Tags Posts tagged with "Nasrin Zahed"

Nasrin Zahed

Above, two skeletons take it easy. Photo by Nasrin Zahed

By Nasrin Zahed

Halloween has a rich history on Long Island that dates back to the early colonial days. Over the centuries, it has evolved from ancient Scottish rituals to the modern-day extravaganza of costumes, candy and spooky spectacles.

Halloween’s origins can be traced back to the ancient Scottish festival of Eve of All Hallows, celebrated around the end of October. Though commonly believed to be derived from the Celtics, Henry Kelly, distinguished research professor in the Department of English at the University of California, Los Angeles, has provided the research to debunk such a claim.

“People in Ireland also indulged in similar festivities on the day before All Saints’ Day, including divination games and competitions like apple bobbing,” said Kelly in an email exchange.

Below, Halloween decorations plastered on the exterior windows at the Dance Arts Development Center in St. James. Photo by Nasrin Zahed

Halloween customs came to America primarily through the Irish immigrants in the 19th century. The practice of carving Jack-o’-lanterns, a staple of modern Halloween, is often attributed to Irish immigrants who brought the tradition of carving turnips with them. The orange pumpkin, native to North America, became the go-to canvas for spooky faces and designs.

Though of all the traditions to be brought over, dressing up on Halloween and going door to door is still a bit hazy. “The question of when children started masquerading and going around for treats at Halloween in America needs further research,” Kelly said.

Regardless, Halloween has adapted to become one of the most profitable holidays of the year. Seeing as the United States has a strong consumer culture, Halloween became an opportunity for retailers to tap into this market. Businesses saw the potential in selling costumes, decorations, candies and other Halloween-related products.

There is no question that Long Island has found a niche in that market as fall makes Long Island a scenic destination for all things fall fun.

With its agricultural history, Long Island is also home to numerous farms and pumpkin patches, where families can pick their own pumpkins and enjoy fall-themed activities. Others can enjoy an array of haunted attractions and houses that draw thrill seekers and horror enthusiasts during the Halloween season. Places like Darkside Haunted House in Wading River and Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse in Bellport offer terrifying experiences for those brave enough to enter.

Long Island boasts numerous historical sites with eerie legends and ghost stories.

One of the standout Halloween events is the Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns at Old Westbury Gardens, showcasing thousands of intricately carved pumpkins, transforming the gardens into a mesmerizing pumpkin wonderland. The event is being held through Nov. 2.

Local businesses and communities have embraced the spirit of Halloween, with businesses decorating their storefronts and residents adorning their homes with creative and spooky decorations.

Hailey Hamilton of Old Wood Road, Stony Brook, shared her thoughts on the upcoming holiday, saying, “Halloween in our town is always a blast. The decorations go up, the costumes come out, and the spirit of the season is infectious. It’s the perfect time of year to enjoy some spooky fun with friends and family.”

A fascinating tapestry of ancient Scottish customs, early American traditions and modern-day festivities, Halloween on Long Island is the one to beat. A bewitching experience for all ages, Long Islanders have embraced this holiday with open arms, making it an integral part of their culture. 

If you find yourself on Long Island in late October, be prepared for a ghoulishly good time.

by -
0 354
The Emma S. Clark Memorial Library. File photo by Elyse Sutton

By Nasrin Zahed

The Emma S. Clark Memorial Library held its annual budget vote on Wednesday, Sept. 20, with the Three Village community overwhelmingly supporting the measure, 437-74.

The proposed budget plan outlines continued expenses, such as employee salaries and mandated benefits, while highlighting the library’s plans to expand resources to the community and become a more central local hub.

The proposed $5,726,582 fiscal year budget is $88,526 more than the previous years, with a 1.57% tax levy increase.

Lisa DeVerna, the library’s marketing communications manager, expressed the library’s delight at the public support. “We were very pleased with the outcome,” she said in an email. “Eighty-six percent of voters supported the budget, which is comparable to years past.”

DeVerna outlined some of the big projects the library brought to fruition this year, such as the completed construction project to improve the flow of the main reading room.

“We now have a better delineation between the quiet and lively areas,” DeVerna said, offering more structure to the layout of the space and allowing patrons to enjoy public events and activities without infringing on the sanctity of the popular study spot.

The communications manager expanded on the library’s current café project, which is still under construction, giving assurances that the space would be open to the public soon.

The library is also revamping the Children’s Department by adding new toys and play sets. “These projects are helping make the library even more of a community center than it was before, inviting those to come and stay for a while and meeting the different needs of our various constituents,” DeVerna said.

The library will also go beyond Setauket residence by purchasing museum passes for patrons to borrow out through their unique Library of Things collection.

Passes to the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog in Manhattan, as well as the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame, are currently available. The Library of Things also lets patrons sign out many items such as cameras, telescopes, projectors and more.

