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Harborfront Park

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Close to 50 people attend a candlelight vigil and prayer service for the victims of 9/11 at Harborfront Park. The event was headed by the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America Vigiano Brothers Lodge Brothers Lodge 3436. 

Anthony Rotoli, Jr., president of the lodge, said this annual event has a significant impact on them as they are named after two brothers John T. Vigiano, Firefighter First Grade NYFD and Joseph V. Vigiano, Detective, Emergency Services NYPD who perished on 9/11. 

“It’s a way to honor them and the lives lost that day,” he said. “We had a pretty good turn out.”

 

 

Dragons will roar on the North Shore once again as The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce hosts the 6th annual Port Jefferson Dragon Boat Race Festival on Saturday, Sept. 14 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The free event will take place at Mayor Jeanne Garant Harborfront Park, 101A E. Broadway, Port Jefferson and the village’s inner harbor.

The festival is the brainchild of Barbara Ransome, director of operations at the chamber, who attended a dragon boat race festival in Cape May, New Jersey, a few years ago.

Opening ceremonies will begin at 8:30 a.m. and include a performance by the Asian Veterans Color Guard, singing of the national anthem by Peggy Yin, a Blessing of the Dragon and the traditional “Eye Dotting” ceremony to awaken the dragon.

This year’s event will consist of 27 teams with dragon boats provided by High Five Dragon Boat Co. With the first race scheduled for 9 a.m., boat teams will compete on a 250-meter, three-lane racing course. Each team is made up of 20 “paddlers,” one steersman and one drummer. Heats will run all day, culminating in an awards ceremony at 5 p.m. All race teams will have their own “encampment” along Harborfront Park as they are queuing up for their races. Team contests for the best team T-shirt and best costumed drummer will be judged in the middle of the day.

Spectators can easily view the race course from the park’s edge and pier.

In addition to the races, there will be a day-long festival featuring numerous performances including the famous Lion Dance, Taiko and Korean Drum performances, martial arts demonstrations and Asian singing and instrumentals. There will be many cultural and educational vendors and retailers as well. New this year the best “drumming performance” sponsored by Taiko Tides and two new dragon statues.

Six food trucks will be on hand offering American, Italian, Chinese dishes as well as empanadas, smoothies and barbecue options.

Children’s activities will be in abundance with traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy, origami, kite making, trick yo-yo demonstrations and face painting. Adults can enjoy free chair massages, as well as free health screenings.

Free shuttle buses provided by the Port Jeff Jitney will make frequent stops on Oakland Avenue next to the Port Jefferson train station, the CVS parking lot on Barnum Avenue and the northeast corner of Belle Terre Road and Myrtle Avenue to bring eventgoers to the Port Jefferson Village Center from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Special thanks to this year’s sponsors, which include Murphy’s Marine Service-PJ Sea Tow, Incorporated Port Jefferson Village, Port Jefferson Yacht Club, Harbor Ballet Theatre, and  the Port Jefferson Ambulance Suffolk County School Crossing Guards, the Confucius Institute of Stony Brook, NY Community Bank-Roslyn Savings Division, News 12, Jet Sanitation, Island Federal Union, TBR News Media, Danfords-Hotel Marina & Spa & The Waterview-Crest Hospitality, The Gitto Group, Peoples United Bank, PSEG and Servpro of Port Jefferson.

Bring a blanket or lawn chair and come enjoy the festivities. The event will be held rain or shine. For more information, call 631-473-1414 or visit www.portjeffdragonracefest.com.

Schedule of events

7:45 a.m.  Team captains meeting on the Great Lawn at Harborfront Park

8:30 a.m.  Opening ceremonies: Asian Veterans Color Guard; Singing of the National Anthem- Peggy Yin ‘acapella’; Introductions of VIP’s-Blessing of the Dragon and ‘Eye Dotting’ Ceremony

8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Food vendors, cultural crafts, children activities, retail/educational/nonprofit vendor tables

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Continual Dragon Boat races in Port Jefferson’s Inner Harbor

9 a.m.  First races begin

10 to 11:30 a.m. LI Waist Drum, Riprise Music, Tai Chi-Demonstrations-Stony Brook Chinese School & Long Island School of Chinese, Yana Dance Group, Sound of Long Island Chorus

12 to 1 p.m.  Lunch break (no racing)

12:30 to 1 p.m. Parade of the Team T-shirts Contest & ‘Best Drummer’ Costumer Contest

1 to 2 p.m. Authentic Shaolin Kung Fu-Lion Dance, Kung Fu  & Tai Chi Demonstrations

