Eye on the Street

Pixabay photo

Last week felt a little more like summertime than springtime. Although it was an unusually mild winter, many individuals might be looking forward to the warmer weather, and recently they’ve been able to get a preview of the summertime heat. 

On Friday, April 14, on a beautiful, 80-degree, sunny day, we went out to T. Bayles Minuse Mill Pond and Park in Stony Brook village to ask people what summer activities they are most looking forward to. The following are their responses.

Photos by Daniel Febrizio


Felicia Bilka with children Angelina and Thomas and parents Joe and Genine Spinelli, Port Jefferson

“Being with our family outside, not trapped inside,” Genine Spinelli said. “Definitely concerts, fairs, hot dog wagons,” Joe added. Bilka said that she was looking forward to family barbecues and teaching Angelina and Thomas how to swim.


Eddie McGee, South Setauket

“Definitely hiking,” McGee said. “I’ve been big lately on mental health, specifically for men because we don’t really address it or do anything about it.”

 He said that it can be a bit harder to work on your mental health in the winter months. 

“Being outdoors now and hiking and just being physical and whatever you can do … being in nature, soaking it all in, being mindful of your surroundings,” he said, adding that Mill Pond and Cold Spring Harbor are two of his favorite locations for being outdoors. In reference to his guitar, he said, “That’s another thing that also helps with my journey of peace.”


Christine Burkhardt and anonymous friend, East Northport

“Just hanging out at a place like this and going to the beach,” Burkhardt said. “Walking on the boardwalk. Any of those kinds of activities.” 

She would not miss any winter activities. “I’m more of a spring/summer/fall girl,” she said. “I’m not really a winter girl.” Burkhardt said that one of her favorite locations to dine during the summer is Salt Shack, a restaurant in Babylon that features live music.


Lawrence and Debra Batton, Middle Island

“My favorite spot: the beach!” Debra Batton said. She usually goes to Smith Point on the South Shore or to Cedar Beach in Mount Sinai. “Lawrence said fishing was his favorite warm-weather activity. “That’s what I’m waiting for,” he added.

Lawrence said he didn’t make it out at all last year, but he’s planning to do a lot of fishing this season, come summer.

By Carolyn Sackstein

Tipping for home delivery of food has been debated in the media lately, with a viral video of a delivery driver taking an order back because she felt an $8 tip was inadequate for transporting the food from Commack to Smithtown. 

The internet is full of videos instructing drivers on techniques for working with DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub apps to maximize pay and improve service. It is also filled with complaints of drivers being stiffed by non-tipping customers and undertipping. Drivers also decry the practice of “tip-baiting,” in which a good tip is promised with pre-tipping and then is adjusted down after delivery.

On Friday, March 10, TBR News Media asked people on the street in downtown Port Jefferson to discuss their tipping practices. The following are their responses.



Elizabeth Garland, Port Jefferson

Garland rarely gets food delivery, but said she tips “20% like I would in a restaurant, maybe a little more. If it was a bad weather day, maybe a bit more.”






Gloria Neumair, Patchogue

“For food delivery, I don’t tip as much as I would in a restaurant, but I still tip.” When asked what she bases her tips on, she responded, “I guess the distance they had to come, the total of the order, but I don’t generally do a percent.”






Alexa Noriega, Patchogue

“I think the amount should be based on factors like the weather, how much they are getting for you and whether they provided any extra customer service during the shopping process. I do think they should be tipped on top of their pay.”






Jesse Guerra, St. James

“I usually do 20%. I consider it a generous tip, depending on where I go.” When asked if a fee should be built into a person’s salary, he responded, “I don’t think it should be built into a person’s salary. There are better workers than others. I don’t like when they put [the tips] into one big bucket and spread it out because the less good workers are getting a share of the better workers.”





Nick Lemza, Smithtown

“I actually work for DoorDash and Uber Eats. I always tip 20-to-25%.” He went on to discuss the criteria on which he bases his tipping. These factors include “how quickly the food gets to you, if the food is in proper care, what the ratings are on each profile and just if the food is good. I tip even if the food is bad — 18-to-20% because this is someone’s living.”

Photo from Wikimedia Commons
By Carolyn Sackstein

Given the nationwide proliferation of violence in schools, the Smithtown Central School District Board of Education recently voted to vet and hire a private security firm to patrol the exterior perimeter of all schools with armed guards. 

