Suffolk Theater honored with historic preservation award

Suffolk Theater in Riverhead
The historic Suffolk Theater in downtown Riverhead. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

The Suffolk Theater in downtown Riverhead was one of seven historic preservation projects to receive a 2014 New York State Historic Preservation Award, the state parks department announced Thursday. 

The art deco theater, which reopened in 2013 after being closed for more than 25 years, was the only Long Island location to receive the award this year. The theater was first built in 1933.

“We are gratified that so many years of hard work are being recognized by the state,” owner Bob Castaldi said in a statement. “The Suffolk Theater was once a glorious structure — and today is once again an architectural marvel.  We are so glad to have been able to help restore this theater, which is so important to the East End and to architecture.”

Marketing coordinator Bunnii Buglione called the award a real honor.

“It’s about the authentic way [the Castaldis] restored the theater,” she said of why the theater was selected. “It was a labor of love. They used all authentic materials.

“You walk into this place and you’re transported back into an incredible, luxurious era.”

Established in 1980, the state preservation awards are given by the parks department each year to “honor excellence in the protection and rejuvenation of New York’s historic and cultural resources,” according to an agency press release.

“Historic preservation helps encourage reinvestment and revitalization in the state’s most unique cities, towns and neighborhoods,” state parks commissioner Rose Harvey said in a statement.

The state also announced 22 properties nominated to the state and national registers of historic places.  The Mary Louise Booth Girlhood House in Yaphank, which was built in 1829, was the only property nominated in Suffolk County.

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