Business

Photo from Leg. Anker's office

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker joined Town of Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner, the Miller Place–Mount Sinai Chamber of Commerce and the community in celebrating the grand reopening of Vincenzo’s Pizzeria and Restaurant, 343 Route 25A, in Miller Place on Oct. 19.

 “I am pleased to welcome Vincenzo’s to the Miller Place community,” said Anker. “I encourage residents to try its delicious food and inviting atmosphere!”

 Vincenzo’s Pizzeria and Restaurant is a family-owned Italian restaurant originally established in Port Jefferson. In 2017, the business had the opportunity to relocate to a larger space in Miller Place, while also expanding its menu and offerings. For more information, visit www.vincenzospizzalongisland.com.

Huntington Hospital will honor the owners of The Paramount — pictured from left, Brian Doyle, Jim Condron, Stephen Ubertini and Dominick Catoggio — at The Social, an event supporting the hospital and its future cancer center on Nov. 21.

“The Paramount has blossomed into a cultural center and economic engine for the Town of Huntington, a venue the community can be proud of,” said Dr. Nick Fitterman, executive director of Huntington Hospital. “They have reinvented and improved the cultural experience of downtown Huntington. I know that employees and patients alike excitedly look forward to attending performances at The Paramount.”

“It’s a great experience thanks to these gentlemen, who brought world class entertainment to our doorstep. Their artistic vision and community spirit are among the reasons we are excited to honor them at this year’s gala,” Fitterman said.

For more information, including sponsorship opportunities, contact Dolli Bross at 631-470-5204 or email dbross2@northwell.edu.

Photo from Huntington Hospital

Photo from Urban Air Lake Grove

Urban Air today announced it plans to open its newest location in Lake Grove on Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 10 a.m., bringing a new brand of indoor Adventure Park to Long Island. The first 200 kids on line for the grand opening on Saturday will receive free basic access for one year.

Located at 3147 Middle Country Road, Lake Grove in the former JCPenny Home Store, the 48,000 sq. ft. indoor Adventure Park will include the Urban Air Sky Rider Indoor Coaster, a winding track that has young thrill-seekers flying along 30 feet in the air.

“We’re excited to be bringing Urban Air to Long Island – we live and work here and know it will be a huge success,” said Urban Air Lake Grove co-owner David Wolmetz. “From trampolining to dodge ball to rock climbing to obstacle courses, we have something for every age group and athletic level.” 

In addition to the wall-to-wall trampoline adventures, adrenaline junkies will be able to experience High Ropes, an obstacle course in the sky; Spin Zone Bumper Cars, where you can bump into your friends and send them into an uncontrolled spin; the Drop Zone, an enormous inflatable landing pad perched below a series of trampolines; the Runway Tumble Track, a unique attraction for flips, handsprings and cartwheels; the Slam Dunk Zone, which allows guests to emulate their favorite basketball heroes with a trampoline-induced slam dunk of their own; a tubes playground with several suspended levels of pipes and tubes for younger visitors to crawl through and slide down; and  Urban Air’s exclusive Urban Warrior Course and Battle Beam.  

The facility will also feature the Urban Café, with food, drinks and snacks available for purchase. The location will also be available for birthday parties, corporate retreats, team building and private events. For more information, visit www.UrbanAirParks.com.

25-Year-Old Looks to Continue Legacy of Family Farming on North Shore

Marianne and Justin Bakewicz on one of their tractors. Photo by Kyle Barr

In Justin Bakewicz’ eyes, the world is sepia toned. Autumn has reddened the leaves and browned the plants on his farm in Wading River. The cornstalks of the corn maze he built have gone dry and stark as gravestones, while the last few pumpkins of his you-pick patch squat among rows of now bare plants. All the farm’s last vegetables are being packed up for the remaining few farmers markets and festivals before winter truly sets in. The farm is closed until spring of next year, and he and his family have started to get ready for what could be a snowy, cold winter.

Justin scratches Boss Hog’s belly while their dog Remington sniffs about. Photo by Kyle Barr

To Bakewicz, his small 11-acre farm along Route 25A in Wading River is a vintage photograph of a barn and fields, a lingering ideal he has worked for three years to make a reality. 

He calls that ideal a legacy from his grandfather, Henry Kraszewski Sr. Justin, a Rocky Point resident, remembers working with his uncle on his grandfather’s farm in Southampton as a kid. 

