Tags Posts tagged with "Huntington"


A scene from the Juneteenth celebration June 17 in Heckscher Park. Photo by Aidan Johnson

By Aidan Johnson

Huntington held its inaugural Juneteenth celebration last Saturday, June 17, in Heckscher Park, amid clear skies.

The event, which commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, was organized by the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Juneteenth committee. The day included musical and dance performances on the Rainbow Chapin Stage, reflections on history and multiple speakers, including Gabriella Corbett, a Maplewood Intermediate School student who spoke about what Juneteenth meant to her.

Jillian Guthman, Receiver of Taxes for the Town of Huntington, was delighted with how the celebration was going.

“I think it went well,” Guthman said. “We have a lot of diversity, a lot of participation. It’s a great foundation for it to grow upon.”

Multiple businesses were in attendance, including Chick-Fil-A, which offered free chicken sandwiches

The 33rd annual Long Island Pride Parade and Festival, coordinated by the Hauppauge-based LGBT Network, hit Huntington this past weekend, bringing members of the community of all ages together in a welcoming and supportive setting. 

“This is important and critical to bring visibility to our community and makes sure people know that we are here, we exist and we’re not going anywhere,” said Robert Vitelli, chief executive officer of the LGBT Network. 

On Sunday, June 11, the streets of Huntington Village were draped in rainbow, pink and blue to show support for the LGBTQIA+ community. Couples and their allies marched together to show unity with the help of business sponsors and elected officials from across the Island. 

Parade-goers included Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D), who marched alongside other members of the Suffolk legislature, as well as a few Huntington officials. News 12 anchor Erin Colton MC’d the event, welcoming an extra special guest, part-time Long Island resident and TV personality Ross Mathews, who served as the parade’s grand marshal with his husband, Elmont school district director of curriculum and instruction, Wellingthon Garcia-Mathews. 

Mathews is known for his role as co-host on the daily syndicated talk show, “The Drew Barrymore Show,” as well as a judge and producer on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” He has also appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Chelsea Lately,” his own weekly talk show, “Hello Ross on E!,” “E!’s Live From the Red Carpet,” “Hollywood Today Live” and more.

“As a new Long Island resident, I’ve felt embraced and welcomed to Long Island, where my husband and I have chosen to build our life together,” Mathews said in a statement. “And now we get to celebrate pride with our neighbors, friends and family at a time when our community needs to stand together stronger than ever.”

The parade and festival began on Gerard Street and Main, marching up to Heckscher Park for the festivities. Dozens of vendors, resources for LGBTQIA+ people, food trucks and music filled the space, which included performances by local drag queens Ariel Sinclair and Androgyny. Kim Sozzi and Crystal Waters, known for their club hits in the 1990s and 2000s, sang for the crowd, as well as cover bands Vinal Revival, Radio Active and Jesse Wagner, a Donna Summer tribute.

The American Legion Huntington Post 360 Memorial Day Parade commenced Monday at Gerard Street, turned left on West Neck Road before heading east on Main Street to Stewart Avenue.

Local first responders and firefighters marched proudly throughout the parade. Students from area schools also marched with their respective bands. Hundreds of community members, several of whom wore patriotic attire, clapped for the parade participants and enjoyed the warm, sunny day.  

A concept drawing of proposed plans for an African American museum in Huntington

An African American Museum will be coming to Huntington. It will be located on the former Naval Reserve center on Mill Dam Road on a roughly 1.5-acre parcel of town-owned land.

In April, the Huntington Town Board passed a resolution to approve a 99-year lease of the property for the museum. Although the project is still in its infancy, progress is being made quickly.

Councilwoman Joan Cergol (D) was primary sponsor of the resolution, with Councilmen Sal Ferro (R) and Dave Bennardo (R) signing on as co-sponsors.

Irene Moore, who chairs the African American Historic Designation Council in Huntington, and Barry Lites, president of the Huntington African American Museum Board, spoke before the unanimous vote, as did several other residents.

