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open house

Smithtown Landing Methodist Church. File photo

In celebration of its 189th anniversary, Smithtown Landing Methodist Church, 397 Landing Ave., Smithtown, will hold an Open House on Sunday, July 16 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tour the historic church which is rarely open to the public, enjoy live music by Eastbound Freight, take a chance on a raffle basket and more. The event, which is hosted by the Landing Ladies Auxiliary, will be held rain or shine. For more information, email [email protected].

Image from Michael Ardolino

By Michael Ardolino

Michael Ardolino

Real estate professionals are seeing more foot traffic at open houses, and here’s why.

Spring is in the air

The early part of the year can be slow for the housing market. As the weather warms up and the days are longer, more people search for their next home. Spring is a perfect time for potential buyers with children to look for a house before a new school year begins.

The trend means real estate agents are seeing more predictable seasonal patterns than in the last few years.

Inventory remains low  

One of the main reasons open houses have been busy is that the Suffolk County housing market is still experiencing a supply shortage. Low inventory is key in how the real estate market is favoring homeowners.

Buyers may not find what they are searching for when they attend open houses. Your home could be the exact one someone dreams of and would love to move into in the upcoming months — if the price is right.

As I have mentioned in past columns, to do well in today’s market, sellers need to ensure that their homes are priced correctly. An expert real estate professional studies national and local trends and is able to translate that information to help you make a decision based on trustworthy information. One that will have your house on the market at a price that is attractive in today’s market.

For homeowners who aren’t ready to sell just yet, now is the time to start prepping your home and sitting with an agent. Financial experts believe 2023 will be a positive turning point in the housing market, despite national news headlines threatening a crash.

Those experts include Nadia Evangelou, senior economist and director of research at the National Association of Realtors, who told the website Markets Insider, “We don’t expect any housing crash.” Backing that forecast is NAR’s pending home sales index sales showing slightly higher sales in the last two months.

Buyers are out there

While mortgage rates have been going up, savvy buyers know that they can renegotiate a better rate at a later time. Mortgage applications have increased by 7.4% as of March 3 from the week before, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. 

Here’s another thing knowledgeable buyers know — the rates can be even higher. When looking at historical data on Freddie Mac’s website, people will find that every decade, starting with the 1970s, has experienced highs and lows regarding mortgage rates.

The increase has been due to the Federal Reserve’s taking an aggressive stance to curb inflation. While mortgage rates have deterred some potential buyers, it hasn’t hindered others.

“Higher mortgage rates will be a hurdle but ultimately will not keep  [buyers] from getting back into the market after sitting on the sidelines for months,” said Lisa Sturtevant, Chief Economist at Bright MLS.


In the long run, sellers and buyers can do well as long as they know to gather all the information they need. Whether it’s a buyer looking for the best mortgage rates and knowing they can renegotiate a better one in a few years, or a seller pricing their home at a competitive price, real estate professionals can provide valuable information to help make crucial decisions. 

So … let’s talk.

Michael Ardolino is the Founder/Owner-Broker of Realty Connect USA

It was a hot, muggy, summer Saturday, as crowds gathered in the cool exhibition hall of The Atelier at Flowerfield for another Open House. Visitors observed portrait drawing demonstrations by Bill Graf, who teaches several classes in painting and drawing. They also watched Fellowship student, Alyssa Kolakowski, warm up with several quick sketches then demonstrate Master drawings.

Those who dropped in were treated to tours of the art studios and Fine Arts Library by Fellowship student, Annie Nate Schindler and Carol D’Amato, Librarian and Teacher Assistant.

On display was the artwork of Fellowship students Annie Nate Schindler and Jonathan Horn.

Guests could also grab a brush and paint along with Carol D’Amato, Teacher’s Assistant and Librarian, as she demonstrated Watercolor painting techniques.

The Fall session begins September 12th with several classes, daytime and evening, in studio and online, in painting (all mediums), drawing, illustration, plein air and a new class in Fashion Textile Design. Every Monday night is Open Figure Night with a live model and its only $20 per 3-hour session! The Atelier also offers lectures and workshops.

The next exhibition, featuring a Fifty-Year Retrospective of Neill Slaughter’s artwork, opens on Thursday, September 8th with a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

For more information or to register, go to https://theatelieratflowerfield.org or call 631-250-9009.

