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Come fly away

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Come fly away

Adding to the themes of my previous posts on historic automobiles and yachting, I have chosen this time to focus on aviation, an important subject in the history of Port Washington. This photograph, taken in 1919, captures a young boy on Second Avenue in Port Washington playing with his toy airplane. Seen here at the age of 11, this boy, William Leiber Jr (“Willie”), developed a love of boating and of aviation. What young boy wouldn’t love airplanes at the time, especially in Port Washington? These were the early years of aviation in Port where bold and daring fliers could be seen testing planes on the bay and doing loop de loops. What a sight to see!

Despite the fact that Leiber was photographed here with an airplane, it was mostly boating that interested him as a child and later as an adult. He would eventually grow up to work for the Grumman Corporation, building ham radios, steam engines, and boats. “Willie” was also an avid boater and speedboat racer, belonging to a few yacht clubs in town. After a lifetime devoted to boating, at the age of 55, Leiber decided to pursue his love of airplanes and began flying on his own. For more information about the Leiber family and aviation history visit:  and Further reading: Flight of Memory: Long Island’s Aeronautical Past by Elly Shodell, available to order online or borrow or purchase at the library.