2 to 3:30 p.m. LI Chinese Dance Group, Lingyan Vocal Art Studio; Alice & Emily Dance Duo; North Shore Youth Music Ensemble

3:30 to 4 p.m.  LI School of Chinese Mother’s Dance Team, Stony Brook Chinese School;  Peggy Yin & Claire Yang-Singing ‘My Homeland’, ‘Big Fish’ Ivan Ge-Keyboard; Zekey Huang-Violin

4 to 4:30 p.m. DDKY-2 Traditional Korean Percussion Pieces-‘Youngnam’ & ‘Chil-chae’;  Junko Fisher-Japanese Dance-‘Matsushima’

4:30 to 5 p.m.  United Martial Arts Center-UMAC Marital Arts Demonstration, Yixin’s Dance Center performing Girl’s Love, Picking Osmuda Flower, The Blue and White Porcelain & Auspicious Peacock

4:45 p.m. Last Dragon Boat race of the day

5 to 5:30 p.m.  Closing ceremonies and awards

Photos courtesy of Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce

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By Julianne Mosher

The ninth annual Sikaflex Quick & Dirty Boat build went off without a hitch Sunday, Aug. 25 as a week of hot and humid air turned into a clear, warm day for racing hand-built boats.

Seven teams built their boats out of plywood and calk over Saturday and early Sunday before taking them into the water to race a short circuit around Port Jefferson harbor in front of Harborfront Park.

Peter Charalambous and Sunny Drescher won the day with their boat “The Winner,” while Chris Voorhis and Doug Santo finished second with the boat called No. 1. Kayla Kraker and Alex Serina took up third in their craft called Avalon 1.25. Dominic Ware and Kelsey Pagan won best design award for their craft called Sunny Days.

EarthCam showing live footage of Port Jefferson Harbor. Photo courtesy of Earthcam

While local residents only have to drive a few minutes to see Port Jefferson Harbor’s quaint waterside sights, now people across the world can watch kids play in Harborfront Park and watch the ferries ship out from the historic dock, all in high definition.

Port Jefferson Village has joined EarthCam, a New Jersey-based company that allows locations from all over the world to showcase live 24/7 broadcasts of locations. The camera is located on the side of the Village Center facing toward the harbor and has been running since the end of November.

“Now, [Port Jefferson] residents, visitors and the world can share in the beauty of our stunning harborfront village,” Mayor Margot Garant said in a statement. “Being a four-season village, we are excited about the many changes of scenery that everyone will be able to see live from any place around the world.”

The village joins other famous sites like Montauk on the East End and Times Square in Manhattan. Kevin Wood, the village’s parking and security camera administrator, said he has been impressed with EarthCam for several years, and while there are other security cameras around the village, this one will be used specifically to promote Port Jefferson.

“It’s for the benefit of everybody worldwide to see the beauty of our harbor,” he said. “Many people, even on Long Island, don’t know what the harbor looks like.”

Wood added that the camera, which cost approximately $1,800, will have the capacity to broadcast sound as well as video starting in 2019.

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The annual racing of the dragons took place off the shores of Port Jefferson’s Harborfront Park under sunny skies Sept. 15.

For the fifth time, Port Jefferson Harbor was the scene and The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce played host for Port Jeff’s Dragon Boat Race Festival. The day-long festival features 34 teams competing in heats with dragon boats provided by High Five Dragon Boat Co., numerous performances including the famous Lion Dance, Taiko and Korean Drum performances, martial arts demonstrations and Asian singing and instrumentals. New this year was a special Ribbon Dragon Dance and musicians playing the traditional Japanese stringed instruments, the Shamisen and Koto.

The event also offers food, children’s activities, displays set up by various vendors and much more.

The festival is the brainchild of Barbara Ransome, director of operations at the chamber, who attended a dragon boat race festival in Cape May, New Jersey, a few years ago.

Choppy conditions in Port Jefferson Harbor forced the cancellation of the race portion of the 2018 Village Cup Regatta Sept. 8,  but the annual fundraiser was a success anyway.

For the ninth year, the Port Jefferson Yacht Club and the Port Jefferson Village Center were the home for the event, which features a parade past the village-owned pier at Harborfront Park, a race out in the open water between sailboats representing the village and John T. Mather Memorial Hospital, and a banquet to conclude the festivities. This year, conditions weren’t conducive to holding the race, but the event still raised about $70,000 for two worthy causes, according to Mather’s Facebook page.

