The year concluding at midnight brought its share of triumphs and tragedies to Huntington.
Amid the fights over zoning, politics and parking struggles. it’s easy to overlook the stories of the many Huntington residents who put their hearts into making the lives of others easier, whether it was by adding lights to the Huntington Lighthouse, raising money, feeding the hungry, providing holiday gifts, boxing for a cause, or plunging into the cold for Special Olympics.
Other stories reflect the changes, misfortune, successes and achievement Huntington residents have faced this year. Here is a look at just some of the big stories in 2023.
Work got underway to clear the 14.5-acre site in East Northport that will become the Matinecock Court housing development. First proposed in 1978, the East Northport project will provide 146 limited-equity cooperative units.
Second Precinct commander Inspector William Scrima was promoted to department headquarters, succeeded in March by Inspector Kevin Williams. Scrima oversaw the precinct through several high-profile cases and issues, including marches in 2020 against racial discrimination, growing out of the George Floyd protests that rocked the country. The police commissioner, Rodney Harrison, who announced Scrima’s promoton in January is himself gone, while his acting successor, Risco Mention-Lewis, is retiring in January.
Huntington Schools Superintendent James W. Polansky announced that he was retiring after 11 years leading the district. Among his accomplishments was the opening of the Jack Abrams STEM magnet school. He previously served as principal of Walt Whitman High School in the South Huntington District for more than six years, was named 2010 New York State Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association.and then served as assistant superintendent for personnel and district services for about a year in South Huntington. His retirement was effective Sept.1.
The owner of Skorpios Restaurant said he was retiring after 44 years, but relatives of Theotokis “Dennis” Goussis renovated and reopened it as Skorpios by Avli by August.
The Long Island Rail Rail Road began full service to Grand Central Madison. All 11 branches of the LIRR provided service to Grand Central Madison and Penn Station, in some cases via transfers but sometimes led to chaos and anger over the effects of several changes.
A Huntington man was stabbed to death near Oakwood Road; passersby intervened in the attack on Roque Cisneros and held the suspect, family acquaintance Candelario Cordova, who was charged with second-degree murder.
Thousands came out for the 89th St. Patrick’s parade in downtown Huntington. Pipe bands, classic cars, Irish dancers, Scouts, elected officials and others marched in the celebration of Irish heritage.
Former Suffolk County Legislator Dr. William Spencer left jail after serving a sentence after pleading guilty to a felony charge of tampering with public records and a misdemeanor charge of patronizing a prostitute.
The Huntington Town Board voted to approve a plan by Oheka Castle to add luxury condominiums to the property. The Cold Spring Harbor Club and its development partner, Cold Spring Development Partners LLC, then sued the board and Oheka administrators, arguing that the board vote was improper.
Spa Adriana, a fixture on Main Street, closed its doors for good. The spa, at 266 Main St., Huntington, had been in business since 1984. Owner John Vater said he and his wife, Adriana, were retiring.
Part of Railroad Street was renamed for EMS Capt. Alison Russo, who was killed on duty in 2022 n Queens. In additioin of her job with the FDNY, she served with the Huntington Community First Aid Squad for 30 years.
The filming of “American Horror Story,” an FX series, took over part of Wall Street as crew members and dozens of residents flocked to the scene.(In August, creators of “Love in Storytown” engaged several Huntington residents as extras for their movie that was shot in Huntington.)
The Downtown Revitalization Initiative to transform Huntington Station met for the first time to outline how the program would work. After several meetings and public input, decisions on which projects will be approved by the state are pending. Proposals include apartments, a community room, rebuilt businesses and infrastructure ideas.
Superintendent Kenneth Bossert departed from the Elwood school district for Great Neck and was succeeded in July by interim superintendent Kelly Fallon, who retired from the Half Hollow Hills district in 2017.
The Pride parade returned to Huntington after six years, drawing thousands of people to watch the celebration on Main Street. Young and old joined the march along Main Street to Heckscher Park where the festivities continued with music, food and beer and wine. Erin Colton of News 12 emceed the parade.
Large numbers of residents turned out for an intense Town Board meeting to oppose the permitting of basement apartments. The town permitted such apartments until 2019 when they were banned, but some seeking rental homes in Huntington asked that they be allowed again.
The air quality in Huntington and around the country continued to be clogged by smoke from wildfires in Canada. Government offices issued hundreds of thousands of masks to help residents cope with the unhealthful air.
Huntington Town Attorney Deborah Misir resigned after 18 months in office. Her resignation letter included a long list of accomplishments both legal and cultural. She was succeeded by Susan J. Coleman.
Polansky, Xavier Palacios, Bowen
A Nassau educator was named to succeed James W. Polansky as superintendent of the Huntington school district. Christian Bowen, who previously served as the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction of the Valley Stream Central High School District, took over in September.
The South Huntington deputy superintendent, John Murphy, added duties from his former job, returning to Walt Whitman High School as principal. He later decided to remain at the high school.
Kyoto Mart & Deli opened in Huntington Station, offering a variety of Japanese foods. The store at 274 East Jericho Tpke. is owned by Rosa Lam and Jay Liang.
A disabled Navy veteran cut the ribbon on her new home Monday, moving into Columbia Terrace, a community designed for veterans. “I am overwhelmed. This is my dream come true,” JoJo Maria Timpanero said.
The Huntington Jewish Center appointed a new leader. Rabbi Eric Rosin is a native of Michigan. He served for two years as the assistant rabbi of Temple Beth-El in Richmond, Va., then as rabbi at Kesher Israel Congregation in West Chester, Pa., then Neve Shalom in Metuchen, N.J., and then as interim rabbi at Kol Shalom in Rockville, Md., before coming to the Huntington position.
