11/10/13 3:07pm
11/10/2013 3:07 PM
BILL LANDON PHOTO | Riverhead High School rowers at the Snowflake Regatta Sunday.

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Riverhead High School rowers at the Snowflake Regatta Sunday.

Hundreds of rowing enthusiasts descend on the Peconic Riverfront in downtown Riverhead Sunday for what has become a fall tradition — the annual Snowflake Regatta hosted by East End Rowing Institute.

Teams from both Riverhead and Bishop McGann-Mercy high schools participated in races along the 3,500 meter course Sunday.

View photos from the event below:

10/31/13 3:40pm
10/31/2013 3:40 PM
TIM GANNON PHOTO | A traffic study stated that Peconic Avenue in downtown Riverhead should be one way.

TIM GANNON PHOTO | A traffic study stated that Peconic Avenue in downtown Riverhead should be one way.

Peconic Avenue should be a one-way road heading north into downtown Riverhead.

That’s a recommendation of a traffic study for downtown Riverhead that was done as part of the $567,000 Brownfield Opportunities Area grant from the state Department of State.

The study was discussed at Thursday’s Riverhead Town Board work session.

The intersections of Route 25 (Main Street) with Roanoke Avenue and Peconic Avenue is the worst intersection in the study area, according to consultant Charles Voorhis of Nelson, Pope and Voorhis, the planning firm handling the study.

“The majority of the other spots are working pretty well,” he said at the work session.

The study area stretches from Tanger Outlets in the east to Hubbard Avenue in the west, and runs along Route 25. The traffic analysis shows that the traffic flow rating in the middle of downtown is an “F” for cars turning west onto Main Street from Peconic Avenue, as well as for cars turning south from Main Street onto Peconic Avenue, Mr. Voorhis told the Town Board.

Traffic heading west on Route 25 — either heading straight or turning north onto Roanoke Avenue — also received an “F” rating, as did traffic flowing east along Route 25 (eastbound traffic heading east and turning left, or north, onto Roanoke Avenue got a “B” grade.)

The proposed solution, which Town Board members seemed to agree with, would be to make Peconic Avenue a one-way, two-lane road with traffic only heading north onto Main Street.

The consultants also recommend two eastbound lanes on West Main Street heading into the Peconic Avenue and Roanoke Avenue intersection,  and two westbound lanes from Roanoke Avenue to Griffing Avenue.

Vehicles heading south on Roanoke Avenue would be allowed to make right turns-only onto Route 25, as is currently the case, and motorists intent on leaving town would be instead directed to Court Street, where cars could then take the small bridge over the Peconic River to Nugent Drive in Southampton Town.

The study recommends reducing the size of the concrete island at this intersection to better align court street with the bridge. It also recommends making Court Street two lanes heading south between Osborn Avenue and West Main Street. The bridge would continue to accommodate two-way traffic, with the third lane designated for northbound traffic.

Get the news to come to you. Follow the Riverhead News-Review on Facebook and Twitter.

“This is a pretty common sense approach and seems to work,” Supervisor Sean Walter said.

The current southbound lane on Peconic Avenue would become an emergency vehicle lane, so those vehicles could continue to use the road to head south, consultant Kathryn Eiseman said at the work session.

The BOA study is guided by a steering committee made up of Business Improvement District president Ray Pickersgill, Tanger Outlets general manager Janine Nebons, Long Island Aquarium general manager Bryan DeLuca, Dark Horse restaurant owner Dee Muma and Dennis McDermott, the owner of The Riverhead Project restaurant.

The County Department of Public Works is also planning changes to the Riverside traffic circle in neighboring Southampton Town, and has discussed making that a two-lane roundabout.

In order to make Peconic Lane a one-way road, the plan would require approval from state and county agencies, as Peconic Lane is a county road and Route 25 is owned by New York State.

“We will need to follow up and coordinate with the board, because you’re going to want to approach [the state] as soon as possible if that’s the scenario that you want to pursue,” Mr. Voorhis said.

Meanwnile, Southampton Town has also received a BOA grant as well, just last week, good for $236,000 in state funding to study Riverside.

A survey about downtown Riverhead was recently conducted by the Riverhead BOA study, and more than 700 responses were received, Ms. Voorhis said. He added that the recommendation for a one-way Peconic Lane is one area they would like to get public feedback on.

Additional information on the Riverhead BOA study can be found on Sustainable Long Island’s website, at http://sustainableli.org/.

That group is also working on the study.

Think a two-lane, one-way Peconic Lane would help traffic flow downtown? Let us know in the comments.

10/24/13 6:45pm
10/24/2013 6:45 PM
Suffolk Theater in Riverhead

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | The historic Suffolk Theater in downtown Riverhead.

