Town of Huntington

The 9/11 memorial in Hauppauge. File photo by Rita J. Egan

“One of the worst days in American history saw some of the bravest acts in Americans’ history. We’ll always honor the heroes of 9/11. And here at this hallowed place, we pledge that we will never forget their sacrifice.” — Former President George W. Bush

These were the patriotic thoughts of this president who reflected on the heroic services that were demonstrated by Americans during and after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. 

While it has been 20 years since our nation was attacked by the sting of terrorism, Americans have not forgotten this tragic moment. On the North Shore — about 80 miles from Manhattan at its easterly point — there are many memorials that honor the local residents who were killed, the dedication of the rescue workers and the War on Terror veterans who defended this nation at home and abroad for the last two decades.

There has been a tremendous amount of support from the local municipalities, state and local governments, along with school districts to never forget 9/11. People do not have to look far to notice the different types of memorials, landmarks and resting places that represent those harrowing moments and the sacrifices that were made to help others and defend this country. 

Calverton National Cemetery

Driving northwest on Route 25A, it is possible to quickly see the reminders of sacrifice within the Calverton National Cemetery. This sacred ground is one of the largest military burial grounds in America and driving through its roads, there are flags that have been placed for veterans of all conflicts — especially the most recent during the War on Terror. 

One of the most visited sites there is that of Patchogue resident Lt. Michael P. Murphy who was killed in 2005 in Afghanistan, where under intense enemy fire he tried to call in support to rescue his outnumbered four-man SEAL team. 

As the 20th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, local residents can also see his name gracing the front of Patchogue-Medford High School, the post office in Patchogue, the Navy SEAL Museum that is near completion in West Sayville, and a memorial created for him on the east side of Lake Ronkonkoma, where he was a lifeguard.

Shoreham-Wading River—Rocky Point—Sound Beach—Mount Sinai

West of Calverton, at the main entrance of Shoreham-Wading River High School, you will notice a baseball field located between the road and the Kerry P. Hein Army Reserve Center. 

One of this field’s former players, Kevin Williams, was killed on 9/11, where he was a bond salesman for Sandler O’Neill, in the South Tower of the World Trade Center. This 24-year-old young man was a talented athlete who was recognized with MVP honors on the baseball, golf and basketball teams for the high school. 

A foundation has been created in the name of Williams, an avid New York Yankees fan, that has helped provide financial support to baseball and softball players unable to afford attending sports camps. 

Not far from Shoreham, driving westward, motorists will notice the strength, size and beauty of the Rocky Point Fire Department 9/11 memorial. This structure is located on Route 25A, on the west side of the firehouse.

Immediately, people will notice the impressive steel piece that is standing tall in the middle of a fountain, surrounded by a walkway with bricks that have special written messages. In the background, there are names of the people killed during these attacks and plaques that have been created to recognize the services of the rescue workers and all of those people lost.  

Heading west into Rocky Point’s downtown business district, VFW Post 6249 has a 9/11 tribute with steel from lower Manhattan. Less than a half mile away, on Broadway and Route 25A, the Joseph P. Dwyer statue proudly stands high overlooking the activity of the busy corner.  

This veteran’s square remembers the service of PFC Dwyer, who enlisted into the Army directly after this nation was attacked and fought in Iraq. He struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder and this statue supports all veterans who have dealt with these hard psychological and physical conditions. 

A short distance away, the Sound Beach Fire Department also created a special structure on its grounds through a neighborhood feeling of remembrance toward all of those people lost.

Heading west toward Mount Sinai, it is easy to observe a wonderful sense of pride through the Heritage Park by its display of American flags. On the Fourth of July, Veterans Day and Memorial Day, residents see these national and state colors, and this always presents a great deal of patriotism for the people utilizing this park.

Coram—Port Jefferson—St. James 

More south on County Road 83 and North Ocean Avenue, visitors of all ages enjoy the Diamond in the Pines Park in Coram. There, people have the opportunity to visit the 9/11 Memorial Learning Site. This site honors all of the citizens lost from the townships of Brookhaven and Riverhead, the rescue workers and War on Terror veterans.  

