Authors Posts by Rita J. Egan

Rita J. Egan

Rita J. Egan

by -
0 617
Photo by Rita J. Egan

The members of the Ward Melville Heritage Organization board said protesters only know part of the story about their negotiations with the owner of a popular restaurant in Stony Brook Village Center.

After Pentimento Restaurant, owned by chef Dennis Young, announced on its Facebook page at the end of July that it would be closing Sept. 30 due to their lease not being renewed with Eagle Realty Holdings, customers and former employees began protesting the decision.

Eagle Realty Holdings, which this year paid $725,000 in real estate taxes, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the not-for-profit WMHO. Eagle Realty Holdings leases the commercial businesses in Stony Brook Village Center as well as a few offices and residential homes surrounding the shopping center.

In the last few weeks, protesters have rallied in front of the restaurant as well as WMHO and Eagle Realty Holdings President Gloria Rocchio’s home. They created a Save Pentimento Restaurant Facebook page and posted a petition on

There were also campaigns to call and email all of the board members which include Richard Rugen, chairman of the board, and trustees Mary Van Tuyl and Charles Napoli. People have been calling the WMHO office, too.

Rocchio said a couple of times a box truck and car have been parked in front of her home with Save Pentimento signs, and at a Sept. 12 protest, a person was banging a pot.

Rugen said as president, Rocchio has taken “the black eye.”

The board feels the protests exacerbated the problem instead of letting them work things out with Young and his lawyer.

“That’s what’s so frustrating,” Rugen said. “The demonstrations and so on, especially in front of Gloria’s house, have actually exacerbated the problem to the point where it was no longer viable.”

Napoli said people don’t have all the facts and the board was just trying to get clarity, while the public has labeled them “demons.” The board members said they have had a good relationship with Young through the years, and he’s always paid his rent on time. Rocchio described Young as a “wonderful chef.”

Napoli said the protests were “counterproductive.”

“It was unnecessary,” he said. “It could have been resolved, just between us and Dennis.”

Van Tuyl, who has received numerous calls at home and her business, added that the protesters know who the board members are but the trustees don’t know who the people are calling and emailing them.

“That’s a scary situation for anyone to be in,” she said.

Rocchio said it was difficult for her and board members to comment on the lease situation to the press and residents as the terms of a lease and negotiations are normally kept between the lessor and lessee. She added that each lease is for a different length of time. 

“These are landlord-tenant matters that are negotiated, and you really don’t discuss in public,” Rocchio said.

Young and the restaurant’s manager Lisa Cusumano said in previous interviews with TBR News Media that they were supposed to notify the landlord a year before the end of the lease term about the intention to renew. Young, who wants to retire in the near future, said he forgot due to trying to keep his business afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. A few months ago, someone he knew wanted to buy the business; however, he was told the lease could not be extended. If Young was able to sell the business, the restaurant would rename Pentimento, and he and Cusumano would continue to work there as well as the current staff.

The board said they were open to extending Young’s lease but not for as long as he originally asked for. When they proposed a shorter length of time, their offer was rejected by Young. The board members added that they interviewed the buyer Young suggested as well as others. They suggested a couple of them to Young; however, when the potential buyers contacted the restaurant owner, he didn’t provide them with the information they needed to make an offer.

“It was to our benefit for him to sell the business.”

—Gloria Rocchio

There was one more caveat, Rocchio said, as obligations in a present lease have to be fulfilled before letting another person buy a business, and the septic system needs to be replaced. Cusumano said in a Sept. 16 The Village Times Herald article, Young has maintained the septic system properly and replaced it approximately 10 years ago.

Rocchio said the current septic system had been reviewed by the health department when it was installed, and the architect who designed it used the standard specification for a restaurant with 125 seats. However, according to the board, the septic system that is a dedicated system for the kitchen, interior of the restaurant and outside patio has been overtaxed. It doesn’t handle or affect the bar area or the bar bathroom.

The owner had expanded the restaurant years ago into a former clothing store. While he didn’t have enough funds to finish the project, the board said Eagle Realty Holdings put up the rest of the money. In the event that he sold the business, Eagle Realty Holdings would be repaid.

“It was to our benefit for him to sell the business,” Rocchio said.

