Times of Smithtown

Holly Signoretti picks out a book at the Book Revue in Huntington village. Photo by Kimberly Brown

People are continuously told that change is inevitable but sometimes those changes can hit a human right in the heart, especially if it involves a goodbye.

Many residents along the North Shore of Suffolk County and surrounding areas were saddened to hear of the closing of Book Revue in Huntington Sept. 10. After more than 40 years of being the go-to place for book lovers, like many other businesses, the owner struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The store had to shut down for three months during the pandemic, and once the owner reopened the doors, the Book Revue struggled to get back on its feet.

Despite talking with the building landlord to come to a compromise, in the end the back rent was impossible to pay back, and it was initially announced last month that the store would close Sept. 30.

With inventory starting to thin out, the store was closed Sept. 9 for employees to organize the shelves, and on Sept. 10 people were invited to come in and take books for free. By the afternoon, the store was cleaned out and Book Revue doors were closed for business permanently.

Its owner Richard Klein posted on Facebook that while the store was now closed to the public, he would be in touch soon. Customers hope so.

Not only was Book Revue the place to go to pick up some literature, but it was also a social center. Many residents remember going to the store as a child or a parent to enjoy Toddler Time with stories, live music and dancing. There were groups to discuss favorite reads, and celebrity book signings with authors such as Alan Alda, Hillary Clinton, Whoopi Goldberg, Clinton Kelly and more.

The store also offered a diverse selection of books with extensive arts and music sections as well as a section dedicated to local subjects written by Long Island authors. 

More than a place to shop or socialize, the Book Revue also drew people to Huntington village. When people come to shop at an iconic store, they usually will stay a while in the area and stop by other shops or get a bite to eat. The closing of such a business could lead to a domino effect in the village.

Our communities need more independent book stores like this former Huntington staple, ones that flourish and elevate the quality of life in a village. It’s a shame that the landlord and Klein couldn’t come to an agreement. However, the community will be forever grateful to Richard and his brother Bob, who retired from the business earlier last year, for their service to the community and providing years of happiness to Long Islanders.

Here’s hoping that another vibrant business that hosts events will come into the building to keep one of our bustling villages alive with the excitement Book Revue once did.

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.

METRO photo

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

Joe, the gentleman at the supermarket register, asked me the routine questions.

“Did you find everything okay?”

“Do you have a rewards number?”

I nodded and typed in my cell phone number.

At the end of the order, I carefully watched the total, waiting for the moment he asked me whether I wanted to donate a dollar or round up my total.

Instead, it looked like the cost declined, even after applying all the discounts. In order to be sure, I had to remove my glasses, which allow me to see at a distance, but not to read.

Yes, the total decreased by 5%. Just as I was about to thank him, I went slack jawed behind my mask. Staring closely at the total in the register, I realized he had given me the senior discount.

I pondered what to do. I could tell him I’m not a senior. Then again, maybe anyone over 35 was a senior. Okay, fine, 40. Alright, 50. 

Anyway, I thanked him for ringing me up, told him to stay safe and headed to the car, where I promptly checked the age for a senior discount at my supermarket. Yup, just as I suspected. He gave me the discount well before I was eligible.

As I loaded the groceries in the car, I wondered whether this was a freakout mid-life crisis moment. Maybe this was the universe’s way, through Joe, of reminding me that I’m not a kid anymore.

Then again, I thought, steadying myself behind the wheel, maybe Joe had just typed that senior discount button by mistake. Maybe he felt generous or, perhaps, he was giving everyone a senior discount, just to stick it to his bosses. 

I have an image of myself that doesn’t align with what other people see, or even what I notice in the mirror. Somewhere along the lines, my brain imagined that the younger, fresher, more energetic version of me continued to type on my computer, yell at the TV when the Yankees lost, and maneuver through my life.

My body, and the unwelcome hair that seems to wave from my ears, has offered reminders about the passage of time. Recently, my son, who is still waiting for his freshman year to start in earnest after New Orleans recovers from Hurricane Ida, asked me if I wanted to have a catch.