After the approval by the Town Board, the African American Museum Board established three new committees that will focus on the overall development of the project. These committees are the Development Committee, which will focus on fundraising; the Building Committee, which will work with architects to develop the design for the museum; and the Community Engagement Committee, which will involve the community, primarily in the realm of social media.

Lites, an attorney based out of Huntington and a longtime resident, is doing much of the planning and organization of the project at this stage. 

While location for the museum is secured, in a phone interview Lites expressed that it will be difficult to do significant fundraising until a definite plan is made for the construction of the building itself. He has been conducting preliminary meetings with various architectural firms to try to come up with a plan and eventually hire one of these firms to design the project.

Lites also has a vision for what he wants the layout inside the museum to look like. 

“My vision is to incorporate, to blend, to bring together history and technology,” Lites said. “History because we’re telling stories. But I want to use technology to do that.”

He said that one thing he envisions is an LED wall with different images and videos and interactive maps for guests to experience. “I really want to blend in technology principally because our focus is the school districts,” Lites said.  

Lites expressed that the goal is to really get the younger generation involved and engaged in the museum and that this will drive the design of the museum, both inside and out. He expressed that the way the land and parking lots are laid out should be specifically tailored for suitability and accessibility for school buses.

“Technology is what attracts young people,” Lites said. “I want it to be an attractive cultural center.” He wants this museum to be valuable to all local residents as well. “We want a museum that is going to be a permanent institution in the Town of Huntington.”

Lites has met with representatives from other museums to get an idea of what the layout might look like in terms of exhibit space, office space, conference rooms, storage space and possibly an auditorium and a media room for video presentations. He said that they could potentially incorporate an event space for renting out to other groups.

As the kinks in the design continue to be worked out, fundraising will become a more tangible focus with $10 million as a general starting goal. However, Lites said that it’s difficult to know exactly how much money will be needed until the design is ironed out. Fundraising will vary from big foundation donors to individual philanthropists to smaller scale local fundraising. They plan to utilize the Community Engagement Committee to get residents involved in this process.

They are planning to have social media accounts on all the major platforms and to develop a website soon so that the plans for this project are more shareable among the community. For residents who want to get in early and join the Friends of the Museum, they should email the board secretary, Beverly Gorham, at [email protected] to get involved.

Lites also expressed that he wants this museum to be for everyone, particularly for residents of Huntington.

“I think it’s really exciting for everyone, not just African Americans,” he said. “It’s already a great town and this just makes it greater by finding out about all these neat people who did all these neat things who struggled, succeeded, showed bravery.”

The content in the museum is planned to be Huntington-focused. Individuals like Jupiter Hammon, Samuel Ballton and Peter Crippen will be heavily featured, so that the focus will be on African American history specifically related to Huntington. 

There is not yet a hard timeline, but in the coming months, as seats on the museum’s committees and subcommittees are filled, the timeline will become more apparent to interested residents of Huntington.

The 2022 St. Patrick’s Day parade in Huntington. Photo by Raymond Janis

A former Huntington resident for many years and local financial consultant has been chosen as this year’s grand marshal in the town’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Greg Kennedy at this year’s Grand Marshal’s Ball. Photo from Kennedy

The parade’s organizers, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division 4, named Greg Kennedy to lead the 89th annual parade through Huntington Sunday, March 12.

Kennedy has been a financial consultant in the town for more than 25 years, and while he has lived in St. James since 2010, he was a Huntington resident for decades before his move.

A St. John’s University graduate, Kennedy is the founder of the financial services business Atlantic Financial Group, which has been located on New Street in Huntington village since 2008. Before opening his own business, he was an adviser with MetLife and then joined A.G. Edwards.

Tom Dougherty, a Hibernian member, said Kennedy is more than a local businessman. This year’s grand marshal, who was president of the Hibernians division during 2015-17, is the president of The Townwide Fund of Huntington, and a member of the foundation board of directors of the Visiting Nurse Service and Hospice of Suffolk in Northport. He also is involved with the food bank at St. Patrick’s Church and other local charities.

“Our motto is friendship, unity and Christian charity, a model that we live by, and we try to pick somebody that lives by that motto, and those are all the things that he’s lived up to,” Dougherty said.