She said with the restaurant closing at the end of the month Eagle Realty Holdings will not be paid back the money, and it will be responsible for the new septic system.

In a Sept. 16 The Village Times Herald article, Cusumano said that the restaurant’s last day would be Sept. 30.

“We walk away after 27 years with nothing,” she said.

Napoli said they were doing everything they could to help Young.

“No one on the board wants to hurt Dennis,” Napoli said. “Everyone, all the trustees, want him to get something for the restaurant. For 27 years, he has served this community very well, and the community has supported him, and we’ve encouraged it. We’ve worked together. It would be only fair that he did get something.”

The Thompson House sustained flooding in East Setauket. Photo from WMHO

With Hurricane Ida taking lives and causing destruction from Louisiana to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, some scientists see longer term patterns reflected in the power and destruction of this storm.

Kevin Reed, associate professor at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University, said a group of experts on the topic are working on research related to the climate impacts on Ida. No specific timeline is set for such an analysis, which would be similar to what the World Weather Attribution initiative is doing.

“It’s more and more clear that there’s some connection” between a warmer climate and more severe storms,” Reed said. The sooner scientists can make that link, the “more impactful and useful” any such statements or determinations could be.

While Reed hasn’t done any formal research yet on Ida, he has considered some of the specific aspects of this storm.

Rainfall rates of over 3 inches per hour, which set a record in Central Park, are “what you would expect in terms of climate impact.”

Previous modeling work indicates that increasing global temperatures raise the likelihood of extreme rainfall.

Reed hopes researchers can build methodologies and refine their approaches to apply what they know about climate to severe weather events like Ida, which command attention as they approach, once they make landfall and, in their aftermath, as cities and states rebuild.

What’s clear from some of the work he’s done is that “climate change is not a long-off problem, it’s already changing storms” in terms of the amount and intensity of rainfall.

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report emphasized that climate change is increasing the rainfall from storms.

Reed suggested it would help in terms of prevention and planning to develop ways to refine the understanding of the link between climate change and storms.

Researchers should “produce this type of information, almost at the same frequency as weather forecasts.”

Larger storms have become a topic on people’s minds in part because disruptive weather events like hurricanes Ida (2021), Laura (2020), Dorian (2019), Florence (2018), Harvey (2017) and Matthew (2016) seem to happen so much more frequently.

Scientists are continuing to try to “quantify the impact” of how the characteristics of an event might have changed because of a warmer climate, Reed said.

Research has been evolving to address society’s most pressing and urgent questions.

Indeed, climate change can and likely has contributed to heavier snowfall events, despite the broader trend towards warmer temperatures.

Some scientists have linked the melting of Arctic ice to the weakening of the polar vortex, enabling colder air to come south toward the continental United States and, in particular, the Eastern Seaboard.

The impacts from climate change are “going to get larger and more significant,” Reed said. “We have an opportunity to mitigate that. If we reduce our emissions the world will warm by half a degree to a degree. That still is offsetting potentially disastrous impacts of going beyond that.”

Recognizing the impact of climate change is a necessary step in reducing the likelihood of future extreme and variable weather events.

The kind of changes necessary for a sustainable future “takes leadership at the national and international level,” Reed said.

Maurie McInnis speaks at the Three Village Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Stony Brook University’s new president wants to work with the community.

At its Sept. 15 breakfast, the Three Village Chamber of Commerce welcomed SBU President Maurie McInnis. While the members had participated in a Zoom meeting with her last year, this was the first time they had the opportunity to meet her in person. The university president took over the position July 1, 2020, after the departure of Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr.

“We have this sort of mutually reinforcing and synergistic positive relationship.”

— Maurie McInnis

McInnis said it was nice to be able to meet everyone during the breakfast instead of just seeing faces on a screen.

“I’m really happy to get a chance to meet with all of you,” she said. “The relationship between the university and its community is so vital, really, to the success of both in an ideal world. We have this sort of mutually reinforcing and synergistic positive relationship, and I’ve heard how much work you all have done to help us get to that place.”

After reviewing the history of SBU, the university president provided the attendees with some updates.

McInnis said the university and hospital have become the largest single site of employment on Long Island. There are 15,000 employees at Stony Brook which serves 26,000 students.

