Articles by

Grant Parpan

Grant Parpan is the executive editor for Times/Review Newsgroup.

04/04/15 8:00am
This photo taken after the Shoreham-Wading River football team's L.I. championship victory won in the sports feature photo category in the New York Press Association's Better Newspaper Contest. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk, file)

This photo taken after the Shoreham-Wading River football team’s L.I. championship victory won in the sports feature photo category in the New York Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk, file)

Nine years ago, I attended my first New York Press Association convention.

I had just joined Times Review Media Group as a reporter and had no idea what to expect. What I found was a lot of newspaper people scared of the big, bad Internet.

With putting newspapers out each week, we have no way of updating a website, folks said. This is impossible. We will all go out of business.  (more…)

04/02/15 2:00pm
Allied Optical Plan owner Jerry Steiner shows a customer a bottle of Manischewitz wine he received as a gift for passover. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

Allied Optical Plan owner Jerry Steiner shows a customer a bottle of Manischewitz wine he received as a gift for passover. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

It’s Tuesday morning in downtown Riverhead and the going-out-of-business sale is unofficially underway at Allied Optical Plan on West Main Street.

At 9:52 a.m., about an hour after store owner Jerry Steiner releases the lock on his front door, the first customer of the day walks in. Marilyn Downs Aldrich, a lifelong East Ender and Aquebogue native, is looking for a new pair of glasses.

“Everything’s half-price,” Mr. Steiner tells her.

One day earlier, the 60-year-old businessman went to contract with a buyer for his building at 20 West Main St. Developer Georgia Malone, who recently renovated the now-sparkling building at 30 West Main, next door to Mr. Steiner’s business, hopes to do something similar with the brick structure that has housed Allied Optical Plan since 1975.

It’s the end of the line for a business that, its owner admits, died years ago.  (more…)

04/02/15 1:59pm

The best part of dropping by Allied Optical Plan is seeing the novelties owner Jerry Steiner has on display — and discovering which ones he’s willing to part with.

In the past, we’ve left with antiquated political signs and bumper stickers, snacks featuring the images of hip-hop stars, do-rags and even a “Spiro Agnew for President” watch. There’s also some pretty cool Riverhead history on display at the store, which doubles as a museum and triples as a saloon.

In honor of the pending closure of Mr. Steiner’s store, we dusted off a few of our favorite Allied Optical Plan artifacts.

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The Big Check

Riverhead Resorts stopped payment on a check it presented to the Riverhead Town Board after a close-up was published on the News-Review website in 2012. Mr. Steiner later hung a giant version of a different Riverhead Resorts check in his shop, along with a copy of the infamous News-Review photo.

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Hotel Henry Perkins ashtray

Not everything Mr. Steiner collects is for a laugh. This ashtray from the iconic East Main Street building is actually a cool piece of Riverhead history.

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A 4.5-pound can of tuna

Novelty food and beverages are among Mr. Steiner’s favorite collector’s items. He keeps a steady supply of low-quality beverages on hand that he’ll gladly pour for any customer. He also loves food that can make you laugh.

This 4.5-pound can of tuna has sat on reporter Tim Gannon’s desk for several months.

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Goldsmith Maid & American Girl

Mr. Steiner said many people ask him about this painting, which hangs on the north wall of his store. They want to know where horses were ever raced in Riverhead.

“The track was actually around what’s now Pulaski Street School,” he said. “Everyone likes that one.”

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Esposito for Supervisor

Mike Esposito, who for many years operated Esposito’s restaurant on Flanders Road, and previously on West Main Street, ran for Riverhead Town supervisor in 1983 on the Democratic and Better Riverhead lines. Up until 1981, he’d been a Republican.

Mr. Esposito lost the race to then-incumbent Republican Joe Janoski by a count of 5,371 to 1,673, according to the Nov. 10, 1983, issue of the News-Review.

Mr. Steiner recently said the News-Review could have the campaign sign.

“I have a ton of them,” he said.

gparpan@timesreview.com

03/09/15 5:00am
Congressman Lee Zeldin speaks to reporters and concerned members of the public at a press conference on helicopter noise at Southold Town Hall Sunday. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Congressman Lee Zeldin speaks to reporters and concerned members of the public at a press conference on helicopter noise at Southold Town Hall Sunday. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Congressman Lee Zeldin asked the Federal Aviation Administration to do its part in reducing helicopter noise on the East End before the busy summer season in a letter he sent last week.  (more…)

02/28/15 12:00pm
An iced Iron Pier in Northville. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

An iced Iron Pier in Northville. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Driving with my wife, Vera, and son, Jack, down Route 25 in Calverton on Sunday, I witnessed a picturesque scene: Two women on cross-country skis gliding up the bike path at the Enterprise Park at Calverton, while rays of sunlight pierced through the trees around them.

For a moment, I thought to myself, “Where is my camera? I must turn around.” Then I kept driving.

There’s a reason I didn’t want to stop. The temperature reading on my dashboard told me it wasn’t worth it.  (more…)

02/21/15 4:12pm
A pair of hearses lead a lenghty funeral procession into Washington Memorial Park in Coram. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

A pair of hearses lead a lenghty funeral procession into Washington Memorial Park in Coram. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

Tanya Lawrence was described as a giving person at her funeral Saturday, someone who cared for even the most distant of strangers.

Her daughter, Danielle, whose body filled the casket alongside hers, was said to be a shy teenager who brightened up while performing on a stage.

Hundreds crowded First Baptist Church for the joint funeral, saying goodbye to the mother and daughter, as a community begins to heal from the tragic shooting at the family’s home in Wading River last Sunday.  (more…)