BID, Chamber invited to Town Hall meeting with cruise boat owners

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO The Peconic River park and boardwalk downtown.

The company looking to run a dinner cruise from downtown Riverhead is scheduled to be appear before the Town Board on Thursday.

The Cabana, a vessel that’s 100 feet long and 30 feet wide, currently operates in New York City, but owner John Abbaticchio said he’s looking for an East End location.

He previously told the News-Review that Riverhead would be his first choice because of the hotels in the area.

The Cabana group was supposed to meet during a public Town Board work session several weeks ago, but canceled because staffers wanted to first measure the depth of the water in the Peconic River to see if the boat would fit.

They have since determined that it will fit and are now set to attend this Thursday’s 11 a.m. work session in Town Hall.

Mr. Abbaticchio met previously with Supervisor Sean Walter and came away saying he was disappointed that the supervisor seemed overly worried about parking issues. He told the News-Review at the time that he didn’t think the boat would operate in Riverhead, even though that was his first choice.

Mr. Walter said later that he was surprised by Mr. Abbaticchio’s reaction. The supervisor said he just wants to get more input on the proposal before making a decision, and plans to invite members of the Business Improvement District and the Chamber of Commerce to Thursday’s work session.

The Cabana group thought it was on last Thursday’s work session agenda, and showed up at Town Hall at 1 p.m. only to discover it wasn’t.

Mr. Abbaticchio wasn’t present at Town Hall last Thursday but his partner in the venture, Vito Decandia, was there along with Ed Graham, a marketing representative. They told the News-Review that if the Riverhead wants them downtown, they are interested in locating the boat there.

Although Mr. Walter has expressed concern about the amount of overhead the venture would face — specifically when it comes to taxes — when compared with potentially competing restaurants, the boat owners said their operation won’t impact restaurants because they want local restaurants to provide catering for the dinner cruises.

[email protected]