Long Island schools from Greenport to Copiague have experienced threats of violence made by students. Following the Parkland, Florida, school shootings in 2018, some districts opted to provide armed security personnel, including Hauppauge, Miller Place and Mount Sinai. With an ongoing public debate over the most effective way to protect children in schools and public spaces, TBR News Media took to the streets of Port Jefferson village Saturday, Feb. 18, asking people for their opinions on armed guards in and around schools.

— Photos by Carolyn Sackstein



Gannon Lawley, Anchorage, Alaska

“I am against armed guards in almost all places, especially schools. It doesn’t strike me as the kind of thing that would be good for a school or a learning environment. It arises from an aversion to armed guards in general. It’s a hippy peace thing for me.”






Nicole Carhart & Hector Monell, West Islip

When asked about armed guards on school campuses Carhart said, “It depends. It is good for people to keep safe. You want to make sure they are not using it against others.”

Monell thought Smithtown’s decision was “a positive outcome.”






Joseph Vergopia, Manhattan

When asked to comment on Smithtown’s decision to put armed guards on campus, he responded, “That’s the stupidest idea I ever heard, because more guns on the street are just a ridiculous way to curb gun [violence].”




Jeremy Torres and Xiao Han Wu, Stony Brook

Jeremy Torres from Stony Brook village was with his wife, Xiao Han Wu, originally from Beijing, China, and young daughter. Torres said, “With today’s crazy environment, I would prefer police on the campus. As long as [private security] has proper training and qualifications and gun safety, I would trust that. You can’t just have anybody.”

Han Wu said, “Because I see a lot of news like shootings in the schools and all that and having a kid, that definitely makes me more concerned about the safety in schools. I feel comfortable, they put armed guards [on campus]. I also prefer police.”


Louis Antoniello, Terryville

“There are better ways to protect the school systems. [Examples would be] electronic locks on the schools, where you have to use a pass key to get in, electronic locks on the classroom doors and gymnasiums. If there is an issue in the school, where somebody does get in, the entire school can be locked down with kids and teachers in the classroom through the main office. They can just lock it down electronically. Nobody can get into the classrooms. Would you rather have more guns where now you’re getting into a gun fight on the street? Doesn’t matter if it is someone who has been trained to use a gun or not. If you look at the statistics and the percentages of how many times you hit with your first or second shot, those percentages are very low. Where are these bullets going? They could be going into the windows of the school. They could be going into neighbors’ houses. The best thing to do is spend your money on securing the building, and electronic locks are the way to go. You can also have security cameras all around with people watching the security videos. They can see who is coming on campus. You’re stopped at the door, they ask what you’re doing there, you’re on camera, you show your ID. You sit and wait to pick up your son or daughter. You can drop something off for them at security. That’s how you secure a building. Leaving the building open without electronic locks and just having people walking the perimeter with guns is not the way to go.”

Pixabay photo
By Carolyn Sackstein

When visitors to the Village of Port Jefferson were approached Saturday, Jan. 7, they thoughtfully and very personally responded to the question: “What was your favorite,  most significant or memorable event of 2022?” The themes of health, pets and travel ruled the day.

— Photos by Carolyn Sackstein

Paul and Gerri Havran, St. James

“We were on the ferry returning from Connecticut after picking up a truck,” Paul said. “Shortly after leaving Bridgeport, I had a heart attack and died for several minutes. Fortunately, there was a [physician’s assistant] sitting by us. There was an EMT and they went to work on me. They weren’t bringing me back, but the captain saw from the bridge what was going on and sent the crew down with an [automated external defibrillator]. A fireman and the PA administered the AED and brought me back.”



Corinne Minor (left) and Sara Jackson, Selden

Corinne: “We got two cats from my grandmother this past year, when she passed away. Bringing them here and getting them acclimated to our little home has been significant.”

Sara: “I would have to say my health. I went through a whirlwind of surgeries. I am happy and healthy right now. I cannot wait for 2023.”




Ashley Smith, St. James

“Definitely adopting my second dog from Last Chance Animal Rescue. She’s a Redbone Coonhound named Caroline.”







Keith, Lauren and Christine Kmiotek, Brooklyn

Keith spoke for the family. “Our island vacation in St. John, the U. S. Virgin Islands, was very nice. We are beach bums, so what’s nice about St. John is you can go to all the public beaches. It’s open to everybody. You don’t have to pay to get on the beaches. You get tired of one, you get in your car and drive to another. You go around the corner and it’s like a whole new world. The island is that beautiful to explore.”