A Huntington Station man was killed by a hit-and-run driver on Pulaski Road at 1st Avenue. A Holtsville man, Kevin Galloway, later pleaded guilty to felony Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting in the death of Natividad Interiano.
The Cold Spring Harbor school district agreed to pay a total of $14 million for two sex abuse claims dating back 40 years ago. The cases were brought against two former teachers, both of whom are dead.
Ex-Jersey Shore star Snooki announced she’d be setting up shop in Huntington, though there were no details on the location. Her shops sell clothing, Snooki merchandise, makeup and cosmetics, accessories, sandals and more.
Sweetgreen opened at Walt Whitman Shops, occupying a 2,807 square-foot location. It is the third Sweetgreen to open on Long Island.
Philip C, Ingerman
Philip C. Ingerman, a former deputy town supervisor, died at 72. The lifelong Northport resident also served on the board of the Northport Historical Society for nine years in several capacities. His life partner, Joyce Louise Spencer, died in May.
Huntington lost two dedicated longtime community leaders in September, just eight days apart.
James Kaden and Dolores “Dee” Thompson were decades apart in age, had different backgrounds and careers and followed their own paths to influence. But both kept their eyes on the prize, ensuring that residents benefited from smart and thoughtful decisions they influenced, and often led, about ways to support education, jobs and fairness.
Kaden, an engineer by background, died Sept. 12 at age 67. He was elected to the South Huntington school board in 1993, and voted board president in 1997, where he continued to serve until retiring in 2017, having steered the board through some tough economic times.
He became known throughout state education circles as an expert on school financial matters.
In 2011, he persuaded the board, facing a need to drastically cut costs, to approve the excising of extra classes after the regular school period, to save middle school sports programs. He argued that the sports program served more students, including many who were in need of a commitment from schools, than the extra classes, which were ultimately reinstated years later.
He and observers frequently shared stories about his tenure, including one incident where, after board members had for months publicly discussed the need for more aid and made multiple trips and pleas to lawmakers in the state capitol, a well-meaning parent spoke up at a meeting and said, in effect, “hey, maybe you should ask Albany for help.” Kaden, the story went, gripped the table and, while not always known for his patience, calmly explained just what the board had been doing for months.
His commitment to education wasn’t limited to the South Huntington school district. He also served on the Western BOCES Board of Education, as president of the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association, and, most recently, as a member of the committee preparing the Downtown Revitalization Initiative in Huntington Station. He also was president of the town’s Economic Development Corporation, where he served with Thompson.
Thompson, 94, died Sept. 20. after decades of involvement in civil rights and other causes. She didn’t pull her punches or shy away from expressing her views. But much of her effort was behind the scenes, as she worked to find and provide resources to the community, especially Huntington Station. If the hamlet needed something, she was there to argue her case, cajoling town, county and state officials for more.
Few cared to go up against her.
When the Huntington school board voted to close Jack Abrams school in 2010 because of fear about crime in the neighborhood, Thompson, then president of the Huntington NAACP, called the vote “irresponsible” and said the decision was meant to please “the affluent at the expense of the less affluent.” She added, “We’ll now be your migraine.”
The school eventually reopened as a STEM school.
She also served as vice president of the Huntington Station Business Improvement District, helped establish an economic opportunity office in Huntington, and was a key figure in the establishment of Unity Day in Huntington Station. She was also a member of the Huntington Hospital board.
She leaves a legacy of family committed to public service, including her daughter, Tracey Edwards, a former member of the Elwood school board, Huntington Town Council, a commissoner of the state Public Service Commission, and a leader in the NAACP, and her grandson, Walter Edwards, deputy parks commissioner in the Town of Huntington.
Residents came together to support the planned African American Museum, with a fundraiser on the site of the future building. “Welcome to the site of the next major cultural institution in Huntington,” attorney Barry Lites told the crowd, to applause.
The Northport school district named a new superintendent to succeed the retiring Robert Banzer. Dr. Dave Moyer, formerly of the upstate Arlington school district, will take over in January.
Republicans gained unanimous control of the Huntington Town Board with the election of Theresa Mari and Brooke Lupinacci. They succeed Gene Cook, who served as both a Republican and an Independent, and Democrat Joan Cook, both of whom chose not to run again. It was the first time since 1957 that Republicans held 5-0 control of the board.
Re-elected were Jillian Guthman, a Democrat, as tax receiver and town clerk Andrew Raia, a Republican.
Rebecca Sanin knocked off incumbent Suffolk County Legislator Emanuel Esteban in the 16th District, while Stephanie Bontempi was returned for her second term, defeating Dr. Eve Krief.
Albert A. Statton III, a firefighter and veteran who founded Operation Enduring Care in 2009, providing meals and comfort items to residents of the homeless shelter at the VA hospital, died at age 72. He was a life member of American Legion Post 1244.
Nonprofit organizations celebrated the release of a report that found that credits the arts and cultural sector generated $330 million in economic activity for the region last year. The Arts & Economic Prosperity Study said that the sectors fed the economy through the creation of jobs, purchase of services and goods from other local businesses and tax revenue.
Selmer’s Pet Landannounced it was closing afer 84 years in business. The pet shop said it was the country’s oldest family-owned store.
A Huntington man and his family celebrated his return to life, thanking Huntington Hospital staff and paramedics who helped him after he suffered cardiac arrest.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone delivered a symbolic superized check Friday for $1.75 million for improvements to the Dix Hills home of musicians John and Alice Coltrane.
Longtime businessman Jack Palladino decided to sell his Wall Streeet bar and building Christopher’s, after 42 years. Palladino has been active in the business community, leading the Huntington Village Business District and taking up several issues downtown businesses deal with, such as parking, and the Covid-19 shutdown. Note: This was the most viewed story on HuntingtonNow.com this year.