By Carolyn Sackstein
TBR News Media headed to the Port Jefferson Station Department of Motor Vehicles, located in Three Roads Plaza, on Thursday afternoon, Aug. 3, asking locals how they felt about the announced closure of that location on Aug. 25 and how it would impact their future interactions with the state DMV.
Reactions ranged from dismay to outrage, with near-universal praise for the staff’s courtesy, efficiency and speed over the years. Not one respondent suggested that the other locations for the area, which will now be at Hauppauge, Medford, Riverhead and Dix Hills, could match the quality of service and courtesy found in Port Jeff Station.
Craig Kolasinski, Selden
Kolasinski expressed consternation at the DMV closure, saying, “I live right in the neighborhood, and it is just sad. It’s close by.” When asked if he uses any other locations, he said, “Sometimes 112 [in Medford], but mostly this one. Hauppauge, yes. I used to live in Smithtown. This one is a lot quicker.”
James Laffey, Port Jefferson
“It’s disappointing. This office has served the community for many years. It’s a big loss. It’s a busy office, and it seems needed here.” When asked if he has used any other locations, he said, “Only when my kids had to register for road tests in Medford.” TBR Media asked if he was satisfied with the service there, and he replied, “The job got done, but it is not nearly as convenient and it is a busier branch. [Medford] is not as friendly as here.”
Steve Englebright, Setauket
“It’s outrageous!” said Englebright, the former Democratic New York State assemblyman representing the area who is currently running against Anthony Figliola (R-East Setauket) for Suffolk County’s 5th Legislative District. “This location is always crowded, they have people out the door. The only way you could get in the door Monday was with a reservation. So, the idea that it’s OK to close this site is a complete outrage and complete nonsense.” He added, “This is an anchor store and an anchor business. It stabilizes a sense of place. It provides meaningful services to everyone in the community.”
Kevin and Livia Kelly, Port Jefferson
Kevin said, “I really wish they’d keep it open. We had to come multiple times today, not their fault. If we had to go to Hauppauge four times and wait on line, this would have taken a week. We resolved it in a day, and it was a complicated situation. They are very polite. The best DMV around.”
When asked if they had tried Medford, Livia replied, “I am not even sure if they showed up as an option when I was looking online. I remember seeing Huntington [Dix Hills], Hauppauge and Port Jefferson as the options for what I needed.”
Selena Kocay, Port Jefferson Station
Kocay’s husband is in the military and facing deployment next month. She is likely losing her job with the DMV after this location closes.
“I think it is ridiculous. There is no common sense behind [the closure]. We take on Hauppauge and Medford [clients] when they can’t accommodate the amount of people they have as far as appointments go and walk-ins. They come straight to us. We help them; we get them in and out quick and happy.” When asked if any other locations were closing, Kocay replied, “No, just this one. They built Dix Hills last year, and we take on more [people] than Dix Hills does. They also said they are trying to cut costs. I don’t know where that came from. We just got new equipment! We got a new system put in, and within less than a month, we found out by News 12 that we are closing.”
When asked if there was a review of the decision taking place to keep this location, Kocay said, “No, none at all. We are just trying to tell our customers. There are a lot of them that are upset. Some of them are even crying.”
Emanuel Koutalides, Port Jefferson Station
He has been using this office for 10 years. “I think it’s a bad idea,” he said. “This place services a lot of the community between here and the next location, Medford.”
Molinaro, who sells vehicles, campers and trailers, was eager to voice his displeasure at the closing of the PJS location. “It takes an hour to get a [customer number] at [Route] 112 [in Medford]. Here, you just walk right in and you get a ticket — in and out. And they are nice people. They should never close this place.”
Leonidas Lascano, Port Jefferson Station
“I am really angry now, you know. I don’t understand, because many, many neighbors [are angry], too.”
John Arini, Mount Sinai
Arini came to register and title his car. He said he does not use any other locations because “this is the most convenient to where I live, it is in and out for the most part.”