It is with deep regret that we report on the passing of Michael “Mickey” Braunstein, whose plane crashed into the Hudson River off Germantown, New York on Friday, May 3.
For many of us, it was a thrill to watch Mickey take off and land on Copake Lake. Children and adults alike would stop and watch.
After hearing the news, Alicia Gursky posted on our Facebook page: “As a kid I always was amazed at this airplane on Copake Lake! Every Saturday we would watch/hear him fly over to the Berkshires and grab his paper and coffee. On his return we would try to jump his waves with our jet skis. From serving him at The Greens for the past ten years, it goes with great honor to call this man a part of the Copake Lake Community. We will miss you Mr. Braunstein – Copake Lake will always remember you.”
“Sincere condolences to the Braunstein family. RIP MICKEY! Thanks for all the joy you gave us on the lake by watching you take off and land above us. Thanks for letting us dream of soaring above the skies with you. Your adventures in the sky will be sorely missed by us below ...sitting lakeside wishing we were with you”wrote Diane and Michael “Chops” LaConte.
Kim Carlo agreed. “So glad my kids got to see his plane take off and land many times on the lake RIP”
Ernie Cutler wrote: “It is a shame that we will never see another plane land or take off from the lake. I remember when my granddaughter saw it for the first time; she could not stop talking about it and was always asking when she would see it again.”
Residents of Southwest Colony took a ride to the cove and placed flowers on the runway in memory of Mickey.
The seaplane was not without controversy and opposition, and in 1984 the Town of Copake changed its zoning law to prohibit seaplane landings on local bodies of water. But there was a “grandfather clause” for Braunstein’s seaplane.
A big part of our community, Braunstein was “Mickey” to most. He was character, a showstopper on land and lake, who lived life to the fullest with lots of fun toys. Be it the antique truck or the vintage muscle car, it was fun to see him drive by, often with his large white dog "Ted" in the passenger seat.
Last Friday, his plane took off from Copake Lake and flew off into the distance, never to grace our shores again.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his many city and lake friends.
Editor’s Note: Readers who want to read the Register-Star newspaper report may click here to download.