For 10 years, the site has helped reflect on this assault on America through the major bronze plaques with historical information, black granite pictures, benches, and statues of a bronze eagle and a rescue dog that helped search for survivors of the attack at the World Trade Center.

Leaving this park and going north into the village of Port Jefferson, people enjoy the beauty of its harbor, its stores, and they see traffic enter via ferry from Connecticut. Through the activity of this bustling area, there is a large bronze eagle that is placed on a high granite platform.  

Perched high, citizens from two different states brought together by the ferry are able to walk by this memorial that helps recognize the lost people of Long Island and the New England state. Driving near the water through Setauket, Stony Brook and into St. James, there is a major 7-ton memorial that highlights a “bowtie section” of steel from the World Trade Center.  

Due to the type of steel on display, there are few memorials that capture the spirit of the St. James Fire Department 9/11 site.

Nesconset—Hauppauge—Smithtown

Traveling south down Lake Avenue toward Gibbs Pond Road and Lake Ronkonkoma, the 9/11 Responders Remembered Memorial Park in Nesconset is located at 316 Smithtown Blvd. This is a vastly different place of remembrance, as it is continually updated with the names of fallen rescue workers who have died since the attacks 20 years ago. 

Taking Townline Road west into Hauppauge toward Veterans Highway and Route 347, you will end up at the Suffolk County government buildings. 

Directly across from Blydenburgh Park in Smithtown, is a major 9/11 memorial created by the county. This memorial has 179 pieces of glass etched with the 178 names of the Suffolk County residents killed on September 11, with one extra panel to honor the volunteers who built the memorial.

As commuters head west to reach the Northern State Parkway, they drive by a major structure that was created to recognize all of those citizens from Huntington to Montauk killed on 9/11 by terrorism. It is just one of many such monuments created by our local townships, fire departments, parks and schools.  

Even after 20 years, our society has not forgotten about the beautiful day that turned out to be one of the most tragic moments in our history.  

Rich Acritelli is a social studies teacher at Rocky Point High School and an adjunct professor of American history at Suffolk County Community College.

American Flag at half-staff on Veterans Plaza at Huntington Town Hall Friday, August 27, 2021.

Huntington Town Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci directed that flags on all Town of Huntington buildings be flown at half-staff to honor the thirteen American servicemembers who were killed in a terrorist attack in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26.

“The Town of Huntington mourns the tragic loss of thirteen brave servicemembers who entered the dangerous  conditions unfolding in Afghanistan, putting their lives in harm’s way to save their fellow Americans and Afghan friends to the cause of freedom, which is why our flag on Veterans Plaza flies at half-staff in their honor,” said Sup. Lupinacci.

A suicide bomber detonated a device outside Abbey Gate at Kabul’s airport, killing twelve U.S. Marins and one Navy medic along with at least 60 Afghan civilians and wounding up to 140.

 

Photo by Gerard Romano

Due to a shortage of lifeguards, the Town of Huntington is closing four of its eight beaches to swimming starting Thursday, August 26. 

       BEACHES CLOSED TO SWIMMING 

     Swim lines and lifeguard stands will be removed at the following beaches for the remainder of the season: 

  • Asharoken Beach, Eaton’s Neck Road, Northport 
  • Crescent Beach, Crescent Beach Drive, Huntington Bay 
  • Fleets Cove Beach, Fleets Cove Road, Centerport 
  • Gold Star Battalion Beach, West Shore Road, Huntington 

    “No lifeguard on Duty” and “No Swimming Allowed” signs will also be posted. Town of Huntington residents may visit the beaches closed to bathing but they must stay out of the water. 

    BEACHES OPEN TO SWIMMING (TOWN OF HUNTINGTON RESIDENTS ONLY) 

     The following beaches will remain open to swimming for the remainder of the season:

  • Centerport Beach, Little Neck Road, Centerport 
  • Crab Meadow Beach*, Waterside Avenue, Northport 
  • Hobart Beach, Birmingham Drive, Eaton’s Neck (Info on Seasonal Closure of Bird Preserve) 
  • Quentin Sammis West Neck Beach, West Neck Road, Lloyd Harbor 
    Contact the Main Beach Office located at Crab Meadow Beach at (631) 261-7574 seven days a week from 9 a.m. thru 3 p.m. now through Labor Day to inquire if the beaches are open or closed for bathing as per the County of Suffolk Department of Health Services. 

