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Main Street

File photo by Victoria Espinoza

Suffolk County Police Seventh Squad detectives are investigating a crash that seriously injured a motorcyclist and his passenger in Rocky Point May 12.

Thomas Lowth and his passenger, Sherry Hansen, were traveling eastbound on Main Street when he collided his 2000 American Eagle motorcycle with a 2002 Hyundai being driven by Andrew Netusil at approximately 5:20 p.m. Netusil was pulling out of a parking lot on Main Street.

Lowth, 49, of Sayville, and Hansen, 45, of Rocky Point, were both transported to Stony Brook University Hospital in serious condition. Netusil, 20, of Miller Place, stayed at the scene and was not injured.

The vehicles were impounded for a safety check. The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information on the crash is asked to contact the Seventh Squad at 631-852-8752.

Residents braved chilly temperatures Sunday, March 12, to cheer on the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Bagpipers, Girl Scouts, and more marched down Main Street in Huntington to celebrate the Irish.

The front entrance of Carl’s Candies. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

By Victoria Espinoza

If you’re looking to treat your sweet tooth, Northport has just the spot for you.

Carl’s Candies, at 50 Main St., has replaced the well-known Harbor Trading, when it closed its doors earlier this year.

Sisters and co-owners of Carl’s Candies, Angela Nisi-MacNeill and Gina Nisi, are no strangers to Main Street. The Northport natives jumped at the opportunity to open a candy shop together and said they have had nothing short of a blast since opening in October.

Gina Nisi and Angela Nisi-MacNeill are the co-owners of Carl’s Candies. The new candy shop replacing Harbor Trading on Main Street in Northport. Photo by Victoria Espinoza
Gina Nisi and Angela Nisi-MacNeill are the co-owners of Carl’s Candies. The new candy shop replacing Harbor Trading on Main Street in Northport. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

“When we heard the former owner was retiring and the building was up for sale, my sister took that as an opportunity to take over and keep it as a candy store,” Nisi said. “Everyone loved Harbor Trading so much, and I think the village always should have a candy store.”

Her sister said she’s had so much fun since opening at the end of October.

“I honestly don’t think I will ever get sick of it,” Nisi-MacNeill said. “I won’t get sick of coming in here every day — no matter how many years I work here. I just think that it’s fun and it’s a good creative outlet. I enjoy making candy and being creative with the window displays.”

Nisi-MacNeill was also able to get creative when a young girl came into the store suggesting they have a book exchange set up at the location.

“Her father came in with a little cardboard stand and asked if we could put it in the store, and I thought ‘I want to make it more special for her’ so we did this,” she said as she pointed to a large wooden shelf holding dozens of books and decorated with pages of other books all around it.

“It’s a really nice idea, and a lot of people are enjoying it,” she said.

Although this is the first joint venture for the sisters into co-owning a business, Nisi-MacNeill certainly has some valuable past experience as an employee of Harbor Trading back when she was a Northport High School student.

“I remember the smell of the candy store,” she said, thinking back of her time working there. “When we took over the candy store it was empty, so once we started to bring in the candy that’s when the reality hit and the memories really started coming back. Just that smell of all the candy together, it brings back really nice memories.”

“I won’t get sick of coming in here every day — no matter how many years I work here. I just think that it’s fun and it’s a good creative outlet.”

—Angela Nisi-MacNeill

Nisi-MacNeil said she is excited to get back to work in her community.

“[Northport] still maintains that old hometown feel,” she said. “That’s really hard to find.” Nisi said the shop already has a lot of regulars coming in.

The name Carl’s Candies is a tribute to the sisters’ late grandfather, Carl Foglia, another Northport native who worked at a butcher shop that used to be where Skipper’s Pub is now, as a limo driver for Northport residents, a real estate agent and more. He died in 2014.

Nisi said he would hang out in the village every day, stopping at many places like the Ritz Café.

“He was sort of like a fixture in town,” she said. “Obviously we miss him dearly, and when we saw the opportunity we agreed we had to name the shop after him.”

The co-owners said many shoppers have come in with stories and memories about Foglia. “We hear really funny stories that we haven’t heard before, which is fun,” Nisi-MacNeill said.

The sisters said there is plenty to come for the freshman candy shop. They plan to start making their own chocolate to sell in January, offer candy catering for events, set up monthly circle readings with local children’s authors, host make your own chocolate nights, sell homemade hot chocolate and more. They’ve already started creating some new ice cream flavors, the first name Tim’s Shipwreck Diner, after the popular breakfast eatery next door, which is a vanilla bean ice cream  with waffles and maple syrup ribbons in it.

