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Port Jeff Bowl

Port Jeff Bowl came back online Aug. 17 and is already planning multiple leagues. Photo by Kyle Barr

By Liam Cooper

Port Jeff Bowl is ready to see people inside hunting for strikes once again after a long hiatus. 

Starting Aug. 17, bowling alleys all throughout New York were allowed to open at 50% their normal capacity. Port Jeff Bowl is now open at 50%. 

The bowling alley has strict guidelines to follow in accordance with New York’s COVID-19 response plan. All patrons must wear masks at all times within the bowling alley and musttry to stay as socially distant as possible, as well.

“People have been coming in at a slower rate, so it’s easier to socially distance,” said Bob Suchan, the general manager at Port Jeff Bowl. “We put people in every other lane or further apart.”

As well as the bowling lanes, the vending machines, games, and snack bar are also open.

Before COVID, bowlers could come up to the snack bar to order food. Now, however, they must wait at their lanes and have a waiter or waitress come take their orders.

“People have to be served at the lanes,” Suchan said.

To remain safe, every bowling ball, shoe, vending machine, and game are sanitized. All balls are kept behind closed doors to better protect and sanitize them. 

“Everything gets sanitized after every use,” Suchan said. “Any touchable surface is sanitized.”

The alley is also looking forward to restarting a few leagues, with competitive, mixed, ladies and kids leagues all starting in September. Port Jeff Bowl has published a list of league dates and times to its Facebook page.

Bowling alleys are just one form of recreational activity reopening in New York. Monday, Aug. 24 marked the day when city museums, aquariums, and other low-risk indoor cultural arts were able to reopen at 25% capacity. 

Sei Ramen in East Setauket is just one Asian restaurant on Long Island that said business is down since the start of the coronavirus panic. Photo by David Luces

The uncertainty of the coronavirus has led many people to avoid public places that see a lot of foot traffic. Some have resorted to hunkering down at home. With the first confirmed cases of coronavirus reported in Suffolk County this past week, despite efforts to sanitize their locations, some local businesses owners have been seeing the impact directly.

Since the outbreak began in China late last year, Asian American and Chinese restaurants and businesses have seen a decline in the number of customers. 

The Great Wall Chinese restaurant in Sound Beach is just one of several Asian establishments impacted by irrational fears over the coronavirus. Photo from Google Maps

Kevin Ma, co-owner of Sei Ramen in East Setauket, acknowledged the drop-off in business. 

Business “for area restaurants, it’s going down,” he said. “I have friends that run their own businesses and they are going through the same thing.”

Since opening last month, Ma believes they have been doing OK and hopes to see an uptick in customers once the coronavirus scare dies down.

“All we can do is let customers know the food is safe [to eat],” he said. “We are making sure everything is clean and sanitized.”  

Gary Pollakusky, president and executive director of Rocky Point Sound Beach Chamber of Commerce, said the fears of coronavirus are affecting businesses in the area. 

“I spoke to two Chinese restaurants [that are chamber members], they don’t want this to affect them,” he said. 

Pollakusky said misinformation on the coronavirus has caused the reduction in business, especially to the new owners of the Great Wall, a Chinese restaurant in Sound Beach. 

“The fears of the people toward Chinese food are irrational — people shouldn’t be afraid of eating local,” he said. “The Great Wall in Sound Beach has new owners and they are very excited to be a part of this community.”

The executive director said all businesses are taking the proper precautions and safety measures to make sure its facilities are clean. 

Libraries also see a lot of visitors and are trying to stay a step ahead.  

Ted Gutmann, director at Emma S. Clark Memorial Library in Setauket, said they are closely monitoring the situation. 

“We take the health and the safety of our patrons very seriously,” he said. “We have ordered additional cleaning supplies to clean surfaces, computers, keyboards and other areas.”

Gutmann said if patrons feel sick, he would advise them not to come to the library. 

“We have tried to be proactive, we haven’t really seen a decrease in attendance at the library,” the director said.

At this point, Emma Clark has not decided to cancel any upcoming events but has had internal discussions about the problem, should the overall situation gets worse. 

Debbie Engelhardt, director of Comsewogue Public Library, had similar sentiments. 

“We haven’t noticed a change in attendance,” she said. “We are trying to be proactive, just washing our hands is part of our daily routine.” 

Engelhardt said they already had numerous sanitizers installed throughout the building. 

“We increased signage reminding employees and patrons to wash their hands,” she said. “If employees are sick, we have told them to stay home — we are monitoring information from the state and county. We are trying to stay educated, we have a responsibility as a public service building.”  

“We are making sure everything is clean and sanitized.”

— Kevin Ma

Several local groups have been canceling events. The Three Village Democratic Club, Three Village Historical Society and Three Village Community Trust have all canceled or pushed off events out of a sense of caution. 

Brookhaven Town has released an executive order canceling all town events for senior citizens due to coronavirus concerns. Those events are suspended beginning March 12. Meals on Wheels deliveries will continue to homebound seniors, while those previously served by congregate nutrition programs at senior centers will be offered meal delivery at home.

Residents can call 631-451-8696 for more information.

Despite the preparation, other businesses said they haven’t seen much of an impact so far.

Bobby Suchan, general manager of Port Jeff Bowl, said besides less people coming into bowling alleys in general, they haven’t seen a change in business as of now. 

“We have installed more hand sanitizer in the building and just making sure everything is clean, which is something we always do,” he said. 

Charlie Ziegler, director of operations at Holiday Inn Express Stony Brook, said it’s business as usual at the hotel. 

“It’s not having an effect [on us] — the number of customers coming is the same,” he said. 

Despite that, Ziegler said they will continue to make sure everything in the building is cleaned and sanitized. 

