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Port Jefferson Village Center

Hiroya Tsukamoto in Concert

The Village of Port Jefferson Dept. of Recreation and the Greater Port Jefferson Arts Council continue their Winter Tide concert series at the Port Jefferson Village Center, 101 E. Broadway, Port Jefferson with a special performance by guitar wizard Hiroya Tsukamoto in the Sail Loft Room (3rd floor) on Friday, February 16 from 7 to 8 p.m. Eclectic, immersive and mesmerizing, the musician takes the audience on an innovative, impressionistic journey filled with earthy, organic soundscapes that impart a mood of peace and tranquility.

Hiroya Tsukamoto is a one-of-a-kind composer, guitarist and singer-songwriter from Kyoto, Japan. He began playing the five-string banjo when he was thirteen, and took up the guitar shortly after.

In 2000, he received a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston and eventually formed his own group, Interoceanico, made up of musicians from different continents including Latin Grammy Colombian singer Marta Gomez. The group released three acclaimed records: The Other Side of the World, Confluencia and Where the River Shines.

Hiroya has released three solo albums (Solo, Heartland and Places). He has been leading concerts internationally including several appearances at Blue Note(NYC), United Nations and Japanese National Television(NHK). 

In 2018, he won 2nd place in the International Finger Style Guitar Championship.

$5 donation at the door appreciated. No reservations required. For further information, call 631-802-2160.


It’s time to bundle up and give. Michael Ambrozy from Howard Hanna Coach Realtors with special thanks to Richard Savino, M.D. NYU Langone  will host a Community Blood Drive by the New York Blood Center in the Skip Jack Room of the Port Jefferson Village Center, 101 East Broadway, Port Jefferson on Saturday, Dec. 9 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

All donors will receive a coupon for a voucher for a pint of beer or soda from participating Port Jefferson establishments including Tommy’s Place, Port Bistro and Pub, Billie’s 1890 Saloon and Barito Tacos and Cocktails. To make an appointment, call 1-800-933-2566. For further information, contact Michael Ambrozy at 631-994-0082.

Above, a large group of people sitting in the surf on the shore of Long Island Sound. Pine View, West of Crane Neck, Stony Brook. 1907.(West Meadow Beach). Photo courtesy of Port Jefferson Village Archive, Kenneth Brady Collection

By Tara Mae

Saltwater and sea air can replenish, rather than rust the spirit. Any means of water conveyance is a line to liveliness and livelihood, a rope that links us to the generations that came before. Set sail into Long Island’s local maritime past with Small Wooden Boats: The Forgotten Workhorses and Leisure Craft of Old at the Port Jefferson Village Center, on view now through October. 

Located on the second floor of the building, with a topical view of the harbor, the photo exhibit features approximately 60 photographs, mainly ranging 24-36 inches. Through the lens of wooden boats, it explores the labor and leisure of primarily 19th and early 20th century islanders and vacationers. 

“There are two distinct categories of images. People using small boats to fish, clam, transport items, and people enjoying the summer in the bathing fashion of the period,” Port Jefferson Village Historian Christopher Ryon, who curated the exhibit, said. 

Marshall’s Pier was located on the East shore of Poquott. Belle Terre and Mount Misery are in the background. Photo courtesy of Port Jefferson Village Archive, Kenneth Brady Collection

Skimmed from the village’s own archive, first compiled by previous historian Ken Brady, the catalog has amassed tens of thousands of photographs. Its selection includes access to pictures that other organizations, like Three Village Historical Society, possess. The breadth and depth of data highlights the profound impact of beach culture on this area. 

Small Wooden Boats is a tribute to and testimonial the scope of people’s sometimes shifting, yet still steadfast, relationship to the sea. 

“The photos in this show capture the serene atmosphere of small boats and people on the shoreline of harbors and ponds. From clammers and fishermen to women in dresses, you can imagine the feel of the water on their feet and the sound of the water as they walk,” explained Ryon during a tour of the exhibit.

In locations familiar to residents, such as West Meadow Beach, Pirates Cove and Port Jefferson Harbor, their predecessors pose in the Long Island Sound and from shore.

Penn No. 1, a small tugboat that maneuvered goods and equipment for Suffolk Dredging Corporation, seems at a standstill as two presumed employees appear portside. One man, still wearing his work gloves, leans jauntily against an unidentifiable object.     

