From 1939 to 1995, Nunley Amusement Park on Sunrise Highway was a staple in Baldwin and widely known in surrounding communities, the source of memories for fun-seeking children, parents and employees.

Last Saturday, a tangible piece of Nunley’s history – perhaps the largest piece, apart from the carousel, which is stored behind the Long Island Children’s Museum in Uniondale – was brought home, to become a permanent feature. of the Baldwin Historical Society and Museum. It was, of course, the 8-foot round fiberglass golf ball that topped the building where golf clubs were distributed to park-goers. for mini golf.

After an unveiling ceremony – and with the help of the Baldwin Fire Department and Health District Two – the ball is now displayed atop a 10-foot pole that looks like a tee to the left of the entrance to the museum.

Health District 2 Commissioner Jerry Brown, who is also a firefighter, said load straps were used to secure the balloon. “It took about two hours,” Brown said, “between laughing and worrying.” The ball, which is sentimental to many, also brought back memories for Brown, who worked on the golf course and, as a “ring boy”, collected metal rings that children tried to grab as the carousel spun. “It’s part of my childhood and my children’s,” he said. “It was such a happy place and a great memory for the guys and girls who worked there growing up. We were all just teenagers.

The ball’s restoration would not have been possible without amateur treasure hunter Vinny Valentini, who lived in Baldwin for 35 years. Valentini started looking for Nunley paraphernalia a few years ago, starting with the cars the kids raced on a small-scale track. After tracking down two of them and other items, he began searching for the ball, which he discovered at Obnoxious Antiques in Burlington, New Jersey.

After a museum-organized GoFundMe community with Maureen Herman, a resident who oversees the popular Baldwin Inside Facebook group, which has more than 7,000 members, Valentini and historical society president Gary Farkash rented a truck, bought the ball, and brought him back. “I was the one who located the ball,” laughed Valentini. “I’m a big fan of putting things in their place.”

Karen Montalbano, vice president of the historical society, said she hopes the larger-than-life monument will draw more attention to the museum, which is slightly obscured by a parking lot. “We’re a little out of the way, so hopefully that helps get some attention,” she said, “and it’s just a fun thing to happen.”

Montalbano brought his own family photos to the museum for the unveiling, which show the lush green holes of the miniature golf course – and the ball in its original resting place above the golf club dispensary.

Former resident Michael White, an artist, flew in from New Jersey to attend the event and sell some of his prints, with some of the proceeds going to the museum. Being back at Baldwin was emotional for White. “That’s really where it all started,” he said. “It’s really starting to become a place of memories.

“Seeing [the ball] here is very cool,” he added. “It’s pretty much the biggest relic of Nunley’s you can get, and it’s cool pop art. It’s a pop culture artifact, really. White has been hyperrealistically recreating photos of Nunley from two year.

Farkash said he thought of his father when he spoke of Nunley’s, explaining how as a child his father rode the carousel while stationed in Rosedale, Queens. “And then when he got here…he sat on the horse with me when I was a little boy until I was old enough to be on it myself,” Farkash said. “So he did it in two places.”

When the carousel was purchased by the county in 1998, Farkash, a Nassau County Museum System volunteer, helped store it. In 2007 its restoration began at Carousel Works in Ohio, and in 2009 it found a new home on Museum Row behind the Children’s Museum, where it now sits unused and identified as a historical object.

Other memorabilia on display at the museum were the Hodges handcar trains that the children pedaled with their hands, and an original ring arm, from which they grabbed rings as they spun on the carousel, hoping for the brass ring from, which was on loan at the children’s museum day.

County Executive Bruce Blakeman and Nassau County Legislator Debra Mulé presented citations to the historical society and museum for the unveiling.