By Anessa V. Cohen
I guess the snow and ice these last few weeks have not been sufficient tests of strength for us. On Friday we woke up to a temperature of 9 degrees. Walking to shul tonight and tomorrow will surely stretch the limits of stamina for those walking more than a block or two.
Friday was the funeral of our beloved Mayor Parise. What a terrible loss for our community! So many have already written so much about his amazing history and his commitment to our community. The many accounts written last week about his political service and his army service during World War II and the array of medals he received for extraordinary service provide a glimpse of what an extraordinary person he was.
What remains uppermost in my mind, though, was his unbridled devotion to the Village of Cedarhurst and its residents, his perseverance and dedication to the enhancement of “his” village at all times—past, present, and future.
He was constantly looking for new ways to make a great village even greater. A beautiful village even more beautiful. The great business community even greater. The good services even better. As mayor, he made himself accessible to all his citizens and went the extra mile at all times to make Cedarhurst a special place to live and be enjoyed by its residents, children, and visitors. He changed the ugly and underused into a magnificent asset—such as the unbelievable renovation of Cedarhurst Park, taking it from a patchy park that few visited to a gorgeous model of a park with playgrounds full of active, happy children, strategically placed benches and tables for parents, and the attached sprinkler area in which the children can frolic in the hot weather. A place to sit and shoot the breeze. A place to play ball on the field or just to sit on the sidelines cheering.
He didn’t stop there, arranging to add gazebos and a free summer concert series for the public to enjoy during those warm-weather days—even an extra thought for the children with a children’s program added before each concert!
The park has become such a regular meeting place for families and friends in the Five Towns community that keeping up with necessary add-ons became part of the mayor’s yearly to-do list. Each spring, if you passed the park, you would see him there with consultants deciding on new improvements to this already beautiful asset. More and more people utilizing the park? Mayor Parise had more seating added and then had the hardly used baseball field redone and refitted. He didn’t believe in just leaving things “as is,” but strove constantly to improve upon the improvement.
We have all passed him on the road many a time as he made his daily rounds to check up on what was happening in his Cedarhurst, making sure everything was the way he wanted it to be. He became so much a fixture of Cedarhurst that we tended to take his presence for granted without even thinking about the day he might not be with us any longer.
There will be a big void in Cedarhurst, and I do not envy whoever steps up to the plate to take his place, because he will be a difficult act to follow. He was a very special man whom I am glad I had the pleasure to get to know. Rest in peace, Mayor Parise. v
Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker and a licensed N.Y.S. mortgage broker with over 20 years of experience, offering full-service residential and commercial real-estate services (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and mortgaging services (First Meridian Mortgage) in the Five Towns and throughout the tri-state area. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, www.AVCrealty.com. Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to anessa.cohen@AVCrealty.com.