“We had a meeting recently with the staff and we told them to make sure to wash their hands constantly,” he said. “We want to keep areas clean … we are disinfecting areas like the great room, telephones and door handles.”

Ziegler said they don’t anticipate any further disruptions from the coronavirus situation. 

Larry Ryan was named one of TBR News Media's 2019 People of the Year. Photo from Michael Garguilo

By Julianne Mosher

Larry Ryan of Port Jefferson Station is known to keep busy with different projects and volunteerism, but he stays modest about the work he’s doing within the community. 

Ryan was instrumental in facilitating an inclusive lacrosse clinic in Centereach. Photo by Michael Gargiulo

“He does things with the best interest at heart,” Doreen Guma, a board member with the Port Jefferson/Terryville Chamber of Commerce, said. “He brings smiles to people’s faces.”

Ryan has been with the chamber for a few years and throughout that time has contributed so much to the overall community, his longtime friend Michael Gargiulo said.

“People know Larry Ryan some way or another,” he said. “He works tirelessly and works with so many different groups and is always there to be involved, offering his help and assistance.”

But one of his true passions is helping those with special needs. 

“Larry previously worked for Maryhaven Center of Hope for 28 years, which included running an intermediate care facility that specialized in supporting those with autism,” Gargiulo said. “Throughout that time, Larry interfaced with the community and continued to be a strong advocate for the special needs population.”

Right now, he is working toward his doctorate in special education, all while continuing his community service and working full time. 

“He has a ‘can do’ attitude,” Joan Nickeson, who works closely with Ryan, said. “He’s open and accepting and is always looking to the future. He has a vision for our community and connects with all types of people — some people are called to serve and he’s the real deal.”

Ryan is also the co-owner of Sensory Solutions of Long Island, a gym that supports the special needs population with inclusive programming and recreational activities like art, music, Zumba and yoga. It also helps those who are seeking occupation, physical and speech therapy.  

“He exemplifies all that is good in our community through his work with children and adults.”

— Joan Nickeson

The Port Jefferson Station resident also is part of a nonprofit inclusive lacrosse program that started last summer, bringing both special needs and typical children together to play in a noncompetitive atmosphere. 

“He really tries to unite different people together and is continuing to connect with the community,” Gargiulo said. 

And with whatever spare time he has, Ryan works with Port Jeff Bowl, has his own business, and works with the Town of Brookhaven. 

“Larry will often collaborate with current Councilwoman Valerie Cartright and Brookhaven Town’s District One [D-Port Jefferson Station] on community integration,” Gargiulo added. “You will usually spot him at a local or town event, interfacing with the community or running an informational table.”

Gargiulo added that Ryan’s honor for Person of the Year is long overdue as “he is an intricate part of the community, and continues to make a positive impact, locally and across Long Island.”

Nickeson agreed. “He exemplifies all that is good in our community through his work with children and adults,” she said. 

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Hannah Manetta. Photo by Jim Ferchland

By Jim Ferchland

The Warriors came up short against the cream of the crop for the second time this season, as the No. 2 Comsewogue girls bowling team fell to No.1 East Islip, 3-0. The Redmen clinched the conference title and improve to 9-0 in League III.

“They’re a great team,” Comsewogue 12-year head coach Bo Frimmer said, noting East Islip’s 11 county titles. “They’ve won states before. We are trying to get to that point. This is always who we try to beat every year. Coming into the match, we thought had a shot, and we did. We just didn’t close.”

Colleen McInerney. Photo by Jim Ferchland

The Redmen won each game by over 100 pins, with two bowlers exceeding 225 during the games. Junior Julianna Spina recorded a 256, and classmate Jenny Murphy scored 226 as East Islip took the games 1,043-935; 1,074-939; and 1,028-921.

“They work really, really hard,” East Islip head coach Harold Cooley said of his athletes. “They bowl all year round. They do what’s necessary to maintain where they are.”

Junior All-State bowler Hannah Manetta finished for the Warriors with 227 in Game 1, starting off the match with five strikes, a 234 in Game 2 and 246 in Game 3. Her consistent improvement led her to finish with the highest total score, a 707.

“Hannah bowled great,” Frimmer said. “Her goal for the year is to make the state team, which she did last year. She’s right on the cusp right now, so a day like today really helped her. It was a very important day for her.”

Senior Alex Gallo scored 202 in Game 1, 195 in Game 2 and 175 in Game 3. Sophomore Colleen McInerney bowled a 163, 153 and 163. Before the match, her average was a 177.

Alex Gallo. Photo by Jim Ferchland

“With East Islip, you’ve got to focus on making your spares,” McInerney said. “You have to put your head in the game more. Usually, when we bowl, we’re having more fun, but with East Islip, it becomes real serious.”

While the Comsewogue girls were struggling in the first two games, Frimmer spoke to his team about making the spare opportunities count, saying they can’t miss them in key situations.

“It’s the game of bowling,” Frimmer said. “You’re going to make your runs with your strikes, and if you don’t make your spares, it’s gonna kill your score.”

East Islip has been league champion since 2014. Two years ago, Comsewogue fell to East Islip by just three pins.

“We don’t usually beat them,” Manetta said. “We always come in second place in our league. I wasn’t expecting it to be easy. I wanted to show them that we are second in the league and we weren’t going down without a fight.”

Coming off a loss, Comsewogue has one more match before counties, and Gallo isn’t worried one bit. The Warriors traveled to Islip Jan. 17, but results were not available by press time.

“I have full confidence,” Gallo said. “I have no doubt in my team. If you feel confident, that’s the only way you’re gonna win.”

Comsewogue head coach Bo Frimmer explains to his team the importance of making spares against East Islip. Photo by Jim Ferchland