Billy Crystal — who recently donated $1 million to Long Beach — isn’t the only well-known former Long Islander to help his hometown recover from superstorm Sandy’s wrath. Disney chief executive Robert Iger, once a student at the Fulton Avenue School in Oceanside, was instrumental in helping his childhood home receive a gift of an “Imagination Playground” on June 18.
The Fulton Avenue School — more familiarly known as The Number 8 School — was closed for more than two months after the storm last October, and 440 elementary school students in grades 1 through 6 were moved to another building.
School principal Laurie Storch, a former Disney employee, applied for a grant through partners Disney and the KaBOOM organization for the playground system. The big, blue foam blocks were presented during a school assembly called “The Imagination Playground Celebration.” The equipment, which is stored in a cart, can be used indoors and outdoors; the system is worth about $30,000, Storch says. “The equipment fosters teamwork, innovation and cooperation, all qualities we want our students to possess,” Storch says.
Says Oceanside school psychologist Laurie Zelinger: “Play is the most natural way to express what kids are feeling. It helps them experiment with challenges. Emotionally it can be either calming or arousing. School Number 8 is so grateful for this equipment. The squeal of childhood is once again resonating in a small, reconstructed school on Long Island.”