Events

Photo by Maryann Zakshevsky

Surprise your Valentine with a romantic dinner at an elegant mansion where luminaries from the 1920s and ’30s dined with members of one of America’s most famous and powerful families. 

On Saturday, Feb. 8, the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum, 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport hosts its annual Valentine Dinner at Eagle’s Nest, the historic waterfront estate of Rosamond and William K. Vanderbilt II, one of the most glamorous and romantic settings on Long Island.

The estate and its beautiful, early 20th-century Spanish Revival mansion are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The estate is the home of the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum.

 This popular event offers limited seatings of 50 at 6 and 8 p.m.

The evening begins with hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer in the Memorial Wing of the mansion. After a brief tour of the living quarters, dinner will be served in the Northport Porch. Dessert and coffee will follow in the Lancaster Room and Moroccan Court, adjacent to the Vanderbilt Library. 

Choice of entrees include prime rib, chicken with Madeira sauce, stuffed sole with spinach and feta in a tomato dill sauce and heart-shaped cheese ravioli with vodka sauce.

The evening is a rare opportunity to enjoy an intimate dining experience with a spouse, partner or special friend and to celebrate in Gold Coast style. Seating at this exclusive event is very limited and sells out quickly. Tickets are $150 per person, $135 members. Reservations are online only at www.vanderbiltmuseum.org.

Proceeds from this special evening will benefit STEAM education programs. For more information, call 631-854-5579.

Leslie Caron and Gene Kelly in a scene from 'An American in Paris.' Photo courtesy of Fathom Events

One of the greatest, most elegant, and most celebrated of MGM’s 1950s musicals, An American in Paris, heads to hundreds of select theaters nationwide on Sunday, Jan. 19, and Wednesday, Jan. 22, courtesy of Turner Classic Movies and Fathom Events. 

Gene Kelly stars in the 1951 classic. Photo courtesy of Fathom Events

Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron star in the 1951 comedic love story about mixed signals and zany pursuits. When Jerry Mulligan (Kelly) leaves military service and returns to Paris to chase his dreams of being an artist, he’s soon pursued by a wealthy heiress who wants to be more than his platonic patron. But Jerry falls in love with Lise (a then-19-year-old Caron in her film debut), a French shop girl who, unbeknownst to him, is his best friend’s fiancée. Naturally, a love triangle ensues. 

The film, which also stars Oscar Levant, Georges Guétary and Nina Foch, was set to the music of George Gershwin and features I Got Rhythm, Love Is Here to Stay, I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise, ’S Wonderful and The American in Paris ballet, a 17-minute dance featuring Kelly and Caron.

Directed by Vincent Minelli and choreographed by Kelly, An American in Paris was an enormous success, garnering eight Academy Award nominations and winning six (including Best Picture).

This special two-day event includes exclusive insight from TCM Primetime host Ben Mankiewicz.

Participating theaters in our neck of the woods include AMC Loews Stony Brook 17, 2196 Nesconset Highway, Stony Brook on Jan. 19 at 1 and 4 p.m. and Jan. 22 at 7 p.m.; Farmingdale Multiplex Cinemas, 1001 Broadhollow Road, Farmingdale on Jan. 22 at 7 p.m.; and Island 16 Cinema de Lux, 185 Morris Ave., Holtsville on Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. To purchase your ticket in advance, visit www.fathomevents.com.

The interior of Alls Souls Church. Photo from Daniel Kerr

All Souls Church, 61 Main St., Stony Brook has added Gregorian Chant/Music of Taizé to its monthly programs, providing a time for quiet meditation to clear the mind and rest the soul. The historic chapel will be lit with candles and alive with mystical chants and songs. This is a unique opportunity for reflection and/or silent prayer for people of all faiths (or no faith) searching for a spiritual connection in their lives. Next session will be held tonight, Thursday, Jan. 16 from 8 to 9 p.m. For more information, please call 516-607-9111.

Artwork from local artists add beauty and warmth

By Heidi Sutton

John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson recently completed an extensive renovation of its 2 South patient unit, designed to further reduce the risk of infection and increase patient comfort. The unit, which was named for New York Cancer & Blood Specialists thanks to its generous donation, officially reopened with a ribbon-cutting celebration on Jan. 6. The project was largely supported through community donations totaling close to $1.7 million.

Opened in 1973, 2 South, which primarily treats cancer patients, now features single-bed rooms for improved patient outcomes and privacy. Enhancements include new showers and enlarged bathrooms, a new nurses station, a patient family lounge and a serenity room for staff. 

One of the highlights of the newly renovated floor is the installation of 43 pieces of art that adorn the hallway walls. Titled “Wonders of Nature,” the pieces were chosen by curator Irene Ruddock. “My goal was to create a peaceful and serene environment that might provide a sense of spiritual healing. I looked for paintings that touched the soul and will provide comfort and solace for patients, staff, and visitors,” she explained. 

