Monday Briefing: Construction work downtown; not just photos of what might be

It was nice to see a Newsday story this weekend carrying the headline “Rebuilding Riverhead, 1 building at a time” and touting the positive changes going on in downtown Riverhead. In the story, longtime East End reporter Mitch Freedman quoted The Red Collection consignment shop owner Morgan Mechelsohn and restaurateurs Dee Muma and Patrick McDermott, three people who are investing big bucks in downtown.

The story’s photo contained what prior stories about downtown’s potential resurgence never did — construction work, and not fancy drawings.

I think one Newsday commenter summed it up nicely when he or she wrote, “They would not build a Hyatt hotel downtown if they didn’t know the whole downtown was going to improve. This is great news for the future of eastern Long Island!!!”

Of course, last time I checked, Riverhead was still the county seat. And it’s condition is and should be a reflection on the entire county. Being a former Huntington Town resident (Commack), I can say that folks in western Suffolk are rooting for downtown. And have been for a long time.

• I was fortunate enough to have access to a telescope Saturday night to check out the full moon that supposedly looked 14% percent bigger than normal. Maybe it was because it was so high in the sky and I had no point of reference, but it looked the same as it ever does to me. It was a good night for my friend’s expensive telescope, though, which usually sits there in the background like a piece of furniture but for a few minutes got more attention than his insanely cute puggle.

• Riverhead Councilman George Gabrielsen and the town’s recreation advisory committee have come up with probably the most common-sense driven plan I’ve ever covered in my over 10 years of journalism. The idea is simple, paint some lines over a stretch of grass at EPCAL and play soccer and and other sports there. It’s something we have pretty much all done as kids, when we could create a Whiffle ball stadium anywhere, at any time.

If something derails this plan, I will officially lose any faith I had left in our government.

• Speaking about government ineptitude, the Suffolk County Off-Track Betting has filed for bankruptcy. Oh, no! If the OTB dissolves, how will all our defeated politicians and party hacks earn a living? I would suggest the gambling operation’s board of directors be held personally responsible for potentially ruining my grandfather’s life. (Better parlors are still open, for now.)

• Nothing says spring less than a week of 40-degree days, which is what we’re looking from now until Friday. At least we didn’t get snow last night.