Downtown Riverhead dinner cruise unlikely

02/22/2011 4:55 PM |

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The downtown Riverhead riverfront.

A recent proposal to run a dinner cruise out of downtown Riverhead likely won’t come to anything, according to the boat’s owner, Captain John Abbaticchio, who said the vessel probably won’t fit in the shallow Peconic River.

That and the reception he got from the town supervisor was less than welcoming, he said.

“It doesn’t seem like they want it,” Mr. Abbaticchio said Tuesday of his conversation with Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter. “He seemed more worried about parking spaces. There are 15 empty stores downtown and he’s worried about parking. We don’t want to go somewhere where we aren’t welcomed.”

He also said there is another East End location interested in having the boat locate there, although he wouldn’t identify that community because the deal isn’t finalized.

Mr. Abbaticchio’s boat, called The Cabana, is 100 feet long and 30 feet wide and needs a depth of five feet at low tide. Weather had prevented Mr. Abbaticchio from measuring the depth himself, but he said the information he’s gotten from others is that the river is only four feet deep at low tide.

The Cabana, which can hold up to 366 people, already runs in Manhattan, but Mr. Abbaticchio is seeking an East End location for it, and he said Riverhead is his first choice.

“There are a lot of things I like about Riverhead,” he said. “The hotels are a big thing. We want to be able to do packages with the hotels.”

He said he also likes Riverhead’s “general attitude in wanting businesses.”

But he said in speaking with Mr. Walter, he felt the supervisor got stuck on the parking aspect.

Asked Friday about the dinner boat, Mr. Walter told the News-Review, “I’m going to wait to pass judgement on it. I’m not convinced one way or another. The last thing I would want to do is put another restaurant downtown that would impact the current restaurants or negatively impact the parking.”

But Mr. Abbaticchio said his proposal wouldn’t impact restaurants because he planned to use local restaurants to cater events on the boat.

“Instead of having one caterer get 10 parties, you could have 10 different caterers; If you have a favorite caterer you could use the place as a venue,” he said.

The boat has a full kitchen and a liquor license.

He said he already has a large following in Manhattan and those people would likely take the boat at an East End location. He said he has 45,000 people on an e-mail list for the boat. The plan for the East End venture would be to have three days a week as open events that the public can attend, and then to rent the boat to private events the rest of the time.

“We want to use it as a venue,” he said. “We will have name-brand music acts on the boat every weekend.”

Mr. Abbaticchio said he’s still hopeful he can work something out with Riverhead, but said of its chances: “On a scale of one to 10, it’s about a three.”

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13 Comment

  • its good only if “they” want it

  • Sean, do you actually speak before thinking??? So based on your comment, ANY other restaurant is not welcome downtown because it would “impact the current restaurants”. Are you delirious, or just trying to protect the establishments run by your cronies??? Yup, make sure nothing else comes downtown, just so we can protect the parking spaces, which are apparently on the endangered species list………. I D I O T

  • All the other “good stuff” happening downtown is obviously not emanating from “Wacky Walters” efforts. Here he goes again shooting his mouth off without concern for the consequences. His concern for certain restaurants or is it just two, should concern everyone else. Who does he really work for?

  • Is Sandmine Sean improperly preventing competition for businesses run by his Friends and Family Network (the bar run by his campaign manager, the Fish Tank catering hall his law firm represented or BBQ another Republican friend will manage).

    Can Walter be trusted?

  • I am never surprised when Riverhead loses out on a new venue that would attract business. I have lived here my entire life and have seen so many great ideas for the town go down the tubes because the right palms were not greased. The down town area (where my parents owned a business while I was growing up ) has lost out on so many opportunities….it is obscene!!!!! This idea would not only attract people to our town but open other opportunities for business as well…i guess that is not what they (local government) want. Maybe they could just have a funeral for the town and just finish burying it!

  • Oh Boy .. Walters tongue couldn’t see what his eye tooth is saying!!!!! OOPS He did it again…..

  • His eye tooth!


  • Here is another HUGE plan that would have generated HUGE economic benefit and HUGE fun. Shot down in flames! They killed the goose that laid the Golden Egg, good job Walt. By the way how’s that RUBBER CHECK doing for the Worst idea in history,INDOOR FREEZER, SKI MOUNTAIN ? was built in one and a half years and is now fully operational, all in about the time you gave the BOGUS company extension after extension ( about a years worth)to come up with “rubber money” for the fictitious sealed envelope, blind biding fiasco bid that blew off the legitimate Mr Rechler, when we told you all along the idea was not wanted and the company that you guys went with had NO MONEY to do the project in the first place. All the while blowing off one of the LARGEST and most successful and forward thinking builders on the island RECHLER @ REXCORP. If people only knew half the crap that goes on……..

  • You have got to be kidding me…this would be GREAT for Riverhead! Im not surprised.

  • “Downtown” and “Don’t Trust”: get thee to thy nearest “alliteration” anonymous meeting.

  • I think with sean walters attitude towards business he hates his job and doesn’t want to be re-elected.what else could it be?

  • Is Walters the only problem? I don’t think so it’s the whole system that allows the few rule the many. If walters said okay do the boat you’d have some civic nut come out of the woodwork saying , but its propellers will kill the eastern minnow, the tree guy saying if all those minnows were killed and got stuck in the rudder that boat might take out a precious pine tree putting a hole in the toilet tank polluting the river and the wheels on the bus go round and round but the bus is on a lift. While we chase for scraps from the tables of the well fed they build bigger tables so the scraps don’t fall and we just run around the table. Wake up everything we want could be done if we all work together. It’s a little give on everyones part but in the end a better Island for all. Walters is a man just one man no more, if he were to die tomorrow another would step inhis place doing the same thing because people don’t want to work together for the good of all.