Twenty-nine local artists from LIMarts, the Setauket Artists and the North Shore Art Guild donated original works to add beauty and warmth to the unit including Ross Barbera, Shain Bard, Ron Becker, Joan Bloom, Kyle Blumenthal, Renee Caine, Anthony Davis, Bart DeCeglie, Julie Doczi, Lily Farah, Marge Governale, William Graf, Peter Hahn, Celeste Mauro, Judith Mausner, Lorraine McCormick, Ed McEvoy, Eleanor Meier, Rick Mundy, Karen Miller O’Keefe, Paula Pelletier, Joan Rockwell, Robert Roehrig, Joseph F. Rotella, Irene Ruddock, Ty Stroudsburg, Maria Lourdes Velez, Victoria Westholm and Patricia Yantz. 

“I will always to grateful to all the artists who, with their dedication to art, wished to share their gifts with Mather hospital,” said Ms. Ruddock.  

Stock photo

Time to share the warmth. From now to Jan. 31, St. Catherine of Siena Medical Office Building, 48 Route 25A, Smithtown is hosting a Winter Clothing Drive to help local parishes and neighbors in need. New or gently used items most needed are towels, bed sheets, winter boots, children’s socks, washable blankets and coats, and adult and children pajamas. Please no stains, broken zippers or missing buttons! Questions? Call 631-862-3523.

Photo from Made To Move

Made to Move Tennis & Wellness, 5 South Jersey Ave. in Setauket will hold a free fitness week from Jan. 13 to 19. Come in and try out a free tennis lesson, personal training session, nutrition coaching, life coaching and fitness and yoga classes. Call Tara at 631-751-6767 to reserve your spot. For more information, visit www.madetomovewellness.com.

Kat Graham and Honoree Brittany Sciavone attends the 14th Annual L'Oreal Paris Women Of Worth Awards at The Pierre on December 04, 2019 in New York City.

By Melissa Arnold

It’s been a whirlwind December for Huntington’s Brittany Schiavone.

Earlier this year, 30-year-old Brittany was chosen as one of 10 finalists in the 14th annual L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth national competition, an event celebrating the achievements of amazing women from all walks of life.

Brittany, who has Down syndrome, is the founder of Brittany’s Baskets of Hope (BBOH), a nonprofit organization that delivers care packages to new parents of children with Down syndrome.

Since its inception five years ago, BBOH has mailed or hand delivered more than 850 baskets to families in 49 states and Puerto Rico. The baskets contain educational materials, pampering products for families, a blanket and clever, Down-themed clothing for their little one.

Brittany won $10,000 for being a finalist in the competition. Her story and those of the other finalists were chronicled on L’Oreal’s website, and for one month, anyone could vote for the woman who most inspired them. 

On Dec. 2, Brittany and her longtime friend, Ashley Asti, headed to New York City to prepare for the Women of Worth gala later that week, where the top finalist would be named the National Honoree.

“On Monday, a car service was sent for us and we headed into the city. That night, there was a dinner for all the finalists to meet and talk about their initiatives,” said Asti, who has known Brittany for several years. “Brittany walked to the head of the table and spoke to the group with so much confidence. She is so intuitive and took all of it in stride.”

The second day was quieter, with a full day of workshops to help the women learn more about the intricacies of running a nonprofit organization. 

Finally, Wednesday arrived. Joined by her mother, Sue Schiavone, the ladies headed to the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan, where they had makeovers from L’Oreal staff. “There were two people doing my hair and makeup. They gave me smoky eyes and curls. It was amazing,” the finalist said.

The star-studded gala paired each finalist with a celebrity who accompanied them throughout the night. Among the attendees were Dame Helen Mirren, Gayle King, Viola Davis, Camila Cabello, Amber Heard and Debby Ryan.

Brittany’s celebrity navigator, actress Aja Naomi King of ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder,” spent the night sharing stories and laughs and introduced her onstage. And at the end of the night, both women cried tears of joy when Brittany was named the 2019 Women of Worth National Honoree. She had earned thousands of online votes and will receive an additional $25,000 to benefit BBOH.

“I’m so excited that I won, because now I can help even more families like mine know that they’re not alone,” the honoree said, adding that she hopes she can soon send a basket to Alaska, the only state they’ve yet to hear from.

Sue Schiavone finds herself thinking about families all over the world. “It’s nice to know that we’re not going to have to worry about where the money is coming from anymore,” she said. “Shipping costs are so expensive, and we’ve received so many messages from people in other countries asking for us to send baskets. We can start to think about that now. It opens up so many doors for Brittany, and for us.”

