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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.