The News-Review reported live from tonight’s political debates between six candidates seeking three open seats on the Riverhead Town Board, including the supervisor seat.

The first debate featured incumbent Republican Town council candidates John Dunleavy and Jodi Giglio against Democratic council challengers Bill Bianchi and Millie Thomas. That was followed by incumbent Republican Supervisor Sean Walter facing off against Democratic challenger Angela DeVito.

Click below to follow a recap:

10/22/13 9:00am
10/22/2013 9:00 AM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Spinners (front row from left) Liz McBurnie of Speonk, Devon Annabel of Cutchogue and Devora Walker of Riverhead.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Spinners (front row from left) Liz McBurnie of Speonk, Devon Annabel of Cutchogue and Devora Walker of Riverhead.

“I work fast.”

So says April Yakaboski, who since 2009 has now opened up three health and fitness locations in downtown Riverhead with the launch of Spin-sanity, a spin cycle room on West Main street.

The studio opened the second week of October in space previously occupied by The Hamptons Furniture Co. on West Main Street, and features 29 RealRyder stationary bikes, which she purchased from a Westhampton Beach fitness studio that closed its doors recently.

Going for a “very Manhattan” feel, mocking the design of an urban street inside its walls, the studio will add to Yakaboski’s Aerial Fitness studio, and hot yoga studio, each of which are also located on West Main Street within a stone’s throw of Spin-sanity. All three businesses – in addition to stand-up paddleboard courses she started offering as well – cater to a niche audience, looking for something a little different when they step up get in shape, Yakaboski said.

“I try to do what the bigger gyms aren’t doing,” she said recently. With Ultimate Fitness opening a new 20,000 square-foot gym downtown, she added, “I hope they don’t try and do it.”

High Gear Fit in Westhampton closed up shop in mid-September, opening the doors for Yakaboski to capitalize on some secondhand goods that still offered high value to her customers. RealRyder-style stationary bikes, says Spin-sanity instructor Roland Walker, “offers more of a core and upper body workout.” The bikes – which go for about $2,000 a piece – pivot from side to side, offering a more real-life experience, he said.

“It takes power to take the bike over to the right or left,” said Walker, a Riverhead resident and state parks policeman who also teaches at a Real Ryder studio in Amagansett. ” You have to engage your core just to get the handlebars straight.”

Courses at Spin-sanity go for $22 a piece just to drop in, and Yakaboski said group rates for 10 to 30 courses can drop the per-course price down to $12.50. In addition, she said, a limited number of six-month memberships will be available starting in November.

10/21/13 1:46pm
10/21/2013 1:46 PM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Plans for a new consignment shop on East Main Street fell through this week.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Plans for a new consignment shop on East Main Street fell through this week.

“Red” or “Blue,” there won’t be a new consignment shop on East Main Street after all.

Plans for a proposed consignment shop called “The Blue Collection” to take the place of a shuttered shop in the same space fell through this week after the numbers just didn’t add up, said Michael Mahon, who was planning to run the store.

Last week, Mr. Mahon announced he would open a new consignment shop to replace “The Red Collection,” which closed last month. But now Mr. Mahon, the co-owner of the 73 Main boutique store across the street, said the cost of utilities in the vacant space make it impossible for him to move. Financing to fund the initial move also fell through, he said.

“For me to try to go from a small to medium business, [the cost] is very prohibitive,” he said.

Mr. Mahon said he was “eating humble pie” after realizing the plan wouldn’t work out.

“You can’t embrace the world all at once,” he said.

Instead, Mr. Mahon said 73 Main will transition into doing more consignments to pick up the Red Collection’s former customers. A new sign posted to the door of the empty “Red Collection” storefront instructs customers to visit the “new consignment shop 73 Main across the street.”


10/16/13 5:00pm
10/16/2013 5:00 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Supervisor candidate Angela DeVito was joined downtown Tuesday afternoon by town council candidate Bill Bianchi (left) and supporters. Ms. DeVito said the private sector is responsible for downtown’s resurgence, not politicians. Supervisor Sean Walter, in office since 2010, said he welcomes the criticism.

Democrats running for Riverhead Town Board seats say the incumbent Republicans don’t deserve credit for revitalizing downtown Riverhead, something Supervisor Sean Walter has frequently touted in his previous – and current – bid for re-election.

“The Sean Walter administration has made scant progress in efforts to improve downtown Riverhead,” Democratic supervisor candidate Angela DeVito said at a press conference Tuesday outside the former site of the Red Collection, which went out of business a couple of weeks ago. “What little progress has been made should be credited to town business leaders and not town government.”

Ms. DeVito was joined at the press conference by running mate Bill Bianchi, who is seeking a seat on the Town Board, and several supporters.