To learn more about Brittany’s Baskets of Hope, donate to the cause or to request a care package, visit www.brittanysbasketsofhope.org.

Photos courtesy of L’Oreal Paris

The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook hosted an artist reception for its latest exhibit, Anything Goes!, on Dec. 6. The exceptional exhibit features artwork created by 104 participating members of LIMarts, the LIM’s special membership initiative for artists. 

Joshua Ruff, deputy director at the Long Island Museum, welcomed the artists and guests to the reception.“It’s quite amazing and impressive how, just within a space of a few miles, we have such incredible talent. I think this is our best show yet − it’s colorful, it’s wonderful.” Most of the artwork is for sale with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the museum’s exhibitions and programs. The show is on view in the museum’s Visitors Center through Jan. 5. 

For more information, call 631-751-0066 or visit www.longislandmuseum.org.

Photos by Heidi Sutton

The Vanderbilt Mansion library is decked out for the holidays.

The holidays have arrived at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport as the halls of the Vanderbilt Mansion are decked in their holiday finery. From the stately library to the dining room to the bedrooms, the grand house is filled with lighted trees, ornaments, wreaths, ribbons, poinsettias, garlands and elegantly wrapped faux gifts. 

These embellishments are the creative work of designers and garden clubs that volunteer their time each year. Their creative touch brings additional charm and magic to the spectacular, 24-room, Spanish Revival house, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“The garden clubs and decorators have been with us for many years, and this year we welcomed two new designers. Ethan Allen of Huntington created the Enchanted Flight of the Cardinals installation for us in the Memorial Wing lobby, and Felicia Greenberg contributed her magnificent silk floral sculptures. Our visitors will be delighted with the 2019 holiday season decor,” said Stephanie Gress, director of curatorial affairs.

Designers Mary Schlotter (right) and Krishtia McCord decorate the mansion dining room.

Centerport designers Mary Schlotter and her daughter Krishtia McCord – who operate Harbor Homestead & Co. – brought back the festive holiday dresses they created and displayed in the mansion during the past two years. This year, the dresses adorn Rosamond Vanderbilt’s luxurious, mirrored dressing room. The duo also decorated the dining room.

“Our dining room design was inspired by Downton Abbey,” Schlotter said. “The room and furniture are dark, but the window has a beautiful view of Northport Bay and Long Island Sound. We decided to set the table in simple whites and silver – two silver candelabras flanked by compotes arranged with white magnolia, amaryllis, pine cones and magnolia leaves. In the center of the table is a silver pheasant. We folded the napkins in a bishop’s miter form to give the place settings a royal feel. We think [Downtown Abbey butler] Mr. Carson would approve.” 

One sideboard is set for dinner, she said, the other for dessert and spirits.“The sparkling glasses, and the silver and white design touches catch the light and give a sense that Christmas dinner is about to be served.” 

Other participants include the Dix Hills Garden Club, Honey Hills Garden Club, Nathan Hale Garden Club, Asharoken Garden Club, Three Village Garden Club, Centerport Garden Club, volunteers from the Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners Program of Suffolk County, Felicia Greenberg of Table Art and Event Designs and Vanderbilt staff members Killian Taylor and Maryann Zakshevsky.

Lance Reinheimer, executive director of the Vanderbilt Museum, said, “We’re grateful each year to these creative and generous volunteers who use their creative skills to bring enchanting holiday grandeur to this grand house.”

Visitors can see the captivating results from now through Dec. 30 by tour on Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday (and Thursday to Monday, Dec. 26 to 30) at regular intervals between 11:15 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum is located at 180 Little Neck Road in Centerport. For more information, call 631-854-5579 or visit www.vanderbiltmuseum.org.

Photos courtesy of the Vanderbilt Museum

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The Ward Melville Heritage Organization welcomed hundreds for its 40th Holiday Festival in Stony Brook Village Center Dec. 8.

The event kicked off with the arrival of Santa in a Stony Brook Fire Department truck and the Legends and Spies puppets procession led by Tom Manuel, president and founder of The Jazz Loft, and a New Orleans brass band.

The parade featured 14-foot puppets representing local historical figures such as philanthropists Ward and Dorothy Melville, Culper spies Caleb Brewster, Benjamin Tallmadge and Anna Smith Strong, shipbuilder Capt. Jonas Smith and American genre painter William Sidney Mount.

There was music from community school bands plus a petting zoo, holiday train display, carolers and decorated holiday windows at Wiggs Opticians.

According to Santa, based on children’s requests, Pokémon items and the Barbie DreamHouse are making comebacks. Other gift wishes included train sets, toy trucks, iPhones, drones and Xboxes. Dolls were the biggest request as well as puppies, which Santa checks with mommies and daddies first since they are a big responsibility.

Three children requested for their brothers to come back from the military and one 5-year-old boy asked for peace and love.