“That means we’re kind of a little city of 40,000 people right here in your backyard,” she said. “And, that means extraordinary opportunities for our community to be a really strong place working closely together.”

McInnis added the majority of students, 12,000, come from Long Island as well as nearly 7,000 from the five boroughs and 2,500 from other parts of New York state. SBU gives out 40% of degrees to STEM students and another 20% who majored in health studies.

“We were founded in many ways on the rise and excitement of science in the 1960s, and that has long been part of what this campus does,” she said.

McInnis said one of the challenges SBU and other universities face is having enough funds to educate students. Institutions have two primary sources, she said, tuition and — if it’s a public university — state support.

For SBU, she said state support has been flat for the last decade and is significantly lower from what New York provided before the 2008 recession.

“It went down, and then it’s been flat ever since,” she said. “And for the most part, our tuition has been flat in that decade as well. So, we continue to face funding challenges and continue to try to work with our partners in Albany to help them understand, for us to be great, we’re going to need additional support.”

During the presentation, McInnis announced that Dr. Harold Paz of Ohio State University has been named as the new executive vice president for Health Sciences and will start Oct. 4. She described him as “one of America’s leading health care experts.”

“He will be a transformational leader for the next chapter of Stony Brook Medicine,” she said.

During the pandemic, McInnis said, “Stony Brook really became the epicenter for COVID care in Suffolk County.” The university has also worked to help get Long Islanders vaccinated.

“We have been all over Long Island trying to make sure that all communities have access to vaccinations,” she said. “Not only did we run for this state one of the mass vaccination sites, which we did on our R&D campus — and in those early days when we still had a lot of people wanting to get vaccinations, we were vaccinating 3,000 people a day at the R&D Park — we’ve given over 350,000 vaccinations all over Long Island.”

She added Stony Brook Medicine also provided pop-up vaccination sites all over the Island to not only help people get vaccinated but to educate them on the importance of vaccines. She said one comment people would bring up is that the COVID-19 vaccine was created quickly.

“The technology for this vaccine had been in research and development at America’s leading research universities for over a decade,” she said.

McInnis said thousands of COVID-19 patients were treated at the hospital, and doctors continue to see people with the virus.

“Unfortunately, it continues to be a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” she said.

McInnis thanked community members who in the last year donated personal protection equipment, meals, iPads and more.

She said on the SBU campus there were no major outbreaks last academic year, partially because fewer students were on campus and due to precautions taken by the school. She added the fall semester is pretty much back to normal but everyone is wearing masks inside. As of Sept. 10, 99% of campus residents and 88% of in-person commuters have been fully vaccinated. The percentage of university employees vaccinated is 70%, while 77% of medical employees have received the full dose.

A few attendees asked McInnis questions at the end of the presentation.

Lee Krauer, chair of Friends of Stony Brook Road and a member of Stony Brook Concerned Homeowners, thanked McInnis for her presentation.

“I think that the university really is a wonderful place and is a tremendous asset to all of Suffolk County,” Krauer said.

She added that residents in her area off Stony Brook Road have had problems with traffic due to the university. In the past, the community groups have also cited issues with students living in houses and not taking care of them properly.

She said residents between Route 347 and 25A haven’t felt heard by past presidents and asked McInnis if she would be open to meet with members of the committees.

“People who live where I live can’t get out of our blocks,” Krauer said.

McInnis told Krauer who to contact to follow up so they could talk about the possibilities.

Earlier in her presentation, McInnis touched on college housing. There are more than 10,500 beds on campus, which is more than other SBU campuses, according to the SBU president. Recently, after Hurricane Ida, two dormitories had 7 feet of water in the basements and 400 students were relocated to other beds on campuses, many in the dining halls.

“I know that we will continue to work with you all to work with our community to make sure that for our students living on campus, that they are good neighbors,” McInnis said, “And, we will continue our partnership with the town and 6th Precinct and community leaders always to address any behavior or landlord issues that come our way.”

by -
0 484
Photo by Rita J. Egan

On Sept. 14, Pentimento owner Dennis Young was notified that the restaurant’s lease would not be extended, and they would have to vacate the premises as of Sept. 30, according to Pentimento’s manager Lisa Cusumano.