The Northport Historical Society hosted its annual Holiday House Tour this past Sunday, Dec. 12. Several houses in the area were decked out in Christmas decorations, with musicians playing and treats for each guest.

File photo by Victoria Espinoza.

By Victoria Espinoza

The holiday season gets its unofficial start for Huntington residents this Saturday. The town has organized many events to kick-off the good times during its seventh annual Holiday Parade and Street Festival Nov. 26.

In addition to the event’s yearly staples, the town has also introduced a scavenger hunt this year to encourage children and families to explore Huntington Village as it is also Small Business Saturday.

The hunt is open to children ages 5 to 12 and will be held from noon to 5 p.m. Participants can register at KidzHitz, on Main Street, where they will receive a game board and clues that, when solved, will take them to 12 locations to get puzzle pieces to put on their game boards. When their board is complete, participants should return to KidzHitz, where they will receive coupons for a free music lesson and a free kid’s cup or cone at Ben & Jerry’s on Main Street. During the day Huntington Public Library and Panera Bread will also be hosting craft activities for kids, and carolers will be singing in the village throughout the day.

Huntington officials also created an interactive map shoppers can access online or on their smartphones and tablets that helps them access information and offers about the various merchants participating in Small Business Saturday. The interactive map contains a printable sheet of coupons, parking details and the parade route.

According to the town, last year 25 merchants signed up to be a location on the map and offered deals for the holiday season, and the site received a total of 2,789 hits, including 1,239 on the day of the parade and festival.

During the day shoppers are also encouraged to cast their votes for the best gingerbread houses in a competition that features two categories: commercial bakeries and home bakers. The houses are on display at the Paramount Theater and what was formerly Freedman Jewelers on New York Avenue.

Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone (D) said the town tries to build on this event every year.

“Each year, new events and features get added to make the day even more special, and this year is no exception, with the expanded gingerbread house competition and additional activities for children,” he said in a statement. “That’s why people from all across Long Island come early and stay late for an entire day of family fun.”

The holiday parade begins at 6 p.m. at the Big H Shopping Center on New York Avenue, and this year for the first time there will be a grand marshal leading the way.

Sal Valentinetti, a Bethpage pizza deliveryman, competed on this season of the reality TV show “America’s Got Talent,” and sang his way to the finals. He’ll lead the Huntington parade and perform a few songs.

“I’m honored and thrilled to be part of this Huntington tradition and I’m looking forward to it,” the 21-year-old said. Valentinetti will perform three shows at The Paramount Dec. 15, 16 and 22.

The parade includes competitions for the best floats in several categories. Judges will choose based on how well participants follow the parade theme of Cartoon Holiday. Local fire departments, businesses and organizations participate in the parade.

After the parade ends, The North Shore Pops, a concert band, will perform in front of the holiday tree in the village along with Valentinetti. After the tree lighting ceremony, the festival will continue on Wall Street, and kids will be able to meet Santa Claus, get their faces painted, play in the bounce houses and enjoy a free cup of hot chocolate.

Free parking will be available at the Huntington train station, with a convenient free shuttle from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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Port Jefferson Mayor Margot Garant shows attendees at a public hearing Sept. 26 plans for the revitalization of Port Jefferson Station. File photo by Alex Petroski

By Alex Petroski

Port Jefferson Village is looking to bring Uptown Funk to Port Jefferson Station, but it’ll need some help.

The Port Jefferson Village board of trustees plans to submit a funding proposal to the Empire State Development Corporation to breathe new life into upper Port Jefferson.

The plans are part of the Restore New York Communities Initiative, which was funded in the 2015-16 state budget for the sole purpose of supporting municipalities in rehabilitating blighted commercial properties.

If awarded, the funding proposal would grant the village up to $500,000 to be used to clean up five adjacent parcels near the intersection of Perry Street and Main Street, about a block north of the Long Island Rail Road station. The village is calling the multiphased project Uptown Funk.

Mayor Margot Garant said during a public hearing on the matter Sept. 26 that the village plans to apply for the grant yearly in the hopes of redeveloping multiple areas in upper Port over time. The grant will also require the village to match at least 10 percent of the $500,000 toward the project, according to Garant.

“The $500,000 can be used for sidewalk restoration, demolition, redevelopment, parking lot improvements — all the things that would be necessary to help a developer make an improvement to this area.”

