Great Neck Historical Society members dedicated to restoring and preserving the Stepping Stones Lighthouse organized a series of boat rides to the historic structure, located between Great Neck and City Island, this summer.
“A goal of the Historical Society is to share the history of our community and the areas surrounding it,” said Historical Society President Alice Kasten. “The lighthouse is central to what has taken place in this part of Long Island Sound.”
The 28-seat boat, rented from Long Island Water Taxi, left from the Steppingstone pier, cruised past many of the waterfront mansions on the Kings Point peninsula and near the point of Kings Point, headed west to the area around Fort Totten and Fort Skyler, went under the Throgs Neck Bridge and close to the Stepping Stones Lighthouse. The 75-minute tour was narrated by Lighthouse Preservation Committee Chair Robert A. Lincoln, Jr., and Kasten.
The tour was so successful that additional excursions were planned for Aug. 28 at 1 and 2:30 p.m. Tickets for the boat trip cost $40 for Historical Society members and $50 for nonmembers. They can be purchased at Great Neck House or by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to Great Neck House, 14 Arrandale Ave., Great Neck, NY 11023.
The Historical Society is seeking area businesses to sponsor the boat rides so that all funds raised by the tour can go to the lighthouse restoration. The names of sponsors will be displayed on lighthouse material and the tour program. To date, tour sponsors include AvalonBay, First Capital Equities, Port Washington Yacht Club, Derecktor Shipyards of Mamaroneck, Harbor Harvest of Norwalk, Susan Tucker and the Rotary Club of Great Neck.
An estimated $4 million will be needed to fully restore the structure. So far, a federal matching grant for $165,000 has been obtained and Senator Jack M. Martins has secured a $100,000 grant from New York State. Plus, the Historical Society has raised approximately $30,000.
“When it comes to fundraising, we still have a long way to go,” said Kasten. “We really appreciate contributions of any size.”