Excited for some father-son bonding that doesn’t involve electronics, I readily agreed. Besides, it’s been a few years since he asked. I am no longer his coach and he has numerous athletic friends and former teammates who can launch balls across a field.

The first few throws felt comfortable, as my fingers reached for the familiar seams and tossed the ball back at his chest.

“Okay, move back,” he instructed.

A few throws later, he asked me to move back again.

“Wait, what?” my arm begged, to a brain that tried to hit the mute button on muscles, tendons, bones and rotator cuffs begging me to stop engaging in such unaccustomed activity.

Pretty soon, he was throwing lasers from the next county and I was trying to figure out if I could strap the ball to a nearby bird to return it to him.

Instead, I ran 20 steps, rotated my hips and snapped my shoulders in an effort to minimize the strain on my arm.

“Good idea,” he yelled. “You should soft toss it back to me.”

Soft toss? That was one of my hardest throws!

Two days later, we repeated the same routine. The second time, my arm instantly hurt. I might imagine that I’m 25 or even 35, just as I might imagine I can fly.

I can enjoy some consolation: the senior discount saved me enough money to buy an ice pack for my throbbing shoulder.

METRO dinner

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

Here are some ways to spice up our lives. I’ve done this all my adult cooking life, and I recommend the concept. I have added store-bought sauces to otherwise bland foods, like eggs, chicken and some fish. Please read on as I explain. 

How did I happen upon this technique, you might wonder? It was a solution born of desperation over 50 years ago. I was to be married in two weeks, and my roommate at the time asked me what I was going to cook for my new husband the first night. Cook? I only knew how to boil water. It hadn’t occurred to me, although tradition at the time had it, that I was to be the cook in this pairing. 

When I panicked, she calmed me down by asking what my fiancé’s favorite meal was. “Breaded veal cutlet,” I remembered, and for the next 10 days, at dinner, she tutored me on the fine art of making that, along with a salad of greens with store-bought dressing, and spaghetti with some bottled red sauce. I then sailed into marriage prepared and duly impressed my groom with my culinary skills. 

Soon enough, we came to the menu for the second night. Again panic. I had to sit down and figure this one out. I was working and didn’t have time to digest the thick book, “Joy of Cooking,” that some kind soul had given us as a wedding present — at least not yet. Prepared foods for takeout were not invented. There were Swanson frozen dinners, but that suggested I was really inadequate.

What to do?

I thought about how I had made that first meal. I used bottled dressing to flavor the salad and also bottled sauce for the spaghetti. I wondered what other sauces might be available on the supermarket shelves. That’s when I found duck sauce. Reading the label, I saw their suggested uses; one was with chicken. Inspired, I rushed to buy a whole chicken that I brought back to our new apartment, poured all the duck sauce over it, and popped it into the oven at 375 degrees as instructed by the amused man behind the supermarket meat counter. I kept checking it, and when it looked like it was done, I served it, along with more salad.

“Wow!” my new husband exclaimed. “I didn’t know you could cook!” I was launched.

I will confess to having learned a few more things about cooking since then, including how to read a recipe, but my affection for bottled sauces continues to this day. To further my repertoire, I have gleaned the following information from a consumer publication called, “Bottom Line,” that has proven its value sufficiently to earn my ongoing subscription dollars. The article, written by Jay Weinstein, a member of the Institute of Culinary Education, is headlined, “Make Mundane Meals Instantly Exotic, with these international bottled sauces,” offers nine suggestions, and pretty much all of them appeal to me.

