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Stony Brook Village Center

TIME TO VOTE

From whimsical to classic, over 60 decorated trees line the walkways of the Stony Brook Village Center for the Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s annual Holiday Tree Competition. Voting for the competition is now open to the public through Dec. 21. Ballots for voting can be found in all shops within the Village Center.                                                                                                                   Photos by Heidi Sutton/TBR News Media

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A scene from the 43rd Annual Holiday Festival presented by The Ward Melville Heritage Organization. Photo by Heidi Sutton

Stony Brook Village Center was buzzing with holiday activities on Sunday, Dec. 4. Thousands of residents from the Three Village and surrounding communities attended the 43rd Annual Holiday Festival presented by The Ward Melville Heritage Organization.

Santa was on the scene in the afternoon to take children’s requests and pose for photos in front of the Stony Brook Post Office. Attendees also strolled through the shopping center to listen to music, visit the petting zoo in front of Rustic Loft and enjoy a performance from the Roseland School of Dance students.

The holiday celebration featured the Legends & Spies Puppet Parade led by the Ward Melville High School marching band. Handlers marched through the shopping center with giant puppets depicting local famous people, including Culper spies Anna Smith Strong, Caleb Brewster and Benjamin Tallmadge as well as philanthropists Ward and Dorothy Melville.

The night was capped off with a tree lighting on The Village Green with a countdown led by Santa Claus. Following the tree lighting, Santa Claus gave a recap of the gifts children asked for that day at the WMHO Holiday Thank You Party. He said he’s always surprised that among the more modern items requested, children still ask for classic toys such as trucks, and on Sunday, he said 18 boys and girls asked for yo-yos.

He said the funniest encounter of the day was when a girl told him she wanted a toy dog, loud enough so her mother could hear. She then whispered to Santa and said, “I really want a live one, but please don’t tell my mom.”

Photo from WMHO

On Dec. 4, participants of the Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s Holiday Tree Competition will bring holiday cheer to Stony Brook Village and decorate 45 premium balsam trees that will line the open-air center’s walkways at the 43rd annual Holiday Festival. 

One tree will be selected by votes from the public between Dec. 4 and Dec. 2t to win a $150 gift certificate to Stony Brook Village and its establishments. Registration for this event is required as there are only 45 trees available.

Registration forms may be picked up at any of the shops in Stony Brook Village, or you can download it digitally from the events section of the Stony Brook Village Center website. To enter this competition, please return the completed registration form, with entry fee to the Ward Melville Heritage Organization, P.O. Box 572, Stony Brook, NY 11790. The registration form along with an entry fee of $47 is due by Nov. 23. 

The decorated trees will remain in the village for viewing until Jan. 3. Questions? Call 631-751-2244.

Photo from WMHO

CHANGING OF THE WATCH

Anthony BonGiovanni, owner of Rocky Point Jewelers West, 137 Main Street in Stony Brook Village, met with Eric Baker, owner of Ecolin Jewelers, to wish him good luck as Ecolin takes over the location.

Rocky Point Jewelers will stay in business as they consolidate to their Rocky Point store. With 50 years in the jewelry industry, Ecolin Jewelers will be opening in Stony Brook Village in late-November.

Look Book Luncheons

Foodies and shopaholics unite for a three-part series of luncheon fashion shows in Stony Brook Village. Each part of the series will take place from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. at a different restaurant and each will feature different fall styles from Mint, Chico’s, Loft and Madison’s Niche.

As guests enjoy their lunch, models will stroll through the restaurants, sharing information about the fall fashion they are wearing. The three-part series will take place on Nov. 3 at the Country House Restaurant; on Nov. 10 at Luca Modern Italian Restaurant; and Nov. 17 at Mirabelle Restaurant and Tavern at the Three Village Inn. Tickets are $35 per person at each restaurant for a prix fix lunch. 

To make your reservation, contact the restaurant directly. The Country House Restaurant’s phone number is 631-751-3332 and is located at 1175 North Country Road in Stony Brook. Luca Modern Italian Restaurant’s phone number is 631-675-0435 and is located at 93 Main Street in Stony Brook Village. Mirabelle Restaurant can be contacted at 631-751-0555 and is located in the historic Three Village Inn, at 150 Main Street in Stony Brook Village. 