Girl standing in water on the East side of Port Jefferson Harbor. Photo courtesy of Port Jefferson Village Archive, Kenneth Brady Collection

A little girl in a swim costume, somewhat faded with age, grins at the camera as she wades water with a flotation device tied around her waist. 

Men, women, and children, wearing street clothes, sit in floating repose aboard rowboats as three other male figures, perhaps lifeguards, stand behind them, staring purposefully into the distance. An empty dinghy is tied up to their right as waves break against the mooring. 

Individuals who appear as salt of the earth or buoyantly effervescent, all of these figures are both anchored to their era and adrift on the sea of time. Though their attire and apparel are different, they share a relationship with the water that is more familiar than foreign. 

“This exhibit exemplifies Port Jefferson’s history as a shipbuilding port, a transportation hub, a fishing, clamming, oystering community, and, of course, a tourist destination,” Ryon said

Penn No 1 was a small tugboat that worked for Suffolk Dredging Corporation. It was used to maneuver barges and equipment. Photo courtesy of Port Jefferson Village Archive, Kenneth Brady Collection

Essential elements of this dualistic dynamic have evolved or become endangered but their essence remains accessible to those who seek to acknowledge, even enjoy, the ebb and flow of  people’s dependence on the surrounding water. 

By design, the show displays the dichotomies of work and play. Pictures in Small Wooden Boats are harbingers of changing tides, before nautical industry was overtaken by seaside recreation. 

Such developments are embodied by the Village Center itself, which has its own ties to maritime history. Situated on the grounds of the Bayles Shipyard, the building originally housed a machine shop and mould loft, established in 1917 during World War I. 

That same year, the Bayles family sold it. After changing hands, it was acquired by the New York Harbor Dry Dock Corporation, which in 1920, closed the shipyard, and fired all of its workers except for a skeleton crew. Following different business iterations, the Village Center was founded there in 2005. 

The enmeshment of past and present also underscores how the Sound remains intertwined in life on land, a message that Ryon seeks to bring to the masses through ongoing nautical projects.  

Besides the exhibit, another such endeavor is the construction of a replica whaleboat, dubbed Caleb Brewster, a seafaring vessel that will ideally launch in 2024. 

Summer of 1906, Pine View. Photo courtesy of Port Jefferson Village Archive, Kenneth Brady Collection

Named in honor of the Culper Spy Ring member who ran messages via his whaleboat between Long Island, under British occupation, and Connecticut, where General George Washington was stationed, it is a community undertaking. A crew of volunteers, among them students from an Avalon Nature Preserve program, is helping construct and assemble the whaleboat. And, in part as an homage to the village center’s heritage, it is being built in the Bayles Boat Shop located just a stone’s throw from the Village Center across from Harborfront Park. 

Construction of the Caleb Brewster and the Small Wooden Boats exhibit are part of a continuous effort to bring more attention to the common, simple sea craft that are so integral to the existence and entertainment an island provides. 

“The bigger boats, like schooners tend to get more notice, while the smaller ones are doing hard work moving materials and people,” Ryon said. “We [the village center] have this huge collection of stuff. We have done lots of different types of shows here, and small boats are part of the collection that I now want to showcase. I look forward to seeing people enjoying the exhibit.”

The community is invited to an opening reception to Small Wooden Boats: The Forgotten Workhorses and Leisure Craft of Old on Sunday, Sept. 10 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on the second floor of the Port Jefferson Village Center, 101 East Broadway, Port Jefferson. Viewing hours for the exhibit are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through Oct. 31. For more information, call 631-473-4778.

Above, Maasai tribe leaders during a visit to Port Jefferson on Saturday, April 22. Left to right: Chief Joseph Ole Tipanko, Cecilia Tipanko and John Kilenyi Ole Parsitau. Photos by Raymond Janis

Following a multiyear delay due to COVID-19, representatives of Port Jefferson’s sister village visited last weekend.

On Saturday, April 22, the chief of the Maasai tribe in Kenya returned to the Port Jefferson Village Center with two fellow members of the tribe. The Maasai delegation presented on local developments in Kenya since its last visit, as the shadow of the pandemic and environmental degradation have diminished their way of life.

In Maasai villages, there is no running water or electricity, they explained. The women construct huts made of sticks and mud. Men protect the community from the numerous dangerous animals that cohabitate in their territory. In this agricultural society, a Maasai family’s worth is determined by the number of cattle it owns.

‘For any American, it’s very beneficial to know about other cultures and other parts of the world.’