“We walk away after 27 years with nothing.”

— Lisa Cusumano

“We walk away after 27 years with nothing,” she said, adding now they will concentrate on continuing to serve the community until the doors close and finding jobs for their employees.

According to Gloria Rocchio, president of Eagle Realty Holdings which leases the space, Young and Cusumano were asked to stay on until an appropriate tenant could be found, but they declined. A full interview with Rocchio and some members of the board will be available on TBR News Media’s website and social media Sept. 17 and in next week’s paper.

Cusumano said they informed the staff the morning of Sept. 15, before the public was notified, so the closure notice could be announced direct from her and Young.

“We feel like we’re letting the community down by leaving,” she said, adding how the business has contributed to Ronald McDonald House, sponsored Little League and more.

She said that employees as well as their small vendors depend on the business.

Just before the restaurant was notified, Sept. 10 and 12 found a few dozen people holding protests asking Eagle Realty Holdings to extend Pentimento’s lease in Stony Brook Village Center. Two other rallies were held during the last few weeks.

On July 29, Pentimento Restaurant posted to their Facebook page that they were unable to extend the term of their lease. However, with the support of the community, which was overwhelming, Cusumano said, they found some hope.

Young and Cusumano said in an Aug. 5 The Village Times Herald article that they forgot to inform the landlord that they wanted to renew their lease last year because they were busy trying to keep their business afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. Young, who hopes to retire in the near future, had found a party who was interested in buying the business and recently asked if he could extend the lease.

Rocchio said in a statement in August that in addition to not receiving notice about Young’s intention to renew the lease, the tenant failed “to comply with the requirement to maintain the septic system” which is described in the lease. Young said he has kept up with all maintenance and has also renovated the business through the 27 years he has operated Pentimento. In 2009, he also bought a new cesspool.

In August, Rocchio said Young’s suggested buyer and others were being interviewed to take over the spot.

As for recent protests, the rally on Sept. 10 was held in front of the restaurant, according to participant Barbara Beltrami from Setauket, and the Sept. 12 protest took place in front of Rocchio’s home.

“It was a very passionate, loud protest,” Beltrami said.

In addition to the rallies, an online petition was started to save the restaurant on More than 3,735 people have signed it as of Sept. 15.

Photographer Bolivar Arellano was on the scene when the World Trade Center’s south tower was imploding. Photo by Bolivar Arellano

My day on September 11, 2001, began like many others that Tuesday.

It was a beautiful morning as I drove to my job in Farmingdale, listening to the radio. I can’t remember what station was on, but I will never forget the DJs stopping the music, shocked that they just saw on TV a plane crash into one of the towers of the World Trade Center.

The radio hosts thought it had to have been an accident.

But then I entered my office and headed toward my cubicle, and coming down the other side of the aisle was a co-worker saying another plane had hit the other tower. It was at that point we feared that our country had just undergone a terrorist attack.

We all began to call our family members and friends who lived or worked in the city, and we couldn’t get through. That day, our office was closed early. Like many, I was numb as I made the trek home, but I was fortunate I didn’t lose any loved ones. However, forever etched on my mind will be seeing the tragedy played out on the news and seeing people roaming Lower Manhattan hoping someone had seen their missing loved ones.

I have read countless stories about the people killed that day and watched documentaries of the day’s events and aftermath, but I have been affected most by the passing of two of my former classmates from the Hauppauge High School Class of 1986. John Tipping, a firefighter, was one of the first responders on the scene, and Joseph Perroncino was working for Cantor Fitzgerald as vice president of operations.

I was extremely shy in school, so I wasn’t a friend to either of them. Joseph was simply a familiar face in the halls of Hauppauge’s middle and high schools. As for John, he and I attended school together from fourth to 12th grade. He was one of the children of Forest Brook Elementary School, and he always had a boyish face and a twinkle in his eyes.

Despite the fact we never became friends, something is haunting about losing someone you went to school with for years. It’s hard to explain those feelings, but I can tell you I feel a great sense of unfairness. John and Joseph should have been at our 20th and 30th reunions talking about things such as their careers, significant others, children and other memorable events. When I think of Joseph and John is when I get the saddest and angriest.