     You may also contact the Suffolk County Bathing Beach Water Quality Hotline for beach closings throughout Suffolk County at (631) 852-5822.

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

After 44 years of business, countless celebrity guest appearances and thousands of loyal customers, Huntington village’s independent bookstore, Book Revue located on New York Avenue, will be closing its doors by Sept. 30.

Photo by Kimberly Brown

Due to the pandemic, the well-known store had to shut down business for three months, but even when the owner Richard Klein was able to reopen, it struggled to get back on its feet again. 

“We lost our events, where authors, politicians, celebrities and athletes would come in, and that was a very big part of our business, and we lost it,” he said. “It all came back very slowly, so we fell behind on the rent.”

According to Klein, he spoke with one of the landlords during the course of the pandemic asking to give the store a chance as the fall season approached, hoping business would pick back up. 

“I told him I’d start paying in September for the rest of the year, not full rent but more than half, and if the fall came back with decent business then I’d start paying additional rent and paying back the debt,” he said. “He told me that sounded OK and would discuss it with his partners.”

Unfortunately, the person Klein spoke with died two months ago, leaving the son to take lead on most of the decision-making. 

Photo by Kimberly Brown

Despite having a payment plan worked out before the broker’s death, suddenly the remaining landlords demanded Klein pay the money he owed immediately. 

“I gave them a starting proposal, and they didn’t give me anything back, telling me it was unacceptable, and that the money was needed now,” Klein said.

The building’s landlords did not respond with a comment before press time.

With outcries of disappointment and anger from local book shoppers, a GoFundMe was set up to attempt to save the beloved store but was later taken down. 

Klein said even if the community was able to fundraise the debt money, the landlords were changing the rent to a 75% increase, which is impossible for the business to keep up with. 

“I’m really sad because I love this place,” said Kathleen Willig, a Seaford resident. “There are no independent bookstores on Long Island — it’s all Barnes and Nobles. I really think independent bookstores are the charm of so many cities and states. It truly feels more personalized.”

Reminiscing on the impact Book Revue had on people’s lives while growing up around town, made regular customers disappointed to see it go.

“My mom used to bring me here and now I bring my daughter here, so to me it’s part of my childhood and I think it’s what holds the town together,” said Michele Lamonsoff, a Huntington resident. 

Photo by Kimberly Brown

While some customers said they will miss the comfort of reading unique novels, others who work in the field of education relied on the store for classroom work. Plainview resident and social studies teacher Nicole Scotto said her favorite part of Book Revue was the history section.

“As a social studies teacher, I always enjoyed browsing through Book Revue’s extensive collection of history books and finding used books on niche topics with the previous owners’ handwritten notes in the margins,” Scotto said.

Photo from Pixabay

Looking out the window on a sunny day, one might notice a not-so-subtle haziness in the sky. However, that haze isn’t harmless clouds or fog, it’s smoke that’s traveled a far distance across the nation from raging wildfires in California and Canada.

As concerns grow over the impact of these wildfires stretching their way over to the East Coast, Long Islanders are beginning to become uneasy about the repercussions the hazy smoke might have among residents. 

With multiple reports of poor air quality in the past few weeks, people who have vulnerable conditions such as asthma, emphysema, or heart disease need to be wary and avoid going outside or doing strenuous activity. 

“There is something called fine particulate matter, which is very small ash,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “The cause of concern is that this is the type of material that causes respiratory ailments. It irritates the throat and respiratory system, but most importantly fine particulate matter can lodge in your lungs and make microscopic perforations, much like asbestos.”

According to Esposito, It is highly likely the ash will also be deposited into Long Island’s estuary and could affect the marine environment. However, it is uncertain exactly how much will accumulate due to the variables of wind speed and the amount of ash that will be pushed toward the Island. 