The Hibernian added that in addition to Kennedy’s contributions to Huntington he does a good deal for the division, including helping members who may need a ride to a doctor’s office or grocery store.

“He’s a put-other-people-first kind of guy,” Dougherty said.

Kennedy said being named parade grand marshal is a tremendous honor for him.

“I was just humbled and honored to be chosen among such great past grand marshals,” he said.

Past Huntington grand marshals include former state Supreme Court justice Jerry Asher and Northwell Health president and CEO Michael Dowling.

Kennedy added because he’s adopted, he’s not sure of the exact percentage of Irish heritage he is.

The businessman attends the parade every year with his wife Cathleen and children Sara, a college junior, and Ryan, a high school senior.  His daughter was a parade Colleen in 2020, according to Kennedy, and this year his son will march with him as one of the parade aides.

“My family has been with me since the beginning, since I started with Hibernians,”
he said.

Greg Kennedy, above left, with his children Ryan and Sara in a 2007 photo. Photo from Kennedy

The parade

While the Huntington parade was canceled in 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions, a virtual event was held that year, and in 2022 the event returned once again to Huntington’s streets. Dougherty said this year there has been an increase in participants in the parade and ad journal, which helps the Hibernians raise money for the event.

Kennedy had advice for those planning to attend the parade, including taking the time to visit a few stores and having lunch.

“Get there early, and long johns aren’t a bad idea because it can be cold,” he said. “Be prepared to enjoy a great day because the parade starts at 2 but it goes for a good few hours.”

Huntington St. Patrick’s Day Parade kicks off at 2 p.m. on March 12 on Route 110 and Church Street. It then continues to Main Street and ends at St. Patrick’s R.C. Church.

The Setauket branch of Investors Bank will close in February. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Many Investors Bank customers will soon find an empty building where they once traveled to take care of their financial matters.

Last year, Citizens Bank, headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, acquired New Jersey-based Investors Bank. While Investors’ doors remained open to customers, the process of the merger began in August as investmentaccounts transferred to Citizens, and in October, mortgage loan services transitioned from Investors to Citizens.

According to the Citizens website, the merger will “offer Investors’ customers an expanded set of products and services, enhanced online and mobile banking capabilities, and more branch locations, along with a continued commitment to making a difference in our local communities.”

While the East Northport location on Larkfield Road will remain open doing business under the Citizens name, the Investors Commack location on Jericho Turnpike will close Feb. 14. The Huntington branch on Main Street and the Setauket location on Route 25A will close their doors for the last time Feb. 15. All three due-to-be closed branches have Citizens operating nearby.

Nuno Dos Santos, retail director of Citizens, said the banks located in Commack, Huntington and East Setauket are less than 2 miles away from the Investors branches that are closing.

“As we continue to integrate Investors with Citizens, we have been reviewing customer patterns and branch locations to ensure we are serving customers when, where and how they prefer,” Dos Santos said. “As a result of this review, we will close the Investors branch locations in Commack, Huntington and Setauket.”

Current Investors employees have been encouraged to apply for positions at Citizens, according to a company spokesperson.

Photos by Media Origin

Chabad of Huntington Village hosted a Grand Menorah Lighting at the Huntington Village Winter Wonderland at Main Street and Wall Street on Monday, Dec. 19.

Residents were able to witness the lighting and enjoy juggling and fire entertainment by Keith Leaf, doughnuts and more. 


Mallory Braun, right, is set to open a new bookstore in Huntington Village. She was mentored by former Book Revue owner Richard Klein, left. Photo above by E. Beth Thomas;

A new independent bookstore is set to open on New York Avenue in Huntington Village after one entrepreneur’s yearlong journey to find a location.

In the last few months, Mallory Braun has held pop-up events at businesses such as Nest in Northport. Photo from The Next Chapter’s Facebook Page

Many business owners struggled to keep their doors open during the COVID pandemic even after restrictions were lifted. One of the stores that shut its doors for good during 2021 was the Book Revue in Huntington village.