— Virginia Armstrong

In recent years, the Maasai have been ravaged by severe drought, killing off much of their cattle and endangering their very existence.

The chief, Joseph Ole Tipanko, oversees approximately 7,000 people in Kenya. His wife, Cecilia, and John Kilenyi Ole Parsitau were with him.

During their presentations, the Maasai people had an opportunity to share their culture with Port Jeff, highlighting the many similarities and differences between the two.

Virginia Armstrong is a local resident and partner of the Maasai organization, helping arrange their events while they are visiting the United States. 

She said that through the year, the leaders and community members of the two villages, though separated by 10,000 miles, have forged close ties.

“Mayor [Margot] Garant has been here several times, and she calls them her sister village,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong also stressed the unique opportunities that this bond creates, emphasizing how cultural exchanges between the two villages mutually enrich one another.

“We benefit each other,” she said. “We bring some cultural awareness to Port Jeff and then, in exchange, we are supported by the village here.”

She added, “For any American, it’s very beneficial to know about other cultures and other parts of the world.”

‘Whenever we come here, we feel so connected.’

— Chief Joseph Ole Tipanko

During the presentations, the chief explored some of the challenges that the Maasai people face today, including severe droughts, environmental degradation and the ill effects of climate change.

The chief said there are numerous attributes that Port Jeff village residents should take away from the Maasai way of life. “People need to be bonded together by love and unity,” he said. “It’s also good that they know that they should conserve.”

Tipanko stressed that in much of the undeveloped world, including the Maasai villages, access to food is often limited. He reminded Americans that they should not take food for granted. 

“They should appreciate what they have here in this country,” he said.

He has also observed in the U.S. a tendency toward excess, with many Americans consuming well beyond their basic needs. He commented that this mode of thinking could lead to a grasping, materialistic outlook and culture, impeding one’s connection to others and enjoyment of life.

American children “need much, but in Africa, even getting a sweet — a candy — is something big,” he said. “Getting a pair of shoes is something that’s big because some of the kids are barefoot.” 

He added that Americans “should be thankful for what they have because they have running water in their houses, bathrooms and electricity. To me, I think they are very lucky.”

Upon returning to Port Jeff, the chief highlighted the importance of sharing that message.

“Whenever we come here, we feel so connected,” he said, adding that this unique forum “teaches the students to come and appreciate the diverse cultures of the world. And in that, when I understand their culture and they understand my culture, we are able to live peacefully as brothers and sisters for a peaceful global world.”

Port Jefferson School District students with music teacher Edward Pisano (right). Photo courtesy PJSD

Members of the Port Jefferson School District music and fine arts department joined in the festivities of the annual Charles Dickens Festival in Port Jefferson Village Dec. 2-4.

Music students and teachers entertained the spectators with seasonal songs during various performances throughout the village. Students in the district’s Drama Club assisted Santa at the Village Center in the elf workshop and served as background actors in the Stony Brook University film crew taping of the event.

“They did a fantastic job of interacting with the villagers and students and children just waiting to see Santa,” drama club adviser Tony Butera said.

The unique event was another opportunity for teachers and students to share their Port Jefferson School District award-winning talents in a public setting.

Photo by Aidan Johnson
By Aidan Johnson

Sea shanty singers from around the globe were called from the briny deep to perform at the 2nd annual Port Jefferson Sea Shanty & Maritime Music Festival on Saturday, Oct. 1. 

Performer Monti Babson of “Pirates at Large”

While the event was due to be held outside at Harborfront Park, it was moved to inside the Village Center due to inclement weather. Yet this was no issue for the singers, as they still gave delightful and entertaining performances.

Amy Tuttle, program director for the Greater Port Jefferson-Northern Brookhaven Arts Council and creator of the festival, wanted to give sea shanty singers a place to share their talent. 

“Last year, there were some sea shanty singers from Mystic Seaport [Connecticut], and Mystic had discontinued their sea shanty [festival], so those shanty singers were distressed and sad that they had no place to play,” Tuttle shared. “And I said Port Jefferson has a very rich and interesting shipbuilding history — come here.”

Over a matter of a couple of months, GPJAC was able to put together the inaugural Port Jeff sea shanty festival. After seeing that the event was successful, the arts council decided to hold it annually.

Performers Bob Conroy and Bill Grau of “Stout”

Shanty singers came from afar to participate in the festival, including Connecticut, New Jersey and England. “They’ve come from all over to perform in this festival,” Tuttle said.

