Everyone Calls It Ryder’s Pond, And Now It’s Official

It's official: The pond where generations of local kids learned to ice skate is now officially Ryder's Pond. STEPHEN J. KOTZ

As far as anyone knew, it had always been Ryder’s Pond. But as far as the official records go, it didn’t have a formal name.

That changed last week when the North Haven Village Board formally designated the pond, off Sunset Beach Road, where generations of children from North Haven, Sag Harbor, and Noyac learned how to ice skate, as Ryder’s Pond after the family that lived next to it for many years.

In a resolution approved at its September 14 meeting, the Village Board noted that members of the Ryder family had lived next to the pond for nearly a century before recently selling the family homestead.

According to Beth Ryder O’Sullivan, whose grandparents, Kamila and Alfonse Ryder, first bought the property next to the pond in 1921, her son, Patrick, was at a party in North Haven when he overheard a young couple, who had recently moved to the village, talking about “Frog Pond.”

His reaction, she said, was “That’s not Frog Pond; that’s Ryder’s Pond.”

But when family members went to North Haven Village Hall to check, they learned that the pond had no formal name. Hence, the effort to rectify that shortcoming before everyone started calling it Frog Pond.

The name will be made official at a public ceremony at the pond’s edge at noon on Sunday, September 27.

Ms. O’Sullivan, who lives in Sag Harbor, will be joined there by her brother and two sisters, Stan Ryder of North Haven, Kathy Kelly of Hampton Bays and Becky Bock of East Hampton.

“When I was a teenager, that pond would get packed with 50 to 55 people,” Ms. O’Sullivan recalled. “It was the place to go for evenings. People would park their cars pointed at the pond so we could skate by their lights.”

As a child, she remembers leaving the house by 8 a.m. to head over to the pond to skate the day away, interrupted only when the kids returned home for lunch or her mother brought food down to the pond. The skating parties reconvened after dinner. “At night, we had bonfires and parents would bring hot chocolate,” she said.

Ms. O’Sullivan’s father, Stanley Ryder, who served as North Haven mayor from 1956 to 1964, took on the responsibility of checking the ice every day as winter set in, and announcing to the community — first through word of mouth, later by calling WLNG — that the pond was safe for skating.

Eventually, the village added a couple of benches and some lights. An aluminum extension ladder, a handy tool if someone were to break through the ice, hangs from a rack along with a worn life preserver.