— Margot Garant

The location was selected following a blight study in May, which targeted several areas in Port Jefferson Station in need of attention. The buildings named in the funding proposal were ultimately chosen because of the village’s belief that the property owner will cooperate. The grant requires a willing participant from the private sector. Currently the buildings on the property are vacant.

Village grant writer Nicole Christian said she expects to hear back regarding the application by the spring of 2017, and at the moment no concrete parameters have been established for how exactly the money would be put to use.

“The $500,000 can be used for sidewalk restoration, demolition, redevelopment, parking lot improvements — all the things that would be necessary to help a developer make an improvement to this area,” Garant said. “The $500,000 is sort of loosely prescribed, and what I mean by that is we’re not told we have to put it into sidewalks, or told we have to put it into one aspect of the project. So as far as we see it, it enables the village to bring $500,000 to the table to help incentivize a project that will give back to the village perhaps more of what it would like to see, which is a strong, anchor retail establishment on the main floor, or a restaurant with housing above.”

Trustee Bruce D’Abramo expressed his excitement to get the project started.

“I’m really happy to see the village moving forward on this particular issue,” he said of the revitalization of Port Jefferson Station. “It has been a clear goal of mine since I became a trustee to do something about upper Port, and this is one of the mechanisms that I’m happy we can embrace.”

Trustee Larry Lapointe also voiced support for the plan.

“I think this particular corner is perhaps the worst corner uptown,” he said. “The two buildings that are on site were deemed to be so unsafe that we had to vacate and board them up. Two of the lots behind are magnets for homeless people, and we’re constantly working with the owners to get camps moved out of that area when they spring up. It’s sorely in need of redevelopment.”

Barbara Ransome, director of operations for The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, addressed the proposal during the hearing.

“The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce certainly supports this potential funding and really feels it’s very important, especially in upper Port, in our business community there, and as a gateway coming into the village,” she said. “It’s critical for this type of development to continue.”

The Stony Brookside Bed & Bike Inn is the first of its kind on Long Island. Photo by Lloyd Newman

Innkeepers have brought European bicycle culture to Long Island.

Marty and Elyse Buchman, who have been bicycling the world together for a decade, opened the Stony Brookside Bed & Bike Inn on June 1, located at 48 Main St., Stony Brook.

The couple set out to create a bed and breakfast that would cater to cyclists; providing not only sleeping space and a morning meal, but bike tour itineraries and even bikes, if needed, as well. Two months in, business has been much better than they expected.

“We’ve had people just looking for a place to stay — and that’s fine,” the husband said, indicating that not only cyclists have made up their clientele. A wedding party used Brookside for lodging recently.

The Buchmans have enjoyed bicycling in Europe because traveling by bicycle is considered normal there. It’s not just recreation; it’s a legitimate form of transportation, even for vacationers.

Their inspiration for a new kind of American bed and breakfast came during a 2010 bike tour of Italy. They booked a room in a “bike hotel” in Riccione on the Adriatic Sea. “Each day a guide came and took you for a different ride,” Marty said. “The idea was that you came back to the same place; and didn’t have to worry about navigating [your way] around.”

Marty and Elyse Buchman open the first bed and breakfast catering specifically to bicycle enthusiasts on Long Island. Photo by Lloyd Newman
Marty and Elyse Buchman open the first bed and breakfast catering specifically to bicycle enthusiasts on Long Island. Photo by Lloyd Newman

The following week they had a similar experience at Lake Garda in the mountains of northern Italy, this time staying at a “sports hotel.”

By vacation’s end, they had all the inspiration needed to start their own business.

When they first saw the colonial revival building at 48 Main Street, next to the Stony Brook Grist Mill and across the street from the duck pond, they decided it was perfect.

Built in 1941 by renowned architect Richard Haviland Smythe in a beautiful natural setting, it had the added advantage of being within walking distance of restaurants and shops, a museum and historical landmarks, a pond and nature preserve. It took perseverance, patience and negotiation skills, but they were able to purchase the house in 2014.

“This is an up and coming area for people to visit,” Marty said. “We’re always struck by how beautiful it is when we go on bike rides. People think they have to go out to the Hamptons or Sag Harbor. This is an undiscovered area. Just in the past year, [the opening of] the Jazz Loft and the Reboli Center, it seems like a lot of stuff is happening.”