After 9/11, I realized how much my life resembled a quilt, adorned with patches left behind by everyone I have ever met and interacted with at some level. My quilt has many holes, and my former classmates are among the tears in the fabric.

Americans have learned many lessons since that day. I have always hoped we could keep them forever. It shouldn’t have taken such tragedies to make us realize how fortunate we are to be Americans and to make us look around at everything we have and at everyone in our lives and realize how lucky we are, but that’s what happened that day. On the 20th anniversary of that tragic day, my hope is that we will forge ahead stronger, smarter and with more gratitude in our hearts and guarantee that those who passed away on September 11 didn’t die in vain.

Rita J. Egan is the editor of The Village Times Herald, The Times of Smithtown and The Times of Huntington, Northport & East Northport.

Stony Brook WTC Wellness Program clinic. Photo from Stony Brook Medicine

Dr. Benjamin Luft remembers the feeling of being prepared to treat 9/11 survivors and then no one arrived at the hospital.

Dr. Benjamin Luft is the director and principal investigator at Stony Brook WTC Wellness Program. Photo from Stony Brook Medicine

Stony Brook University was among local medical facilities that were prepared for the arrival of 9/11 victims when Luft was the chairman of the Department of Medicine. He said, like others, he had seen the towers falling on television, and from the 16th floor of SBU’s Health Sciences Tower, he could see the smoke from the World Trade Center.

“The idea was that there was going to be real mass casualties, and that this would overwhelm the system in New York,” he said.

Medical teams from various departments met in the conference room of the Department of Medicine, but he said “it became obvious as time went on, that there was no one coming to Stony Brook.”

“It was eerily ominous, because we began to understand that either people had escaped the buildings, or … that there were relatively few survivors from the attack itself,” the doctor added.

He said anyone seeking treatment stayed in the city, and the hospitals in Manhattan weren’t overrun as originally anticipated.

Luft, who is now the director and principal investigator at Stony Brook WTC Wellness Program, said after the tragic day he visited Ground Zero to see what was happening at the site. It was there he witnessed what first responders were being exposed to while working.

“It was obvious that there was going to be a lot of responders that were going to become ill as a result of that, because there was a tremendous amount of dusts and toxins in the air,” Luft said. “There was a lot of fire, burning, and there was a lot of fumes that came off of burning plastic and electronics.”

He added there were traumatizing events that people at the site experienced such as seeing bloody human parts and, for earlier responders, people jumping out of the towers.

He said shortly after September 11, local labor leaders met with him and told him how many of those first responders lived on Long Island and were getting sick. He learned that while many were insured, their insurance wasn’t covering their health issues due to them volunteering and not doing what the insurance companies considered on-the-clock work while helping to clean up and recover victims at Ground Zero.

The struggle of the Long Island first responders led to the development of the Stony Brook WTC Wellness program. In 2002, patients at first were just screened and monitored and then in 2005 doctors began treating them. Luft said in the early days of the program SBU Department of Medicine employees would volunteer to treat the patients. Over time the program began to receive financial resources to expand its services.

The Suffolk location of the Stony Brook WTC Wellness Program is located on Commack Road in Commack. Photo from Stony Brook Medicine

Luft said the program follows the cases of approximately 13,000 Long Islanders in both Nassau and Suffolk counties, with one clinic in Commack and the other in Mineola. At first, patients were displaying acute reactions to their exposure. Cases included asthma, upper respiratory disease, sinusitis and gastrointestinal disease, he said, due to the amounts of dust the patients had taken in during their time at Ground Zero.

Over the years, the doctor said patients began developing illnesses such as cancer, but doctors have also seen psychiatric problems such as PTSD and depression.

The responders “had seen people die,” he said. “They were in danger all the time.”

Doctors are also seeing cases of dementia in patients. Luft said one theory is that when a person is exposed to certain toxins it can increase their chances of having dementia. He gave the example where areas with higher pollution have much higher rates of Alzheimer’s.

With studies showing that patients with PTSD have cells that age more quickly, the WTC Wellness Program began monitoring patients.

“We saw something that stunned us, and quite frankly at first we were very skeptical,” Luft said. “We went through a variety of different studies and tests to confirm our results.”