First, there are some Asian possibilities: banana sauce, “the ketchup of the Philippines, … usually sweet, with subtle tropical flavors,” good on any foods from omelets to whatever comes off the grill. Anther is gochujang, a dark red paste made of red chili peppers, rice powder and fermented soy beans — tangy, spicy, salty & slightly fruity — good added to eggs, noodles, dumplings or ham. Then there is kecap manis, “an excellent marinade or glaze for meat, seafood or vegetables.” Oyster sauce will add “an unmistakable Asian flavor” and will transform hamburger. Ponzu is tangy and bright and offers “a lively citrus note” to dishes. Thai peanut sauce is a particular favorite of mine. It is a good marinade, and I happen to like it on noodles. 

Then there are what the author classifies as European Sauces: aioli, “a Mediterranean mayonnaise with garlic … drizzled over vegetables or seafood”; ajvar (pronounced “aye-var”) of “roasted sweet red peppers, eggplant and … tomato.” Use atop baked potato, meatloaf and pasta or for potato salad; and Maggi seasoning, for noodles or roast chicken “or mix a little into soup.”

There are lots more, but I think I should stop. While I probably have incurred the wrath of gourmet cooks, who make everything from scratch, perhaps I have helped some new brides … or grooms.

1 Step Ahead heads to the Smithtown Library on Sept. 17

After cancelling  last year’s Dennis Cannataro Family Concerts due to the pandemic, Legislator Rob Trotta is pleased to announce that the time has come to welcome back residents and visitors to relax on the lawn of the Smithtown Main Library located at 1 North Country Road for the Dennis Cannataro Family Concerts.

“Although there will only be two concerts this year, it is wonderful that we can invite family and friends to attend these shows,” said Legislator Trotta. “The free performances provide a great opportunity for everyone to enjoy themselves, hear some fantastic music and to support our downtown merchants and restaurants.”

The concerts will be held on Friday, September 17, at 7 p,m. featuring the 1 Step Ahead playing the greatest hits, and on Sunday, September 26, at 2 p.m. with Just Sixties performing the hits of the 60s. Bring your chairs or blankets for these free events.

According to the library, smoking and pets are not permitted. In case of inclement weather on the day of the show, please go to www.smithlib.org or call 631-360-2480 ext. 231.

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

When 9/11 happened, I was only three years old, and at such a young age, I had no idea what was going on in the world — the only thing that mattered to me was my stuffed animals and food. 

As I grew up in elementary school, I was always reminded every September about the attacks with an assembly my district put together. 

We always were given little American flags to place outside the front yard after the presentation was over. 

I was born in a time where it was no longer safe to walk around by myself like it used to be. I remember my mom telling me about her time as a young child, and how she’d walk all around the neighborhood with her close friend Sue Hill from morning until dusk, no cellphone, no contact, relying on complete trust in her community and town. 

Kimberly Brown

However, when 9/11 happened, that trust broke completely. I asked her why I wasn’t allowed to do the things she did as a kid, and she told me that “times have changed.”

I didn’t always see the big picture as to why things were the way they are, because it’s the environment that I grew up in. It’s something that I’ve been accustomed to since I was born, but as I grew older and moved onto middle school I started to understand more.

I’m not sure exactly what age I was when I found out why my next-door neighbors, Timmy, and his brother Tommy weren’t around anymore, but I remember they were dedicated to their jobs as firefighters and were always very friendly to me and my family.

My mom had told me that Timmy rushed into the North Tower while Tommy, who was a Battalion Chief, led his men into the South Tower. Both of them tragically died whilst trying to evacuate 25,000 people from the World Trade Center.

When Timmy was younger, he planted pine trees next to our house that continued to grow for decades after his death. To me, it served as a memorial, remembering how free-spirited yet brave these two brothers were.

To some people around the country, 9/11 is a distant memory, but for me, it has been prevalent in my community since the day it occurred. Neighbors, friends and family members, all have people they hold dear to their hearts, serve in our local fire and police departments. 

In one way or another, regardless of age, 9/11 has touched everyone in some form. It truly is one of the most important events of our American history to remember, as well as commemorating our brave service members who gave their lives to save others. 

Kimberly Brown is a reporter with TBR News Media and a recent graduate of Stony Brook University.