Chuck Sullivan, Manorville

“Getting on the ferry and going to Vermont. It was the greatest bike trip I ever took. It was with a bunch of good guys.”

During the 26th annual Charles Dickens Festival in Port Jefferson village, TBR News Media had a chance to catch up with some of those in attendance. During a series of one-on-one encounters throughout the event, we asked the attendees what this local tradition meant to them.

— Photos by Raymond Janis




Nancy Klimpel, Ronkonkoma

“The Port Jeff [Dickens] Festival, to me, means the beginning of the holiday season. It helps to bring people together, allows them to mix and mingle with different kinds of things and cultural opportunities, to see anything from a radio show to a small production, to a choir or some kind of orchestral choice. It really brings the joy of the season to others.”






George Overin, Bohemia

“When you walk down the street, the people you see are very heavy during the holiday season. It may seem really heavy for some people, but when they look up and see these two idiots in smoke and soot and everything else, going ‘Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to ya,’ they smile. You know what? For that second, the world is lifted off their shoulders. For us, that’s what this is all about: Giving a little bit of joy in the darkest time of the year for some people. There are some joys you can’t buy anywhere, and that’s what it means to me.”




Joseph McGowan, Middle Island

“Oh my goodness, where do I start? To bring joy to the local community, to put a smile on someone’s face, to make a little baby’s eyes light up, to see an elderly person — who probably lost a loved one at a recent time — to put a smile on their face, to bring joy and happiness to the whole community, and to bring the true spirit of Christmas into the hearts of everyone in the neighborhood and throughout the area.”





Bob Ogden, Setauket

“I’m going to micro in and break it down a little bit tighter, just to be selfish about the troop, the groups, and the street plays. Since September, I have liked to see these little guys’ and girls’ development. Walking in in September and saying, ‘Here’s a script. I want you to memorize it and act it by December,’ and to see their growth and how they gain confidence as they learn their lines, that’s what I like to see.”





“Jacob Marley,” Port Jefferson

“It’s an opportunity to introduce people to the wonderful storytelling of Charles Dickens. If you haven’t read ‘A Christmas Carol,’ you should or listen to the audiobook. It’s funny, it’s incisive and relevant to today. The message of Christmas being a time of giving — as opposed to a time of just getting things — I just love that feeling of the spirit of being generous.”






Russ Green, Sound Beach

“’A Christmas Carol,’ specifically, is a story of hope and redemption on many levels. The Dickens Fest as a whole, to me, means, more than anything, a time of coming together as a community, which is especially lacking in this day and age.”




Pixabay photo
By Carolyn Sackstein

Baby boomers likely remember duck and cover drills in schools, backyard bomb shelters and the crippling anxiety of the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962. While many thought those fears were long behind us, the ghosts of our past haunt us today. 

Today the specter of nuclear disaster seems real with intensifying conflict between Russia and Ukraine, also North Korea’s continual missile tests. This week we took to the streets to ask locals their thoughts on nuclear weapons, nuclear war and their favored response to elevated aggression abroad.

— Photos by Carolyn Sackstein

Wally Tomaszewski, Port Jefferson

“As far as Ukraine is concerned, of course, they were unjustly attacked by President Putin and Russia. The president of Ukraine has to support his people. The lives that are lost are unfathomable. Ukraine has been in existence a long, long time. They have gotten along with Russia. However, Mr. Putin has got something in his head that he wants to expand his territory and have the people of Ukraine commit to Russia. The killing and maiming of the Ukrainian people is just incredible. The Ukrainian people are fighting back. The Ukrainian military is gaining territory and beating Russians, which is incredible. The reason they are beating the Russians is that the Russian military really doesn’t have the heart to do this to a neighboring country. It is all subject to what Mr. Putin wants and they have to do what he wants. I think it is inhumane. They should stop this war immediately. The United States is supporting Ukraine with weapons. There are other countries that are supporting the Ukrainian people and rightly so.”

Andrew Drake, Stony Brook

“I think [a nuclear weapon is] the worst thing invented by mankind. We now have the ability to destroy ourselves at any time. It is a horrible thing that exists. I wish it is something we could put back in the box, but we can’t. The sad reality is as long as they exist, we need to have them. There are going to be people that are bad actors. That’s why the United States tries to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. North Korea launching a missile over Japan was obviously scary. I wish there were something else we could do about it, other than what we are doing. I don’t think there is a military solution, as much as there is a diplomatic solution. We need to incentivize people not to develop these [weapons], or give them the ability to defend themselves in a way that is not going to require mutually assured destruction.”