The performers aren’t the only ones excited about sea shanties. TikTok has thrown the genre into the spotlight amongst the youth, especially with the song “The Wellerman.” 

“I know during the pandemic it was a thing on TikTok, and a lot of the kids were experimenting with different things and writing their own music, which was fabulous,” Tuttle said. “We thought, how fun would it be to get some of the [original] singers to come and do sea shanties here.”

Many of the performers have had several decades of experience with sea shanties under their belt. Maria Fairchild started off playing the piano as a child before moving on to the guitar and eventually the banjo. She also has performed in multiple bands for more than 30 years. Adam Becherer, with whom Fairchild performed, grew up with the bluegrass scene in South Street Seaport in Manhattan thanks to his father being in a bluegrass band. 

Performers Adam Becherer and Maria Fairchild

Both Fairchild and Becherer feel an attraction toward folk music. “I like the history of it,” Fairchild said. “I also like that the melodies are … different from modern music, and there’s something really ancient that I’m attracted to.” Becherer added, “I love the collaborative nature of it. I love getting together with people who you don’t necessarily know, but there’s like a common language of tunes that people can get together and play.”

Despite the weather, the music festival went off without a hitch. Tuttle, along with GPJAC, is planning on having a tavern setting next year, in which people can learn how to sing and play the songs. 

Currently, the arts council is presenting its Port Jefferson Documentary Series, with screenings taking place throughout the fall. For more information, visit www.gpjac.org.

— Photos by Aidan Johnson

Trophies from previous Port Jefferson Hill Climbs. Photo from Robert Laravie

By Robert Laravie

One always wonders if it a good idea to open an email from a name you do not recognize. In early April of this year one came in from Caroline Carless. I almost thought it was an email version of the robocalls I receive about extended auto service coverage —  you know something like “Don’t be left carless…extend your car warranty.” In a weak moment I decided to open it.

It turned out Caroline was from SW England in Dorset and she must have found my contact information from the promotion of the 2021 Port Jefferson Hill Climb. She stated that her companion, Colin Burnett, collected three handled cups and she had two trophy cups from the 1911 Port Jefferson Hill Climb. They were acquired over 20 years ago at a Lawrences auction in England. She felt it would be best if they were returned to Port Jefferson.

A photo of W. J. Fallon driving in the 1911 Hill Climb from a 1911 trade journal The Horseless Age. Photo from Robert Laravie

Together with Chris Ryon, the Port Jefferson Village Historian, we researched the event numbers on the cups. One was No. 14. It appears event No. 14 was won by W.J. Fallon. Fallon was in real estate and one of the organizers of the hill climb and drove in a few events. He posted fastest times in the two amateur classes he entered, one for cars from $1200 to $2000 he won in a Corbin, in 34.56 seconds. The other for cars $2001 and over he won in a National in 25.30 seconds. Don Herr, in a National was overall fasted of the day in an event called the Free- For- All at 21.31 seconds, just beating out a Knox driven by F. W. Belcher at 21.57.

The event number 15 trophy has engraved on it “Presented by Mrs. C. B. Zabriskie.” A little more research in the Port Jefferson archives and on line revealed that Mr. C. B. Zabriskie was an executive with the Borax Company. He lived, when not managing the mining operation in Death Valley, in New York City and in his summer house in Belle Terre on Woodland Road. Zabriskie Point in Death Valley is named after him as well as a Michelangelo Antonioni movie of the same name, but that’s another story.

Thanks to the generosity of Caroline Carless and the collecting passion of Colin Burnett, the Port Jefferson Conservancy will have the trophies back in Port Jefferson and will have them on display at the Port Jefferson Village Center at 101-A East Broadway during the annual 1910 Hill Climb on Saturday, Sept. 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

A resident of Port Jefferson, Robert Laravie has been a member of the Port Jefferson Harbor Education & Arts Conservancy for the last seven years. 

The entrance to Cedar hill Cemetery. Photo by Chris Ryon

By Tara Mae

From slightly spooky to sublimely serene, the Port Jefferson Village Center’s latest exhibit captures the majesty and tranquility of Port Jefferson’s historic Cedar Hill Cemetery.

Titled Cedar Hill Cemetery: Hidden Sanctuary of Our Past, the exhibit of approximately 60 photos offers insight into the still-operational, non-denominational cemetery as seen through the lens of Port Jefferson Historian Chris Ryon and historic photographs from the Library of Congress.  