Twenty years after September 11, the doctor said it’s possible that first responders will present with more health issues in the future, but no one can be certain with what illnesses.

The Stony Brook WTC Wellness Program’s Suffolk County office is located at 500 Commack Road, Commack.

by -
0 645
Matthew Brophy as a newborn with his father Tom. Photo from Rita Brophy

He was only 3 years old when his father passed away.

Matthew Brophy in a recent photo. Photo from Rita Brophy

Matthew Brophy, of Smithtown, is now 19 years old and has no personal memories of his father Thomas Brophy. His dad was a New York City police officer for 16 years and was also a first responder at Ground Zero. His father died in 2005 at the age of 36 after a battle with metastatic colon cancer. Doctors believed Tom Brophy’s cancer stemmed from his work at Ground Zero during the days after September 11.

Matthew Brophy, now a sophomore at Adelphi University, has the memories that his mother Rita and loved ones have shared with him through the years. The stories have left him with a loving impression of his father.

“I would describe him as a valiant, strong and charismatic individual,” Matthew Brophy said.

Among those in his life who knew his dad are old friends, including Tom Brophy’s police partner Rich Seagriff and training buddy Matt Fagan.

“His old friends treat me like I am their own son,” he said.

The son said one of his favorite stories is hearing how his father lost sight of him for a brief moment at Best Buy when he was 2. The then-toddler had a SpongeBob DVD in his hand and started walking out of the store only to set off the alarm.

Like his parents, Brophy grew up in the Hauppauge school district. He graduated from Hauppauge High School in 2020. When it came time to learn about 9/11 in class, he said the information was nothing new to him.

“I really haven’t learned anything particularly new in the school system about 9/11 and Ground Zero due to me being a child that was involved with it,” he said. “If anything, I knew more than the teachers about it. For the most part, it is taught just to be taught in history in the first week because the first or second week of high school in America usually falls on 9/11, at least in Suffolk it does.”

Brophy added it’s not a subject teachers delve into that deeply and usually students are shown a video of the planes crashing into the towers.

“It gets to a point where it’s so routine I genuinely feel offended, especially when everyone in the class knows that they’re in a class with a kid whose dad died from 9/11,” he said. “Needless to say, I don’t think it’s something that needs to be taught as of now, but in the future, yes. If people are still suffering physically from an event, that means that it is still undeniably relevant enough to be known.”

Brophy was recently awarded a scholarship from the First Responders Children’s Foundation and is currently pursuing a degree in psychology. He also has been juggling three jobs.

His mother said she is proud of him and “the man he is becoming.”

Rita Brophy said her son’s biggest quality is loyalty, just like his dad.

“He is exposed to many friends with many cultural beliefs and he respects them,” she said. “Hopefully, his view in the world will continue to be open-minded and loving of everyone he meets.”

by -
0 77

Executives of the East Setauket-based hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies, have agreed to settle up to $7 billion in a tax dispute with the Internal Revenue Service, according to reports from The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

The long-running dispute reportedly arose following a Senate investigation indicating the firm used complex financial instruments as tax avoidance measures between 2005 and 2015. The agreement may be one of the largest in U.S. history.

Included in the settlement are founder and philanthropist James Simons, of East Setauket, and former co-managing director Robert Mercer, of Head of the Harbor. Both men have been political donors.

According to the Times, Simons will make a payment of $670 million in addition to his obligation to pay further sums along with Mercer and others.

Simons founded the hedge fund in 1982. He was a codebreaker in the 1960s and is a former chairman of Stony Brook University’s Department of Mathematics.

Simons stepped down from active involvement in Renaissance in 2010, while Mercer resigned as co-CEO at the end
of 2017.

TBR News Media was unable to obtain comment from Renaissance Technologies by press time.

Suffolk County police car. File photo

Suffolk County Police Second Squad detectives are investigating a motor vehicle crash that killed a dirt bike operator in East Northport the night of Sept. 4.

Nicholas Woodworth, 13, of Greenlawn was operating a Honda dirt bike when he went through a traffic light at the intersection of  Larkfield Road and Pulaski Road and was struck by a 2020 Chevrolet Equinox driven by Mary Mollica, 49, of East Northport. The teenager was transported to Huntington Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The vehicle and dirk bike were impounded for safety checks. Anyone with information on this crash is asked to call the Second Squad at 631-854-8252.