“The East Coast should absolutely have an increased concern of weather events associated with climate change,” she added. “What we are having right now is an increase of torrential rain, and an increase in intensification of storms which means that hurricanes that might normally be a Category 1 [the lowest] now have the ability to reach 2, 3, or 4.” Esposito said. 

Kevin Reed. Photo from Stony Brook University

Although air pollution issues are nothing new to New York, there are always certain times of the year, particularly in the summertime, that fine particulate matter can get trapped. The question of the future frequency of surrounding wildfires still stands.

While Long Island is experiencing a rainy season, California is currently facing one of the worst droughts in history. Within a two-year period, rain and snow totals in parts of the West have been 50 percent less than average.  

“Just because Long Island is having a really wet season right now doesn’t mean it couldn’t shift later this year,” said Kevin Reed, a Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences researcher. 

According to Reed, the winds that blow from out West don’t always streamline toward the East Coast. Direction in wind patterns could cause the air flow to “wobble,” so it is uncertain whether or not Long Island may face more smoke pollution in the future. 

“Drought is certainly becoming more severe, potentially longer lasting, and at a larger extent, which means larger parts of land will be susceptible to wildfire,” Reed said.

Adding that wildfires are typically a natural occurrence and benefits land by replenishing it, Reed said the extent of the current wildfires is most likely a result of climate change and has potential to harm people and the environment.

“Air pollution could really affect our human health, especially to certain groups that are more susceptible to issues with air quality,” he said. “Even if it’s here for one day it could have an impact and of course the impact is going to be multiplied if it’s a longer-term event.” 

An aerial view of Smithtown captures the Smithtown Main Street area. Photo from Town of Smithtown

Smithtown held a public hearing this Tuesday, Aug. 3, to discuss the new draft master comprehensive plan that could possibly amend the town’s zoning regulations to align them more with current land usage.

If put into place, a new zoning designation will be created, called a Multi-Family Zone. The Multi-Family Zone will allow for low to mid-rise residential development with underutilized lots to create housing types such as apartments, townhouses, senior living, assisted living or traditional mixed-use in the hamlets.

The plan also focuses on transit-oriented development near the Long Island Railroad stations and improvements to recreational facilities townwide.

While some comments from residents showed support of the plan, the feedback was mainly negative from the room, saying the underutilized lots will be taken advantage of by developers and should be used to create parks and preserve the town.

“This comprehensive plan, is nothing more than permission for developers to build tall and to build dense,” said James Bouklas, a resident of Smithtown and president of the community advocacy group We Are Smithtown. “This is a plan for more gridlock, traffic, apartment buildings everywhere, mega-developments and population boom after 50 years of stability.”

Many residents discussed a survey the town put out for community members a few years ago to input their thoughts regarding existing conditions and their outlook on Smithtown’s future. More than 1,100 community members responded.

“You took a survey, and you know what the residents want and don’t want to see in town,” said Mike Cooley, a Nesconset resident and vice president of We Are Smithtown. “Anyone who took the time to read the plan can see the opinions and concerns from residents, including a clear vote against high-density housing. The message is clear, Smithtown is for sale.”

Other residents attended to applaud the plan, hoping that it will bring an energetic feel to the town and attract a younger crowd, much like Huntington and Patchogue does.

“I think the decision for Smithtown to not adapt is risky,” said Barry Felix, a Melville resident. “Young individuals like myself are seeking vibrant communities to grow in, a community that is like the one represented in the comprehensive plan. If Smithtown doesn’t move ahead, it will fall behind.”

Thanking the board for listening to the community, Tony Tanzi, president of the Kings Park Chamber of Commerce, was thrilled the town was taking input from the public into heavy consideration when constructing the plan.

“I want to say on behalf of my children, who I hope want to stay here because of what you’re doing, thank you,” Tanzi said.

The next public hearing will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 10. The public is highly encouraged to attend and comment on the draft plan.

An advisory board is working on solutions for the Coindre Hall boathouse that fell into disrepair years ago. Photo by Kimberly Brown

The Coindre Hall boathouse, located directly behind Coindre Hall, has been a staple to the Huntington community for decades. Looking over the Long Island Sound, the historic boathouse has remained empty and become run down over the years, causing residents to push for restoration.