However, former Book Revue store manager Mallory Braun, of Huntington, realized the importance of a community bookstore and launched a Kickstarter campaign on Nov. 1, 2021, to raise $250,000. Her hope was to open a new store in the village in the spirit of Book Revue. After 45 days on the crowdfunding platform, more than 2,200 people donated over $255,000.

Opening a new bookstore didn’t happen overnight though.

Braun has spent several months acquiring books and records that were donated and sold to her and stored them at a warehouse. While she waited for the right location, the business owner and employees ran pop-up stores over the last few months in locations such as the Huntington Fall Festival, Nest on Main in Northport, Glen Cove’s Southdown Coffee and more. The pop-ups were fun and successful, she said, and after the new store is open, she would like to do more.

“It allows us to build relationships with local businesses,” Braun said. 

Regarding finding the right location, the entrepreneur said she had to find a space that was big enough for the quantity of books she wanted to carry and hold events that she hopes to organize in the future.

She said there were serious talks about a few locations until they found the storefront at 204 New York Ave.

“This one was the one that has worked out, and it was the right choice,” she said, adding that it’s a five-minute walk from the old Book Revue building, in a northerly direction.

A grand opening date has not been chosen yet, but she said the store will open in time for the holiday shopping season. Braun added there is still a lot of work to be done. The Next Chapter employees are still shelving books and vinyl records at the future store, and Richard Klein, former Book Revue co-owner, has also been helping her prepare for the big day.

Braun, who specializes in used and rare items, is currently ordering new books. She said it would enable her to have authors visit for book signings, something she said customers enjoy.

“I don’t know how long it’s going to take to build up the same type of author as Book Revue had, but it’s important, and we’ve already been working on it,” Braun said.

She added that people have been volunteering to help get the store ready. Anyone interested in helping can reach the store by emailing: [email protected]. 

For more information about The Next Chapter, visit the website www.thenextchapterli.com.

All photos by Media Origin

For nearly 30 years, the Long Island Fall Festival has welcomed autumn to Huntington during the Columbus Day weekend. This year the event took place Friday, Oct. 7, though Monday, Oct. 10.

The admission-free festival, hosted by Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Huntington, featured carnival rides, live music, beer garden, international food court and more than 300 vendors on Saturday and Sunday.

Stock photo

Voters on the North Shore of the Town of Huntington will have the opportunity to vote for school budgets and board of education candidates Tuesday, May 17.

Below is a summary of the budgets and BOE races in the Huntington, Harborfields, Elwood and Cold Spring Harbor school districts.

For information on the Commack school district, see page A4. For the Northport school district, see the May 5 edition of The Times of Huntington & Northport or visit tbrnewsmedia.com and search for the article “Northport BOE budget vote, trustee elections set for May 17.”

Huntington Union Free School District


Those in the Huntington school district will be voting on a school budget that includes no increase in the tax levy.

The proposed budget of $142,968,343 will be an increase of 2.62% over the current spending plan. However, it will not raise the tax levy if approved by residents. According to the district’s website, the lack of an increase to the tax levy is due to a $4,087,007 increase in state aid to $26,253,748, low debt and the district lessening expenditures.

Residents will also be asked to vote “yes” or “no” on a proposition to authorize the expenditure of $6.6 million from building improvement capital reserves. The district aims to complete various projects, including electrical work at two primary schools as well as three gas/carbon monoxide detectors at three primary schools. Funds would also be used to renovate the parking lot and replace tiles at Finley Middle School. A second field is also planned for the high school to be used for sports such as soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and football, and it would also be used for physical education classes and marching band rehearsals.

Candidate information

Trustees Bill Dwyer and Michele Kustera will be running again for three-year terms and will run unopposed.

An account executive for an educational technology company, Dwyer works with school districts throughout the Northeast. He was elected to the board of ed for the first time in 2008. After his first term, he left the board for two years, and then was reelected in 2013, 2016 and 2019.

Kustera is running for her second term. She has been involved in the district on the long-range planning and food allergy committees and as a member of the district’s PTA organizations. 

