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Stony Brook Village Center

By Rita J. Egan

On April 19, residents joined Stony Brook Village Center President Gloria Rocchio, Chairman Dr. Richard Rugen, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R), Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) and Three Village Chamber of Commerce President Andrew Polan in welcoming five new businesses to the center.

The grand opening and ribbon cutting stroll included gift and clothing store Madison’s Niche, Camera Concepts & Telescope Solutions, interior design business Cervo Design, Village Florist and Events and Sweet Mama’s Family Restaurant. Before and after the ribbon cuttings, attendees had the opportunity to stroll through each establishment, and enjoyed refreshments at Cervo Design and Sweet Mama’s.

Madison's Niche will be a part of the festivities on April 19.

Grand Openings Stroll

The Stony Brook Village Center, 111 Main Street, Stony Brook, in conjunction with The Three Village Chamber of Commerce, will present a Grand Openings Stroll on Thursday, April 19 (rescheduled) with a noon kickoff.

Five new businesses, beginning with Madison’s Niche (owner Karen McAvoy) at noon, Camera Concepts (owner Jeff Norwood) at 12:15 p.m., Cervo Design (owner Andrea Cervo) at 12:30 p.m., Village Florist (owner Amanda Haggquist) at 12:45 p.m. and ending with Sweet Mama’s Restaurant (owner Marios Patatinis) at 1 p.m., will celebrate their grand opening with a ribbon cutting. 

The community is invited to join Stony Brook Village Center President Gloria Rocchio; Chairman Richard Rugen; trustees and town officials including, Legislator Kara Hahn, Councilwoman Valerie Cartright; Supervisor Ed Romaine; and Andrew Polan, president, Three Village Chamber of Commerce in wishing all the businesses good luck in their new venture. 

The afternoon will conclude with free champagne and pub bites in Grandpa’s Shed Lounge located at the rear of Sweet Mama’s. For more information, call 631-751-2244 or visit www.stonybrookvillagecenter.com.

On Dec. 3, legends and spies from history such as Culper Spy Ring members Major Benjamin Tallmadge and Caleb Brewster, prominent shipbuilder Jonas Smith and philanthropists Ward and Dorothy Melville joined Stony Brook and neighboring residents to ring in the holiday season.

The village’s 38th annual holiday festival featured the historic characters in giant puppet form, created by Processional Arts Workshop, during the event’s Puppets Processional led by The Jazz Loft owner Tom Manuel and his band. Santa was on hand to hear all the children’s’ wishes and take photos. Additional activities at the event organized by The Ward Melville Heritage Organization included live music with WALK Radio; a performance by Roseland School of Dance; carolers; a holiday train display at the Cultural Center; and Wiggs Optician’s holiday windows.

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The Ward Melville Heritage Organization presented its 27th annual Halloween festival at the Stony Brook Village Center Oct. 31. Children were able to trick or treat from shop to shop, enjoy pumpkin painting, games and crafts.

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization is currently accepting submissions for its annual Scarecrow Competition. Sponsored by The Suffolk Center for Speech and Myofunctional Therapy, Samuel R. Taube, Sharon Doyle, J. Robert Quilty and Roseland School of Dance, this will be the 27th year the spooky, silly, scary six-foot creations will adorn the pathways of picturesque Stony Brook Village Center for visitors to enjoy and vote for their favorite.

As in the past, in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, all scarecrows decorated with a majority of pink will receive 50 bonus points toward the competition. Official entry forms are available in most Stony Brook Village Center shops, at the offices of WMHO at 111 Main Street, second floor, in Stony Brook or online at www.stonybrookvillage.com.

Categories are divided into Professional, Adult/Family and Children’s. Registration deadline is Sept. 29 and there is an entry fee of $15. Winners will receive cash prizes awarded at WMHO’s annual Halloween Festival, beginning at 2 p.m. on Oct. 31. Visitors to the Stony Brook Village Center shops have the opportunity to cast their vote for their favorite scarecrow during the month of October. Voting ballots will be available in all Village Center shops and eateries or at the WMHO office. For full information on this and other Stony Brook Village events, call 631-751-2244 or visit www.stonybrookvillage.com.

13507169_534035353468881_6222762848800535560_nAttention coffee lovers! Village Coffee Market, 131 Main St., Stony Brook (located right next to the post office) invites the community to an Open House on Tuesday, Nov. 29 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Come find out all about the newest store at the Stony Brook Village Center. Start your holiday shopping while enjoying coffee samples and baked goods. For additional questions, call 631-675-9525.

Photo courtesy of WMHO

Blast from the Past: Where was this store in the 1940s and what is it today? Email your answers to info@wmho.org. To see more wonderful vintage photographs like this, visit The Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s ongoing exhibit, It Takes a Team to Build a Village, at The WMHO’s Educational & Cultural Center, 97P Main Street, Stony Brook. For more information, call 631-751-2244.

clancysLast week’s photo: This photo was taken in the early 1950s during a festival at the Stony Brook Village Center. Photo courtesy of The WMHO

Above, one of the many scarecrows that greeted visitors at the Stony Brook Village Center last year. File photo by Giselle Barkley
A sparkly (and flexible) witch greets visitors to the Stony Brook Village Center in a previous year. File photo
A sparkly (and flexible) witch greets visitors to the Stony Brook Village Center in a previous year. File photo

One of the North Shore’s most popular holiday events is now underway at the Stony Brook Village Center, the Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s annual Scarecrow Competition. This will be the 26th year the spooky, silly and scary six-foot creations will adorn the pathways of picturesque Stony Brook Village Center for visitors to enjoy and vote in their favorite! Voting ballots will be available in all Village Center shops and eateries or at the WMHO office.

