Authored by Kelly K. Ronayne
Sunrise Bavarian Village
I was tasked with organizing many of the boxes that were left for the Bellmore Historical Association. As I weeded through the material, I came across a unique looking, pamphlet in the shape of a beer stein. As I opened it, I noticed it contained photographs of a restaurant and entertainment hall with the entertainers in traditional German garb. In addition to this, song lyrics are given to both English and German songs. There was a notation of September 4, 1936 hand written and I wondered, what is this place?
I decided to investigate. Truth was the ideal place to begin. I found some names scribbled in the pamphlet and all searches turned up nothing. However, I did notice that it spoke of Paul, “the Colonel”. I found an article which dates to 1938 and mentions Paul Alcuri and his swing band nightly at the Sunrise Bavarian Village at Bellmore. I tried to find out more about this band leader and could only find he wrote a song that was copywrited August 20, 1919 with the title of “Dearie won’t you Forgive.”
The pamphlet lists management as Paul Larm and Frank Foerch and ancestry.com shows that in the 1940 census, Frank Foerch was 44 years old and born c. 1896 in German and lived in Hempstead, Long Island and Paul Larm was born in 1894 Germany and lived in Queens, New York.
In 1941, dinner was being offered Thanksgiving at 7 p.m., 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. all with arranged shows. The dance team of Romera and Rosita and M. C. Jimmy Costello would preside. The dinner price was listed at $1.40 and included raisins, hearts of celery, fresh fruit cocktail, assorted nuts, queen and ripe olives, fresh shrimp cocktail, iced tomato juice, chicken okra, consomee princess, Manhattan clam chowder, roast Vermont turkey, chestnut dressing, giblet and cranberry sauce, new string beans, pines herbes, mashed yellow turnips, Brussel sprouts, candied sweet potatoes, baked Idaho potatoes, salad merry widow, plum pudding, hard and brandy sauce, mince pie, ice cream and pumpkin pie.
Aside from postcard images on the internet, it is difficult to find any further information. According to Bill Yovino, Sunrise Bavarian Village was most likely built in the 1920s and demolished in the 1980s. It was quite a popular venue with a dance floor and stage with several nightly floor shows. Due to its German heritage and German zeitgeist, it was rumored to be a hot-bed of Nazi spies via a German-American bund during Hitler’s reign. Through respect and transparency, I hoped to bring this to further light. While history shows German-American bunds did exist on Long Island and New York during this time, a link cannot be substantiated between a German-American bund and the Sunrise Bavarian Village.
In 1969, Sunrise Village still held steadfast to its music heritage by holding the first Carnival of Bands, where professional members of the American Federation of Musicians promoted their music and started scholarship funds.
Bellmore Memorial Library. “StoryCorps Interview- Dennis Hoffman.” September 19, 2013. Last accessed March 24, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLdOQ5pSjLc.
“Frank Foerch in the 1940 Census.” Ancestry.com. Last accessed March 24, 2016, http://www.ancestry.com/1940-census/usa/New-York/Frank-Foerch_81hqs.
“John S. Wilson’s Music.” New York Times (1923-Current File), Apr 23, 1972. http://jerome.stjohns.edu:81/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.jerome.stjohns.edu:81/docview/119426946?accountid=14068.
Library of Congress. “Catalogue of Copyright Entries Part 3: Musical Compositions” 14 part 2 (1919). Last accessed March 24, 2016, https://books.google.com/books?id=gNYiAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA1685&lpg=PA1685&dq=paul+alcuri+band&source=bl&ots=SvolWEppW0&sig=nOPhTP4Bh8w9353ieEdN3toz_wc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi0iIPZttLLAhWCDT4KHU0wAIYQ6AEILDAD#v=onepage&q=paul%20alcuri%20band&f=false).
“Nassau Restaurants Ready for the Thanksgiving Feast: Holiday Dinners at low Prices Featured here.” Nassau Daily Review Star. November 18, (1941): 10. Last accessed March 24, 2016, http://fultonhistory.com/Newspapers%2023/Freeport%20NY%20Daily%20Review/Freeport%20NY%20Daily%20Review%201941%20Nov/Freeport%20NY%20Daily%20Review%201941%20Nov%20-%200348.pdf.
“New Spring Entertainment programs to Feature Nassau Offerings Tomorrow: Bavarian Music Popularity See on the Increase.” Nassau Daily Review Star. April 22 (1938): 15. Last accessed March 24, 2016, http://fultonhistory.com/Newspapers%2023/Freeport%20NY%20Daily%20Review/Freeport%20NY%20Daily%20Review%201938%20Apr-Jun%201938/Freeport%20NY%20Daily%20Review%201938%20Apr-Jun%201938%20-%200050.pdf.
“Paul Larm- 1930 Census Record.” MooseRoots.com. Last accessed March 24, 2016, http://us-census.mooseroots.com/l/223109641/Paul-Larm.
Yovino, Bill. “The Long Island Sunrise Village Inn.” Hupbpages. October 15, 2015. Last accessed March 24, 2016, http://hubpages.com/education/The-Long-Island-Sunrise-Village-Inn.