The Hulse family plot at Cedar Hill Cemetery.
Photo by Chris Ryon

Located on the second floor mezzanine of the Center, the show, which opens Sept. 5, features black and white, color, and near-infrared photographs, evoking different emotions and transcending different periods of time. 

The photos trace the seasons, years, and decades of the cemetery, which was established in the mid-19th century and houses the grave markers for some of the area’s most prominent and historic names, including members of the Woodhull, Roe, and Mather families. 

Ryon, who began regularly photographing the cemetery about ten years ago, curated the exhibit and contributed most of the images, including all of the near-infrared pictures, which require a specially outfitted camera. He said he is fascinated by the distinctive, haunting images it can yield. 

One striking example is the Mather family marker, a 41-ton obelisk that is the largest memorial in Cedar Hill. Standing high above its neighbors, a focal point in any photo, it features the names of John R., prominent shipbuilder, and his son, John Titus, founder of Mather Hospital. 

With the near-infrared, details such as snow covered tombstones and skylines framed by trees and awash in clouds, the hint of the harbor in the background, take on a gothic luster. The cemetery’s gates appear stark and imposing. Names and details of the gravestones are frequently in sharp focus, names clearly visible. 

“I just keep going back to infrared; it is just so ominous looking … green turns white, shadows become more pronounced, etc,” Ryon said, adding that he was drawn to the cemetery as a subject because of his dual appreciation of photography and history. However, he sees the exhibit and cemetery appealing to more than photography and history buffs. 

The gates of cemetery came from the 71st regimental armory on Park Ave. in NYC. Photo from Library of Congress

“This cemetery has everything: photographic interest, history, insight into the lives of people in Port Jefferson … I return because it is a serene, moody place different from our everyday lives,” Ryon explained. “Through this exhibit, we are trying to encourage people to visit the cemetery; they will be rewarded for it.” 

Situated on 23 acres of carefully tended rolling hills (the highest point is 271 feet above sea level), grass roads, and reimagined sheep pasture at the end of Liberty Avenue, Superintendent of the cemetery Ken Boehm described Cedar Hill as “an oasis in the middle of suburbia.”  An additional few acres of untouched wooded property enhances the feeling that the cemetery complements and almost sprouts from the natural world. 

Architectural details, such a somewhat squat, “brick house” that once housed the deceased awaiting burial and now holds landscaping equipment, are testaments to the cemetery’s evolution from privately owned land to publicly accessible final respite. And, of course, historic Cedar Hill Cemetery continues to function as originally intended. 

“Not to sound corny or anything, but we are helping people at the worst time in their lives, so to be able to maintain this place, make it a sanctuary any way we can, is very rewarding,” Boehm said. 

In April of 1859 Hubbard Gildersleeve sold 13 acres of his land to the Cedar Hill Cemetery Association, which had been established on March 30, 1859, with the express purpose of establishing a public cemetery. Prior to this, residents had largely continued the long held custom of burying loved ones in family plots on private property. 

“These larger cemeteries were all established around the same time; there was a change in the way we thought about the dead, and how we wanted to respect them,” Ryon said. 

The Association still exists today and oversees the cemetery’s operations. 

Back row, from left, Nick Hartmann, Will Hatfield, Spencer Woolley, Tom Cove and Ken Boehm. Front row, from left, Nick Koban and Dennis Jourdain. Photo by Chris Ryon

Cedar Hill’s first official burial was of Mary B. Hulse, wife of Charles L. Hulse, who died March 27, 1859. Gravestones, belonging to people who predeceased her, soon joined Mrs. Hulse. 

Since it was considered both disrespectful and unwise to disinter the actual bodies from their more informal resting places, bits of soil from those locations were moved with the markers to their new homes. Families who visited would often picnic and tend the gravesites; photographs from different eras may show them sitting among the graves or looking towards the water. 

People still come to visit their loved ones, do some plantings at the family plots, and take in the views, though they rarely picnic, according to Boehm.

Other modifications, not just in behavior but appearance, have been made over the years. The tall gates, somehow both welcoming and austere, which greet or guard the entrance to the cemetery depending on the time of day, were purchased from a salvage yard in 1971. They once protected the 71st Regiment Armory on Park Avenue in New York City, and need some TLC after so much time on the job. 

“The gates will be restored; people want to restore them. Fundraising and other efforts are in development,” Ryon said. 