Funds raised by the regatta will be split between Mather Hospital’s Palliative Medicine Program and the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

For the sixth year,  actor/director and local resident Ralph Macchio served as community ambassador for the event. Macchio helps to publicize the important work of the two programs funded by the regatta. His wife, Phyllis, is a nurse practitioner in Mather’s Palliative Medicine Program.

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Not even a downpour could stop the participants of the eighth annual Sikaflex Quick & Dirty Boat Build Competition August 12 from testing both their ingenuity and skill in racing a craft they built.

Six teams were given five hours Saturday, Aug. 11 to construct their own small craft out of plywood and calk, even including their own oars. Those boats were painted early Sunday before they were taken out into Port Jefferson Harbor alongside Harborfront Park to be raced against each other. Though for many who participated, a large part of the competition was to see if their boat could actually float.

“We didn’t even float in last year’s competition, so this year was a redemption,” said Queens resident Kelsey Pagan, who along with her partner Dominic Ware, won third place with their boat the Crooked Angler.

Winners of the previous year’s competition, Matthew Debeau and Ken Callirgos, from Port Jefferson, got second place with their spaceship-themed boat named Apollo 1379. Brooklyn residents Keanne Petrie and Jocelyn Cabral won this year in their boat School of Fish. Petrie is a five-year contestant, and this was the first time she won. It was a day of victories for Petrie, as she also was picked in a raffle drawing for a brand-new Sassafras 16 Chesapeake Light Craft Canoe.

“This is really amazing,” Petrie said. She thought about it, and laughed. “Now I just need to figure out how to bring this back to Brooklyn.”

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People arriving to this year’s Eastern Long Island Mini Maker’s Faire in Port Jefferson June 9 were greeted by robed Jedis from the Long Island Saber Guild flourishing with their lightsabers and a true-to-scale Hulkbuster costume as if straight from the screen of the recent “Avengers: Infinity War” movie. It was just the start to a day filled with the strange and the unique as makers from all across Long Island and beyond showed off their inventions and skills to interested guests.

The annual event, hosted by the nonprofit Long Island Explorium, is a celebration of doers, dabblers or anybody who uses their own sweat, blood and tears to create or build something, even if it’s a little off the wall. New to this year’s fair was the Long Island Vegetable Orchestra, which used hollowed out carrots, gourds, cucumbers to play songs, such as The Beatles’ hit “Hey Jude.”

Several robotics teams from high schools across the county showed off creations, from Lego Mindstorms robots that could stop and reverse if it sensed an obstruction in front of it, to a huge shirt cannon from Smithtown High School’s Mechanical Bulls robotics team that fired t-shirts from the Port Jefferson Village Center all the way into Harborfront Park.

New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) presented the explorium with a resolution commending its work in producing the event. At the same time three volunteers who worked with the explorium on the event received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for their work in the explorium’s museum. One of those young men, fourth-grader Greyson West, received the bronze reward for working between 26 and 49 hours at the museum.

“We earned the award by our age group and how many hours we participated in volunteering at the museum,” Greyson said. “It feels pretty good to receive it.”

An organizer of the event commended Greyson’s hard work.

“They work with the children, they worked with the community,” Carole Van-Duyn, the explorium’s museum program director said. “Our volunteers taught and engaged with the kids in several events and Greyson helped make it a great experience.”

 

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James Marci sits in his completed Eagle Scout project with his mom, Christine Napolitano, at Harborfront Park in Port Jefferson June 2. Photo by Alex Petroski

Like the Iron Throne in Westeros, Port Jefferson Village now has a roughly seven-feet-tall by four-feet-wide seat that will make any visitors at Harborfront Park feel like royalty. James Marci, 16, a Port Jefferson High School student and member of Boy Scout Troop 454, was tasked in approaching his Eagle Scout Service Project with demonstrating leadership of others while completing something to benefit his community. After months of work, planning and coordination, the harborside park now features what Marci is calling #PJBigChair.

Marci said he wanted to build a landmark for Port Jeff, something that would attract both tourists and locals to visit and take photos on and share on social media using the hashtag, which is actually painted on the massive blue seat in white lettering. He said he got the idea from visiting Cape Cod and heard from others who had visited Vermont and seen something similar in public spaces. The big chair — made out of Douglas fir wood discounted by Riverhead Building Supply — was dropped off at the park June 2 and will be officially permanently installed on the gravel path overlooking the harbor behind the Long Island Explorium and near The Shipbuilder’s Monument June 8. Interested sitters won’t need exact coordinates to locate it though.