He too found solace from the drudgery of a desk job working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Riverhead by working on his farm, where they farmed eggs and potatoes. 

“He hated that job to all hell, but when he came home at night his favorite thing to do was to take off the suit and put on his boots and jeans and farm his own potatoes out there,” the farm owner said. That farm lasted until his grandfather passed away and went out of the family’s hands.

While other kids in Danielle Donadoni’s sixth-grade English class at Joseph A. Edgar Intermediate School wrote about wanting to be sports stars, young Justin wrote about how when he grew up, he wanted to be a farmer.

Donadoni said she often visits the Bakewicz farm, saying she loves what the young farmer has brought to the community and how he has even left an imprint on her own children with a love for gardening and raising chickens.

“I remember asking him specifically, ‘What do you like about being a farmer?’” the teacher said. “I remember him telling me an uncle had a farm and it was right about this time of year. I may have given him a ‘Get out of here’ comment and ‘No way you’re working on a farm every weekend.’ Sure enough, that next Monday morning Justin exited the school bus with a pumpkin almost the size of him.”

Getting to where the farm is now was difficult. Already running a landscaping business and selling flowers out of their landscape yard, the Bakewicz family learned about the small patch of land for rent off Route 25A owned by Joe Manzi, of Rocky Point-based Manzi Homes East. 

Justin pets his two rescue calves Woody and Buzz. Photo by Kyle Barr

Justin’s mother Marianne has worked with her son on both the landscaping business as well as the farm. She called the whole project a family affair, with brothers, nieces, sons-in-law and others.

To say the farm has been a passion project for the young farmer would be an understatement. Justin’s mother said very few farms now can operate because even fewer people have the energy to put the work into them. 

“He’s worked really, really hard on this,” she said. “There’s not many young people willing to get up at 5, 5:30 in the morning and work 12-14 hours a day seven days a week. That’s why there’s not a lot of farms left.”

The farm started with barely enough tools to get the job done, even on such a relatively small property. Much of the land was “six-foot-tall weeds,” and borrowing a tractor from a friend, he planted corn for a corn maze and pumpkins. He would drive out to Southampton after working all day to return that equipment. 

Using a New York State grant they got for young farmers, he bought a new tractor to use on the farm. Other equipment came from as far away as Pennsylvania second hand. The plow is a two-bottom, one-way, meaning when he’s digging troughs, he makes one row before going all the way around the field to plow the next. 

Other equipment now sits near the playground as part of what the family calls an educational component to the farm, explaining what it is and how it’s used. 

Compared to the miles and miles of farmland just down the road in Riverhead, Bakewicz Farms is relatively small. The frontage is dedicated to a playground of sorts, all hand-painted cutouts of mythical figures and characters from popular fiction. Some were painted by one of the farmhands, some by Marianne, and others by a friend of Justin’s from Rocky Point, Jen Chiodo. It’s a small wonderland, a mix of down-home sensibility with modern pop culture, like a straw chewing cowboy putting his feet up on the soap box to watch the latest Marvel movie. 

The farm’s frontage has been a playground not just for kids, but for the farmer himself. Bakewicz built his own barrel train and hay wagon. The family created a life-sized cow out of a milk jug and tank, and a small scaled silo out of an old propane tank. Instead of just a run of the mill corn maze, the Wading River farm makes it a scavenger hunt based around a movie, from “Pirates of the Caribbean” to “Harry Potter” to this year’s theme of “Toy Story.” When kids walk through the corn maze, they are looking to find trivia about that movie and make a rubbing to show it off when they come out.

Marianne Bakewicz and their dog Remington at Bakewicz Farm. Photo by Kyle Barr

Even the oft-seen farm animals seem to have come out of a storybook version of a farm. Many of them are rescues, such as Woody and Buzz, two calves that were saved from New Jersey by Port Jefferson Station-based animal rescue Strong Island Rescue. When the Bakewicz got the two young animals, they were both sickly. The mother and son raised them in their own house, taking them for walks and feeding them from a bottle as long as a grown man’s arm. Less than a year later, Woody and Buzz are as big as a small tractor and act more like dogs than cattle.

The story is the same for the other animals at the farm, from the chickens originally raised by a local school, the one duck rescued from students at the University of Rhode Island, the goats to the pig they named Boss Hog. All act more like pets than farm animals, and more and more animals keep ending up behind Bakewicz’ fences.

