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

03/19/15 12:00pm
03/19/2015 12:00 PM
The Suffolk County National Bank in Riverhead was robbed Thursday morning. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The Suffolk County National Bank in Riverhead was robbed Thursday morning. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Update (3 p.m.): The culprit behind Thursday morning’s robbery of the Suffolk County National Bank branch is being described as a light-skinned black or Hispanic woman in her early 40s, said Riverhead Police Department Captain Richard Smith.  (more…)

03/07/15 7:18pm
03/07/2015 7:18 PM
Everywhere you looked downtown Saturday, including at Diggers, green was the color of choice. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

Everywhere you looked downtown Saturday, including at Diggers, green was the color of choice. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

“We are getting our Irish on,” said Sue Wells of Jamesport, who was dressed to impress and sharing the day with friends at Long Ireland Saturday for the inaugural St. Patrick’s Day-themed pub crawl dubbed “The March of the Leprechauns.”

See more photos from the event at northforker.com.

01/30/15 12:18pm
01/30/2015 12:18 PM
Michael Butler (center) cuts the ribbon Thursday at the E. Main St. apartment complex. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Michael Butler (center) cuts the ribbon Thursday at the E. Main St. apartment complex. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The second of three new affordable apartment complexes in downtown Riverhead officially held its grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday, as leases are in place for all but seven of its 19 apartments, with tenants expected to move in on Sunday, according to Michael Butler, the owner and developer of the project. (more…)

01/17/15 12:00pm
Thirty West Main developer Georgia Malone in the second-floor lounge. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Thirty West Main developer Georgia Malone in the second-floor lounge. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Downtown Riverhead has been touted for years as a place “on the rise,” an up-and-coming magnet drawing both new businesses and new apartments. A 52-unit apartment complex opened on Peconic Avenue in 2010 and 19 more units are set open soon in the former Woolworth building — right next to the renovated Suffolk Theater. Another 48 affordable housing units are slated for West Main Street.  (more…)

01/13/15 10:00am
01/13/2015 10:00 AM
The Summerwind Square affordable rental building in downtown Riverhead opened Nov. 1, 2013. Rental permits were first obtained last week. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The Summerwind Square affordable rental building in downtown Riverhead opened Nov. 1, 2013. Rental permits were first obtained last week. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

A downtown apartment building co-owned by Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio operated for more than a year without town rental permits, the News-Review has learned.  (more…)