Twenty years ago, the United States changed forever when four hijacked jetliners were intentionally crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a field outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania. At Ground Zero in New York City, the traditional reading of names of each victim will resume this year at the 9/11 Memorial in New York and the following ceremonies will be held on the North Shore to honor the thousands of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001, a day that will live forever in our hearts.

Centereach

The Centereach Fire Department, 9 South Washington Ave., Centereach invites the community to join them on Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. for its annual 9/11 Memorial Services and candle lighting ceremony. Refreshments to be served after ceremony. 631-588-8652, ext. 1

East Northport

The East Northport Fire Department, 1 Ninth Ave., East Northport will host two 9/11 memorial services on Sept. 11  — a morning ceremony at 9:45 a.m. and an evening candlelight vigil at 8 p.m. 631-261-0360 

Hauppauge

The Hauppauge Fire Department, 855 Wheeler Road, Hauppauge will host a Remembrance Ceremony at its 9/11 Memorial on Sept 11 at 7 p.m. 631-265-2499

Huntington

The public is invited to join Town of Huntington officials, the Veterans Advisory Board and local officials for a ceremony on Sept. 12 at noon at the Heckscher Park 9/11 memorial, 147 Main St., Huntington to honor and remember residents and first responders of the Town of Huntington who lost their lives on 9/11. 631-351-3012

Kings Park

Kings Park will host a commemorative event and memorial walk on Sept. 11 starting at 11 a.m. at Kings Park High School and concluding at the 9/11 Memorial at the corner of Church Street and Old Dock Road. A ceremony with a live reading of the names of those from Suffolk and Nassau Counties who perished on 9/11 will follow. 631-973-6006  x1004

Nesconset

The 9/11 Responders Remembered Park, 316 Nesconset Blvd., Nesconset will host its annual naming ceremony on Sept. 18 at 10 a.m. 631-724-3320

Port Jefferson

The Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America Vigiano Brothers Lodge 3436 invite the community to join them for a candlelight remembrance of 9/11 at Harborfront Park, 101 East Broadway, Port Jefferson on Sept. 11 starting at noon. Candles and refreshments will be provided. 631-928-7489

Rocky Point

The Rocky Point Fire Department will host a ceremony at the 9/11 Community Memorial, at the corner of Route 25A and Tesla Street in Shoreham, on Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. 631-744-4102

Setauket

The Setauket Fire Department will conduct a 9/11 memorial ceremony at the Hook and Ladder Company 1, Station 3, 394 Nicolls Road, Setauket on Sept. 11 at 8  p.m. followed by refreshments in the firehouse. Call 631-941-4900, ext. 1043

Smithtown

The Town of Smithtown, in conjunction with the Smithtown Chamber of Commerce, will host a Remembrance Ceremony at its 9/11 Memorial Park just off Main Street in Smithtown on Sept. 11 at 6 p.m. 631-360-7512

Sound Beach

The Sound Beach Fire Department, 152 Sound Beach Blvd., Sound Beach will hold its annual Service of Remembrance ceremony on Sept. 11 at 10 a.m. 631-744-4994

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Frank Tepedino

On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, former New York Yankee and St. James resident Frank Tepedino recalled his experience during that fateful day.

At the time, Tepedino, who also played for the Atlanta Braves during his sports career, served as a firefighter for the New York Fire Patrol for almost 20 years. It just so happened he was off patrol on the morning of 9/11, residing in his home on Long Island.

His son, who worked for the New York City Fire Department, informed Tepedino of the attacks around 8:45 in the morning.

“At first, I thought a pilot had a heart attack or something and I thought how unusual it was,” Tepedino said. “Everything started to click once the second plane hit.”

Tepedino was called into work immediately after the attacks due to the World Trade Center being a commercial building, which is what the FDNY responds to specifically.

Jumping into his vehicle around noon, he remembered all the roads being closed off making it especially difficult to get near the city. By the time Tepedino made his way to the atrocity at nightfall, he couldn’t believe what his eyes were seeing.