Photo from WMHO

Black Friday returns to Stony Brook Village Center on Friday, November 25. Shop Black Friday deals all day long throughout the village, with carolers, live music, and a petting zoo from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., as well as the opening of the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame.

Enjoy carolers throughout the day.

Rocking Horse Farms will be set up in front of the Rustic Loft with a variety of animals for children to pet.  Burke and Brenda will be performing original and cover songs in the genres of R&B, Roots, Blues and Contemporary Acoustic at the Stony Brook Post Office. The Celestial Holiday Carolers will be performing holiday music throughout Market Square (shops between Luca Modern Italian Restaurant and Harbor Cleaners). Black Friday deals will be available all throughout the open-air center. A full list of Black Friday deals and sales will be available online at stonybrookvillage.com mid-November.

The Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame will be open to the public. The upstairs exhibit space will feature a permanent “Hall of Fame” with plaques and exhibits recognizing the over 100 and growing inductees. The main exhibit space will be the first rotating exhibit “Long Island’s Legendary Club Scene: 1960’s – 1980’s”.

Black Friday in Stony Brook Village is sponsored by News 12. For more information on Black Friday in Stony Brook Village, visit stonybrookvillage.com or call (631) 751-2244.

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Elected officials, Ward Melville Heritage Organization board members and philanthropists Harlan and Olivia Fischer announced the restoration of Stony Brook’s Hercules. Photo from WMHO;

A Long Island landmark is looking more vibrant.

The Hercules figurehead near Stony Brook Harbor. Photo by Rita J. Egan

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization debuted the restored Hercules figurehead at a press conference on Oct. 14. Recently, philanthropists Harlan and Olivia Fischer, of Head of the Harbor, noticed the figurehead needed restoration and decided to sponsor its renovation. 

WMHO board members thanked the Fischers and the work crew from ART of NYC & Long Island who restored the piece located in the Hercules Pavilion overlooking Stony Brook Harbor, across from the Village Center. The Holbrook-based company was retained for the restoration, which included cleaning, sanding and replastering before repairing, painting and varnishing the landmark.

Richard Rugen, WMHO chairman, said, “It’s a work in progress, but [the Fischers] are actually going to take care of the rest of the pavilion as well.”

Additional work will be done on the weather-beaten pavilion in the near future, including roof work and painting.

Harlan Fischer, president of Branch Financial Services, moved his offices from Smithtown to Setauket in 2020. Every day he passes through the village on his way to work and back, he said, and appreciates how lovely Stony Brook village is. He asked WMHO president Gloria Rocchio if she thought the renovation would be a worthwhile project, and she agreed.

“When we make contributions to places, we like to see the results of it,” he said. The Fischers are also donors to The Jazz Loft and sponsor a monthly concert series at the music venue and museum.

The full-color Hercules carving, located in Stony Brook since 1951, features the head and shoulders of the Greek demigod — known for his exceptional strength — draped in a lion’s skin. The bust was once the USS Ohio’s figurehead. The ship was the first to be launched from the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1820.

Rugen said the figurehead was saved when the ship was decommissioned, destroyed and sunk in Greenport Harbor in 1884. It was bought by the Aldrich family of Aquebogue for $10 at the time, and from the late 1800s until the early 1950s it sat at the Canoe Place Inn in Hampton Bays after the owner, Miles Carpenter, purchased it for $15. Ward Melville bought it from the inn to be placed in Stony Brook.

Brenda Sinclair Berntson, president of Hampton Bays Historical Society, said when Hercules was located at the inn, it was popular for young women to kiss his forehead, believing that the person would be married within the year.

She said the figurehead wasn’t in the best condition, rotting and termite-ridden when it was brought to Stony Brook.

“We’re very glad that Ward Melville had the foresight and saved it,” she said.

Danielle Parisi, business development manager of ART of NYC & Long Island, said as someone who grew up and still lives in Stony Brook, it was an honor to work on the project. Parisi’s co-worker, art restorer Jessie Kefalas, said in walking by the figurehead in the past it was obvious something needed to be done. There was significant damage including the rotting of the chest of Hercules, which is constructed of plaster and wood.

Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook) was also in attendance and commented on the efforts.

“We’ve seen projects like this before, and so often it’s because of the community spirit of  ordinary residents who love where they live or business people who reinvest in their community,” he said.

State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) called WMHO “one of the custodians of our heritage.”