Voting information

Residents of Huntington school district can vote from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on May 17 at Huntington High School lobby.

Harborfields Central School District


Residents in the Harborfields school district will vote on a $92,895,995 proposed budget for the 2022-23 school year. The amount is $2,579,731 more than the 2021-22 budget of $90,316,264, which comes to a 2.86% increase. The budget is within the district’s allowed tax levy increase of 2.28%.

Candidate information

Current trustees Hansen Lee and Colleen Wolcott and newcomer David Balistreri will be vying for two at-large seats.

Lee has spent nine years on the board and is a director at Enzo Biochem where he oversees laboratory operations. On his profile in the district’s meet the candidates page, Lee listed “creating an inclusive and welcoming community” as being important to him.

“I currently serve on the Town of Huntington’s Asian American Task Force and was also fortunate enough to be a part of the recognition of the two Muslim holy days as official school holidays, the first district in Suffolk County to do so,” he said.

Wolcott has been a board member since 2016, and she is a case manager with the not-for–profit Angela’s House and owner/graphic designer at Gold Coast Impressions, Centerport.

Wolcott’s past experiences include working as a special education teacher with a dual certification in early education and special education up to age 21. In her candidate profile, she said, “Today’s students need more.”

“Success is no longer solely defined by strong academic achievement, but by life skills learned in a well-rounded, diverse atmosphere with a focus on mental wellness, enriched academics, the arts, elective and athletic opportunities,” she said. “It’s not enough to keep Harborfields among the best academic school districts on Long Island. We must prepare all of our children for life after school and in our competitive world.”

Balistreri works in the financial industry, in his candidate profile he said he is a concerned father who is running for various reasons. He is looking for more fiscal responsibility in the district.

He aims to “improve communication between the board and stakeholders.” Balistreri also listed working “with other school boards to stand up against Albany’s unconstitutional and nonsensical edicts.” In his profile, he said “parents are the best advocates for their children.”

Voting information

Voting will be held at Oldfield Middle School on May 17 from 2 to 9 p.m.

Elwood Union Free School District


Elwood school district’s proposed budget is $69,181,071. The dollar amount reflects a $2,267,492 increase and 3.39% increase over the previous budget of $66,913,579.

The proposed budget represents a tax levy increase of 2.9% which is under the district’s allowable tax levy of 3.4%.

Candidate information

Incumbent Deborah Weiss is being challenged for her seat by Sean Camas. There is only one three-year term up for grabs.

In his profile for the Elwood Septa meet the candidates event, Camas is listed as a local student “who wishes to bring a new youthful dynamic” to the board. The lifelong resident of Elwood served as a student council vice president when he was in middle school. He has worked part-time as a dishwasher while maintaining a 3.8 GPA and achieving cum laude honors for three years in a row. In the fall, he will attend SUNY Old Westbury and major in political science.

Weiss has served on the board of ed since 2016. In her candidate profile, she said in order to ensure educational equity for all students “while being fiscally accountable” to taxpayers the board must “streamline expenses whenever possible.”

“The last place cuts should be made and felt is in the classroom,” she wrote. “We must continue to provide an exceptional education while pursuing real legislative relief to address the state’s unfunded mandates and restrictions on district finances. I will work hard to ensure that all our budget decisions remain student focused and fiscally responsible.”

 Voting information

Voting will take place May 17 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Elwood Middle School cafeteria.

Cold Spring Harbor Central School District


Cold Spring Harbor school district is asking residents to vote on a $73,420,423 proposed budget for the 2022-23 academic year. This is a $1,403,005 change from the 2021-22 budget of $72,017,418. The proposed budget reflects a 1.64% tax levy which is below the cap.

Candidate information

Voters will choose among three candidates, incumbent and current president Amelia Walsh Brogan, Alex Whelehan and Bruce Sullivan, for two at-large board of education positions. Incumbent Julie Starrett is not seeking reelection.

Voting information

Voting will take place May 17 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Ralph Whitney Field House of Cold Spring Harbor Jr./Sr. High School.