Unfortunately, SuperStorm Sandy caused significant damage to the seawall of the boathouse. As a result, Suffolk County agreed with the Town of Huntington to allocate funds to the rehabilitation of the boathouse. 

However, the foundation was crumbling, and it was decided the seawall needed to be fixed first before making any other renovations. 

“This process has taken a number of years,” said Suffolk County Legislator Doc Spencer, founder of the advisory board for the boathouse. “We had gotten people with experience in restoring historic structures and our capital budget in the county now has funds to repair the seawall and move onto the boathouse itself.”

An advisory board is working on solutions for the Coindre Hall boathouse that fell into disrepair years ago. Photo by Kimberly Brown

Throughout the years after SuperStorm Sandy, teenagers have broken into the boathouse and painted graffiti. While outside there has been a significant amount of growth of weeds and underbrush surrounding the property. 

With community members demanding to know when the improvements to the boathouse will move forward, Spencer decided to establish a community advisory board. 

“Anything the advisory board advocates for will be what best serves the public,” said Garrett Chelius, chairperson of the advisory board. “But remember, we are just an advisory board, we don’t make policy, we just make recommendations to the legislature.”

Although the board was created a year and a half ago, any attempts to improve the property were immediately halted due to the pandemic. This summer, the board was able to advise on how to improve the boathouse once again. 

“The boathouse itself structurally needs a lot of work before it might literally fall down,” Chelius said. “The pier is currently disconnected from the seawall so it’s unusable and the seawall itself has some erosion issues.” 

Many of the other members are a part of the surrounding community and have taken a strong interest in bettering the property.

“One of the first things we got permission from the town parks department to do was to get rid of the weeds and other plants around the boathouse,” Spencer said. 

The Town of Huntington partnered with a company that used a bobcat to pull out several years’ worth of underbrush and invasive species, which began to pose a safety hazard.

A meeting by the advisory board was held to discuss the plans of removing the weeds in 2020, however, it wasn’t widely advertised due to COVID, and the meetings were held on Zoom. 

“That led to concern in the community because when they looked in and saw what was happening. They thought we were clearing the property and developing on it,” Spencer said. “But we can’t do that. We don’t have the power to. We were just cutting the weeds back so we can begin restoring the seawall. It was also a liability and neglect.”

With a confusion of what the boathouse’s future was to become, community members became distressed and wanted to halt any further construction. 

“There was a significant misunderstanding, throw social media in there and it becomes an uproar,” Spencer said. 

Photo by Kimberly Brown

The Department of Environmental Conservation was called in by community members, who asked to take a look at what was going on with the property. The bobcat was ordered to halt any further removal of the weeds.

The advisory board is meeting with the DEC on Aug. 4 to discuss the issue and make sure there is a collective understanding of the intentions the board has with the boathouse. 

According to Spencer, “The wetlands surrounding the boathouse are man-made, so the DEC is wondering if they even want to have authority over man-made wetlands. The advisory board is making efforts to keep in touch with the community regarding any further plans.”

The advisory board has compiled a few ideas to improve upon the dilapidated boathouse such as turning it into a place to cultivate shellfish, a place to dock first response vessels, or polishing it up to become a row house for boaters. 

“We are looking to revitalize not redevelop,” Spencer said.

For more information on how to participate in the revitalization of the Coindre boathouse, or attend one of their meetings, visit www.scnylegislature.us. 

Suffolk County Majority Leader Susan A. Berland (D-Dix Hills) joined Town of Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci on July 11 at Arboretum Park in Melville to co-host the Town of Huntington’s annual Anne Frank Memorial Garden Ceremony in recognition of Anne Frank’s 92nd Birthday.

The ceremony featured remarks from guest speaker Rachel Epstein, a Holocaust survivor; Town of Huntington Deputy Supervisor, Councilman Ed Smyth; Rabbi Howard Buechler from the Dix Hills Jewish Center; Rabbi Orrin Krublit from the South Huntington Jewish Center; and Rabbi Paul Swerdlow, lead chaplain at the Northport VA Medical Center. The Presentation of Colors was provided by Jewish War Veterans Post #488 and refreshments were served courtesy of Hummel Hummel Bakery of East Northport and King Kullen.   