In a statement handed out at the event, Ms. DeVito said that “the opening of The Riverhead Project, reopening of the Suffolk Theater and the promotional activities of the Business Improvement District are the work of entrepreneurial business leaders and not Sean Walter or the lackluster Town Board.”

Mr. Walter saw it differently.

“If that’s what they want to campaign on, I welcome it,” he said in an interview. “Business owners are very happy with the help they got from my office to move things forward.”

He suggested talking to business owners such as Bob Castaldi of the Suffolk Theater, John Mantzopoulos of Athens Grill and Dennis McDermott of The Riverhead Project. All three have opened – or, in Mr. Mantzopolous’ case are reopening – since 2010, when Mr. Walter stepped into Town Hall.

“That’s nonsense,” Mr. Castaldi said of the Democrat’s claims. “When Cardinale was here, we went nowhere. When Walter came in, it was like somebody lifted a wet blanket off the town. There’s no question about it in my mind. When Cardinale was here we spun our wheels for three years.”

Former Democratic Supervisor Phil Cardinale had attempted to take back the Suffolk Theater through a reverter clause in the sales contract between the town and Mr. Castaldi. Mr. Castaldi then sued, the issue was tied up in court for several years and the restoration stalled.

Mr. Mantzopoulos, whose restaurant was badly damaged in a fire in July, said that a Town Board resolution to waive building fees for Athens Grill and the Rendezvous, which had a fire the same week, was approved by the Town Board — but not unanimously, as Councilwoman Jodi Giglio and Councilman Jim Wooten did not support the measure.

“There was a little opposition from two people, so I don’t know if you can put them all in the same box,” Mr. Mantzopoulos said in an interview Tuesday. “But overall, my personal experience is that the town government has been good to me. If there are state grants that I’m eligible for, they’ll notify me. I can’t really complain about Town Hall in the last four years.”

Mr. Mantzopoulos said he’s known Ms. DeVito for nine years and Mr. Walter for four.

“At the end of the day, they’re both good people and I wish them both luck,” he said.

Ms. DeVito said at the press conference that the Town Board should concentrate on things such as public safety and the condition of downtown sidewalks and businesses will come. She said the town still has police officers stationed outside the Suffolk Theater after shows and said town zoning allows areas such as Route 58 to kill downtown businesses.

“We need someone who is going to clean up Second and Third streets, and work with Southampton Town to clean up Riverside,” she said.

Mr. Bianchi said the revitalization of downtown “has a long way to go.”


10/13/13 3:46pm
KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTOS | The 38th Annual Riverhead Country Fair was held on the Peconic Riverfront Sunday morning.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTOS | The 38th Annual Riverhead Country Fair was held on the Peconic Riverfront Sunday morning.

Despite overcast skies and chilly breezes, the 38th annual Riverhead Country Fair drew thousands of people to the downtown area on Sunday.

One of the largest festivals in New York State, the fair celebrates Riverhead’s agricultural heritage and features displays and competitions, live music, vendors and family-friendly entertainment.

See the photos at northforker.com

10/09/13 8:00am
10/09/2013 8:00 AM
FILE PHOTO | The former Woolworth building on East Main Street is undergoing a renovation.

FILE PHOTO | The former Woolworth building on East Main Street is undergoing a renovation.

Goldberg’s Famous Bagels will be a tenant in the former Woolworth building on East Main Street, which also will house a gym and apartments on the second floor.

The Riverhead Industrial Development Agency, which earlier this year granted tax incentives to property owner Woolworth Revitalization LLC for the overall restoration of the building, also must separately approve each tenant planned for the site.

On Monday, it voted 4-0, with one member absent, to approve Goldberg’s Famous Bagels as a tenant. Woolworth Revitalization LLC, a company headed by Michael Butler of Sag Harbor, purchased the 25,000-square-foot building from Apollo Real Estate Advisors for $2.2 million in February.

The building has been largely unoccupied since Woolworth left in 1997. Mr. Butler is planning to build 19 apartments on the second floor, along with the gym, called Ultimate on Main, on the ground floor and smaller stores fronting Main Street.

Goldberg’s Famous Bagels has 11 stores in New Jersey, as well as one store each in Southampton, East Hampton and Montauk, said Barry Brown, a representative for the applicant, at Monday’s IDA meeting.

The proposed Riverhead store would be in the same location that Bagel Lovers occupied for many years before moving to Osborn Avenue, but would be twice the size. The proposed Goldberg’s will have 16 seats, three employees and be open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mr. Brown said. The bagels will be made on site.

“We’d like to be open by January,” he said. “I think it would be an asset for the town to get a good company like Goldberg’s,” said IDA member Lou Kalogeras in casting his vote.