“I remember when they were filming ‘Godzilla’ in the city and seeing all the spotlights,” Tepedino said. “When I got to the World Trade Center it looked just like that, like a movie set. It didn’t look real. There were spotlights everywhere because the power was out.”

Being stationed in Manhattan for 20 years, Tepedino became very acquainted with the FDNY. They were only 15 minutes away from the station and often spent time together at softball games and other functions.

From the FDNY alone, 343 members died from the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Another victim was NYFP firefighter Keith Roma who was only 27 years old. Tepedino said they did not find Roma’s remains until December 2001.

“We were there for a good two, three weeks working 12-hour shifts,” Tepedino said. “Everything was coordinated very specifically considering something like this had never happened before.”

One of the jobs Tepedino had following the aftermath of 9/11 was to sweep the debris and clearing the manhole covers so the scuba team could go under the buildings to look for more survivors.

“As time goes by, things are put on the back burner, but you have to look at the history of what has happened because what we’re trying to do is protect the people who cannot protect themselves,” Tepedino said.

Stock photo

I honestly don’t remember a whole lot from elementary school, but I still remember September 11, 2001. 

I remember it was a beautiful, warm day. There was not one cloud in the sky and we were all so excited that we would be able to play outside for recess and gym class. 

At just 8 years old, I was in the fourth grade at East Street Elementary School in Hicksville — just a little over an hour away from one of my favorite places, Manhattan. 

My dad was a truck driver back then, and he was always in the city making deliveries. He’d take me and my brother out there every other weekend and show us his favorite spots. One of them was the World Trade Center. 

“Isn’t it amazing?” I remember him saying, “They look like Legos from far away.”

Back at school that Tuesday morning, I remember simply going about our day. Things eventually got weird, though. My principal came to speak to my teacher out at around 10 a.m. outside of the classroom, and I remember her face when she came back inside. She was white as a ghost. 

Throughout the day, my classmates started to get pulled out one by one. I remember being mad that I couldn’t go home, like everyone else. I remember being jealous but, looking back, they were being taken out because their fathers and uncles were first responders and their families were scared.

When our parents picked us up later in the afternoon, I remember everyone just feeling so sad. The sky wasn’t that pretty blue anymore — it felt like a dark cloud washed over us, which on reflection might have been smoke heading east. Everyone’s energy was low. The news was the only thing we watched for hours.

My dad made it home later that night and he was shell shocked. From his truck route in Queens, he said he saw the smoke. He was on the parkway, sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, fleeing with the rest of the people trying to evacuate Manhattan. 

My family was lucky — we didn’t lose anyone that day, and being so young I don’t know if I was able to recognize what happened until much later in life. 

I knew it was a sad day. I knew that something bad happened. I knew that I had to wear red, white and blue on Sept. 12 and that a lot of people were missing and dead. 

But when I became a journalist, I started to talk to more and more people who were impacted on the anniversaries of the attacks. Every year since the age of 8, it began to become more real to me. 

After college, I met my best friend, Nicole, who’s aunt worked in the first tower. She died on impact when the plane crashed through her office. 

Hearing these stories opened my eyes more. I grew up with 9/11 and felt it firsthand. But growing up, I started to learn more about the actual people whose lives were lost that day. I heard their stories and they eventually became real persons to me — not just numbers in this crazy story. 

It’s amazing to think that 20 years have passed since the events which took place that horrible day. It’s amazing to see what has happened since then —wars, recessions, other bombings and a pandemic. And it’s amazing to believe that families, like my friend Nicole’s, have been without their loved ones for two decades.

No matter what age you were when the events happened — or even if you hadn’t been born yet — I think the anniversary of 9/11 should remind all of us to hug our families a little harder. Tell them you love them, and never forget the thousands of people who were impacted that day. 

Julianne Mosher is the editor of the Port Times Record, Village Beacon Record and Times of Middle Country. 

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.