“They all act like that because they were human-raised,” the mother said. “That’s why people love them, so they come right up to you.”

The farm has increased in popularity over the years, the mother and son said, mostly due to word of mouth and posts online. As they’ve grown, they have made a larger impact in the community, having put up the fall decorations for the Shoreham hamlet signs and having a big presence at the Town of Brookhaven Farmers Market at Town Hall in Farmingville. Their advertising can even be found in such innocuous places like the People’s United bank in Shoreham.

Despite the popularity, Justin has lingering fears of losing the small plot of land. In February, Brookhaven and the property owner announced talks with the developer Tradewind Energy about building solar batteries on the property. Those batteries would only take up a small amount of farm space that Bakewicz had not used, mostly from previous owners using the space to dump branches and trees the farm had used for composting. 

The bigger fear is if that development does not go through. The other idea for the property would be to build homes in that location, pushing the small farm out the door. 

Bakewicz has not heard anything about the issue since earlier this year, but no matter what, he does not plan to stop farming and hopes to continue it on the North Shore.

“It’s the community is what made my farm possible — it’s because of the love and support from them,” he said. “We started family traditions for people.”

Photo by © Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

After two years of extensive renovation and with generous support from New York State, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s historic Demerec Laboratory was reborn as a state-of-the-art research facility. Governor Andrew Cuomo cut the ribbon for the building’s reopening on Oct. 30, celebrating how the state will benefit from this new chapter in CSHL research.

“It’s good for Long Island, it’s good for the economy, but also it is doing work that I believe will improve the quality of life for thousands and thousands of people. I believe this work will actually save lives and there is nothing more important than that,” Governor Cuomo said during his visit. “That is the work that the people in this facility are dedicated to and God bless them for that. The state is honored to be playing a small role today.”

The Demerec Laboratory, home to four Nobel laureates, has been both a bastion and compass point for genetics research in New York and the world. Its new research will focus on taking a more holistic approach to treating cancer and the disease’s impact on the entire body.

According to the CSHL’s website, the new center “will enable newly developed compounds to be refined by world-leading chemists to develop next-generation therapies. This research will form a basis for collaboration with private foundations and pharmaceutical companies, while advancing the development of new drugs. 

In addition, the center will support ongoing research activities aimed to develop therapeutics for breast cancer, leukemia, autism, obesity, diabetes and lung cancer. The primary goal of such research activities will include the development of advanced drug compounds targeting underlying biological pathways.” 

To prepare the Demerec building for 21st-century science, it had to be gutted, with extensive renovations of the basement and interior, while leaving the historic 1950s brutalist exterior largely unchanged.

“We really challenged ourselves to preserve the history of the building as much as possible,” said Centerbrook design firm architect Todd E. Andrews, who planned the renovation.

The result is a modern facility uniquely designed for a scientific approach that considers disease not as a stand-alone subject of study but as a complex system that focuses on the patient.

“Too often [scientists] are not looking at the patient and the system of the patient … even though there are obvious signs that we should be looking,” said Dr. Tobias Janowitz, one of the next generation of Demerec Lab scientists and research-clinicians dedicated to rethinking cancer medicine.

Other Demerec researchers will include Nicholas Tonks, who investigates relationships between diabetes, obesity and cancer, and Linda Van Aelst, a neuroscientist who is interested in how sleep and signals from the brain may be impacted by cancer. Semir Beyaz, who studies how a patient’s nutrition can affect cancer treatment, will also join the team.

While the Demerec Laboratory’s faculty hasn’t been finalized, the researchers will be working alongside the rest of the CSHL community — including 600 scientists, students and technicians — to create a distinctly collaborative and cross-disciplinary culture.

Governor Cuomo called the Demerec building and the larger CSHL campus “hallowed ground for scientific research,” after dedicating $25 million in 2017 toward the $75 million renovation and said he is confident the space and its scientists will deliver a new wave of scientific progress.

“We invested over $620 million statewide in life sciences with $250 million in Long Island alone in biotech. Why? Because we believe that is an economic cluster that is going to grow and that is going to create jobs and it already is,” the governor said. “I believe Long Island is going to be the next Research Triangle.“

Renovating a single research facility may seem like a small step toward the state’s goal, but this particular building has made Long Island a scientific hot spot once again.