This ties into the larger goal of Hidden Sanctuary: to bring more public awareness to its existence and garner more support for its preservation and maintenance. The Cemetery Association and Village of Port Jefferson are discussing plans to create QR codes, implement cemetery tours, and generally invite people to take advantage of all the cemetery has to offer. 

“The exhibit is important to make the public aware of this beautiful sanctuary right in our village. Many do not know it exists. We are hoping to share our cemetery with everyone and take some of the stigma out. We are non-denominational, all are welcome,” President of the Cemetery Association Gail Tilton said.

The Port Jefferson Gallery at the Village Center, 101 E. Broadway, Port Jefferson presents Cedar Hill Cemetery: Hidden Sanctuary of Our Past from Sept. 5 to Oct. 31.  Join them for an opening reception on Sunday, Sept. 11 from 1 to 3 p.m. Viewing hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For more information about the exhibit, call 631-473-4778 or visit www.portjeff.com/gallery. To learn more about Cedar Hill Cemetery, call 631-371-6113 or visit www.cedarhillcemeterypj.com.

File photo by Heidi Sutton/TBR News Media

The Port Jefferson Village Board of Trustees held a public meeting on Monday, Aug. 15, to explore various issues related to parking, public spaces and upcoming programs.


Kevin Wood, the parking and mobility administrator, gave an hour-long presentation to the board on the state of parking in Port Jefferson. Wood was delighted to report that the addition of 25 parking spaces on Barnum Avenue has increased the village’s parking capacity for the first time in decades.

“By building that Barnum parking lot and dedicating those 25 spaces, we came up about 8% on managed parking,” he said.

Despite added capacity, conflict over space persists. Wood reported a recent physical altercation over a parking space, which he considered informative in seeing “how people value parking so much.”

Wood said his department has implemented new technologies to alleviate competition over spots. Today, over 70% of metered parking is done digitally using cellphones. Currently, the village uses 11 meters with over 100 QR-code touchpoints for its metered parking.

“If somebody actually wants to use a meter, they still can, but we keep pushing the pay-by-cell,” Wood said, adding that digitally metered parking has generated revenue for the village and has facilitated the payment process.

With regards to public safety, Wood reported that there are now security cameras covering all parking lots in the village 24/7. He also discussed the possibility of further modernization of parking through automatic license plate reading, which he considers a more efficient way to handle parking.

Wood believes that as the activities at the Village Center expand, there will be a greater need to direct out-of-town visitors on how to find parking options.

“I can’t create parking spaces where they don’t exist, but I really feel that … we should have a dedicated person just to help part time to be out on the street by the Village Center when there’s an event,” he said.

Trustee reports

Mayor Margot Garant reported that the board has entered into deliberations with members of the Masonic Lodge located on Main Street to potentially acquire that property. The Freemasons are interested in deeding the property to the village, according to the mayor.

Motivating this transfer of the property is the Freemasons’ desire to preserve the historic character of the building and to promote community-minded use of the facilities there, she added. For these reasons, Garant advocated converting the lodge into a theatrical education studio used almost exclusively for those purposes.

Deputy Mayor Kathianne Snaden, the trustee liaison to the planning department, reported that during a recent meeting of the Port Jeff Planning Board, some members expressed concerns over plans for the Six Acre Park. Relaying the comments of the members in attendance, Snaden said: “They’re looking for, in a nutshell, more of an active-type park. They’re concerned about the density of the apartments uptown, how many more bodies are up there and the need for active space.”

Responding to these comments, Garant said that a grant search has already been conducted and that one grant under consideration “would be perfect” for moving forward “with the plan as we have adopted for the Six Acre Park.”

“Put it in a memo or make it part of some other formal presentation to us because the Board of Trustees has adopted the vision presented and I think we’re pretty firm on that,” the mayor advised the Planning Board.

Snaden and trustee Rebecca Kassay both reported their coordinated beautification efforts through the replacement of dead and dying street trees villagewide.

“I walked around and made maps of where all the dead or dying trees are,” Kassay said. “We had a great meeting about the next steps … looking at which native trees might provide color and blossom and things like this.”

Kassay also reported that there will be a free public program for the Beach Street Community Garden on Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 6:30 p.m. 

Trustee Lauren Sheprow reported the progress made toward the new Recreation and Parks Committee. A draft charter for the committee is currently in the works, and Sheprow has already received recommendations for volunteers and is hoping for more in the near future.