Many North Shore residents spent their Thursday cleaning up after remnants of Tropical Depression Ida pummeled the Island Wednesday night. In addition to the storm, the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for the North Shore of Suffolk County.

According to PSEG Long Island, the hardest-hit areas on the Island include Northport, Ridge, Lloyd Harbor and Huntington.


In the Town of Huntington, flooding outside of the Huntington Sewage Treatment Plant on Creek Road left several motorists stranded, according to a press release from the town. STP staff accessed the facility via payloader late in the evening on Sept.1. During the peak of high tide, STP staff were unable to access the plant from the main entrance on Creek Road or from the rear entrance near the Mill Dam gates.

 “We actually had to take a payloader out to the Creek Road entrance to bring one of our employees into the plant last night,” said John Clark, the town’s director of Environmental Waste Management. “Several cars, including a police vehicle, were stuck on Creek Road and New York Avenue — at least one driver (a police officer) had to be removed via boat by the Huntington Fire Department.”  

Steve Jappell, a wastewater treatment plant operator at the STP facility, operated the payloader and assisted fellow employee Joe Lombardo and the police officer, who was ultimately transported from the scene by the Huntington Fire Department in a rescue boat. 

“Thank you to the Huntington Fire Department, as well as Centerport, Halesite and Northport fire departments, who also arrived to assist other stranded motorists on Creek Road, and to our quick-thinking staff at the plant,” said town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R).

According to the press release, the area received its largest rain event in nearly 20 years between 7 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. The town reported that 6.29 inches fell during the 6 ½ hours.

While the STP usually processes around 1.8 million gallons per day, between 6 a.m. Sept. 1 and 6 a.m. Sept. 2 it processed more than 3.8 million gallons. According to the town, the plane “will continue to experience above average flow rates over the next two days as groundwater intrusion and sump pump activity contribute to the increased volumes.” 

Town officials also said there were 26 reports of flooding mostly in Huntington; 29 reports of downed trees and branches; 16 reports of large pieces, sections and layers of asphalt ripped away, five manhole covers washed aside and one possible sinkhole was reported in Northport as asphalt washed away on Oleander Drive.

As for town facilities both golf courses had some flooding and were closed Sept. 2, and Town Hall had about ½ inch of flooding in the basement.


According to Smithtown Public Information Officer Nicole Gargiulo, there was flooding in the Smithtown Town Hall basement; however, there was no other damage to equipment or facilities in the town.

During the peak of the storm, the town received calls about flooded roads, but the streets were cleared as of the morning of Sept. 2. 

Callahan’s Beach sustained damage, according to Gargiulo. The beach had already been closed due to damage after a storm in the early morning hours of Aug. 27. 

Stony Brook University

Students in the Mendelsohn Community of Stony Brook University, which is located on the North end of campus off of Stadium Drive, were the SBU students most affected by the storm. According to communications sent out by the university, while other areas of the campus experienced flooding conditions, Mendelsohn was the most affected and students needed to be relocated.

Also affected by the storm was the Student Brook Union, and the building is closed for damage assessment and cleanup. The university held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly renovated student union building last week. Employees who work in the building were asked to work remotely Sept. 2.

In an email from Rick Gatteau, vice president for Students Affairs, and Catherine-Mary Rivera, assistant vice president for Campus Residences, “the Mendelsohn buildings have no power due to 4-6 feet of water in the basement, resulting in a power failure to the building.  At this time, it is unsafe to be in the building while our teams pump out the water, assess the damage, and determine the timeline for repairs.”

Mendelsohn residents were not required to attend class on Sept. 2.

Three Village 

During the storm, the historic Thompson House in East Setauket took in 33 inches of water in its basement. Some of the water rose up to the first floor of the 1709 structure.

The building, which belongs to the Ward Melville Heritage Organization, will need to have the water pumped out, according to WMHO President Gloria Rocchio. After the water is pumped out, a cleanup company will have more work ahead of them to prevent any more damage.

According to the National Weather Service, 6.86 inches of rain fell in Setauket. The NWS reported that it was the highest rainfall total on Long Island.

Additional reporting by Daniel Dunaief.