04/02/15 2:00pm
04/02/2015 2:00 PM
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

04/02/15 12:00pm
John King describes a proposed cider mill at Grapes and Greens

John King describes a proposed cider mill at Grapes and Greens. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Will a hard cider mill inside the Grapes and Greens distribution center on Sound Avenue result in a nightclub-like atmosphere, denigrating the quality of lives of its neighbors?

That’s the fear of some of those neighbors, who came out to a meeting Thursday to protest a proposal to create a 38,000 square-foot cider-making facility inside the 108,000 square-foot building that once housed Blackman Plumbing and in 2012 was converted into the Grapes and Greens “agri-park” facility with $500,000 in funding from the New York State Economic Development Council.

However vacant space remains at the building; the application in front of the Planning Board calls for making alcoholic cider, with bottling and tasting onsite.

(more…)

04/02/15 10:00am

liveblog

 

The Riverhead Town Board discussed a plan to double the size of a proposed energy park at the Enterprise Park at Calverton and to prepare a new request for proposals from energy companies during Thursday’s work session.

The board has already designated a 90-acre site at the southwest portion of the property, inside the inactive western runway, for an energy park that would attract solar and other types of energy providers and the Long Island Power Authority has selected Hecate Energy to build a solar farm at EPCAL. LIPA is negotiating a power purchase agreement with Hecate Energy.

Councilman George Gabrielsen said there has been tremendous interest from other solar and energy companies to build at EPCAL, which is why the town is considering adding an additional 94 acres to the west of the western runway.

The town also can lease about 51 acres on the western runway for solar projects, he said.

Board members also discussed filling two vacancies on the Industrial Development Agency and whether the Town Board should issue a resolution urging the IDA to only give tax abatements at EPCAL and downtown.

To read a recap of News-Review reporter Tim Gannon’s live blog of the meeting, click below.

 

Live Blog Riverhead Town Board work session 04-02-2015

04/02/15 8:00am
Peconic Bay Medical Center's emergency room. (Credit: Jim Lennon courtesy photo)

Peconic Bay Medical Center’s emergency room. (Credit: Jim Lennon courtesy photo)

On Friday morning, Andrew Mitchell, PBMC Health’s president and CEO, held one of his organization’s regular “town hall meetings.” The sessions, open to the health care system’s 1,300 employees, are meant to give insiders a glimpse into what’s going on at the former Central Suffolk Hospital, headquartered at the intersection of Route 58 and Roanoke Avenue.

But Friday’s session wasn’t the average town hall meeting. Rumors had started to spread. Whispers had begun to circulate.

Dr. Richard Kubiak, the hospital’s chief medical officer, couldn’t even get into the room. (more…)

04/01/15 5:00pm
04/01/2015 5:00 PM
Riverhead senior Ed Matyka (right) wrestling in the New York State Championships in February. This past weekend he placed fifth at Senior Nationals to become an all-American. (Credit: Paul Wager, file)

Riverhead senior Ed Matyka (right) wrestling in the New York State Championships in February. This past weekend he placed fifth at Senior Nationals to become an all-American. (Credit: Paul Wager, file)

As far back as they can remember, Eddie Matyka and James Szymanski were on the ground wrestling each other. Their fathers grew up together and the boys spent years training together, leading into their senior seasons.

“We’re really close,” said Szymanski, who wrestles at Shoreham-Wading River. “Eddie’s like a brother to me.”  (more…)

04/01/15 2:17pm
Governor Cuomo giving his State of the State address the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany Jan. 21. (Credit: Courtesy Flickr photo)

Governor Cuomo giving his State of the State address the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany Jan. 21. (Credit: Courtesy Flickr photo)

New York State’s adopted budget for 2015-16 includes increases in school aid for all of the districts in Riverhead and Southold towns.

The budget increases school aid by 6.2 percent statewide.  (more…)