'Alluring', watercolor by Lorraine Rimmelin

The Art League of Long Island has emerged from the COVID pandemic with new in-person and virtual art classes, and its second live gallery exhibit of 2021: the long-awaited annual Instructor’s Exhibition. Art League Instructor artwork is on exhibit in the Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery October 30 through November 20. An open house and public artists’ reception take place Saturday, October 30 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  The open house and reception are free and open to the general public.

The Art League of Long Island boasts an impressive roster of art instructors who not only teach but also “do “.  Many of the Art League’s instructors are award-winning artists themselves whether on the local, national, or international stage.  The open house offers visitors a first-hand look at the inner-workings in the Art League’s specialized art studios through live demonstrations by the instructors.  Demonstrations include painting, drawing, pottery, jewelry making, and more.  Meet the instructors and learn about their classes and approach to teaching. Registration for late fall classes is open now, with winter/spring sessions to be posted online throughout late fall.

Art Demo Schedule:
– Patrick Aievoli: Game Design & Development for Teens – 11am-2pm
– Liz Fusco: Acrylic Painting for Young Artists (9-12yrs) ; Watercolor for Beginners (Adults and ages 16 & up); Oil Painting for Beginners (Adults and ages 16 & up) – 11am-2pm
– Stephanie Navon Jacobson: Printmaking Sampler – 12pm-2pm
– Marla Mencher: Jewelry Making (meet the instructor and students in after-class session) – 1pm-2pm
– Katie Rocks: Ceramics Studio Wheel Demonstration – 12pm-2pm
Please be advised: Masks are required when in the building at all times. 20 people will be allowed into the building at any one time.

The Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery is open free of charge Tuesdays & Thursdays 10am-5pm, and Fridays & Saturdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Art League is located at 107 East Deer Park Road in Dix Hills. For more information call (631) 462-5400 or visit www.artleagueli.org.

Open Door Exchange, a furniture bank ministry of Setauket Presbyterian Church. will host an Open House at their warehouse, Building G, Port Jeff Business Center, Port Jefferson Station on Tuesday, September 14th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Volunteers will be there to share about the good work of ODE and give you a tour of the warehouse. All are welcome to pop by at any time during the time slots above. Refreshments will be served.  Please note that masks are required in the warehouse. For more information, visit www.opendoorexchange.org.

Don Law has carved more than 5000 decoys over the years. Photo from LIM
Sarah Broadwell

Take a break from all the holiday preparations and come on down to Stony Brook for the Long Island Museum’s Open House and Decoy Day celebration on Sunday, Dec. 2 from 1 to 4 p.m!  The day includes decoy carving demonstrations, a discussion about fishing on Long Island and live music.  You’ll meet:

  • Captain Don Law a full-time charter boat captain from Hampton Bays who began carving decoys in the 8th grade!
  • George Rigby, Jr., a descendant of baymen who settled on LI in the early 1900s.
  • Don Bennet, whose family has worked the LI waters for more than 100 years.
  • Sarah Broadwell, a full-time fishing captain with the Viking Fleet based in Montauk, who works with students, teachers and recreational fishermen, lecturing about responsible fishing.
  • Stuart Markus, a fixture on Long Island’s folk and acoustic scene.
  • Traditional folk singer Larry Moser.
  • Max Rowland, banjo master and folk musician, who’s family history includes several sea captains.
Free admission all day.
The Long Island Museum is located at 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook. For more information, call 631-751-0066 or visit www.longislandmuseum.org.

Open House

The Atelier at Flowerfield, 2 Flowerfield, Suite 15, will hold an Open House on Friday, Nov. 2 from 6 to 8 p.m. Tour the studios, meet the instructors and learn about the Atelier’s mission to foster a community of local artists of all levels and experience. Enjoy art demos by instructors and apprentices, participate in a scholarship raffle and browse the current art exhibition, Charles Yoder: Natural Resources, in Atelier Hall. Refreshments will be served. Free. For more information, call 631-250-9009. 

Terryville Fire Department's Main Fire House

The Terryville Fire Department will hold an Open House on Friday, Oct. 27 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Join them at the Main Fire House, 19 Jayne Boulevard, Port Jefferson Station for free health screenings, child IDs, Halloween costume contest, candy and much more. live firefighting demonstrations at 6 p.m. Meet your volunteers and see the fire trucks. For more information, please call 631-473-1224.