“While the Demerec building is comparatively smaller than larger projects that the governor has initiated … it is arguably one of the most productive buildings in all of science,” said CSHL President and CEO Bruce Stillman. “This renovation allows us to really think about where the Lab will take things next. It will have, I hope, a global impact on the research community, especially in the biomedical sciences.

Pictured from left: Laurel Hollow Mayor Daniel DeVita, President of Long Island Association Kevin Law, Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling, President of Empire State Development Eric Gertler, Commissioner of Health for NYS Dr. Howard Zucker, CSHL President and CEO Bruce Stillman, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, CSHL Honorary Trustee Jim Simons, CSHL Chair of the Board of Trustees Marilyn Simons, Nassau County Supervisor Laura Curran, NYS State Assemblyman Chuck Lavine, NYS Assemblyman Steve Stern, NYS Senator Jim Gaughran and CSHL COO John Tuke.   Photo by © Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

 

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A new video released at the end of October looks to entice more people to come and shop in Port Jeff village businesses. Photo from Port Jeff promotional video

Port Jeff and the Business Improvement District are hoping cooperation will equal better results, starting with a new hashtag, #PortJeffersonMeansBusiness.

The Village of Port Jefferson, in partnership with the BID, released a new video at the end of October looking to entice more people to come and shop in village businesses. The video includes interviews with Mayor Margot Garant, along with business owners such as Debra Bowling from Pasta Pasta, Joey Zee from Z Pita restaurant and Jena Turner from Breathe, located on East Main Street.

The video was produced by parking and mobility administrator, Kevin Wood, through his media company FPS Inc. Originally created as part of a rebranding campaign for the village, it has become a step toward a tighter working relationship between the village and BID, which for years has not exactly seen eye to eye. 

Previous BID president, Tom Schafer, the owner of Harbor Grill and Tommy’s Place in Port Jeff, stepped down after a divisive mayoral race earlier this year. Schafer had strongly endorsed Garant’s opponent, John Jay LaValle, in the past election. 

Since he has stepped down, Roger Rutherford, manager of the staple candy store Roger’s Frigate has stepped into the role of interim president. While he said he wasn’t able to speak on the topic of the BID, he directed questions to James Luciano, the owner of the PJ Lobster House. At the time of reporting, members were expecting him to be voted onto the improvement district’s board of directors Nov. 5.

The incoming board member said with a change of leadership, bringing new blood onto the BID’s board has been necessary going forward.

“We’re in it to revive the community, we just need everyone to participate.”

James Luciano

The 36-year old has owned the PJ Lobster House since he was 23 and said the BID’s board had previously been reluctant to go for new ideas.

That, he said, is changing. One new concept is a grant system, where businesses can ask for matching funds up to $1,000 for small projects, whether it’s a sign that needs fixing or a new door. The village has agreed to waive the permit and application fee when it comes to these small projects.

The BID is looking toward future advertisements, including television commercials, railroad ads and joint ads with businesses in Connecticut. They are working with Dix Hills-based Ed Moore Advertising. Luciano said more focus is on social media, working with Mount Sinai-based social media agency Social Butterfly. Instead of using its own online pages for social media content, the BID plans to go through the already active Port Jefferson accounts.

The owner of the PJ Lobster House said the BID is planning on a new initiative to allow businesses to be put on a list for social media advertising with no extra expense to them, with two posts a week and boosts paid for by the BID.

In November last year, the BID and village partnered with Qwik Ride, a company that uses electric vehicles that both residents and visitors can use for transport within the village. The service was free thanks to a sponsorship between the BID and Qwik Ride, though some residents were critical of its low ridership numbers and some residents’ difficulty calling one of its cars. Luciano said at a recent BID meeting, the group met with the CEO of Qwik Ride to air their complaints about how the program was being administered, with some vehicles moving out beyond the village and ignoring requests to put more vehicles on the road during events. The BID offered to pay extra money on a shift to keep the transportation company within the area, but they could not reach an agreement. 

Garant agreed the service was not working for what the village required: A quick, efficient transport staying within the zip code.

In the past, the mayor has criticized the BID for sitting on its funds. The current budget for the improvement district sits at around $190,000, according to officials, and it receives $68,000 every year from the businesses within the district. The current advertising campaign is earmarked for $75,000. With the planned $20,000 grant program, the budget will sit on an approximated $90,000 surplus. The mayor said around $30,000 of that budget is set aside for Port Jeff in case of heavy snowfalls, but in recent years the village has not dipped into those funds.