The Board of Trustees will reconvene Tuesday, Sept. 6, for a public meeting at 5 p.m. at Village Hall.

'Untitled' by the Night Heron Artists

By Tara Mae

When people think of watercolors, Claude Monet’s technique is perhaps a person’s primary reference. But watercolor collective Night Heron Artists presents evidence that it is time to expand one’s mental palette with its latest exhibit, Let the Sun Shine, which explores the versatility of the form. The show will be on view on the second floor of the Port Jefferson Village Center through Aug. 24. 

“In my opinion watercolor is very different today than what it was; there are pieces today that are not watery, but more specific and defined,” said Night Heron Treasurer Ellen Ferrigno.

‘Poppy’ by Ellen Ferrigno

Featuring approximately 110 works of art by nearly three dozen artists, the exhibit also includes acrylic, gouache, pastel, and multi-media pieces in addition to the many watercolors. 

“Most artists explore other mediums and it enhances the show, having some pieces that stray from watercolor,” said Night Heron artist Gail Chase. 

Participants submitted on average three pieces to the show and many of them contributed to a collaborative watercolor, a focal point of Let the Sun Shine. The as-of-yet untitled work, a 20”x22” painting of sunflowers, was inspired by the war in Ukraine.

“With a war raging in Ukraine that is threatening its sovereignty, we felt that an awareness of the people’s courage and perseverance in their battle to remain free would best be illustrated through their flower, the sunflower,” said Ferrigno. 

The painting is encompassed by several individual sunflower renderings. This arrangement greets visitors as they come up the stairs to the 2nd floor of the Village Center, where the exhibit is displayed. 

While the artists frequently present one collaborative work in their exhibits —they once made a puzzle for the Port Jefferson Village Center and last year they painted birds on individual canvases that were then placed on a driftwood tree — this is on a different scale. 

“This project was much more involved and a bigger piece as well,” Chase said. Working on it three people at a time, the Night Herons completed the endeavor in about one month, a passion project for the group. 

‘Gaizing Ball’ by Leslie Hand

“People really spent time on this and you can see that; they didn’t just slap paint on the paper. The majority of our members contributed to it,” Ferrigno said.   

Such attention to detail and collaboration are tenets the Night Herons have observed since founder Adelaide Silkworth first invited an assortment of artistically minded people to paint at her house on Night Heron Drive in Stony Brook some 30 years ago. 

When she moved out of state, the Night Herons, having realized that they did not want to stop meeting despite the loss of their mentor, found a new home at the Port Jefferson Village Center. 

An egalitarian group, there are no regular instructors, rather participants share their expertise and knowledge with their compatriots, enabling people to organically improve their skills.  

“We occasionally invite a guest presenter to teach different techniques: landscapes, for example, but generally we assist each other,” Night Heron Mary-Jo Re said. “There are really so many excellent artists and you learn so much.” 

General administrative tasks, such as coordinating visiting artists, updating procedures, and finalizing bylaws, are handled by two co-leaders, the secretary, and treasurer. The Night Heron Artists meet every Thursday on the third floor of the Village Center, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“The lighting on the third floor, overlooking harbor, is the best for painting,” Re said. Ferrigno added that it is “a most inspiring view for artists.” 

‘New Beiggnings’ by Gail Chase

There are currently 30 dues-paying members and 3 guests who pay on a per diem basis. Membership is $7.50 a week, paid in 10 week increments. Guests pay $10 per class. “We have artists of all levels, people who are just beginning, people midway though their art journey, and people who are very accomplished,” Chase said.

Having recently moved to a larger room on the third floor, each person now has his or her own table at which to work. The collective, currently seeking new members, prides itself on being a welcoming, inclusive haven for art enthusiasts.

“What I love about the group is how generous everyone is with their expertise: sharing paints, discussing technique, brainstorming ideas for paintings, and critiquing each other’s work,” co-leader Leslie Hand said. “My own work has grown in leaps and bounds due to this group. My mother was a watercolorist and I think she would be proud of how far I have come.” 

Indeed, creative fulfillment and personal connections are perhaps the most profound legacy of the Night Heron Artists and Let the Sun Shine. 

“This whole experience of being a Night Heron is one of the joys and blessings of my life,” Chase said. 

The community is invited to an art reception on Friday, July 8, from 5 to 7 p.m. Open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., the Port Jefferson Village Center is located at 101 E Broadway, Port Jefferson. For more information, cal 631-473-4778 or visit www.portjeff.com/gallery.