DeVerna shared how library staff are working toward catering to community youth by developing a separate Teen Services Department. The separation has “allowed us to build more robust programming, particularly year-round volunteer opportunities for teens, who are always looking for more community service hours,” DeVerna said.

With hopes of redesigning the layout and flow of the Children’s Library and increasing investments into existing programs, DeVerna outlined that “in general, we are concentrating on programming next year and have increased the budget of the program by $15,000.” Yet, the budget keeps flowing as DeVerna emphasized that the library is also looking to widen adult opportunities.

“For adults, we’re expanding the scope of our technology classes in 2024, including an advanced Excel class and more of an emphasis on the Cricut cutting machine due to the demand for such programming,” she said. 

As the library has typically catered to classes at the beginner level, this allows patrons to refine and expand on the basics that they have already learned.

With the budget’s passage, Emma S. Clark Memorial Library leaders aim for the library to remain a staple of the Three Village area through its new programs, spaces and interests for its neighbors.

by -
0 658

By Nasrin Zahed

Saturday, Sept. 16, marked the 43rd annual Greenlawn Pickle Festival, and the streets leading into the John Gardiner Farm, located at 900 Park Ave. in Huntington, were overflowing with visitors.

Hosted by the Greenlawn/Centerport Historical Association, Long Islanders had the opportunity to partake in the historic event. In honor of the once-flourishing pickle industry from 1880 to 1920, the festival is a chance for locals to look back on history and enjoy a classic pickle.

The site of the event was once a 600-acre farmscape run by the late Alexander Gardiner. Considered one of the leading farmers in the Huntington area, he was well known for introducing pickles as a cash crop, earning himself the title of “pickle pioneer.”

With parking along street sides and neighboring lots, patrons were welcomed into the farm for a small fee of $5 for nonmembers, $4 for members and children under 12 entered free.

Awaiting guests within the event were fun-filled activities such as hayrides, an antique car show, fried pickles, live music, a craft fair with over 30 vendors, pickle history displays, lollipop train rides, a farmers market, a corn maze, wine sampling and more pickles than one could imagine.

The event’s popularity seemed to spike this year as the space filled up quickly with community members wishing to join in on the pickle festivities — at times with hundreds waiting outside the entrance.

By midafternoon, the event had reached overcapacity, leaving volunteer members to explain to the hundreds outside that they were only permitted entry once people had left the festival. Also, by this time, many food vendors had run out of products for sale.

For festival-goers inside the entry lines, every activity began to feel like an impossible feat. With each line seemingly taking over an hour to reach the end, it was a true testament to the devotion of pickle lovers.

The Smithtown Library. File photo by Rachel Shapiro

By Nasrin Zahed

The Suffolk County Police Department’s 4th Precinct held its first community meeting following the summer season on Tuesday, Sept. 5, at the Smithtown Library. 

The meeting was set as an opportunity for the department to connect with community members, giving an overview of Suffolk’s recent crime trends and the department’s continued efforts.

Inspector David Regina, commanding officer of the 4th Precinct, and Capt. Richard Roseo put together a 30-point presentation detailing the major goings-on within Suffolk County.

Regina started the presentation with the growing issue of street racing, otherwise known as “takeovers,” throughout the area. The monopolization of roadways, parking lots and bridges by car enthusiasts is being spread through social media platforms. These groups congregate at decided locations where they engage in illegal car shows and dangerous performative displays.

Regina went on to discuss underage tobacco sales and the issue of vaping among teens. SCPD is taking measures to cut down on smoke/vape shops selling their products to community youths.

Through a program that had minors acting as volunteers in these transactions, police said they were able to weed out establishments willing to sell to underage individuals.

SCPD has also found that some smoke/vape shops are doubling as “backdoor” marijuana dispensaries. Although marijuana is legal in New York state, there are still parameters that allow for the possession, sale and use to be considered illegal and grounds for arrest.

Regina dedicated much of the discussion to the increase in fatal motor vehicle crashes over the last year, emphasizing the steps officers take when investigating accidents to ensure no drugs or alcohol are involved with the cause.

He applauded all his department officers and their professionalism in the line of work, highlighting that there is much more to police work than what the public might see and that interdepartmental conversations and outside help are crucial to the resolution of cases and the continued safety of our community. 

The inspector took a moment to discuss how the precinct is also trying to give back to officers who show dedication in their line of work, such as through a ceremony held by the Theodore Roosevelt Association. 

Detective Sgt. James Stapleton, the 2023 recipient of the Theodore Roosevelt Police Award, was recognized for his willingness to return to duty following his cancer diagnosis in 2021. Sadly, he died due to his condition but his family was able to accept the award on his behalf.

Members of the 4th Precinct stated that SCPD is working to be more involved with the community through one-on-one contact.

The 4th Precinct holds its community meetings on the first Tuesday of each month. From now until June, these meetings will review new reports, address community concerns and get to know the public.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m. at the Kings Park Library.