A rendering of what the front of the proposed new St. James firehouse would look like. Image from St. James Fire District

By Sara-Megan Walsh

Firefighters are known for running into danger, but it can be difficult to get to the scene when firefighters are facing significant risk simply getting to their trucks.

St. James fire commissioners are asking residents to consider a $12.25 million capital bond project to build a new 22,458-square-foot Jefferson Avenue facility Sept. 19.

“We are not looking to build a luxurious firehouse, as other communities have,” St. James Fire District Chairman Lawrence Montrose wrote in a letter with other commissioners. “We are simply looking to provide our dedicated volunteers with the basic and modern resources they need to effectively do their job — a job that protects and serves the residents of this community in their greatest times of need.”

The proposal being voted on in the St. James Fire District includes tearing down the Jefferson Avenue firehouse and replacing the structure with one nearly three times as large. Photo from Google Maps

The fire district’s existing Jefferson Avenue facility sustained significant damage in an August 2016 storm. The building’s pre-existing infrastructure issues allowed 6 to 18 inches of water to rise up through the floors, flooding the building, according to the St. James Fire District commissioners through a spokesperson. The flood caused cracks to the weight-bearing walls in the truck bay and worsened stress cracks in the fire chief and commissioner’s offices, in addition to plumbing and electrical damage.

Since the flood, Jefferson Avenue volunteer firefighters have been getting into their gear in one building before running across the parking lot to get on a truck. While this is happening, the fire commissioners said other volunteers are often still entering the parking lot, creating a major safety concern. Volunteers are in danger of being hit by incoming vehicles as they cross to the trucks.

“One instance was almost a catastrophic event,” said the fire commissioners. “One individual fell in the parking lot and was almost run over by an exiting fire truck.”

Other safety issues have arisen. Two of the district’s fire companies are operating out of what was originally the storage and maintenance structure built on the rear of the property. Trucks responding to one of the district’s 1,298 calls in 2016 also had to maneuver through the traffic. Fire commissioner chiefs compared the situation to playing the video game Frogger.

The proposed Jefferson Avenue facility, if approved by voters, would be more than three times the size of the existing 7,407-square-foot building. The additional space would include spaces to serve as accommodations for firefighters and community members during storms or major emergencies, in addition to a meeting room for district and public use. It would be built in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as the current firehouse is not.

St. James fire commissioners will be moving forward with selling the historic firehouse on Route 25A/Lake Avenue. Photo from Google Maps

If voters approve the project, construction of the new Jefferson Avenue facility would start around six months after the vote and would be completed within one year. Volunteer response to emergencies would not be interrupted by the construction, according to the district.

Regardless of voters’ decision, St. James fire commissioners said they will move forward with selling off the Route 25A/Lake Avenue building, purchased by the district for $500,000 in 2013. Due to the facility’s age, it’s not suited for the district’s needs.

The estimated cost of the proposed plan to consolidate to one Jefferson Avenue facility would be an increase of approximately $118 to $198 a year for taxpayers based on their home’s assessed value.

St. James Fire District will be holding a public information session for those who wish to learn more Aug. 29 at the Jefferson Avenue firehouse at 7 p.m. Residents can also tour existing facilities Sept. 9 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sept. 14 from 7 to 9 p.m. and Sept. 17 from 1 to 3 p.m.

Atelier's Kevin McEvoy paints John Morehouse's portrait at a recent event. Photo courtesy of The Atelier

The Atelier at Flowerfield will host an Open House titled For the Love of Art! on Sunday, Feb. 12 from noon to 4 p.m. Attendees are welcome to view live painting demonstrations by artists Christian White, Lana Ballot and Tyler Hughes, take a tour of over 5,000 square feet of art studios and experiment with pastels to create their own Valentine’s Day card, all while enjoying hot chocolate and homemade crepes.

Meet the Atelier artist instructors and staff, view artwork by Atelier students and learn about the art studio’s upcoming museum trips, art lectures and events. Guests will also receive a free trial class gift certificate valued at $55 and can enter to win a 50 percent discount off their Spring Semester tuition. The Atelier is located at 2 Flowerfield, Suite 15, St. James (off Route 25A). For further information or directions, please call 631-250-9009. Photo courtesy of The Atelier