challenges to maintain the Preserve’s 216 acres, castles and outlaying buildings, it is truly rewarding to be a part in upholding its legacy.”
“We are in a period of tremendous growth, building partnerships with community-based and national organizations to increase the programs and services that we can offer the public,” Horn said. “The great iron gates at the Preserve’s entrance stand wide open, so people can experience this wonderful site in a multitude of ways—whether they hold their wedding here or bring their children to the pond to watch the turtles sunning themselves.”
This year’s seasonal festivities include the Spring Celebration on April 3, Summer Solstice on June 19, Village Day Fall Festival on Sept. 25 and Holiday Tales from the Hearth, which will feature religious and cultural traditions from across the globe, on Dec. 11. New this year is the May 8 Mother’s Day Tea in the Hempstead House Rose Garden featuring live classical music.
Docent-led tours of Hempstead House, the former home of Daniel and Florence Guggenheim, are now available year-round on Saturdays and Sundays. And guided tours of Falaise, Harry Guggenheim’s French-Norman-style château, run from May 19 through Nov. 20.
New fitness offerings include weekly mat classes by Evolution Pilates, rounding out the weekly schedule of yoga and mediation classes.
This year’s music calendar includes a new chamber music series by Solomon Hoffman, beginning on April 21, Chamber Players International on May 22 and the North Shore Music Festival’s production of Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly on July 30.
And added to the Conservancy’s repertoire of cultural arts programming is Dance Visions NY, performing works of the legendary choreographer Isadora Duncan in the Rose Garden and inside the Hempstead House on July 10.
Hempstead House becomes the setting for the Haunted Halloween Ball on Oct. 21, with the terrifying Halloween show continuing Oct. 22-23 and Oct. 28-30. Theater lovers will enjoy the great classic murder mystery, Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, in Hempstead House’s Winter Living Room on Nov. 18-20. Broadway star Lauren Worsham joins composer Steven Lutvak for the annual sell-out Not Quite Christmas Cabaret on Dec. 3.
The new 12-month membership program provides many benefits while supporting the Conservancy’s mission. Membership offers free admission, discounts for select events and programs and additional benefits year-round. For more information about membership and sponsorship opportunities, as well as the calendar of cultural arts, fitness and educational programming, visit www.sands pointpreserve.org, call 516-571-7901 or stop by the Gate House at 127 Middle Neck Rd. The Gate House is open daily at 8 a.m.
The Sands Point Preserve Conservancy has the mission to
protect and maintain the 216-acre park, woodlands and historic mansions overlooking the Long Island Sound; the Conservancy also provides a range of cultural arts, fitness and educational programs for all ages on the grounds and inside Hempstead House, Castle Gould and the Phil Dejana Learning Center & Outdoor Classroom.