After the ceremony, guests visited the Anne Frank Memorial Garden in the park which symbolically captures the journey of Anne Frank’s life. The circular pathway through the garden leads to a sculpture of a lace wedding dress reflective of Anne’s childhood innocence and adolescent hopes and dreams which were cut short. Titled “Sublime” by artist Thea Lanzisero, the empty dress symbolizes our temporary physical presence having possibility of continued lasting memory and the armor-like lace structure of the dress is vulnerable yet fearless, representing the eternal strength that Anne held within her. Along the path visitors can see quotes from Anne’s diary as well as a Horse-Chestnut tree, the same type of tree that Anne described seeing from the small window in the attic. 

“This touching event honors the memory of Anne Frank and recalls her legacy, her courage in the face of unspeakable tragedy and her genuine belief in the goodness of mankind despite the ugliness of war and discrimination. May Anne’s legacy and wisdom continue to teach and inspire us for generations to come,” said Leg. Berland. 

“While we all come from different backgrounds and walks of life, we can all relate to the humanity and innocence of Anne Frank’s writings, which remind us that in a world filled with light, there is opportunity for evil to trespass against us,” said Supervisor Lupinacci. “Despite our differences, we must stand together as we do, united in the Town of Huntington, as one people, one community, in the face of evil and those who seek to divide us.” 

“Anne Frank was a gifted young writer but as I reviewed some of the passages in her diary, one of the great takeaways I found from her writing is that it demonstrates how ordinary of a young girl she really was. What happened to her could have happened to any one of us; the evil perpetrated during the Holocaust is still possible to this day but only if good people don’t stand alert and on guard against it. This is why we must remain vigilant against ignorance and hate,” said Councilman Smyth.

See a video of the event here.

 

Huntington Town Hall
Appointments still encouraged & will be prioritized 

Huntington Town Hall will open to walk-in visitors on Wednesday, July 21; the appointment-based visitor system implemented during the pandemic will remain in effect and appointment-based visits will be prioritized over walk-in visits. 

Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci announced, “As of Wednesday, July 21, visitors to Town Hall may walk in without an appointment but we do encourage visitors to make an appointment with the Department you are planning to visit to make your trip to Town Hall as efficient as possible, as scheduled appointments will be prioritized over walk-ins.” 

The appointment-based visitor system was successfully implemented during the pandemic to manage Town Hall occupancy levels and workflow. 

To plan a visit to Town Hall, visitors may reach any department by calling (631) 351-3000 or visiting the Departments page to locate any Department’s contact information directly.

'Sublime', Anne Frank Garden Memorial by Thea Lanzisero

Huntington Town Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci and Suffolk County Legislator Susan A. Berland will co-host the Town of Huntington’s 10th Annual Anne Frank Memorial Ceremony on Sunday, July 11 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in the Anne Frank Memorial Garden at Arboretum Park, 48 Threepence Drive, Melville.

‘Sublime’, Anne Frank Garden Memorial by Thea Lanzisero

The Anne Frank Memorial Garden symbolically captures the journey of Anne Frank’s life.  It features a circular pathway that surrounds a garden, which leads to the sculpture of a young girl’s dress. by sculpturist Thea Lanzisero.  The Memorial Garden serves as tribute to Anne’s legacy of wisdom and genuine belief in the goodness of mankind and human nature, despite the ugliness of war and discrimination.

Program participants include Rabbi Howard Buechler of the Dix Hills Jewish Center, Rabbi Orrin Krublit of the South Huntington Jewish Center, Commander Harry Arlin and members of Jewish War Veterans Post #488, and guest speaker Rachel Epstein, a Holocaust survivor. Attendees of the Anne Frank Memorial Garden anniversary celebration will be invited to take a walk through the garden following the program and offered light refreshments, courtesy of Hummel Hummel Bakery in East Northport and King Kullen.