04/29/11 12:02am
04/29/2011 12:02 AM

Cover photo: News-Review photographer Barbaraellen Koch snapped this photo of downtown Riverhead from the second story of Robert James Salon & Spa on East Main Street.


$567,000 grant will fund new vision for Main Street

Revitalizing blighted areas such as those along Riverhead’s Main Street corridor, which officials and community members have been trying to do for years, can be more complicated than just redeveloping properties parcel by parcel.

Page 1, posted online April 25

A kind life cut short; charges expected

Brian Costello of Mount Sinai “did not see race or status. Had no hate, no jealousy and no anger,” said his brother, Robert Costello. And he had always wanted to drive a car. In fact, he seemed to have loved everything about cars.

Page 1, posted online April 20, updated April 27

Wounded vets take bike tour with President George W. Bush

Riverhead’s own Sebastian “Sam” Cila has been selected as one of 14 seriously wounded Iraq or Afghanistan war veterans to bike alongside former President George W. Bush in a three-day, 100 kilometer ride through the mountains of Big Bend National Park in Texas.

Page 2, posted online April 22

Carney gets to set date for bond vote

The Riverhead school board voted Tuesday night to allow Superintendent Nancy Carney to set a date for the public to vote on a multimillion-dollar bond proposal to improve the district’s aging infrastructure.

Page 3, posted online April 28

Activist petition DA for dog shelter investigation

A cadre of animal lovers and civic activists is turning up the heat on Riverhead Town officials who have been dealing with mounting pressure to expel head animal control officer Lou Coronesi from the municipal dog shelter, where he oversees day-to-day operations.

Page 3, posted online April 25

Cardinale will run, maybe

Former Riverhead supervisor Phil Cardinale said this week that he will screen for the Democratic nomination for his old job. But whether he runs or not will depend on the strength of the candidates running with him — and the strength of the backing the party can provide for him.

Page 4, posted online April 28

80-year-old pushed down during theft

An 80-year-old greeter at the Riverhead WalMart was knocked to the ground Friday after asking to see the receipt of a homeless man who was attempting to leave the store after stealing a laptop computer.

Page 4, posted online April 26

Downtown mural set for makeover

The “Welcome to Riverhead” tractor mural on East End Arts Council property is about to get a face-lift.

Page 6, posted online April 21, updated April 28


Guest Spot: How our farmers saved the East End

If it weren’t for the tenacity and courage of a small band of North Fork farmers, some of whom have been working the land here for generations, all of us — on both forks — would be living in the shadow of nuclear plants with the same design as the destroyed plants that are devastating Japan.

Editorial: It’s about our way of life

Just a glance at a satellite image of Long Island will reveal the North Fork’s uniqueness. While the rest of Nassau and Suffolk counties is shrouded in green or even a sort of grayish color that represents the densest hamlets, the long stretch from Wading River to Orient appears as a patchwork of oranges, reds, browns and beiges.



Heads held high, Blue Waves push forward in first season

There are no manuals on how to guide a team through the ups and downs of its first year of varsity competition. You just go with your gut, keep your head up and roll with the punches.

Page 37, posted online April 26

Luppens blasts two HRs

Coming into the season Shoreham-Wading River coach Sal Mignano felt confident junior Danny Luppens could provide some offense for the Wildcats. The question was how to get him into the lineup.

Page 37, posted online April 26

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04/29/11 12:01am

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Richard Cifarelli's 19th-century barn, immediately recognizable by its 60-foot height, gambrel roof and distinctive cupola, is located on the south side of Main Road in Cutchogue. It was once owned by the Fleet family, which had a grand house (now gone) with matching cupola close by the barn.

When Richard Cifarelli acquired a handsome barn back in 1996, he knew it was going to be quite a project to turn it into a home.

“It wasn’t usable at all,” said Mr. Cifarelli, who, as a senior agent with Prudential Douglas Elliman, knows a thing or two about real estate. “There was no water, no electricity. It was about as raw a piece property as you could imagine.”

The 19th-century barn, immediately recognizable by its 60-foot height, gambrel roof and distinctive cupola, is located on the south side of Main Road in Cutchogue. It was once owned by the Fleet family, which had a grand house (now gone) with matching cupola close by the barn.

Mr. Cifarelli says the barn was originally used to house horses and, indeed, according to Munsell’s “History of Suffolk County,” in the 1880s Henry L. Fleet was renowned both as a horse breeder and as the biggest farmer in the Town of Southold.

The book describes Mr. Fleet as having “raised a number of colts and horses which sold at prices ranging up to several thousand dollars, and has at the present time a very superior stock of young horses, from which similar returns may be expected.”

Later on in its history, the barn was used in the flower business of another member of the Fleet family, who sold gladioli from the building, advertising the flowers on an old horse carriage as the “Wayside Flower Stand.”

By the 1990s, though, the barn had fallen into disrepair.

“Probably nothing was done with it for 30 years or so,” said Mr. Cifarelli. “There were gaping holes in the roof.”

Although he had a vision for the barn, Mr. Cifarelli did not dive right into a major renovation project. Instead, he took his time getting to know the property.

“I owned it a long time before I started working on it,” he said. “You walk around a lot, you check where the sun comes in and that’s where you put the kitchen.”

After major work was completed — Mr. Cifarelli estimates that around 80 percent of the barn is new — 1,100 square feet of living space had been created. He moved into the two-bedroom space in 2007 and says the barn is still a work in progress.

In that regard, Mr. Cifarelli plans to turn the rear of the building into living space and convert the current residential area into additional bedrooms.

“I’m going to build a three-car garage, there will be a courtyard to the east and a pool will go in just off the back of the barn,” he said. “It’s 2 1/2 acres, so it’ll be a small estate.”

And, indeed, the exterior of the barn and surrounding grounds already possess a rather European country-estate look by virtue of privet hedges and a paved stone driveway.

It’s kind of a French and Tuscan mix,” said Mr. Cifarelli. “I also wanted low maintenance and although the privet was expensive, there’s not that much upkeep going forward apart from mowing the grass.”

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The living area’s interior is paneled in wood, some of which was originally on the outside of the barn, and painted a creamy white. The plank floor was also painted white “and then we painted it a Ralph Lauren blue which, with the original white coming through, makes it look quite old,” said Mr. Cifarelli.

The result is a relaxed country space flooded with light and offering comfortable bentwood armchairs and couch to sink into. Fresh flowers, paintings and prints abound, along with a collection of horseshoes propped up on shelves and an ancient porch support casually leaning against a wall.

One quirky touch is the huge creamy-colored chandelier suspended from an old glass-paned door attached to the post and beam ceiling.

“Double the light gets reflected in the glass panes,” observed Mr. Cifarelli.

Mr. Cifarelli seems remarkably calm as he describes the labor of love, but he is the first to admit the project has had its share of stress.

“I moved to Miami for a year and a half right in the middle of it,” he said. “Then I came back and finished it enough to be able to move in.”

He knows there’s still a substantial amount of work to be done, but Mr. Cifarelli remains committed to his work in progress.

This is just what I wanted for my home,” he said. “I lived in Europe and so I really don’t like a typical sheet-rocked house. And I grew up with a barn in my backyard.”