Categories are Professional, Adult/Family and Children’s. Registration deadline will be Sept. 30 and there is an entry fee of $15. Winners will receive cash prizes awarded at WMHO’s Annual Halloween Festival, beginning at 2 p.m. on Oct. 31. Suffolk Center for Speech is the main event sponsor for the festival and competition. For full information on this and other Stony Brook Village events, call 631-751-2244 or visit www.stonybrookvillage.com

Photo from WMHO

Blast from the Past:

Do you know where and when this photo was taken? Email your answers to info@wmho.org. To see more wonderful vintage photographs like this, visit The Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s ongoing exhibit, It Takes a Team to Build a Village, at The WMHO’s Educational & Cultural Center, 97P Main Street, Stony Brook. For more information, call 631-751-2244.

Photo from WMHO
Photo from WMHO

Last week’s photo: The WMHO received many responses identifying this photo, which was a bowling alley located at the Stony Brook Village Center. The lanes were built in the basement of the Woodbox (now Latitude 121) in approximately 1956. Whitney Roberts of Stony Brook reminisced working there as a young man. “I set the pins there in 1959 for the Ladies’ Duck Pin League. Still remember the 5 cent root beers in the frozen mugs as I’m sure the few others that are still in the area remember.”

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Peter Gustafson, the longest-serving member of the Stony Brook Fire Department (64 years), enjoys the rededication of Stony Brook Village with Fire Commissioner and guest speaker Walter Hazlitt, who attended the original dedication on July 3, 1941. Photo by Donna Newman

On July 10, the Ward Melville Heritage Organization celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Stony Brook Village Center with a day of festivities, music, antique cars, and special remembrances.

A gathering on the village green brought together the trustees of the WMHO, community members, and representatives of government from the state, the county, and the town.

Curious passersby also stopped to listen as each of the speakers gave his or her own perspective on the little New England village that Ward Melville first dedicated in the summer of 1941.

The longest serving member of the Stony Brook Fire Department, Peter Gustafson, sits in the department’s antique truck dating from 1939. Photo by Donna Newman
The longest serving member of the Stony Brook Fire Department, Peter Gustafson, sits in the department’s antique truck dating from 1939. Photo by Donna Newman

The first to address the assemblage was Walter Hazlitt, a longtime resident of Stony Brook who was present at the first dedication ceremony. He was a teenager then and remembers all the hoopla and watching the parade.

The WMHO has film from that dedication. It is on view as part of a special summer exhibit, “It takes a team to build a village,” at the Educational & Cultural Center.

“The project that was started by Ward Melville was the [impetus] that made Stony Brook what it is today,” said Hazlitt. “The story [of this new center] was in several New York newspapers,” he added, remembering the tourists who began to come here. He opined that Melville started something grand, and Governor Nelson Rockefeller continued Stony Brook’s growth by establishing — with Melville’s help — a state university that is “unparalleled.”

At right, (back row) Councilwoman Valerie Cartright, Suffolk Legislator Kara Hahn, trustee Jim Murdocco, trustee Mary Van Tuyl, WMHO Chairman Richard Rugen, trustee Charles Napoli, NYS Assemblyman Steve Englebright, NYS Senator John Flanagan and trustee Charles Pieroth; (front row) WMHO President Gloria Rocchio, trustee Kathleen Mich, and trustee Laura Huang Ernst. Photo by Donna Newman
At right, (back row) Councilwoman Valerie Cartright, Suffolk Legislator Kara Hahn, trustee Jim Murdocco, trustee Mary Van Tuyl, WMHO Chairman Richard Rugen, trustee Charles Napoli, NYS Assemblyman Steve Englebright, NYS Senator John Flanagan and trustee Charles Pieroth; (front row) WMHO President Gloria Rocchio, trustee Kathleen Mich, and trustee Laura Huang Ernst. Photo by Donna Newman

Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) spoke of her idyllic childhood in Stony Brook.

“Small things have changed; so much has stayed the same,” she said. “It is the same extraordinarily beautiful view. You turn around and you look out over Hercules, you look around at the green space we have in our community — where we come together at special moments — this is the most magical, special place.”

State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) also gave his take on the village.

“Historically — and I love the fact that we have these antique vehicles here — this is the first mall in America,” he said. “That’s quite remarkable. Ward Melville and his designer Richard Haviland Smythe envisioned a coming of age of the automobile, and they designed accordingly. This is the first shopping mall designed for the automobile specifically, and for that reason, if for no other, this is a part of our national heritage.”

Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) and Supervisor Edward Romaine (R) represented Brookhaven Town. Cartright spoke of reading that the Melville family came across the site by accident.

“Being a woman of God,” she said, “I don’t believe in accidents … I truly believe they were divinely guided here.”

Romaine spoke of Ward Melville’s boldness, calling him “a visionary.”

“He convinced store owners that this wasn’t going to drive them out of business, that this was the way to go,” he said. “And the results endure to this day, 75 years after [the village] was dedicated. Its lesson is what good planning — what having a decent vision for the future of a community — is all about.”

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