The Merrick Estates Civic Association’s community center is the go-to spot for many families throughout Bellmore and Merrick. Amenities include a private pool, play areas, and a beach volleyball court. The MECA has been a favorite of community members for years. That includes 85-year-old Merrick native June Rosenthal who has been a MECA member since she moved to Merrick from Brooklyn 50 years ago.
When she moved to Merrick, the community pool and everything MECA had to offer, and instantly encapsulated Rosenthal and her family. “It was wonderful. My children enjoyed it. They learned to swim there and we had a lot of friends and it was a wonderful place to be. It’s a place where you meet people and you socialize and everyone’s friendly,” Rosenthal said.
Rosenthal cites the people and the relaxed environment at the MECA as the main reason why she continues to return. “The minute we got here we belonged and we still do”.” she said.
Among Rosenthal’s best memories is when her late husband Stewart Rosenthal would treat the pool-goers to a sweet treat before it would close for the season.
“What stands out to me is when my husband would buy ice pops for everyone,” she said. He would give out chocolate ice pops to all the children and the grown-ups,” said Rosenthal.
Rosenthal’s entire family has close ties to the MECA and with the weather warming up, Rosenthal plans to continue doing what she has for more than half her life and once again return to the MECA community pool with her friends and family joining her. “My son, Steven lives in Long Beach, and he has a pool and is across from the beach, but he still likes to come to MECA to be with me,” she said.
While Rosenthal doesn’t swim anymore she still relaxes by the poolside under her umbrella and speaks to friends, gets some reading done, and takes in the scene of the MECA, which has been her second home. “There’s nothing for me to do in the summer if I don’t go back,” she added.
At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic was the one time when Rosenthal had to pause her visits to the community pool. “It wasn’t fun,” she said. “I stayed in my house and I didn’t go anywhere.”
After being a member of MECA for so long Rosenthal has seen the pool change throughout the years. After MECA’s reopening from the pandemic, the non-profit organization upgraded its basketball court, with newly painted lines and new hoops. While the MECA has improved since reopening, Rosenthal still sees one change with the MECA from the past. “I guess I’m getting older because everyone’s so much younger there,” Rosenthal said. “It’s not the same but it’s wonderful and I have no complaints. It was a wonderful time and it still is.”