He added that places such as the pavilion are in danger due to rising sea levels brought on by climate change, and the spot around the structure has experienced flooding after significant rain events. In the future, he said, the Hercules Pavilion could possibly be raised to protect it further, and when such a plan comes to fruition he pledged a $125,000 matching state grant to help with the costs.

Photo by Heidi Sutton

TIME TO VOTE!

Voting for the Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s 32nd annual Scarecrow Competition has begun! Visit the scarecrows at the Stony Brook Village Center and vote for your favorites with a ballot from any shop through Oct. 26. The winners will be announced at the WMHO’s Halloween Festival on Oct. 31.   Photo by Heidi Sutto

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Unveiling of the Jennie Melville garden. Photo from WMHO

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) has announced that the garden on the Jennie Melville Village Green in Stony Brook Village has been unveiled, thanks to PSEG Long Island and the Three Village Chamber of Commerce. The garden was originally planted in honor of Jennie Melville in 1948 by the Three Village Garden Club, which she founded. The Three Village Chamber of Commerce was the recipient of a $2,300 Beautification Grant funded by PSEG Long Island. The Chamber selected the Jennie Melville Village Green garden to receive a restoration including various plants, shrubs and flowers.

“PSEG Long Island is pleased to support the efforts of Three Village Chamber of Commerce to create this lovely garden in its shopping district,” said John Keating, manager of Economic and Community Development at PSEG Long Island. “The PSEG Long Island Beautification grant was crafted to help local businesses in downtowns and shopping areas that struggled through the pandemic. We are proud to fund this project that will help increase foot traffic to the area and enhance the shopping experience for everyone who visits.”

Pictured from left,  Jonathan Kornreich, Town of Brookhaven Councilmemeber; Mary Van Tuyl, Trustee, WMHO; Michael Ardolino, Board Member, Three Village Chamber of Commerce; Jane Taylor, Executive Director, Three Village Chamber of Commerce; Bill Faulk, Regional Public Affairs Manager, PSEG Long Island; John Keating, Manager of Economic and Community Development, PSEG Long Island; Dr. Richard Rugen, Chairman, WMHO; Charles Lefkowitz, President, Three Village Chamber of Commerce; Gloria Rocchio, President, WMHO; Carmine Inserra, Board Member, Three Village Chamber of Commerce; Nicole Sarno, Board Member, Three Village Chamber of Commerce; Kathleen Mich, WMHO Trustee; and Charles Napoli, Trustee, WMHO.

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation founded in 1939 by businessman and philanthropist Ward Melville. Inspired by his legacy to preserve historic and environmentally sensitive properties, the WMHO continues to protect and interpret these Long Island treasures. The organization creates interdisciplinary educational and cultural experiences that integrate history, art, theater, music, science, and technology for all ages. The organization owns and manages properties deeded to it by Ward Melville, including the Brewster House (c. 1665), the Thompson House (c. 1709), the Stony Brook Grist Mill (c.1751), which are listed on the state and national register for historic places, the Dr. Erwin Ernst Marine Conservation Center, the pristine 88-acre wetlands preserve at West Meadow, the 11-acre T. Bayles Minuse Mill Pond and adjacent park, two-acre Upper Pond, and the two-acre Jennie Melville Village Green. To learn more about the WMHO, visit www.wmho.org or call (631) 751-2244

The Groomery won first place in the professional category in last year's scarecrow competition. Photo by Heidi Sutton
Photo from WMHO

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization is currently accepting submissions for its annual Scarecrow Competition. This will be the 32nd year the spooky and silly six-foot creations will adorn the pathways of picturesque Stony Brook Village Center for visitors to enjoy and vote for their favorite.

You can pick up a registration form at any of the shops in Stony Brook Village, or you can download it digitally from the events section of the Stony Brook Village Center website. To enter this competition, please return the completed registration form to The Ward Melville Heritage Organization, P.O. Box 572, Stony Brook, NY 11790, with the entry fee of $30 by Sept. 23.

Vote for your favorite scarecrows by picking up a ballot at any of the shops and restaurants at the Stony Brook Village Center from Oct. 1 and 26. Deadline for voting is Oct. 26. Winners will be notified on Oct. 28 by 5 p.m. and will be announced during the Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s Halloween Festival on Oct. 31.

For more information on the Scarecrow Competition, please call the WMHO at 631-751-2244.