Tags Posts tagged with "Linda Alfin"

Linda Alfin

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Port Jefferson artist Jennifer Hannaford, right, along with Linda Alfin, left, revitalized the Dickens Festival mural present in front of Chandler Square just off Main Street. Photo from Hannaford

It’s a scene straight out of a Charles Dickens novel, and has been displayed every holiday season for years.

Featuring buildings covered in snow, a big decorated tree and a sign that welcomes visitors to the annual Dickens Festival in the Village of Port Jefferson, the mural was starting to look a bit worn, according to local business leaders. 

“The cutout is pretty old,” said Barbara Ransome, director of operations for the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce. “Businesses were saying it was looking tired and asking if anything could be done.”

With the intention to clean up the painting and make it as good as new, Ransome asked two local artists to give the decade-old mural a facelift.

Linda Alfin and Jennifer Hannaford have been spending a good part of this past year decorating different spaces throughout the village. 

It started when Ransome and chamber president, Mary Joy Pipe, recruited the artists over the summer to decorate a set of electrical boxes and turn them into aquatic scenes in an attempt to beautify downtown.

“I’ve always understood that art can be powerfully transformative for a community, but engaging in this process has been fun because I get to see the change,” Hannaford said. “People also feel like their village is being cared for and, in turn, so are they.”

Since then, the pair has done several murals together throughout the village. 

“Linda is one of the most efficient painters I have ever seen,” Hannaford said. “I cannot say enough about her work ethic. I hope more folks take advantage of the fact that they have this kind of service and talent in their own town. I have learned a great deal from her this year.”

And the work didn’t stop for the artists come earlier this month. Alfin said that when Ransome called last minute asking if they could “freshen up” the scene, the two artists jumped on it. 

“The very next day we brought the mural back to life,” Alfin said. “Everyone walking by as we were painting was thanking us for repainting the mural.”

It took just two hours on Dec. 1 to make it vibrant, while the compliments and gratitude from residents touched the Port Jefferson muralist.

“A woman came up to us and was so happy to see us sprucing it up,” Alfin said.

While the Dickens Festival was canceled this year due to the COVID crisis, the snowmen in the scene can now greet visitors with a new smile, reminding them of what can hopefully be celebrated normally again next year. 

“I’m so happy to be able to help my town look more inviting and festive with all the murals we did so far throughout the village,” Alfin said.

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The PJ Lobster House in Port Jefferson has a new location and a new look after a few months of furious work. Photo by Julianne Mosher

It was an intense few months of renovation, but PJ Lobster House has a new home Down Port. 

Formerly located on the corner of Main Street and North Country Road in Upper Port, owner James Luciano had to move when The Gitto Group purchased the property for a planned apartment complex. 

The new space, located at 134 Main St., in the former Ocean 88 restaurant location, needed to be completely redone, Luciano said. But the outcome is a good one. 

“It feels more like a restaurant now,” he said. 

Luciano has owned PJ Lobster House for 20 years, after taking over the space from its original owner. 

And he wanted to homage to him in the new location, according to local artist Linda Alfin. She, alongside fellow Port Jeff artist Jennifer Hannaford, were asked to paint a large mural inside the seating area. 

Luciano “asked me to paint a specific type of fishing boat the old owner used,” Alfin said. 

The detail on the scene is impeccable. Hannaford, known for her water imagery, detailed the waves where the boat floats. 

“We painted the numbers on the boat to symbolize when the restaurant first opened,” Hannaford said. 

Both artists were thrilled to help decorate the new space. 

“We’re not just local artists, we’re neighbors,” Hannaford said. “We’re so grateful to be a part of it. It’s nice when people in the village see and care about local art.”

Alfin agreed. “We both live in this town, so to help out in any way we can is great,” she said.

But the painting is just part of the renovation. Luciano said they had to gut the space, but in doing so added a bar — something they didn’t have at the former spot — and moved the beloved fish market to the front of the restaurant, detached from the dining areas. 

Overall, the restaurant can hold more than 50 more customers than the old location did, going from 90 people to about 140.

“The kitchen is doubled in size,” Luciano added. “Because of the pandemic, we were getting hit with a lot of takeout orders, so it will better equip us for that.”

The new PJ Lobster House is open every day from 12 until 9 p.m.