Girls Inc. of Long Island: Strong. Smart. Bold.

Kaylin St. Victor, "Girl of the Year" with Girls Inc Executive Director Renee Flagler

It was a privilege to witness Girl’s Inc of Long Island produce their Annual Gala. As an organizational wonk and a human being, I instantly fell in love with these strong, smart, empowering women, the folks they draw into their fold, and their skilled passion for the girls it is their job to nurture.

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This Valentine’s: Show Your Love with Firefly Art!

"Les Fleurs" painting by Firefly Claudia Bedell

“Les Fleurs” painting by Firefly Claudia Bedell

Our Fireflies have traded in their elving gear for Cupid bows! For the last month, they’ve been bringing in lovely things — cards, a wide array of  jewelry, paintings and photos, pretty pottery, lovely felted wool things…so much more. The glasswork is divine. Come find that unique and perfect gift for yourself or someone you care for.

We’re also a great place to stop in with a love, savor the art, perhaps chat with an artist or two and find that perfect thing together… Come see! 

Our address is 162 Main Street, Northport. We’re open:

Tues – Thurs, 11am-6pm

Fri – Sat 11am-8pm

Sunday 11-5.

We’re usually closed on Mondays but will be open Valentine’s Day until at least 6pm!

About The Firefly

The Firefly Artists was established in 2011 to create a gallery setting for local artists. It is a space where artists can meet, collaborate, and sell their beautiful creations. Over the past decade, we have been privileged to display a stunning variety of work by hundreds of local and regional artists, both in our Main Street locations and in pop-up galleries throughout the community.

We boast some extraordinary talent, while maintaining a very down to earth and supportive atmosphere that is unique to Long Island. Every time you shop at The Firefly, you help make sure we can continue to serve local artists and people like you who appreciate them. Now, you’ve made us the Best Art Gallery on Long Island. Thank you!!!

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: To Reflect and Serve

Photo of MLK Monument in Washington DC

The third Monday in January is reserved to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is the only federal holiday formally recognized as a national day of service, “a day on, not a day off.” In the spirit of listening and thinking first, people are warmly encouraged to study the works of King, and to devote time to serious reflection on how we will endeavor toward a healthier, more just world for all. Here are some ways you can learn about and advance his legacy.

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Happy New Year! Thank You, Friends for these End of Year Resources!

Photo of sparkler with heart shaped core by Katheryn Laible

Photo “New Year’s Love” by Katheryn Laible

Happy New Year! We thought you might appreciate the following:
 
Let’s start with this fascinating piece on the history of New Year’s and its traditions from History.com
 
Then, let’s reflect on our own recent history. Here’s a blog post on a 7-Step Year in Review from Strength Leader Deb Ingino to help guide us! Deb is great at quickly boiling things down to key takeaways. Here, she picks a particularly timely nugget out of a great podcast from John C. Maxwell, while offering the link to his full 7 steps. I found it well worth carving out time for!
 
Many of us are still doing year-end giving! Today, my dear friend Nancy brought this New York Times newsletter: A giving guide to my attention. There’s a lot of useful stuff in here. As we might expect, it offers resources from a much more global viewpoint than we do, but also noted that LOCAL giving — including to local news sources —  is really important.
 
Along those lines…this piece written with David Okorn of the Long Island Community Foundation,“Foundations for the Common Good — A Call to Action” remains timely. If you want to quick-update it to account for the impacts of the last few years, just underline the sense of urgency in triplicate. The article explains growing holes in the LI safety net and how we might fill them. It also shares how the LI Community Foundation itself helps givers make the best use of their philanthropic dollars, as well as how it serves issues they’ve identified as critical directly.
 
Here’s a list of JUST A FEW incredible local organizations that could use our support...use it as a starter guide. We look forward to sharing many more in the New Year!
 
We’re also going to keep repeating this: The idea that a not for profit organization should be judged primarily by the % going to admin and fundraising is just plain wrong! Find out why in this article written with Marian Conway of the NY Community Bank Foundation: “Stop the Nonprofit Budget Fantasy. It’s Not Right!”  Marian’s run a foundation for years and in one way or another served and studied countless organizations. She literally has a Ph.D awarded for her dissertation on “What are the general operating expenses for nonprofits and who pays them.” She knows what she’s talking about. Please listen to her!!!
 
Finally, New Year – New Beginnings. Let’s talk a little bit about resolutions. Considering joining the Dry January tradition? Dr. Jeffery Reynolds, CEO of Family & Children’s Association has some great tips that I think can also be applied to helping follow through on other pledges, especially when paired with this good advice from Forbes.com on how to actually keep your resolutions.
 
Among mine, resolutions tend to involve committing to lifelong learning and development. Toward that end, I find the Farnam Street Newsletter to be something I regularly open and intend to dig more deeply into next year. This week, among other things, they offered snippets from their most downloaded podcasts. As for just a few favorite sources of local guidance, I really appreciate the Fair Media Council channel on YouTube, and everything Vision Long Island puts on its Vimeo.
 