The couple has done various kinds of marketing. The most effective, they said, was the simplest. A friend who runs a bike tour company put their business cards in every bike store in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

“It’s called a Bed and Bike Inn because it is a Bed & Breakfast, but oriented towards cyclists,” Marty said. “We have mechanical stuff. We have pumps. We have everything you might need for your bike. We have bikes, we have helmets; but most importantly, if you come to me and you say, ‘I want to do 20 miles and I want to see historic things,’ I’ve created a route book to provide just that. People can look through our ride book and decide what fits them.”

Elyse pointed out that each ride page gives you distance and elevation data in addition to the general route.

“Once a route is chosen, we print out turn-by-turn directions and we also provide a Garmin GPS which mounts on their bike and beeps when they have to make a turn,” Marty said. “I have lots of suggested routes — everything from 12 to 100 miles.”

Marty is a high school history teacher and said he would love to lead a local history bike tour. So far, though, no one has asked for that. Elyse noted that most guests have preferred self-guided rides, because then it becomes an adventure. “People tend to like to do that,” she said.

The house has three bedrooms, each with a private bath, and is open to guests seasonally. It will close Nov. 1 and reopen to guests on April 1 next year. For more information, call 631-675-0393.

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File photo

The online version of this story was updated on July 7 at 12:30 p.m.

Suffolk County Police have arrested two men in connection with a shooting outside of a bar on Main Street in Smithtown on Friday, June 3 that left one man injured.

Police said one man grabbed and hung onto a water pipe inside of Hypnosis 8.0 at 43 East Main St. around 1:15 a.m., causing the bar patrons to evacuate and a crowd to form outside the bar. Soon after, police said at least two people fired shots following an altercation, leading to a 29-year-old man from Central Islip to be shot in the leg.

The victim, who was shot, but not identified, was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Suffolk County cops said Friday.

Following an investigation by Fourth Squad detectives, Joell Nieves surrendered to police on June 24 and Dashaun Odister was arrested by members of the Suffolk County Police Firearms Suppression Team on Montauk Highway in Bellport on July 6.

Nieves, 22, of Bay Shore, was charged with first-degree reckless endangerment and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Odister, 21, of East Patchogue, was charged with, first-degree reckless endangerment, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and an active warrant for military desertion.

Odister will be held overnight at the Fourth Precinct and will be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip on July 7. Nieves has already been arraigned.

Additional reporting contributed by Victoria Espinoza

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Suffolk County police car. File photo

A child was critically hurt while crossing the street on Saturday morning.

The Suffolk County Police Department said an 11-year-old girl was walking across Main Street in Kings Park at 11 a.m. that day when a van struck her. That van had been heading east and had just passed Thompson Street at the time of the crash.

The girl was in critical condition at Stony Brook University Hospital, police said, while the van’s driver, a 52-year-old Freeport man, was not injured.

Police impounded the van for a safety check and detectives from the 4th Squad are investigating the crash.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call them at 631-854-8452.

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Study could help officials push along revitalization

One blighted uptown property, the old diner on Main Street, was demolished earlier this year. File photo by Elana Glowatz

An upcoming study of blight along Main Street in uptown Port Jefferson could help the village revitalize the area, according to the officials who set it into motion.

The board of trustees approved the study at a recent meeting, in part to identify properties that potentially could be seized through a process called eminent domain, in which a municipality takes control of land to perform a public benefit and compensates the owner. Although eminent domain is classically used for public works projects like building new roadways or widening existing ones, Village Attorney Brian Egan explained that the Port Jefferson government could use the coming analysis of blight uptown as ammunition to make a case for applying eminent domain to less common purposes.

Seizing blighted properties along Main Street in the village’s troubled uptown area could help officials push along their revitalization efforts there.

Although cleaning up upper Port and creating a more pedestrian-friendly district with both business and residential space has been a priority for some years, progress has been slow. Residents and some local business owners have been calling for improvements as well, citing safety concerns stemming from a roaming homeless population and drug-related crime. One of the more recent and most visible changes to Main Street occurred when the decrepit, crumbling diner — previously known as the Station Diner and the Old Port Diner — was demolished in January, after months of discussion between officials and the property owner. However, a new building has still not been erected in its place.

East Coast-based engineering firm VHB is conducting the blight study. That firm is no stranger to Port Jefferson: In addition to various work around the village, the engineers have completed other projects specifically for the uptown area in the past, including a traffic study that was included in the upper Port revitalization section of the village’s new comprehensive plan.

When the trustees approved the new study on Nov. 2, they specified that it should not take more than 12 weeks to complete.