Paul Adago Jr., Ridge

“It’s going to affect us as a country, because we can’t have someone just bow to another. We allow that to happen in one portion of the world, then everybody’s going to think, ‘Well, we can do that too.’ We have to step up as a world, whether they’re part of NATO or not. We have to do what’s right for the people. After what we’ve been through in the world in the last two or three years, we have to humble ourselves and look at each other as people.”




Jorel Alvarez, Middle Island

“Putin using tactical nuclear weapons is not good for anyone’s sake. Once you use nukes the other person is going to use whatever weapons they have and then it is going to keep going on and the cycle is not going to stop. It is not right that he has this power. It is not right what he is doing in Ukraine.”




Wet Yang, Brooklyn

“I don’t think we can afford nuclear war. I don’t think we should be using nuclear weapons. I don’t believe in the use of nuclear weapons.”





Michael Osgood, San Francisco

“North Korea is obviously [launching missile tests] to be provocative and to remind the world that it has the technology to cause a lot of trouble. They think that is the way they can stay in power.” Regarding Mr. Putin’s threats, Osgood replied, “I can feel fear in my stomach when I think about that. I mean, could he possibly be insane enough to pull the trigger on such a thing? I hope to God he isn’t.”

Pixabay photo

By Carolyn Sackstein

It is the season of ice cream.

This week, people visiting downtown Port Jefferson were asked to give their thoughts on the best and worst ice cream flavors and to share their fondest memories associated with this cold, delicious treat.

Brianna Goncalves, Shirley

She likes chocolate peanut butter cup and dislikes mint chocolate chip. When asked about a favorite memory she said, “I get ice cream so much, I really don’t know.” 


Joseph Papalia, Florida 

He had just finished a cherry ice from Ralph’s when he was approached about his favorite ice cream flavors. The former Nesconset resident said his favorite ice cream “without a doubt is Häagen-Dazs’ Dulce de Leche.” He went on to state that his least favorite was “chocolate — I don’t like strawberry either.” He said his favorite memory is “right here, Port Jefferson.”


Caroline Santonocito, Ridge

Santonocito was asked what her favorite flavor was, she said, “This one, vanilla, from this particular ice cream place [Port Jefferson Ice Cream Café].” She added, “There really is no least favorite ice cream for me.” 


Toni Ross, Middle Island 

Ross currently likes tiramisu best, but doesn’t like ice cream containing nuts. Her fondest memory associated with ice cream is of “sitting with my husband and licking my ice cream in Port Jeff waiting for the ferry.”


Chris Devault, Rocky Point

He fondly remembers having ice cream while fishing on Lake Michigan. He said he most enjoys coffee-flavored ice cream as well as cookies and cream. When asked what was his least favorite flavor, Devault responded, “One that’s not served.”


Sydny Starling (left) and Michael Carneiro (right)

Sydny Starling, Tupelo, Mississippi 

Sydny was with her Shetland sheepdog when she was approached for an interview. The visitor favors cookies and cream and dislikes mint chocolate chip. She has no particular memories associated with ice cream. 

Michael Carneiro, Mount Sinai 

His favorite flavor is chocolate chip cookie dough and his least favorite flavor is mint chocolate chip. He has memories of vacationing and being “a preteen and me, my dad and my brother were getting ice cream. And, you know, sometimes it’s messy. And all of a sudden, I look to the left and my brother goes, ‘Michael you’ve got ice cream on the back of your head.’ So, we were all cracking up, dying laughing, because I, of course, am the person who would somehow get ice cream on the back of his head.”

Daylight Saving Time may be going away for good

On Tuesday March 15, the U.S. Senate passed legislation that would make daylight saving time permanent. That doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. The House of Representatives still has to meet and agree to pass the bill before it can go to President Joe Biden to sign. Also, it wouldn’t go into effect until 2023.

Be that as it may, we here at TBR News Media thought it would be interesting to see how people felt about the news, so we headed out to the streets of Port Jefferson on a sunny Friday afternoon to see what local passersby thought of the prospect of never having to move their clocks forward and back each year.

Here’s what they had to say:

Samantha Falese, West Islip 

“I love the sunshine. I’m a morning person, so when I get up, it might be a little bit darker, but I like the idea of coming home knowing it’s light out because I work about an hour away.”




Rachel Guglielmo, Port Jefferson 

“I’m looking forward to it staying like this. I like getting out of work and being in the sunlight instead of leaving work and it being all dark out and making me feel like my day is all over. I’m more motivated when it’s light out.”