I also resolve to more deeply appreciate our wonderful local treasures. Thank you, Cindy Mardenfeld, for sharing this Newsday article on the membership perks of Long Island attractions(it’s Newsday, so, please forgive the paywall). It covers all sorts of great museums, theaters, kids places and parks. The best part is knowing they’ve hardly scratched the surface!
 
Let me know your year-end reflections and resources, and what you’d like to see focused on in 2022. Thanks!!!

Firefly Lights! Local Artists Celebrate the Season of Giving!

Photo of Firefly Michele Miroff Felting away at a recent trunk show...

So many unique, perfect presents to be found at our Main St., Northport Gallery! The people themselves, though, really are the best gifts of all.

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A Local Independent Bookstore Closes, Three New Ones Open!

Photo of former local independent bookstore Book Revue storefront.

“At the End of a Chapter, Turning the Page: Thank you for 44 Years” by Katheryn Laible

As I look at the list of favorite shops that you dear readers have suggested, there is one entry I still can’t quite bring myself to remove: The once deep and starstruck haven that was Book Revue. My heart still aches at how quickly it emptied. It hurt even more to be right out front as someone began to pull the “Thank You for 44 Years of Business” sign from the window.

There is good news, tho! While Huntington’s incredible, beloved, local independent bookstore is now but a memory, former staff member Mallory Braun is determined to write “The Next Chapter.”

With passionate fanfare, she and so many lovers of this amazing, some would say sacred, place have rallied to make it happen. Even Kurt Vonnegut and Henry Miller – knowingly or not! – have been involved!

 

The Next Chapter

I have never met Mallory but hear VERY good things. That she managed to raise the $250,000 needed to follow in the Klein Brothers’ footsteps is a Christmas present from and for the whole Town. Passing the $200,000 mark on Richard Klein’s birthday was another poetic gift. They had wonderful raffle prizes and a kickin’ band at the very cool Industry Makers the night I got to contribute my little bit. While I deeply appreciated the loud, live music, I sure wish I could have heard what the band’s name was!!!

Proverbial sugar plums dance through my head as I dream of Mallory boldly carrying that glorious banner forward. It’s hard to wait, tho! It doesn’t feel quite like Christmas without Book Revue and I’m eager to see how this manifests. Fortunately, my grieving impatience eases a bit as I smile to see another haven for bibliophiles, this one a used bookstore, pop up in East Northport!

 

 
The Dog-Eared Bard’s Book Shop

The Dog-Eared Bard’s Book Shop  was created by folks who have been running literary events throughout the Island for over a decade. Among activities, they publish a “Bard’s Annual” poetry collection for which they’ve fittingly hosted events at the Walt Whitman Birthplace. I look forward to sharing the next time they seek submissions. They are now hosting “First Friday Poetry Readings.” On January 7th they will feature Robert Savino. I believe they also offer literary alternatives to the Superbowl.

If your own shelves are running over, please know they gladly welcome donations of used books!

This is NOT Book Revue. It does seem to be something wonderful in its own right, tho, and also elicits faded memories of the earliest stacks of that legendary store… It would have sufficed for now….

But then..Lo! What did my wondering eyes behold, but a third new independent bookstore!!!

 

 
Theodore’s Bookshop

The kids and I recently popped into the barely-a-month-old “Theodore’s Bookshop on Audrey Avenue in Oyster Bay. Founded by former US Congressman and Huntington Town Councilman Steve Israel, the shop pays deep homage to the former President and local resident Theodore Roosevelt, as well as to Steve’s love for history and current affairs. Here, he can bring all sides together with pop culture, classic literature, children’s books and other standard bookshop fare. There’s also a healthy dose of folks we’ve dearly missed since Book Revue closed. It seems to work!

Said Steve, “I served 16 years in Congress and it was a place where people would draw battle lines. I got tired of that. I wanted to create a place that would be of value to the community. We have books that are conservative. We have books that are progressive. We have books in the middle. I just wanted to create a platform for respectful discourse and the pursuit of curiosity, and a place that is just serving the community in which I live.”

You can see the rest of my mini-interview with Steve Israel and a few images from his shop below.

 

There Will Only Ever Be One, But Still…

It’s still not Book Revue, but it’s a unique and lovely assortment Steve and his new “family of book lovers” are crafting that does pay deep homage to that bit of history, too. I look forward to seeing how the Dog-Eared Bard grows in it’s own way. I still can’t wait for Mallory to get rolling, and know that I’m still coming to terms with the fact that her endeavor — no matter how wonderful —  will never be Book Revue, either. 

Still, the idea has been planted that maybe…just maybe…some great spirits never really die, but live on in all so inspired.

At least that seems to be the case for three new unique and personal local independent bookstores on Long Island.

More or less just in time for the holidays.

I am grateful. Thanks!