The village has yet to give the improvement district its $68,000 for this year, with trustees saying they wished to see more movement on projects.

“The board of trustees wanted to see more initiatives going forward,” the mayor said. “When it comes to municipal funds, it’s move it or lose it.” 

 

Wild Flours Bake Shop, 11 New St. in Huntington, recently announced they are closing on Nov. 9. The shop is known for its gluten-free products, many of them made without dairy products or refined sugars. Owners Carolyn Arcario and Mary Mucci made the announcement on Oct. 5. “After 10 years, Wild Flours will be baking our last cakes. Our lease is winding down and we will not be renewing. We have truly enjoyed baking for you and your families,” reads a post on the bakery’s Facebook page. 

Photo from Town of Brookhaven

On Oct. 10, the Brookhaven Business Advisory Council (BBAC) hosted its 15th annual Building Business in Brookhaven Expo at Town Hall. The event, which attracted 450 local business people and 100 vendors, focused on business networking and included a trade show with booths highlighting local, regional and national companies that service businesses in Brookhaven Town.

The expo was presented by the Town of Brookhaven Division of Economic Development in partnership with the Brookhaven Business Advisory Council and the Town of Brookhaven Industrial Development Agency (IDA). 

Pictured from left, Brookhaven Town Director of Economic Development/IDA CEO Lisa Mulligan, BBAC President Henry Bramwell, BBAC VP Brian Cohen, Councilman Michael Loguercio, Councilwoman Jane Bonner; IDA Deputy Director James Tullo, Supervisor Ed Romaine and Councilwoman Valerie M. Cartright.

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Steven and Wayne Rampone Jr. hold images of the Ford dealership when they opened the Route 347 location. Photo By Leah Chiappino

By Leah Chiappino

With a vintage Ford planted in the showroom, the Ramp Ford Dealership in Port Jefferson Station evokes a feeling of nostalgia right as you walk in. Founded in 1944 by Alfred Rampone, the dealership is celebrating 75 years in business. As the oldest family-owned Ford dealership in Suffolk County, it has seen four generations of Rampone family ownership. Currently, Steven and Wayne Rampone Jr., are partners along with their father, Wayne Rampone Sr.

Alfred Rampone during the original founding of the dealership. Photos by Leah Chiappino

“I guess you could say [the business] is in my blood,” Wayne Rampone Jr. said.

The story goes that Alfred worked as a sales representative for Chevrolet, who denied his request to open his own dealership. However, when he reached out to Ford they came through on his request. They offered him a spot in Quogue or Port Jefferson. He chose the latter to make it easier to commute from his New Hyde Park home.

Originally, the dealership was located in lower Port Jefferson village at what is now the Chase Bank building. It operated with a handful of vehicles with a single salesperson and mechanic. The Rampones expanded to their current location on Route 347 in the mid-1960s. Today, they employ 45 people, who call themselves the “Ramp family,” and sell both vehicles and parts, as well as service vehicles. 

Rampone Jr. says their business model has remained the same all this time. 

“We are a customer-focused and customer-centered dealership,” he said. “We take pride in me being able to say we are a family-owned business and we literally treat our customers like family. When they walk in the door, we know them by name. We take care of each other.” He added their bond with the community has been instrumental to their success.

As part of their business model, owners said the dealership attempts to give back to the community in place of traditional advertising. They sponsor Little League teams, contribute to church organizations, and are deeply involved with Hope House Ministries. 

 “We spend a lot of time, a lot of money, and a lot of energy in the community,” Rampone Jr. said. “We believe if we give back to the community, they will give back to us.”

RIBBON CUTTING

The Northport Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting to mark the official grand re-opening of The Firefly Artists art gallery at its new larger location at 162 Main St. in Northport on Oct. 17. 

The celebration was attended by chamber President Jim Izzo, Northport town trustees Mercy Smith and Tom Kehoe, Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, Firefly artists, members of the community, friends and family. The event also kicked off the gallery’s fall exhibit, Autumn Works, featuring the work of the Firefly artists, on view through Nov. 30. 

“Northport is a wonderful community, and it is a privilege to get to work with so many wonderful local artists and other businesses right here on Main Street,” said Katheryn Laible, a Firefly artist who recently became one of the group’s managing partners, in a press release. 

For more information, call 631-651-5545 or visit www.thefireflyartists.com.