Connie Poulos, Selden 

“I’m happy about it. If it’s like, so that it doesn’t get dark at 4 o’clock, that would be nice. I’m looking forward to more sunlight.”





Gwen Coady with grandson Jack, Saint James 

“My husband does construction. If he works later in the summer, it stinks. If it’s daylight, he keeps on working. The other way, he keeps more of a schedule. But I do like the daylight savings because I love to be outside.”




Allison Marin, Port Jefferson 

“I think I like the changing back and forth because it kind of gives you something to look forward to that day — when you know you’re getting the hour back. I don’t love losing it necessarily, but when you get the hour back, you kind of feel like you won. You know? Like you want to do something big with your hour. You have to make it worth something. I think it’s kind of fun.”



Stephen Malusa, Selden 

“I like it. Finally get rid of that nonsense. Changing back and forth is just an annoyance.”


Local gas pump showing the surging price of gasoline.

The skyrocketing price of gas has hit record highs here on Long Island and across the entire United States. TBR News Media took to the streets of Port Jefferson and Setauket to find out how local residents were feeling about it all.

Photo by Jim Hastings

Crista Davis, Mount Sinai

“We’re pretty local, thankfully. I don’t have a far commute, but if I did, that’s something that would surely affect other aspects of my life. I’m fortunate that I live close to everything, but I feel bad for people who have no choice.”




Photo by Jim Hastings

Kenny Dorsa, Selden

“We’re pretty local, thankfully. I don’t have a far commute, but if I did, that’s something that would surely affect other aspects of my life. I’m fortunate that I live close to everything, but I feel bad for people who have no choice.”




Photo by Jim Hastings

Mitch Steinberg, Huntington

“It’s definitely going to make us consider our finances. Conserve a little bit. But we still have to drive to work and do the things we have to do.”





Photo by Jim Hastings

Abby Buller, Port Jefferson Station

Owner of Village Boutique, Port Jefferson

“From my business point of view, all of my wholesalers are complaining about their cost rising and having to pay more to employees. So, the higher cost of employees, gas, oil, freight. If I hear anything more about the cost of freight. When my wholesaler increases my cost of $7 an item, I have no choice. I have to pass that $7 on. I used to live in Queens and drive to Port Jefferson every day. I thank God I don’t have to do that, because that would have been, at these prices, a decision to close this store. 


Photo by Jim Hastings

Walter Martinez, Shirley

“I pay now double what I was paying last year, but I don’t blame it on the president and I don’t blame it on the government. Everything is just going up. And now with this war thing it’s just getting worse. It is what it is. You just gotta stand by and hope for the best. You know, we gotta pay the price. I do regret that I didn’t go for an electric car before.”









Photo from Pixabay

By Jim Hastings

The recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia sent shockwaves around the world. The images of troops, tanks and bombed-out buildings have left many feeling enraged, frustrated and helpless. TBR News Media took to the streets of Port Jefferson and Stony Brook Village to get local residents’ perspectives on the situation. 


Photo by Jim Hastings

Debra Saparito, Mount Sinai

“It’s going to affect us as a country, because we can’t have someone just bow to another. We allow that to happen in one portion of the world, then everybody’s going to think, ‘Well, we can do that too.’ We have to step up as a world, whether they’re part of NATO or not. We have to do what’s right for the people. After what we’ve been through in the world in the last two or three years, we have to humble ourselves and look at each other as people.”



Brian Israel, Setauket

Photo by Jim Hastings

“It’s unbelievable that a sovereign country can be attacked, really, with no real consequences. Understanding that, you know, any military action could cause a larger conflict, but it’s just unbelievable that it was allowed to get this far.”







Photo by Jim Hastings

Kathryn Schoemmel, Setauket

“It’s scary. I have a family member over there. She’s still in Ukraine. She’s hoping she has a home to go back to.”

Pictured with husband Leon.






Photo by Jim Hastings

Ernesto Cruz, Coram

“It’s pretty senseless. It just seems like there’s no real reason to be doing this. We’re getting to a stage where, through social networking and all that, the world’s becoming that much more interconnected and it’s like, we can feel each other’s pain. It’s no longer what the government tells us or what the news tells us. We can see what each person is feeling, truly, through their words and their actions.”




Photo by Jim Hastings

Clara Rosenzweig, Poquott

“I definitely feel horrible for the people going through it. I think it’s completely unnecessary what’s happening over there and I hope that everything gets resolved.”