James Marci, in chair on the right, sits on his completed Eagle Scout project at Harborfront Park, joined by, from left, his mom, Christine Napolitano, Trustee Larry LaPointe, Mayor Margot Garant, Trustee Bruce D’Abramo and Trustee Stan Loucks. Photo by Bethanie Rizzo

“It’s something that brings people together, and even the finished product will bring people together through pictures, that’s something I like to advocate for,” Marci said. “All of the connections you have to make it’s truly a matter of coordination, because that’s what it says for the requirement, you have to plan and execute, and it’s more of the planning than the execution that makes it a great project. If everything runs smoothly that’s what makes it a spectacle to see, just everything came together. Someone who’s going to come from Connecticut or the middle of the Island is going to see this and is going to wonder how it got here. It’s a story.”

Marci’s mom, Christine Napolitano, said she and her son love the area and have fostered a nice relationship with Village Mayor Margot Garant over the years. She said her son interviewed Garant as a first-grader and wrote her a letter as part of a community project.

“To see him use tools was kind of fun for me, because he now knows how to use a lot of things I don’t know how to use,” Napolitano said. “Letting him be in charge of something was very hard because moms always do everything, but he did it all by himself and I’m very proud of him.”

Marci said the primer and stain for the wood were donated by Benjamin Moore in Port Jefferson Station, and a couple of the employees who helped him out were former Scouts. He said his uncle — Napolitano’s brother — and Village Trustee Stan Loucks and the rest of the board helped him in coordinating and completing the project. He also thanked the family of Bethanie Rizzo, Troop 454 Committee Chair, who allowed him to store the chair in her garage while it was being completed and assisted in transporting it to the park.

“The work that it takes to become an Eagle Scout is just remarkable,” Trustee Bruce D’Abramo said. “I think that the Boy Scouts of America are really training some leaders of tomorrow and it’s not easy to get through all of the steps. I’m just so proud of this boy, and I wish him well.”

This post was updated June 12 to correct that Riverhead Building Supply provided a discount and did not donate the wood, and to amend Christine Napolitano’s input.

By Alex Petroski

Like a scene from a popular HBO show, Port Jefferson was overrun with dragons for as far as the eye could see Sept. 16. The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce hosted its fourth Dragon Boat Race Festival at Harborfront Park and in Port Jefferson Harbor Saturday. The annual event features boat races, food, vendors, traditional Chinese ceremonies and customs, and musical performances.

This year 30 dragon boat teams competed in a recreational division, and four club teams squared off on the open seas in a more competitive one. Teams consisted of 20 rowers, one steersman and one drummer for the races around the inner harbor. The festival is the brainchild of Barbara Ransome, director of operations at the chamber, who said she got her inspiration after she attended a dragon boat race festival in Cape May, New Jersey, a few years back.

“We’ve got it down from an organizational perspective,” Ransome said in a phone interview after the event. “Everything went very well and very smooth.”

Ransome said she thought this year yielded larger attendance numbers — she speculated several thousand — than previous years, and said she is happy the event is growing. She said about 140 people utilized a free shuttle service provided to take attendees from their cars to the park, which was about 40 percent more than during last year’s event.

In the recreational group, a team from the Long Island School of Chinese called Huaxia Dragon took home the gold with a time of 58.06 seconds, narrowly edging Seas the Day, a team of rowers from St. Charles Hospital, who finished in 58.10 to capture silver. A New York City-area rowing club called The Collective won gold in the club division with a time of 58.27 in the final heat. The New York City Police Department rowing club came in second, finishing just two-tenths of a second behind The Collective.

Ransome said upon request from teams that competed in 2016, this was the first year racers were separated into groups based on experience levels, and she thought it was a good decision.

Port Jefferson Dragons, a Port Jefferson Village team, prepared extensively for the 2017 race, according to Ransome, so the group was bumped up as the fourth team in the club division. As a modest underdog, Port Jefferson Dragons got on the podium with a third-place finish.

“That was very impressive,” she said. “They did extraordinarily well.”

The Confucius Institute at Stony Brook University, an educational partnership between the school and China’s Office of Chinese Language Council International, was once again a sponsor of the event. According to a staff member at the institute, its directors were pleased with the event.

“We basically support any cultural events in the area that promotes Chinese culture, so it makes sense,” the staff member said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) sent Assistant Director of Constituencies for Asian American Affairs Joanne Choi to the event as a representative on his behalf. Suffolk County Legislators Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) and Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai), Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) and Village Mayor Margot Garant were among the other elected officials also in attendance.

A maximum occupancy restriction was placed on the village-owned pier for the event, which has been found to need repairs following the 2016 race. Ransome said the guidelines were strictly adhered to, and actually made the event easier for timekeepers and organizers.